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Distinguishing between Ragas Bhupali-Deshkar-Shudh Kalyan

Raga Bhupali, also known as Bhoop, is a common evening raga describing melancholy. Pandit Arun Bhaduri starts with comparing Bhupali and Deshkar.

Both ragas use the same 5 swaras – Sa, Re, Ga, Pa, Dha – that is, they share a common scale . The Arohan and Avrohan are Audav-Audav for both ragas.

Here are the key differences

Bhupali Deshkar
Bhupali, an evening raga belongs to Kalyan thaat Deshkar, a morning raga belongs to Bilawal thaat.
Bhupali concentrates on uses the purvaang swaras of the scale, Sa, Re, Ga Deshkar uses the Uttarang swaras, Pa, Dha, Sa, (of the higher register or tar saptak).
Though both ragas utilize the same notes or swaras , it is the chalan or the exposition of each raga that is very different:
Here is the chalan of Bhupali . The main phrase here is Pa Dha Sa Dha Pa Ga Re Sa Re Pa Ga Here is the Deshkar Chalan . Note that there is only a mild use of Rishabh in Deshkar
  Important phrases that identify Deshkar and do not occur in Bhupali are

Finally, Here is a bandish in Bhupali , in which you may observe the repeated use of Gandhar

Listen to a bandish in Deshkar
   

Here now is another raga, Shuddh Kalyan, which runs very closely along the lines of Bhupali. This is how the chalan of Shuddh Kalyan goes

The common features of these 2 ragas are :

  • Bhupali and Shuddh Kalyan are both in Kalyan thaat.
  • Both use the Purvaang swaras of the octave and the vadi (most prominent) swar of both ragas is Gandhar.

And here are the differences:

Bhupali Shuddh Kalyan
The arohan and avrohan of the 2 ragas vary:  
Raga Bhupali has 5 notes in both arohan and avrohan (Audav – Audav). Raga Shuddh Kalyan has 5 swaras in Arohan & 7 in Avrohan (Audav - Sampurna): Sa, Re, Ga, Pa, Dha, Sa and Sa Ni Dha Pa Ma Ga Re Sa.
There is a subtle difference in the use of meends of Pa-Ga and Sa-Dha:  
Bhupali may employ a swift Pa-Ga or Sa-Dha Shuddh Kalyan takes a slower glide, also skimming over Tivra ma , as in Pa-Tivra ma-Ga
The Seventh note, Nishad is completely absent in Bhupali. Raga Shuddh Kalyan also employs a meend over Ni, as in Sa-Ni-Dha.

In the delineation of Shuddh Kalyan, both Ni and Ma are generally not prominent, being used only as meends. However, notice the use of a straight Nishad in the illustration above – Pa Dha Sa-Ni-Dha Ni Pa.
  Ni and Ma are prominent in Shuddh Kalyan when used in sargams or taans.
Now listen to the main phrases of Bhupali, followed by Shuddh Kalyan to get a clearer picture of the differences
Finally, here again is the bandish in Bhupali And, here is a bandish in Shuddh Kalyan
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