Timely Ragas


We have been talking about classifying ragas in particular ways. Today, our Classical Music Expert Brinda Roy Chowdhury talks about the classification of ragas on the basis of the time they are sung.

Timely Ragas:

Each raga in Indian Classical Music has a specific time of singing and some have a particular season too. Pandit Vishnu Digambar Bhatkhande had divided the 24 hours of the day into 2 parts. He named the time from 12 PM to 12 AM to be the Poorvang and ragas sung during this time are said to be the Poorvang Ragas. Whereas, the time from 12 AM to 12 PM was named Uttarang. The ragas were called the Uttarang Ragas, accordingly. This is the most basic and simple division of the ragas of Hindustani Classical music based on time.

Some more helpful tips to understand the time theory of ragas are:

Madhyam or Ma is the most important swara in determining the time of recital. Ragas with teevra Ma are sung in Poorvang and ragas with Shuddh Ma are sung in Uttarang. Examples: Raga Yaman is a Poorvang Raga with a teevra Ma in it while Raga Bhairav is an Uttarang Raga with a Shuddh Ma in it.

Another point, I emphasize here, is about the vaadi swaras. Ragas having vaadi swaras as Sa, Re, Ga or Ma will belong to Poorvang. Ragas having vaadi swaras as Pa, Dha, Ni or Sa will come under Uttarang.

Writing a few examples of ragas under certain time span of the day or night:

Early morning (6-8 AM)- Raga Bhairav, Raga Ramkali, Raga Jogia, etc.

Late morning (10 AM-12 noon) – Raga Bhairavi, Raga Deshkar, Raga Alhaiya Bilaval, Raga Jaunpuri, etc.

Afternoon (12 noon -2 PM) – Raga Brindavani Sarang, Raga Shuddh Sarang, Raga Gaud Sarang, etc.

Evening (6-8 PM)- Raga Poorvi, Raga Shree, Raga Patdeep, etc.

Late evening (8 PM -10 PM)- Raga Yaman, Raga Shuddh Kalyan, Raga Hameer, etc.

Why These Tight Timelines?

There is a scientific reason behind this classification. In the early morning, as we wake up, our vocal cords are not open or hydrated for a long time during the night. The time is quiet and we might disturb the others. Thus, the ragas of this time use lower notes. With the advent of the day, the pitch of the notes and the vaadi swaras has to be raised. The voice opens up. Our mind and body become more active, during the afternoon compared to morning. By evening, we are geared up to sing something more difficult or complicated. Again, during late night, serious natured ragas like Raga Darbari or Raga Abhogi are sung. But, during concerts, it becomes difficult to follow these rules and most classical singers, currently, do not follow them.

Bollywood and Timely Ragas:

Bollywood songs based on different ragas based on time:

Early Morning – Raga Bhairav – Ae malik tere bande hum… Do Ankhen Barah Haath (1957)

Late Morning – Raga Bhairavi – Dil ka khilona haay toot gaya… Goonj Uthi Shehnai (1959)

Afternoon – Raga Brindavani Sarang – Ghoomar… Padmaavat (2018)

Afternoon – Raga Bhimpalasi – Qismat se tum humko mile ho… Pukaar (2000)

Late Evening – Raga Yaman – Naam gum jayega… Kinaara (1977)

Evening – Raga Yaman Kalyan – Jab deep jale aana… Chit Chor (1976)

Late Evening – Raga Hameer – Madhuban mein Radhika… Kohinoor (1960)

Night – Raga Bihag – Tujhe jeevan ki dor se… Asli-Naqli (1962)

Late Night – Raga Malkauns – Adha hai Chandrama… Navrang (1959)


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One response to “Timely Ragas”

  1. As they say, every day u learn something new and for me it was the detailed timing of each ragas.. it gives me goosebumps that how every raga has time sensitivity and how it effects our aura around us.
    I thank Brinda for sharing her remarkable knowledge about with us, and making it sound so easy that even a layman can understand..
    .. thanx for the amazing song .. tujhe jeevan ki dor se is one of my favorite songs.

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