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Article: A Note on Raga Kedar

By Haresh Bakshi
  The jump Sa-Ma, the fourth, dominates raga-s like Kedar, Bahar, Bageshri,Bhimpalasi, Bhairava, Shahana, etc. Out of these, probably, Kedar is the only raga which includes teevra Ma. . [Kedar has another jump -- Pa to taar Sa' also].

The raga Kedar is instantly established, while ascending, by Sa, Ma, Pa -- just three notes.Sa, of course, is mandatory in all the raga-s (though Marwa almost tends to avoid Sa -- at least delays it). The remaining two notes, Ma and Pa, represent the essence of consonance in Indian music, depicting shadja-madhyama and shadja-panchama bhaava-s. So, we fully establish, without any scope for doubt, Kedar by just Sa, Ma, and Pa. One reason for this unique situation is, that the poorvanga (lower tetrachord) in Kedar is almost vacant. The note Re is included, but when you take Re, you have to go back to Sa, to be able to go to Ma. Re also acts as a leading note to Sa. Re beautifies Ma, being its third. Hence it is included. We cannot help singing Ga when we do Ma to Pa: Ma (Ga) Pa. Ga hardly amounts even to a kana-swara, but aesthetically its inclusion sounds embellishing. Also, including teevra Ma in the cluster Pa-(teevra Ma)-Dha-Pa, is natural and attractive.

Going to uttaranga (upper tetrachord), if we take Pa Dha Pa, and go to the taar Sa', we do NOT need Ni -- neither komal, not shuddha. So also, while descending, if we take Sa' Sa' Dha Pa, it sounds complete -- nothing seems to be missing. However, if we do not do Sa' Sa', and plan to go to Dha Pa from Sa', we automatically touch shuddha Ni. So, now shuddha Ni is included, too. But not komal Ni. We can sing kedar without taking komal Ni.

What about komal Ni? First of all, when included, komal Ni can be only avarohi (descending), and has to be a part of a phrase like Dha-(komal)Ni-Dha-Pa. Inclusion of komal Ni seems to satisfy a peculiar aesthetic need for it in several raga-s like Bhairav, Deskar, Ustad Faiyaz Khan saheb's Maru Bihag, etc.

Noteworthy is the fact that Re, teevra Ma, Dha, komal Ni, and shuddha Ni, exist only as parts of their respective phrases: nyasa is not allowed on any of them. [You can dwell on Re a little].

To sum up, in Kedar, Sa, Ma, Pa, Re, and the fifth note -- which is mandatory for a raga to be formed -- truly fulfil the aesthetics of Kedar. All other notes, teevra Ma, komal Ni, and shuddha Ni, are there mainly for aesthetics. Of course, it can be very rightly argued that, a raga is first amd foremost, an expression of aesthetics. Shastra comes in the picture later. And that is absolutely right.

One more point: When both the lower and the higher variations of a note occur in a raga (komal Ni and shuddha Ni in case of Kedar), the lower variation is used when descending (avarohi). We may have inherited this aesthetically significant application from folk music.



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