What is a Raag?

This is how I understand it simply: A Raag is a set of rules for creating music/melody.

The rules of a Raag will determine things like:

* which notes to skip and which notes to use – overall
* which notes to skip and which notes to use when you’re ascending from low to high
* which notes to skip and which notes to use when you’re descending from high to low
* what pattern of notes must be included in the music you’re creating
* what pattern of notes must be avoided in the music you’re creating
* which notes you can emphasize (hold longer – extend)
* which notes not to emphasize (just touch that note and move on)

I have also seen documentaries where Great Masters ask their students to pay attention to
* volume control : which notes can be played loud , which notes should be played softly – to enhance the effect of the Raag

Staying within the rules of each Raag – you can improvise as much as you wish.

That’s basically it.

I have learned that it’s commonly accepted that Raags have a prescribed time interval during the day/night during which they are ‘best’ played/sung/heard.
Personally, I do agree with the system somewhat because I have felt the amplified impact when Raags are played at the ‘correct’ times. But then again it could be because of my mood at the time, because I have also played/sung/listened to Raags at the ‘WRONG’ time and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

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2 thoughts on “What is a Raag?”

  1. as for the time of day for certain raags, there are two camps on this. one states that the raag is appropriate to the particular time of day to which it is suited, morning raga for morning, etc., because in that way the actual experience and the feeling evoked by the raag work to enhance each other.
    the other camp, which i lean towards, is that it is totally appropriate to perform a specific raag in order to evoke the feeling of a certain time, such as sunset, in another time, such as afternoon. the feeling of sunset can be conveyed and enjoyed as if in anticipation earlier in the day, and is therefore appropriate.
    ultimately, i’m not sure it really matters.

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