A publication of the Batish Institute of Indian Music and Fine Arts


Learn Raga Asavari

(Other phonetic spellings: aasaavari, aasaavaree, asawari, aasaawari etc.)
by Pandit Shiv Dayal Batish and Ashwin Batish


Welcome to our first raga discussion. Asavari is the first derivative raga of Asavari Thaat (parent mode). It is very popular in North Indian classical music. But it is also very popular in the West due to familiarity gained via the seven Greek modes. Asavari Thaat is the Aeolian mode. In South Indian musical scheme, this Thaat is known as Natabhairavi Mela #20.

An extensive Chalan for Asavari raga is also available in our "Chalan Notations - The First 10 Thaats of North India" booklet available through the Batish Institute.

When approaching a new raga, one should look for the raga's

  1. Arohi (its ascending movement)
  2. Avarohi (its descending movement)
  3. Thaat (its parent mode)
  4. Vadi (its sonant note)
  5. Samvadi (its consonant note)
  6. Jati (its note classification)
  7. Time of Play
  8. Rasa (its emotive value)
  9. Pakar (its catch phrase)
  10. Hints: Any special hints for keeping the swaroop (image) of the raga unique. Certain ragas have similar movements. Being well versed with such hints and playing tips helps keep each raga's swaroop from co-mingling and hence retaining a unique structure whose identity is firmly established.

Having said this let's look at raga Asavari.

1. Arohi - Ascending scale



2. Avarohi - Descending scale



Now the first thing you should do is to play this on whichever instrument you are trying to learn. Use the full range of your instrument. Singers should try to use the full gamut of their voice. Remember to sing the sargam as Sa Re Ma Pa Dha Sa | Sa Ni Dha Pa Ma Ga Re Sa. Substitute the komal (flat notes as shown in the arohi/avarohi above).

After you've done this for a few minutes you'll start to get comfortable with the arohi/avarohi. It gets a little addicting :-) By all means keep singing or playing as long as you can bear it. It will strengthen your understanding of the raga especially when you start learning the exercises.

3. Thaat: Asavari

4. Vadi Note is Dha Komal (flat 6th)

5. Samvadi Note is Gandhar Komal (flat 3rd)

6. Jati is Audava/Sampooran - 5 notes ascending and 7 descending

7. Time of Play is mid morning

8. Rasa: This raga evokes the moods depicting yearning for love, anguish, and melancholy.

9. Pakar:



10 Hints: Playing time is further classified as the 2nd quarter of the day. Ragas allied to Asavari are Jaunpuri (a.k.a. Yavanpuri) and Gandhari. A definitive song written in English has also been composed and recorded for "Rasik Raga Lakshan Manjari" by Pandit Shiv Dayal Batish.

Here is the Chalan (progression) of this raga. Sing or play this slowly. Absorb the note combinations. The idea is to learn each segment (notes within two vertical bars |.......|). The end of a certain movement or musical thought is shown by two vertical bars as ||.

Remember, play these slowly until the musical motifs and movements are fully absorbed. Then gradually increase the speed with which you play or sing the notes.

In the next lesson we will be listing a bunch of exercises that have universal applications. You can practice the progressions on any raga. So, until then.... Have fun with the notes of Asavari!

Issues:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9



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