Raga Charukauns - Raga Charukesi with a twist!

Posted on 23 August, 20203 min read

A fundamental and important concept in Indian Classical Music is the distinction between:

  • a scale (referred to as a Melakarta or Murchhana), and
  • a melodic framework based on the scale (what we call Raga or used to call Jati in pre-Adhara Shadaj days).

While a scale is represented by a collection of consonant notes, a Raga derived from a scale is defined by its grammar and aesthetic characteristics, known as Lakshanas and Lakshyas.

When I sat down for this recording session, I felt inspired by the rendering of Raga Ragavardhani by Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar (on Rudra Veena). Raga Ragavardhani, also the 32nd Melakarta scale, is a Sampoorna Raga. Its scale is Sa ga Ga ma Pa dha ni. However, in this rendition, Dagar Saheb approaches the Raga in the style of Raga Kaushiki.

The scale of Raga Charukesi, the 26th Melakarta, is Sa Re Ga ma Pa dha ni. In this rendition, I have used the scale of Raga Charukesi, but approached it in the style of Raga Kaushiki and Raga Panchamkauns. At the end of the recording, I had not yet formed an identity or name for the Raga. On further inspection, I found a recording of Pandit Ravi Shankar on Sitar taking a similar approach to this scale, and he had named it Raga Charukauns. As a mark of respect to this great musician, I have retained the name as Raga Charukauns.

I present Raga Alapana in 3 parts - Alap, Jod and Jhala, also known as Alapana and Tanam.

Program Notes

Raga Alapana in Raga Charukauns

Raga Alapana is an improvisation and a systematic presentation of a Raga. This part has no rhythmic accompaniment. It has three parts - Alap, Jod and Jhala. This format is also known as Ragam and Tanam.

About the Raga

Raga - Charukauns

Scale - Sa Re Ga ma Pa dha ni

Family - Vakra Vikrit Raga of Kaushiki (Sa Re ga ma Pa dha ni)

Melakarta - Charukesi (Sa Re Ga ma Pa dha ni)

Prahar - 6th Prahar (equivalent to 9 PM - 12 AM)

Reading the scale

In Indian Classical Music, the seven notes in an octave are called Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni and then Sa comes again. Notes with a capitalised first letter are called Tivra (or sharp) notes. E.g., Ga above. Notes written fully in lower case are called Komal (or flat) notes. E.g., ma and ni above. Sa and Pa are always written with a capitalised first letter.

Vakra Raga - A Janya (derivative) Raga of a Melakarta (parent scale) in which phrases are taken in a zig zag fashion.

Vikrit Raga - A Janya (derivative) Raga in which a modified note is used from a family scale. In this case, ga (komal ga) from Kaushiki is modified to Ga (Tivra Ga).


In Indian Classical Music, Ragas are classified into Prahars (time periods of a day or night) which are said to represent the most appropriate time to perform the Raga.



Chandraveena - S Balachander


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The full video recording of the Raga Alapana is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsspJ_StQ8M.

Purchase CD quality audio of the performance from https://chandraveena.bandcamp.com/album/raga-charukauns.

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