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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Barsha Bhattacharjee said...

Awesome compilation .. Thank You. :)

Goutam said...