#include <Hindustani music>

Bihag is a sweet late-night raga with romantic associations. It is, as we shall see, slightly more complex than the other ragas I have presented so far, at least in a technical sense if not in an artistic sense. In Bihag, every swara is present in its shuddh form. However, Ma is also present in its tivra form. To get a glimpse of how tivra madhyam fits into the picture, I present the aroh and avaroh of Bihag, where ma=shuddh madhyam and Ma=tivra madhyam.

Aroh: sa ga ma pa ni sa
Avaroh: sa ni dha pa Ma pa ga ma ga re sa

A few hundred years ago, the tivra Ma was given very little importance: only a glimpse of it would be caught as the performer traversed from pa to ga or perhaps as a slight drop when pausing on pa. Nowadays, however, it has gained enough importance for it to appear in the "pa Ma pa ga" sequence and even as "pa Ma ga ma ga".

To add to the complexity, re and dha play paradoxical roles. They are weak enough to be excluded from the aroh and de-emphasised in the avaroh, but are still highly essential to the Bihag sentiment. For example, the following phrase is typical Bihag: "ga ma pa... dha_ga..". The dha here is quickly touched on before sliding to ga.

Ga and Ni are considered the vadi-samvadi of Bihag; Sa, Ga, and Pa are all good stopping points for phrases of the alap. If you would like to know more about this raga, please visit the sawf.org source cited below; it includes much more technical information, and more importantly, numerous clips of the great masters performing this raga.


The Raga Guide, ed. Joep Bor. Published by Nimbus Records with the Rotterdam Conservatory of Music

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