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#Musings with Nitin Amin: Raga Shuddha Kalyan

21 Song Salute to the Great Lata Mangeshkar




Within the Kalyan variants, we can talk about two different categories. One category is of those ragas that are derived by fusing another raga with the Yaman or the Kalyan. The ragas that are part of this category start with Shuddha Kayan which is also Bhoop Kalyan, Pooriya Kalyan, Saraswati or Saraswati Kalyan which beautifully fuses Kalyan with Jhinjhoti, then there are fusions with Shivaranjani called Shiv Kalyan, fusion with Hansdhwani called the Hans Kalyan, etc.


The other category is of ragas which clearly shows the Kalyan Raaganga and this category includes Shyam Kalyan, Kamod, Kedar, Nand, Hameer, Chhayanat and many more, even Maru Bihag shows the Kalyan Raga Ang.


Shuddha Kalyan is also known as the Bhoop Kalyan because it is Bhoopali - the Bhoop in the aroha and Yaman or Kalyan in the avroha. So it goes ‘Sa Re Ga Pa Dha Sa’ like the Bhoop in the aroha and ‘Sa Ni Dha Pa Ma Ga Re Sa’ with the teevra madhyam like Kalyan in the avroha.


Again, this is just the swara set and the chalan becomes very important to understand the raga, particularly the connection between the pancham and the gandhar touching the teevra madhyam and in parallel manner between the shadja and the dhaivat touching the shuddha nishad.


For advancing listeners of Hindustani classical music, we can start this conversation with raga Bhoop. What characterizes Bhoop is the meend from ‘Sa’ to ‘Dha’ and the corresponding meend between the pancham and the gandhar. What Shuddha Kalyan does is it further elongates the meend between the ‘Sa’ and the ‘Dha’ and it actually shows the nishad very prominently. Hence the meend between the ‘Pa’ and the ‘Ga’ is also elongated (‘Pa Ma … Ga’) and it actually touches the teevra madhyam. So it is ‘Sa Ni Dha, Pa Ma Ga, Ga Re Sa’ – this ‘Ga Re Sa’ is very typical of Shuddha Kalyan.


In the ‘Ga Pa Ma Ga’ section, there is always the actual touch of tivra mandhyam. The ‘Pa’ – ‘Re’ sangati that is very characteristic of the Kalyan Raaganga, which Bhoop shows very dominantly is here as well. Another very peculiar and very typical phrase of Shuddha Kalyan is after you touch the pancham, the jump from the kharaj pancham to the gandhar – ‘Sa… Ni Dha Pa, Pa Ga… Ga Re, Ga Re Sa’. So, in the phrase ‘Sa Ni Dha Sa Re Ga, Pa Ma Ga Pa Re, Ga Re Sa’ you should notice the Bhoop while going up and the touch of madhyam and nishad while coming down is the Yaman. Then when you go beyond the pancham, go up like Bhoop.


If you actually look at the notes, you see very clearly it is ‘Sa Re Ga Pa Dha Sa’ in the aroha and ‘Sa Ni Dha Pa Ma Ga Re Sa’ in the avroha. And that is what would happen in the taans as well, when you go up in your speed. In the meend you have the ‘Pa Ma Ga’ connection coming beautifully or the ‘Sa Ni Dha’ connection, but when you get into the taans it is just the straight connection and you actually get ‘Sa Re Ga Pa Dha Sa’ and ‘Sa Ni Dha Pa Ma Ga Re Sa’.


So if you look at the overall structure of the Shuddha Kalyan, you clearly see the Bhoop and the Yaman - the Kalyan, part and hence a very clear amalgamation of Bhoop and Kalyan coming together in this wonderful raga.


Watch Nitin Amin perform a popular bandish on the bansuri at 12:12 in Shuddha Kalyan “Mandarawaa baajo re…” here Raga Parichay : Shuddha Kalyan


We hope you enjoyed this deep dive into Raga Shuddha Kalyan and we look forward to your suggestions, questions and feedback.


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