Mela raga #01

Raga: Kanakangi
Chakra: Indu
Uttaranga: Pa (1)
Swaras: Sa Re1 Ga1 Ma1 Pa Dha1 Ni1 Sa

Kanakangi is the very first raga in the Melakartha system. Most ragas in Carnatic music grew out of a sense of aesthetics; of what sounded good, what produced a certain mood, and so on. Kanakangi, however, grew out of no such thing; it was "discovered" when the melakartha system was being codified, as it is the raga consisting only of the lowest versions of each swara.

It has not been used very widely used; Thyaagaraja (a Beethoven or Bach of Carnatic music) wrote a single keerthana (major song) in it, and I can find no mention of any others. The main reason for this is that it consists of two clusters of three notes separated only by a semitone (Sa-Re-Ga and Pa-Dha-Ni), and the two separated by Ma. This makes it exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to construct a pleasing melody in it. Indeed, the raga's most famous use is in the Indian film Sindhubhairavi precisely for its dissonance!

Back to The Melakartha ragas.