Mela raga #65

Raga: Mechakalyani
Chakra: Rudra
Uttaranga: Ma (5)
Swaras: Sa Re2 Ga3 Ma2 Pa Dha2 Ni3 Sa

This raga is the flagship of the pratimadhyama ragas (ragas 37-72).

Its common name is Kalyani, but the Mecha- prefix was added when the Melakartha system was being codified in order to have it conform to the Katapayadi Sutra as raga 65.

The Ri and the Ga are the jeeva swaras (literally, life-notes) of the raga; they are dominant in the raga and give it its distinctive "feel", and any manodharma (improvisation) in this raga would be built around them. In practice, the Ni too is highly important in this respect.

This is a relatively new raga, as it does not seem to have been well-known in South India before the 17th century. However, since then, the raga has evolved tremendously and become one of the most common (and yet difficult) ragas in Carnatic music, with one estimate putting the number of compositions in this raga at over 700.

The raga is suitable for singing at all times, but is decidedly better when sung in the evening. Also, the particular arrangement of swaras (they are all tivra swaras) makes it ideal for starting a concert.


Back to The Melakartha ragas.

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