09 October, 2012


The object of a raaga is to express a certain emotional mood and sentiment without any reference to time and season. As such, there are no hard and fast rules about when a particular raaga may be sung. But while the beauty of the raaga may not be marred by the time of the day it is sung, the rasa (mood) of the raaga that the artist is responsible for evoking may be enhanced by following time-cycle sussestions for raagas.
The classification of Raagas according to time is said to be ancient and determined by its vaadi and the anuvadi swaras – which are said to be more effective if performed at a particular time. The effect of notes was experienced by musicians even in the Vedic times. Thus singing of notes and pitch and place differ in Sama-gana from morning to noon to evening. Music is often defined as language of emotions and the relation between musical notes and emotion is established. The nature and intensity of emotions undergo a continuos change from dawn to dusk. It is thus in accordance with the principle of consonance to establish all arts resting on human feelings, in direct relation to emotions.
Interestingly, out of the 40 original Principles of Indian Classical Music as stated by Vishnu Narayana Bhaatkhande, 19 actually comment on time-cycles of raagas (mentioned later). One who sings knowing the proper time remains happy. And, a quote “by singing Raagas at the wrong time one ill-treats them. Listening to them, one becomes impoverished and sees the length of one’s life reduced.”  (Sangita-makaranda, I, 23-24).

Bhaatkhande’s comments on time-cycles of raagas:
1.      Reversing (changing) the Vaadi swara from purvang to uttarang of the scale, can change the Raaga and its time of singing.
2.      Fixing the time of Raagas is based on 3 categories shown below:
    1. Komal Re, Dha;  
    2. Shuddha Re, Dha and
    3. Komal Ga, Ni.
3.      Ma is called adhav-darshak swara and it decides whether the Raaga is to be sung at the time of day or night.
4.      Where the swaras Komal Ga, Ni are present, the Raaga will be sung in the afternoon or mid-night.
5.      Sandhi-prakash Raagas are normally followed by Raagas with Re, Ma, Dha, Ni shudha.
6.      Shadaja, Madhyam and Pancham are important swaras in the Raagas of third prahar of day or night.
7.      Tivra Madhyam is mainly present in the night time Raagas and rarely in the day time Raagas.
8.      Sa, Ma and Pa swaras are accepted as a part of purvaang and also the uttaraang of the scale (Saptak). So the Raagas with the Vaadi swara from these notes can be performed at any time and they are called ‘Sarav-Kalik-Raagas”.
9.      The beauty of the Raaga can be enhanced by performing at the time defined.
10.  The Raagas of first prahar of the night with both Madhyams, Shuddha Ma is present in Aroh and Avaroh but Tivra Ma is utilized in Avaroh only and the Thaat with Tivra Madhyam is used for this type of Raagas instead of thaats with Shudha Madhyam.
11.  The rule in Raagas of first prahar of night: Nishadh in Aaroh and Gandhar in Avaroh are used as Vakra-Swara. Normally Nishadh is weak in Avaroh.
12.  Each thaat can produce Poorva-Raagas and Uttar-Raagas.
13.  ‘Par-Male-Praveshak’ Raagas (with the character of two thaats) are rendered at the time of entering from one thaat’s Raagas to another thaat’s Raagas.
14.  ‘Sandhi-Prakash’ Raagas are sung at the time of sunrise and sunset and they are followed by the Raagas with Re, Ga, Dha shudha or Raagas with Ga, Ni, Komal. Normally in the Pratah kaalin sandhi prakash raag, Re and Dha are never absent. And in Sayam kaalin sandhi prakash raag Ga and Ni are normally not absent.
15.  Sa, Ma and Pa swaras are prominent in the Raagas sung after twelve in the morning and night.
16.  Swara Re and Dha are either absent or insignificant in the Aaroh of afternoon Raagas but Ga and Ni are at their bursting magnificence.
17.  In the morning Raagas Komal Re, Dha are prominent and sunset time Raagas have prominence of Shuddha Dha and Ni.
18.  ‘.NSrG’ combination of swaras immediately indicates the ‘Sandhi-Prakash’ (daybreak or twilight) Raagas.
19.  Poorva Raagas are highly structured in their Aroh and Uttar Raagas are more elaborate in Avaroh.

Raagas may be divided into the following types, based on the time-divisions of a full day:
1.      The Poorva / Poorvi / Dinegeya / Suryamsa raagas sung during the Poorva Bhaag or diurnal half of the day i.e. the 12-hour period from 12 noon to 12 midnight - these are Poorvang Vaadi ragas i.e. their vaadi swar lies in the poorvang of the saptak (octave) i.e. Sa Re Ga Ma. Shuddh Madhyam is prominent in the morning Raagas. The important points to be noted are that uptil afternoon 4pm, after the Shuddha Rishabh and Shuddha Dhaivat group, come raagas with Komal Gandhar and Komal Nishad like raagas Asavari, Jaunpur. Here both Madhyams may be used with Shuddha Madhyam assuming prominence in some and Teevra Madhyam in others. In these raags Gandhar will surely be komal. The Rishabh and Dhaivat can be Shuddha or Komal. Then, later in the evening 7pm – 10pm, Teevra Madhyam is prominent e.g. Yaman, Bhoopali. Again, at night, from 10pm - dawn 4am, Raagas like Bageshree, Jaijaivanti, Malkauns with Komal Gandhar and Komal Nishad raagas are sung after the Shuddha Rishabh and Shuddha Dhaivat raagas. In these raags Gandhar will surely be komal. The Rishabh and Dhaivat can be Shuddha or Komal. Further 2-hourly subdivisions are:
                     i.            12noon - 2pm (Afternoon): Raagas Brindavani Sarang, Shuddha Sarang (Thaat Kafi), Raaga Gaud Sarang (Thaat Kalyan).
                   ii.            Noon - 3 p.m.: Raagas of Kafi thaat - Bridabani Sarang, Shuddh Sarang, Bhimpalasi, Pilu; Raagas of Kalyan thaat - Gaud-Sarang.
                  iii.            2pm - 4pm (Late Afternoon): Raaga Bhimpalasi (Thaat Kafi), Raaga Multani (Thaat Todi).
                 iv.            3 - 6 p.m.: Raagas of Purvi thaat - Purvi, Purya-Dhanashri, Shri, Triveni; Raagas of Marwa thaat - Marwa, Purya; Raagas of Todi thaat - Multani; Raagas of of Kafi thaat - Pat-Manjari. 
                   v.            4pm - 6pm (Dusk - Saayam-Kaaleen-Sandhi-prakash Raagas, qv): Raagas Poorvi, Shree (Thaat Poorvi), Raaga Patdeep (Thaat Kafi).
                 vi.            6pm - 8pm (Evening): Raagas Yaman, Hameer, Shuddha Kalyan (Thaat Kalyan), Raaga Puriya (Thaat Marwa).
                vii.            6-9 p.m.: Raagas of Kalyan thaat - Yaman, Bhupali, Hamir, Shuddh Kalyan, Chhay-Nata; Raagas of Bilawal thaat - Hansadhwani. 
              viii.            8pm - 10pm (Late Evening): Raagas Jayjaiwanti, Desh (Thaat Khamaj), Raaga Kedar (Thaat Kalyan), Raaga Durga (Thaat Bilawal).
                 ix.            9 p.m. – midnight: Raagas of Bilawal thaat - Shankara, Durga, Nand, Maluha Kedar, Bihag and its forms; Raagas of Khamaj thaat - Khamaj, Jaijaiwanti, Regeshwari, Bhinna Shadja, Gara; Raagas of Kafi thaat - Kafi, Malhar and its forms, Bageshwari.
                   x.            10pm - 12midnight (Night): Raagas Bihag, Shankara (Thaat Bilawal), Raagas Bageshri, Chandrakauns (Thaat Kafi).

2.      The Uttar Ratrigeya / Chandramsa raagas sung during the Uttar Bhaag or nocturnal half of the day i.e. the 12-hour period from 12 midnight to 12 noon - these are Uttarang Vaadi ragas i.e. their vaadi swar lies in the uttarang of the saptak (octave) i.e. Pa Dha Ni Sa. The important points to be noted are that during morning 7am – 10am, Shuddha Madhyam is prominent Eg. Bilawal, Deskar. After the Pratah-Kaaleen-Sandhi-prakash Raagas, the influence of shuddha Rishabh and shuddha Dhaivat starts rising. Hence these raagas are rendered at this time. In this category Gandhar is essentially shuddha. Later in the morning, after 10am, i.e. after the Shuddha Rishabh and Shuddha Dhaivat group, come raagas with Komal Gandhar and Komal Nishad like raagas Asavari, Jaunpur. Here both Madhyams may be used with Shuddha Madhyam assuming prominence in some and Teevra Madhyam in others. In these raagas Gandhar will surely be komal. The Rishabh and Dhaivat can be Shuddha or Komal. Further time-wise subdivisions are:
                     i.            12midnight to 2am (Midnight): Raaga Malkauns (Thaat Bhairavi), Raaga Darbari Kanada (Thaat Asavari), Raaga Shahana (Thaat Kafi), Raaga Adana (Thaat Asavari).
                   ii.            Midnight - 3a.m.: Raagas of Kafi thaat - Bahar, Nayaki Kanada; Raagas of Asavari thaat - Darbari Kanada, Shahana Kanada; Raagas of Bhairavi thaat - Malkauns.
                     i.            2am - 4am (Pre-Dawn): Raaga Sohini (Thaat Marwa), Raaga Paraj (Thaat Poorvi).
                   ii.            3-6 a.m: Raagas of Purvi thaat - Basant, Paraj; Raagas of Marwa thaat - Sohoni, Lalit; Raagas of Bhairav thaat - Kalingda.
                  iii.            4am - 6am (Dawn - Pratah-Kaaleen-Sandhi-prakash Raagas, qv): Raaga Bhatiyar, Lalit (Thaat Marwa).
                 iv.            6am - 8am (Early Morning): Raagas Bhairav, Ramkali, Jogia (Thaat Bhairav).
                   v.            8am - 10am (Morning): Raagas Ahir Bhairav (Thaat Bhairav), Raagas Bilaskhani Todi, Komal Rishabh Asavari (Thaat Bhairavi), Raaga Todi (ThaatTodi).
                 vi.            10am - 12noon (Late Morning): Raaga Bhairavi (Thaat Bhairavi), Raagas Deshkar, Alahiya Bilawal (Thaat Bilawal), Raaga Jaunpuri (Thaat Asavari).
                vii.            6-9 a.m.: Raagas of Bilawal thaat - Alahya Bilawal, Shuddh Bilawal, Devgiri Bilawal, Shukla Bilawal, Kukubh Bilawal; Gunakali and Sarpada; Raagas of Bhairav thaat - Ahir-Bhairav; Ramkali, Jogiya Bhairav-Bahar; Raagas of Bhairavi thaat - Bhairavi, Bhupali-Todi, Bilaskhani Todi; Raagas of Kalyan thaat - Hindol;
              viii.            9 a.m. - 12 noon: Raagas of Todi thaat - Gurjari Todi, Miyan-ki-Todi; Asavari thaat: Raagas such as Asavari, Komal Re Asavari, Sindh Bhairavi; Raagas of Kafi that - Sugharai, Sur Malhar; Raagas of Bilawal thaat - Deshkar.

3.      The Sandhi-prakash raagas sung at sunset or sunrise, during the cross-over times – here Madhyam plays a very important role and in most of them, Rishabh is komal and Gandhar, Nishad are shuddha. Dhaivat can be komal or shuddha.
                     i.            Pratah-Kaaleen-Sandhi-prakash Raagas (PKSPR):
                                                   i.      Rendered during dawn i.e. punctuating the end of night and commencement of day – mostly contain the shuddha Madhyam along with Komal Rishabh and Komal Dhaivat e.g. Raag Bhairav, Kalingada. These are then followed by raagas with both Madhyams e.g. Raagas Ramkali, Lalit. (it should be noted that following PKSPR, the influence of shuddha Rishabh and shuddha Dhaivat starts rising. So those from mainly Kalyan, Bilawal and Khamaj thaats are rendered later from morning 7am – 10am. In this category Gandhar is essentially shuddha, and Shuddha Madhyam is prominent e.g. Bilawal, Deskar). Raagas with Shuddha Rishabh and Shuddha Dhaivat are rendered after the Sandhi-prakash raagas.
                                                 ii.      4am - 6am (Dawn): Raaga Bhatiyar, Lalit (Sandhi Prakash Raagas from Thaat Marwa).
                  ii.            Saayam-Kaaleen-Sandhi-prakash Raagas (SKSPR:
                                                  i.      Rendered during twilight / dusk i.e. punctuating the end of day and commencement of night – mostly contain teevra Madhyam Eg. Raag Marwa, Poorvi, going on to Shree, Multaani. Later, with raagas such as Bihaag, shuddha Madhyam starts getting prominent. (it should be noted that following SKSPR, the influence of shuddha Rishabh and shuddha Dhaivat starts rising. So those from mainly Kalyan, Bilawal and Khamaj thaats are rendered later from evening 7pm to 10pm. In this category Gandhar is essentially shuddha and Teevra Madhyam is prominent e.g. Yaman, Bhoopali).
                                                 ii.      4pm - 6pm (Dusk): Raagas Poorvi, Shree (Sandhi Prakash Raagas from Thaat Poorvi), Raaga Patdeep (Thaat Kafi).

So if we know the vaadi swar of the raga, we can roughly estimate the time of its rendering.

A summary is presented in the images below: Raag Samay Chakra / Raag Time Cycle:

If you would like to rotate these wheels, please click here: The Time Theory of Raagas or Samay Raaga from ITC SRA’s Indian Music Archives

Some authorities (Music Raaga & Time) have divided the 24 hour period into 8 beats each three hours long, as follows:
1.      7 a.m. - 10 a.m. first beat of the day. Daybreak; Early Morning; Morning;
2.      10 a.m. - 1 p.m. 2nd beat of the day. Late Morning; Noon; Early Afternoon;
3.      1 p.m. - 4 p.m. 3rd beat of the day. Afternoon; Late Afternoon;
4.      4 p.m. - 7 p.m. 4th beat of the day. Evening Twilight; Dusk (sunset); Early Evening;
5.      7 p.m. - 10 p.m. first beat of the night. Evening; Late Evening;
6.      10 p.m. - 1 a.m. 2nd beat of the night. Night; Midnight;
7.      1 a.m. - 4 a.m. 3rd beat of the night. Late Night
8.      4 a.m. - 7 a.m. 4th beat of the night. Early Dawn; Dawn (before sunrise); Morning Twilight;

The raagas under these are already incorporated in the masterlist above.

SWAR – TIME associations:
1.      Time-cycles of raagas are governed by the notes and their pitch. Raagas which emphasize the lower pitch are to be performed during the evening or early night; Raagas emphasizing the higher pitch are appropriate for late night and early morning. Undoubtedly, there are exceptions to these stringent guidelines.
2.      There are certain sets of Raaga-s that observably reflect the feel and time of day. E.g. Jogia is played at the break of dawn and then come Bhairav, Kalingra and Bhairavi. With young sun gradually maturing, the sets of Asavari, Jaunpuri, Gandhari, Deogandhar etc. follow, displaying strength of notes by changing of Komal Rishabh into Shuddha Rishabh. By noon, softness of Komal Nishad and Komal Dhaivat is also driven away; the notes become plain (Shuddha) in the group of Sarang. With the arrival of evening, sharp (Teevra) Madhyam is introduced which gradually attains prominence in Raaga-s like Yaman, Shree, Marwa and Purvi etc. Komal Gandhar brings joy, happiness and lively feeling until and unless it is manipulated from a different angle to produce the feeling of pathos. After a full day’s labour, the later evening is a time for revelry and rejoicing. This mood is sincerely created by the group of Kafi, Bageshri, Sindura etc.
3.      Raagas having their Vadi note in the Poorvang region (Sa – Pa) are usually played during evening and Raagas having their Vadi note in the Uttarang region (Pa – Sa) are usually performed during morning. As an example, Raaga Bhairava is an Uttarang Raaga. Its Vadi note is Komal Dhaivata (flat 6th), therefore its performing time is during the morning hours. 
4.      In Sandhi Prakash Raagas, the notes Rishbha (2nd) and Dhaivata (6th) are usually flat and the Gandhar (3rd) is natural.
5.      In the mid-morning Raagas there is frequent use of the natural fourth (Shudha Madhyama), while in the mid-evening Raagas the sharp fourth (Tivar Madhyama) note is frequently used. The sharp fourth is often described as the guiding note. A description of this note in one of the ancient music books goes like this, ” Just as by a drop of curd a jar of sweet milk is converted to a quality of yogurt, so by the introduction of the sharp fourth, all noon melodies are turned into afternoon melodies”.
6.      Some other groups of Raagas are placed traditionally in time-slots inexplicably. E.g. Bilawal is a group of morning Raagas rich in Shuddha notes while the group of Malkauns and Kanhara with Komal Dhaivat are placed between nine and eleven in the evening.
7.      Meenal Deshpande, a noted classical singer and music teacher at the Mumbai University, agrees. “If a music piece is played or sung in the right manner, it certainly calms our nerves and later can even lead the mind to a meditative state,” she says. “During the 6 am to 9 am period, one is still in a calmer state of mind. Accordingly, the Raagas created for this time span are also very soft, melodious and of calmer Surs. Examples of these Raagas are Rishabh Dhaivat, Bhairav, Todi, Lalit, etc,” she says. “Then around 9 am – 12 noon, one needs some awakening and energy to get going about the daily chores. Hence, a little livelier Surs are preferred. Eg: Deshkar, Jaunpuri, Khat, Bilawal etc. Around 1 pm – 4 pm, when the sun is directly overhead, one needs something soothing. Eg: Sarang, Bhimpalas. From 5 – 8 in the evening, fast paced Raagas that enliven our mood are preferred. Eg: Marva, Puriya Dhanashree, Purvi etc. After 8 pm one can listen to Raaga Durga, Yaman, Bageshree etc. To help us calm down again and induce sleep, late night Raagas such as Malkauns, Darbari Kanada and Jaijaivanti are popular…”
8.      Parmail-Parveshak Raagas:  A ‘Parmail-Parveshak’ Raag contains qualities from more than one category. If you keep performing the Raagas on their given time, you will see that there is no sudden change in notes. The ‘Parmail –Parveshak’ Raagas make the gradual change form one time slot to the other. For example, when it is time to go from Shudh ‘Re-Dha’ Raagas to Komal ‘Ga-Ni’ Raagas, Raag ‘Jai-Jai Vanti (name) fits right in there. It has Shudh ‘Re’ and ‘Dha’ and Komal ‘Ga’ is introduced along with the Shudh ‘Ga’. So gradually, the change is made from the second category to the third.
9.      A Raaga’s Vadi and Samvadi swaras reside in the opposite halves of an octave. So switching a Raaga’s Vadi and Samvadi notes will in fact, change a Raaga’s time by 12 hours. Normally, ‘Poorvang’ and ‘Utaraang’ do not overlap. But  when a Raag has ‘Pa’ Vadi and is considered a Poorvang-Vadi Raag, we run into problems. There is no other solution but to overlap Poorvang and Utaraang. When divided this way, both parts share three notes (S, M, P). And whenever one of these notes is the Vadi note of the Raag in question, one cannot rely on the ‘Poorvang- Utaraang’ theory. There are also many Raagas, which have a ‘Ma’ Vadi and are performed in the morning and with ‘Pa’ Vadi performed in the evening. So once again ‘Sa, Ma or Pa, if any one of these notes is Vadi, check the Raag for its ‘Komal’ (flats) and ‘Shudh’ (natural) notes, check the flow of the Raag. If Raag seems to stay in the upper half regardless of its Vadi note, then it is an ‘Utaraang’ type (upper half) Raaga and will fit into midnight to noon time slot or vice versa. The confusion has been created by continuous change in the popular style of Raagas.

Carnatic Raagas and Time of the Day
1.      Early morning Bhoopalam, Malayamarudham
2.      Morning Bilahari, Kedaram, Hamsadwani
3.      Pre-Noon Asaveri, Dhanyasi
4.      Noon Madhyamavathi, Surati, Sri Ragam
5.      Post-Noon Dharbar, Begada
6.      Evening Nattakuranji, Shanmugapriya, Poorvi Kalyani, Vasantha,
7.      Night Yadukula Kamboji, Behag, Ananda Bhairavi, Neelambari
8.      Anytime Sankarabharanam, Arabhi, Karaharapriya, Kamboji
Some however believe that in Carnatic music, there is no such connection of season or time, although some Raagas are considered appropriate to certain hours. 

1.      Some ragas are said to be time-free – i.e. they can be played at any and all times, for instance Raagas Mand (regarded also as an evening raaga), Sindhura, and Dhani. 
2.      During the medieval period in India under the patronage of Muslim rulers musicians created certain new Raaga-s and applied their own logic in deciding their time relationships. To explain the Mishra or mixed Raagas, Raaga Bahar has been mixed with others in the morning, evening or other times. Bahar being a seasonal Raaga can be sung at almost any time during its own season but traditionally it is sung between nine and eleven in the evening. Mixed with a morning Raaga like Bhairav or Hindol, it can be sung in the mornings as Bhairo Bahar or Hindol Bahar; mixed with evening Raagas it can be sung then, like Basant Bahar and Bageshri Bahar. There are about seven ways of mixing two or more Raagas but for fixing time the principle above has been largely accepted.
3.      Musical notes sung in the calm, quiet and pious atmosphere of early morning leave deep impressions on human mind. In every culture of the universe early morning is considered ideal for prayers and devotional music forms. Hindustani classical music is enriched with numerous beautiful morning Raagas and since the tradition of performing particular Raagas at particular time is still followed, has a tradition of multiple morning Raagas. The feelings conveyed by the rising sun in the freshness of the awakening mind are faithfully depicted by musicologists in early morning Raagas. Morning  Raagas:
a.      Raaga Lalit (Thaat Marwa)
b.      Raaga Bairagi (Thaat Bhairav )
c.      Raaga Ahir Bhairav (Early Morning Raaga)
d.      Bibhas and Bhairavi (6 am- 8 am)

Performers are often unable to pay intention to the time theory since recording for an evening Raaga may be possible in the only available studio in the morning! Even listeners hear mostly recorded material. Further, most classical TV or radio shows are telecast in the evenings as also the live performances!

2.      "Samay Chakra" - Adwait Joshi
9.      Rasik Raga Lakshan Manjari.


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21 April, 2012

THE NAVARASA and beyond

THE NAVRASA [a.k.a. Navaras / Navarasas / Nauras / Navras]

  1. The word actually originates from the Upanishads, a collection of Hindu sacred texts: Sanskrit origin: nine - “nava” + emotional state “rasa”
  2. Rasa is the experience and Bhaav is the expression
  3. A human mind can experience a wide range of emotions but are broadly classified into nine major or primary emotions or emotional states or expressions, commonly used in the context of the traditional classical performing arts in India & exhibited during music, drama, and the visual arts.
  4. Eight of these rasas were set forth in the Nātyashāstra (a two thousand year old treatise on the performing arts) while a 9th was added about 

FACTORS OR VARIABLES CONTRIBUTING TO RASAS IN RAAGAS: these can affect the mood, but still the raaga by itself would have an inherent effect on the mood when elaborated to bring out its characteristics. 
  1. Notes natural (happy) vs komal (sad)
  2. Pitch
  3. Tempo
  4. Words or Text
S #
Sanskrit Term
Principal Meaning
Further Meanings & related emotions
Curiosity, mystery, Surprise
Adbhut अद्भुत (wonder)
Tumne mujhe dekha (Teesri Manzil, 1966)
While most if us are lost in the wonder of his voice, Rafi could be vocally lost in the wonder of discovery in other ways – as this song highlights. "Tumne mujhe dekha hokar meherbaan"  – you can hear the joy and the wonder of a man who, contrary to his expectations, finds himself loved by his beloved.

Mera Dil Tadpa Ke Kahaan Chala -- Shabnam (1949) -- MD -- S D Burman, Lyrics -- Qamar Jalalabadi
Surprise is a brief emotional state experienced as the result of an unexpected event either pleasant, or unpleasant. Surprise represents the difference between expectations and reality, the gap between our assumptions and expectations about worldly events and the way that those events actually turn out.
In this song, the heroine is asking her lover where is he going after disturbing her heart. She wants to know whether what happened was love or was just some kind of game for him. She is surprised with his behavior and wants to understand him better.

There is one more song “Yeh kaun aaya ke mere dil ki duniya mein bahaar aayi” which also shows the element of surprise.
Bhakti भक्ति
spiritual devotion
After the 15th century, Bhakti (Devotion) considered as one, but it is more a theme that involves a variety of feelings. Also it is similar to Shanta rasa.
Duniya na bhaaye (Basant Bahar, 1956)
Like all classical-based songs, it starts out slow with a short alaap and a slow tempo that quickens pretty soon. Rafi starts out pleading for a place at God’s feet, since he does not like the world and soon the voice is soaring in an ecstasy of devotional fervour, with, of course, perfect control on the higher notes.

Anxiety, Worry, Uncertainty, Terrifying.
Bhayanak भयानक (horror)
There is no supernatural here, no mythical horrifying creatures, but the horror is no less palpable. It’s the horror of a man waking up to his own crimes of omission or commission. He is horrified by himself and wants nothing but the oblivion of madness. Rafi plays it with restraint, letting the lyrics and the emotions of his voice speak out the horror and self-disgust plus the added incentive of seeing Balraj Sahni acting the horror-struck man onscreen.

Aasmaan Se Door Tara Ho Gaya -- Darogaji (1949) -- MD : Bulo C Rani, Lyrics -- M L Khanna
The feeling of terrible is extremely bad, it could be strongly repulsive or unattractive or objectionable. It can also mean that the person is suffering through so much difficulties that he/she is feeling terrible from within.
Melancholy songs often try to capture this mood, with varied success. The heroine (played by Nargis) is dejected because she could not become one with the love of her life. She is sick and is extremely sad. She is identifying herself with a fallen star. The song moves and melts the heart of the listener.
Hasya हास्य
Humor, Sarcasm, the Comic, Happy.
Yak chatur naar

Chhuri ban kaanta ban (Jaali Note, 1960)
The song expresses some serious sentiments “This world constantly throws up surprises, so, My son, become a knife or a fork, but never a spoon (a euphemism for sycophant)”. But Rafi’s rendition turns what might be a serious examination of worldliness into a straight up comedic number! He takes his time to chew over every syllable, exaggerating every word, and taking such obvious delight in his rendition. The result is a hilarious song.

Tere poojan ko bhagwan - a humorous parody of a 1935 filmi bhajan (also ). A miser is exhorting his God (money!) to never leave his home, for he will make Him a big bank to live in. Rafi sings it like a serious bhajan with all the devotional fervour that he can summon, and the contrast with the hilarious lyrics and Om Prakash’s on-screen antics just serves to heighten the comedy.

Lucknow Chalo Ab Rani -- Sansaar (1951) -- with G M Durrani -- MD -- E.Shankar Shastri, Parthasarathy and B.S. Kalla -- Lyrics -- Pandit Indra
Comedy, as a popular meaning, is any humorous discourse, song or work generally intended to amuse by creating laughter, especially in television, film, and stand-up comedy. Much comedy contains variations on the elements of surprise, incongruity, conflict, repetitiveness, and the effect of opposite expectations, but there are many recognized genres of comedy.
Traditionally, the comic songs of Hindi films have been mostly reserved for male actors like Johny Walker, Mehmood etc. Mohd Rafi sahab was a natural choice for most of the comic songs of Johny Walker. Geeta ji has sung some nice duets with Rafi sahab which are filmed on Johny Walker. But here is a standout song sung by Geeta ji for an unknown actress for the film Sansaar (1951). The co-singer is G M Durrani sahab and actor is Agha.
The song has all the ingredients: comedy, chhed-chhad, funny words. The song is very good to listen to and also very pleasant on the eyes.
Karuna करुणा

Compassion, Pity, Sympathy, Pathos
“Where art thee going, o fleeing one, its dark, enlighten yourself first”. The “fleeing one” in this case is a troubled teen (played by Nutan) who feels the pull of this compassionate voice as he tells her that life is a struggle and the victors are those who fall and get up to struggle again, not ones who never fall. A compassionate understanding of human troubles coats Rafi’s voice as it once again effortlessly brings forth the emotions demanded of it.

Tadapta Chhod Kar Mujhko -- Kisi Ki Yaad (1950) -- MD -- Hansraj Behl, Lyrics -- Moti BA
The feeling/emotion of “Pathetic” is having a capacity to move one to either compassionate or contemptuous pity. It can also mean as something or some one marked by sorrow or melancholy.
Geeta Roy, the definitive “Queen of Bhaav Gaayaki” conveys the emotions of helplessness and being pitiful to the perfection.
Raudra रौद्र
Irritation, Rage, and Other Violent Wrathful emotions.
Ya meri manzil bata (Rakhi, 1962)
Rafi was especially adept at expressing anger, his voice could slip into the high notes and quick enunciation of the angry man, with extraordinary control and with such great effect - like in O duniya ke rakhwaale which is probably the angriest lament in Bollywood! The song expresses anger in a more subdued form. Also an angry lament, this one has the fires of anger banked down and smouldering as the protagonist (Ashok Kumar) demands that fate either tell him his goal or take away his life. You can hear the anger get heated in a few places like when Rafi demands “De nahin sakta agar aaram ka ek saans bhi, paaon mere tod de, awaargi ko chheen le (if you cant give even one breath of rest, break my legs and take away my wanderlust).” But it always cools down to a baffled, sad sort of anger with Rafi’s voice-modulation doing a superb job of expressing the emotion, as always.
Meri Aan Bhagwan -- Toofan aur Diyaa (1956)- MD -- Vasant Desai, Lyrics -- Pandit Bharat Vyas
The feeling of being furious is to be full of fury, violent passion, or rage; extremely angry; enraged. A person can get furious for right reasons or for wrong reasons. The true character of the person is displayed when he/she is furious for the right reasons and is trying to argue with some one for good.
In this song, the child in the film is arguing and challenging with God. A person close to the child is sick and is fighting with his life. Hence the child is asking the God to listen to him and fulfill his wish (saving life of the sick).
The power and the depth conveyed in her voice is unmatched.
Shant शांत
Calmness, Relaxation, Contemplative, Meditative.
This song is sung in the voice of one who accepts the world as it is and is at peace with himself. The injustices, the quirks, the strange ways of the world - he sees them all, he marvels at the vagaries of human nature, but seems remarkably untroubled by everything. For all the searing indictment of human nature that the lyrics call for, it’s a remarkably quiet song with Rafi’s voice channelling the peaceful observer, without an ounce of the drama he normally brings to his singing.

Meri Jaan Mujhe Jaan Na Kaho -- Anubhav (1971) -- MD -- Kanu Roy, Lyrics -- Gulzar
Tranquility is the quality or state of being tranquil; calmness; serenity. It is the feeling of being content and at ease. Songs displaying the emotion of Tranquility or Shant ras are generally in slower tune, with low pitch and with minimal orchestration.
The song we have chosen is also having all these characteristics. It is set in the background of late evening/night with rain drops and a couple getting cosy. The song is a Kanu Roy signature song with minimal orchestration and relying mainly on the vocals. The words are spoken softly, almost like whispers.
There is one more song, in Bengali, which also conveys the calmness and content. “Nishi raat baankaa chaand akaashe” is a masterpiece in its own.
Shringar श्रृंगार
Romantic, Beauty, Devotion, Sensuality, Erotic Emotions.
Sau baar janam lenge (Ustadon Ke Ustad, 1963)
Rafi certainly was a master at expressing romance and the sheer number of his great romantic songs is a testament to that. Just listen to this haunting romantic number. It starts out slowly – with Rafi’s voice calling out like a Siren to his beloved. While she answers the irresistible pull of the magical voice, he brings out the well-worn vows of the romantic, and he makes them sound fresh and timeless. “You and I will be together, even if we need to be re-born a hundred times” - the words came out of Asad Bhopali’s pen, but the emotion is all Rafi and its no wonder that Shakeela is drowning in that voice or that she is startled to see that it came out of Pradeep Kumar!

Aaj Sajan Mohe Ang Laga Lo -- Pyaasa (1957)- MD -- S D Burman, Lyrics -- Sahir Ludhiyanwi
Love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment. In the philosophical context, love is a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection. Love may also be described as actions towards others (or oneself) based on compassion, or as actions towards others based on affection.
This song from the film Pyaasa is sung by a Jogan in the background and the main characters, poet Vijay and Gulabo have only conveyed the message through their facial expressions. The song is supposedly sung by Radha for Lord Krishna, but perfectly displays the emotional turmoil in the minds of Vijay and Gulabo.
This song is considered as the epitome of Shringaar rasa by many critics and writers.
Vatsalya वात्सल्य
parental love

O nanhe se farishtey (Ek Phool Do Maali)
Parental love is usually the province of women in Bollywood. Amongst tons of mother-child songs, in Hindi films, one sung by the male of the species is rather rare. 
Babul ki duaayein leti ja – a quintessential bidai song.
Veer वीर
Pride, Confidence, Bravery, Heroism.

Vande mataram
Apni aazaadi ko ham
As the camera pans over the dead and the dying on the battlefield of the India-China war, Rafi’s voice rings out clear and pure, exhorting the living on the behalf of the fallen men to take care of the country as “we (the fallen soldiers) have sacrificed our lives and our bodies”. A patriotic song in the heroic vein, it gives voice to the heroic sacrifices of the dead soldiers while managing to bring home the brutality of war, as well!

Har Zubaan Ruki Ruki -- Baaz (1953) -- MD -- O P Nayyar, Lyrics -- Majrooh Sultanpuri
The characteristics of Heroism is pertaining to the character of a hero in size or concept; daring; noble: a heroic ambition. The person , a hero, has the capacity of displaying the character or attributes of a hero; extraordinarily bold, altruistic and most importantly determined.
The mental strength, nerve, boldness, daring, willpower and the leadership transmitted through this song is an extra-ordinary effort in the film. The lyrics, the tune, the music, the setting, the characters, the chorus and of course the singer take this to a very high level. This song has also been discussed in great details in another post here on our website.
Vibhats वीभत्स
Self-Pity, Odious


Can one think of any other song that exemplifies disgust so well? “This world of glitter and privileges and suffocating rituals, so what if one does get it?!” The powerful lyrics are Sahir Ludhianvi’s, a poet’s disgust with a worthless materialistic world.

Ja Ja Bewafa Kaisa Pyar Kaisi Preet Re -- Aarpaar (1954) -- MD -- O P Nayyar, Lyrics -- Majrooh Sultanpuri
Odious or the Bibhatsam rasa conveys the feeling of deserving or causing hatred. Once you realize the true character of a person, you can start feeling hatred against him/her. The hatred could also be caused due to misunderstanding or miscommunication.
In this song, the heroine is all upset with the hero as he did not keep his promise. She is calling him a liar and a cheater in love. The way this song is composed and sung, it is indeed a lesson for playback singing. The rest of the songs in the film have so much of “wajan” (stress) on the words, but in this song the words come more like whisper from a broken heart.

Kahin Toh

Most of Mirabai’s songs
MIXED rasas

AR Rahman uses three rasas in the title track - मस्ती है मस्तानों की दिल्ली दिल्ली / Masti hai mastaanon ki Dilli.
Dilli male vocals are in veer (courage) ras - the male vocals sound like an assembly chanting ‘Dehe Shiva Var Mohe‘. They’re assertive without being aggressive, proud without being cocky, and are delivered with the assurance of stating the obvious.
The French and Hindi female rap - probably in adbhut (astonishment) ras. There’s a sense of wonderment and novelty in there, at this utterly cool and new and weird place that is Delhi.
And now the यह है दिल्ली मेरे यार, बस इश्क मोहब्बत प्यार / Yeh hai dilli mere yaar, bas ishq mohabbat pyaar - in shringaar ras, the expression of love, compassion, and erotica. Except that the love is being expressed not for a person but for an entire city. So the refrain is weird and incredible because it’s shringaar ras in a setting of veer and adbhutam ras, which we’re not used to. But it’s doubly weird and incredible because even as shringaar ras, it’s very fulfilled shringaar ras – Tanvi Shah acknowledges that Delhi is full of love, and accepts this. She doesn’t want or look forward to anything more.

Bakhuda tum hi ho from Kismet Konnection - awesome because it too brings in adbhut ras with the shringaar ras, but it’s still very much about unfulfilled love – look at the कैसे बतायें तुम्हें, और किस तरह यह, कितना तुम्हें हम  चाहते हैं? Line.