Raga Puriya

Posted on 20 February, 20214 min read

Raga Puriya is what we call a Shadav (hexatonic) scale. Like Indian Classical music has evolved over the ages, many Ragas have also gone through evolution. Sometimes, an extra note performed by a great artist, as an aesthetic embellishment, has come to stay as part of the Raga. Sometimes, the notes of a Raga have been changed, either to differentiate it or to give it a different structure.

Puriya is one such Raga. In the modern era, the Puriya scale is taken to be Sa re Ga Ma Dha Ni. There are some early versions of Puriya where dha is used instead of Dha, which is arguably more appropriate in terms of Lakshanas. But let us stick to today’s scale.

So, Puriya is a Shadava Pancham Varjit Raga, in other words, a hexatonic Raga without the fifth. The Amsa (dominant) notes are Ni, Ga and Ma, while re and Dha are Alpatva (used rarely).

Ni has a Samvad (consonance) with Ga and Ma, re has no Samvad (and hence used as Alpatva), and Ga and Dha are related. But as a Lakshya (aesthetic choice), Dha is also used as Alpatva. The Nyasa notes (resolving notes for phrases) are on Ni and Ma. For more details on the technical terms used above and the grammar of Indian Classical music in general, please read my post on the grammar of Indian Classical music.

Here, I present a detailed Alap in Raga Puriya. This alap performance is accompanied by a very unique drone (Tanpura) accompaniment track. This drone track is synthesized from a project called PureTones. It has been microtonally adjusted to precisely suit the scale of the Raga. It was a different and interesting experience for me. Do try and hear the difference. If it sounds interesting to you, be sure to check out PureTones.

Program Notes

Alap in Raga Puriya

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

Here are some notes about the Raga and the Tala.

Raga - Puriya

Scale - Sa re Ga Ma Dha Ni

Family - Puriya

Melakarta - Vikrit (Dha) Janya Raga of Kamavardhini (Sa re Ga Ma Pa dha Ni)

Prahar - 4th and 5th prahar (equivalent to 3 PM - 9 PM)

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 in the scale above. Notes written fully in lower case are called Komal (or flat) notes. E.g., re above. Sa and Pa are always written with a capitalized first letter.

Vikrit Janya Raga

A vikrit raga is a derived (Janya) scale from a Melakarta in which a note has been modified. In this case, komal Dhaivat of Melakarta Kamavardhini has been sharpened to Tivra Dhaivat. Kamavardhini is also popularly known as Pantuvarali. Please note that Pantuvarali is not to be confused with another popular Melakarta Raga Shubhapantuvarali (Sa re ga Ma Pa dha Ni). The difference in the two scales being in the third note, Gandhar.


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 this performance is available at https://youtu.be/CD0grGl1VsY.

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

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