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Darbaar or Naayaki?

Previous: Equivalent Raagas in Hindustani
Next: Raga and Rasa

darbaar and naayaki are two of the many close raagas which have the same swarastaanas (notes) but which differ subtly from one another. Citraveena Ravikiran tells the story of a musician who was singing darbaar, but with many traces of naayaki in it. When another prominent musician complained, he quipped, "What kind of darbaar (court) would it be without naayaki (a heroine)!"

So keeping such raagas straight is not an easy task even for seasoned musicians. There are many such raagas, with the same notes but which differ slightly. Other raagas have very different swaras but strongly have the chaaya (see glossary, C) or the lakshana of another raaga. These can be hard to separate whether you are performing or just listening to music. Ragas that are similar or closely allied are called chaayaalaga (chAyAlaga) ragas, or they are given the name salanka ragas or saalaga ragas. We will attempt to separate a few commonly confused raagas here.

Some often confused raagas:

Soon, we will discuss these raagas in more detail. You will notice that some of the pairs noted above have the same swarastaanas, and others even have the same aarOhana and avarOhana. Subtleties of gamaka and stress separate these raagas.

Darbaar is separated from naayaki by the phrase g, g, r s with emphasis on the two ga's. In naayaki, one should have only m g r s or g r s. This makes a very subtle but important distinction that separates the two raagas.

Bhairavi and maanji are different subtly as well, both having the same swaras. You will find, however, that only maanji contains P M P M P, or P G R S. These can be difficult to separate but these subtle sancaarams will make the difference. Similarly, in husEni, the phrase P N2 D2 N2 is characteristic.

Aarabi and shyaamaa are also very close raagas. Aarabi often uses a nishaadam (N3) in avarOhana phrases such as S N D P, which is never used in shyaamaa. But some compositions in aarabi are nishaadam varja (no ni is performed), and in these, subtle phrases like S R G S will tell you it's shyaamaa, because aarabi does not have G in the aarOhanam. Other phrases like M D D S and D P D S are also usually restricted to shyaamaa.

Udhaya ravi candrikaa and sudda dhanyaasi are not always distinguished as raagas, and indeed are considered by some to be the same raaga. However, strictly speaking, sudda dhanyaasi's aarOhana uses S G M P N P S while the other uses S G M P N S.

Shree and madyamaavati often sound very similar. However, shree raga contains a saadhaarana G, which when it appears is distinct. It also contains da in the phrase S N P D N P M. Madyamaavati is simply S R M P N S, S N P M R S. Also, the R oscillates in madyamaavati and is usually stationary in shree.

Valaci and malayamaarutam are often confused. They have the same scales, but they are easily distinguished because valaci does not contain ri. Malayamaarutam includes sudda rishabam (R1) in both the aarOhaNam and avarOhanam.

These brief notes will help you distinguish some of the easily confused raagas, but the best training, of course, is to just listen to compositions in these raagas so you get a feel for them. It takes time but it's not that hard!

More information on similar ragas: The Hindu


Next: Raga and Rasa

OR you can go back to the Carnatic page and look at some songs you know to remember their ragas! Or learn more about raaga or taaLa.


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updated on 12/10/2012