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July-August Article: MISHRA (COMPOUND) RAGAS OF HINDUSTANI MUSIC

- Dr.Suresh Mathur

Mishra ragas are created through an intellectual process of combining two or more Shudh ragas in a creative manner with a high degree of musicality and aesthetics.

Many Mishra ragas may be considered to be ĎAprachalití (rarely performed). However, many Mishra ragas have been performed through generations and have become as well known as Shudh ragas, e.g., Shudh Kalyan, Puriya Kalyan, Jogkouns, Kaunsi Kanada, Basant Bahar, Madhukouns, Nandkouns etc.

Following the general concept of Raga, the Mishra ragas must have a well-defined structure, and at the same time provide a high level aesthetic feeling. The component ragas must be clearly delineated and preserve their emotional and aesthetic content. However, different Gharanas (Schools) may have distinctive flavors of a given Mishra raga, depending on the blending of the component ragas.

An analysis of a very large number of Mishra ragas leads to the following general classification:

Category 1 Mishra Ragas:

The component ragas belong to the same That (Mela) or adjacent Thatís (Melas).

Shudh Kalyan (Yaman and Bhupali) Yamani Bilawal (Yaman and Bilawal) Nat Bihag (Nat and Bihag) Kafi Malhar (Kafi and Malhar) Tilak Shyam (Tilak Kamod and Shyam Kalyan) Pahadi Jhinjhoti (Pahadi and Jhinjhoti)

Category 2 Mishra Ragas:

The component ragas belong to substantially dissimilar Thats (Melas). For obvious reasons, the largest number of Mishra ragas belongs to this Category. Examples:

Kaunsi Kanada (Malkouns and Darbari) Ahir Bhairav (Kafi and Bhairav) Chandra Prabha (Brindaban Sarang and Chandrakouns) Jayant Malhar (Jaijaiwanti and Miyan Malhar) Pushpachandrika (Rageshwari and Malkouns) Jogeshwari (Rageshwari and Jog)

Category 3 Mishra Ragas:

Starting on a basic note and producing the higher notes according to the grammar of the particular raga.

The component ragas are not clearly delineated. Many shudh Mishra ragas are created as a manipulation and permutation of scales of existing Shudh ragas. Some of these Mishra ragas may not be even considered as Mishra, but as new Shudh ragas.

Ragas such as Chandra Prabha (Madhmat Sarang and Chandrakouns), Sarangkouns (Madhmat Sarang and Malkouns) may be considered as new Mishra ragas.

Ragas such as Megh Malhar (Scale of Madhmat Sarang with Malhar Arog. May be considered as Shudh ragas rather than as Mishra ragas.

Ragas originating from the 72 Carnatic Melas, now adopted in Hindustani Music and considered as Mishra ragas. However, these are really Mela based Shudh ragas, e.g. Mohan kouns, Basant Mukhari, Kalyan Basant, Latangi etc.

The raga Deepawali (Yaman Kalyan and Lalit) was created by the flutist Shri Pannalal Ghosh around 1950. He also created the raga Pushpachandrika (Rageshwari and Malkouns) around the same time.

Pandit Ravi Shankar recorded the raga the raga Jogeshwari (Rageshwari and Jog).