Indian Classical Music « Kamal Music Center - indian classical music

By: Kamal Music Center  09-12-2011
Keywords: classical music, Indian Classical

Indian Classical Music « Kamal Music Center

Durga is a very popular late evening rag.  However there is sometimes confusion.  The confusion stems from the fact that an unrelated rag known as Madhuradhwani is also sometimes called Durga.  In this page we will only be concerning ourself with the common form, and leave any discussion of Madhuradhwani for another time.

The name Durga is derived from the name of the goddess Amba or Parvati.  She is the wife of Shiva, and is associated with great power.  She is also referred to as “Ma Durga” or “Durga Mata”, which means “Mother Durga“.  She is said to represent patience and fearlessness.

The origin of rag Durga is obscure.  It has been suggested that this rag is derived from the south Indian Shuddha Saveri.  This is certainly possible, for it is very common for North Indians to “borrow” rags from the South.  But in such cases, they usually retain their south Indian names (e.g., CharukesiKalavati).  Why would Durga acquire a new name?

We must be open to the possibility that this scale may simply be a basic part of the larger South Asian musical culture.  It could have been circulating for a long time, and when I mean long time, I mean millennia.  As such, it is possible that it was only recently formalised by North Indian classical musicians.  The close relationship that Durga has to other pentatonic rags (e.g., MalkaunsBhupali), coupled with the almost world-wide presence of these scales, certainly means that it is a possibility.  The structure is so simple, and the harmonic relationship is so fundamental, that scales with these intervals show up internationally, apparently with independent origins.

Rag Durga is based upon Bilaval that.  From this that, the Ga and Ni are omitted, therefore this is an audav rag.

Identification of this rag in lighter songs is sometimes difficult.  This is because Durga is linked to other common rags such as Malkauns andBhupali by a process known as murchchana.  Although this is not the time to go into the details of murchchanana, let it suffice to say that if you take Durga and start the scale from Ma you get Bhupali.  Furthermore, if you take Durga and start the scale from Dha, you get Malkauns.  The best way to keep these rags separate is with a good clear drone; this may be provided by the tanpura or a similar source.  Since such dronestend to be missing in the lighter forms of music, the distinction between these rags is occasionally obscured.  One well known film song in Durga is“Geet Gaya Pattharon Ne”.

It is fairly easy to perform and compose in rag Durga, because it does not share its modality with any other north Indian rag.  Unlike theBhupaliDeshakar mode which is very cramped and crowded, you do not have to worry too much about Durga spilling over into a different rag.  That being said, there are some common phrases and a pakad which makes Durga’s the character more identifiable.

Here is the basic form of Durga:





Late Night




Sa – Pa

Keywords: classical music, Indian Classical

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Indian Classical Music « Kamal Music Center

Contemporary practice tends to flow somewhere in between these two approaches, although the degree seems to be a question of individual artistic interpretation. The Vadi / Samvadi system is generally discounted by modern musicologists; those who still adhere to this theory find Bhairavi to be particularly problematic.


Raag « Kamal Music Center

In the south, some suggest that this rag is derived from the 16th mela Chakravakam, but others hold that it is 25th mela Mararanjani, the 26th mela Charukesi, or even the 27th mela Sarasangi. Equally unsurprising is the lack of a commonly accepted spelling; therefore Bhupeshwari, Bhoopeswaree, Bhoopeshree, Bhoopeswari, etc. are all to be found.


Raag « Kamal Music Center - raag

This means that the missing madhyam of Bhupali is tivra while the missing madhyam in Deshkar is shuddha. Common songs based upon this rag include “Jyoti Kalash Chalke” or “Pankha Hoti To Ud Ati Re”. The same notes of Bhupali are also used in rag Deshakar. Bhupali is classified under Kalyan thaat. Also called Bhoopali or Bhoopaali. Bhupali is a a very common raag.


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You will probably find that just as flute players have multiple of different sizes to suite different keys, and players have multiple tablas for a similar purpose; you will probably find that this is not going to be your only purchase, but that it is merely your first purchase. This is simply to allow you to have different instruments in different keys that allow you to handle the variety of solo and accompaniment jobs that fall your way.