September 24, 2021

Sargam Lesson 2

Raga Bhairav Sargam

Exercise Lesson 1 (Raga Bhairav Sargam)

It is important for beginners to practice Kalyan thaat well to begin with. As you get comfortable with it, you may switch to Bhairavi thaat. I also find from my own experience that Bhairav thaat too presents some interesting fingering challenges. If one gets command on these three, the other thaat usually follow pretty easily.

As you know that every thaat is also a raga. Bhairav is an important raga in Hindustani music, considered by some to be the most important. Bhairav is one of the names of Shiva, in all his gruesome awe-inspiring grandeur. As a result, the raga can invoke a range of emotions from horror and fright to peace and devotion. Bhairav is meant to be sung in the early morning around dawn, being (for the most part) a strict, somber raga. Tonally, it is the Indian and a Sampooran raga with Re and Dha komal and all other notes shuddh. Dha is the dominant note in Bhairav, and most of the exposition of the raga will center around it. Dha and Re are traditionally considered vadi-samvadi (sonant-consonant) of the raga. Sadly, due to its rather depressed sound, Bhairav is sung less often now than it once was, with musicians preferring to use its more ear-friendly cousin, Ahir Bhairav, as a morning raga. In the raga-ragini system, Bhairav’s main ragini is Behravi, according to king and queen classification of ragas. Bhairav is a sweet raga often used at the end of a concert in a thumri or bhajan.

Now you are able to recognize komal and tiver notes from previous lessons. You will practice Raga Bhairav that is composed of komal and tiver notes. Komal notes are shown with green dot and tiver notes by red dot. Sa, and Pa are shown by blue dots. Raga Bhairav is also called Bhero. Raga Bhairav belongs to Bhairav Thaat. It is again explained that it is an early morning Raga, which is using all seven notes in the ascent and in the descent. Rishab and Dhaivat are komal (flat) and the other notes are shudh (full). The derivative ragas out of this structure are grouped under the broad head of Bhairav Thaat. We will complete exercise 1 in six stages.                                    

First Stage: Arohi – S, r, G, m,  Þ  (fingers 2,1,2,3)

We will practice four initial notes of Raga Bhairav that are S, r, G, m. Komal notes are shown in small letters and with green dot. Tiver notes are shown in capital letters and with red dot. Sa and Pa is always shown in capital letter and with blue dots. As usual we will synchronize our voice with the notes. Duration to stay on each note is five second and practice time is ten minutes in each stage.

Second Stage: –  S, r, G, m, P, d, N, S’  (fingers 2,1,2,3,4,1,2,3)

After practicing four swars we will add P, d, N, S’ in our practice. Each note will be pressed for five seconds. We will synchronize our voice with these notes

Third Stage: Bhairav Amrohi – S’, N, d, P, Ü  (fingers 3,2,1,4)  

After reaching at third octave S’, we will practice in descending order with   four notes of S’, N, d, P, while synchronizing our voice with the notes.

Fourth Stage: – S’, N, d, P, m, G, r, S    (fingers 3,2,1,4,3,2,1,2)

Continuing from third stage we will add four more notes of m, G, r, S in our practice in descending order.

Fifth Stage: (Arohi and Amrohi)                                                                      

This exercise should be continued for two to three days. Keep a printed copy of notes in front and see the diagrams if you feel difficulty.

Arohi: S, r, G, m, P, d, N, S
Amrohi: S’, N, d, P, m, G, r, S

Sixth Stage:

‘P, ‘d, ‘N, S, r, G, m, P, d, N, S’, r’, G’, m’, P’ (fingers)
P’, m’, G’, r’, S’, N, d, P, m, G, r, S, ‘N, ‘d, ‘P, (fingers)

Practice from ‘Pa’ of mandr saptak to ‘Pa’ of taar saptak in ascending order and then from ‘Pa’ of taar saptak to ‘Pa’ of mandr saptak in descending order. Each session must not be less than fifteen minutes duration. Continue these sessions for two to three days.