Ragas: Indian Classical Music

A Detailed Raga training Program for Singers
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Instructed by Shambhavi Das Music / Vocal
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  • Lectures 39
  • Length 4 hours
  • Skill Level Intermediate Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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    Available on iOS and Android
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About This Course

Published 4/2016 English

Course Description

  • The course is about knowing and learning the basic or parent raga called 'Kalyana'. Kalyana is one of the ten parent raga in Indian classical Hindustani music which is explained in detail. This parent raga is the source of many other ragas like Yaman, Bhopali, Kedar, which are pretty much similar and extremely popular in the classical world. Students may find the course as 'Raga-Yaman', or 'Ragas in Kalyan' to get familiar.
  • Similar to the previous course, student need to download an app comprising of a tanpura (drone) and tabla (percussion).
  • The course might take a month to get completed ideally, sufficient practices and repetitive renditions are expected even after the course for proper grasp and perfect intonation of the ragas.
  • The course starts with the detailed description of what is a basic raga, then basic information and knowledge about 'Kalyana Thata' and how the ragas are formed through the raga. One by one, students will learn the popular ragas: Yaman, Hansdhwani, Nand, Kedar, Bhopali, derived from kalyana in detail including Aalap, Bandish, taanas and so on.
  • The course is interesting and engaging for the music lovers as the Yaman tunes can be easily identified and familiar in the casual music and Bollywood songs too. All the music lovers and enthusiasts should take this course in order to gain classical knowledge of basic ragas.

What are the requirements?

  • Install any Taanpura and tabla app for setting it for the course and for the homely practices. The apple users can install the app 'iTablePro' which has the best sound technology. Android users can have 'tanpura-droid' or any app which has these two instruments, like we did in the first course.
  • In the first beginner course, I explained the everything how to set the Taanpura and tabla in your particular scale, thus, I would recommend to pursue that course in case you have confusion in accessing the app.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Spot the Yaman Raga songs and similar ragas easily
  • Grasp the notes of the ragas which come in the Kalyana Family
  • Find Interest in vocalizing the tunes of the Ragas
  • Enjoy the Indian classical concerts with more understanding and bliss
  • Vocalize the super fast improvisations of notes and ragas
  • Perceive the Indian Classical music
  • Heal themselves and others with the Raga therapy

Who is the target audience?

  • This Raga course is more applicable for the students who have taken up my beginner course in which Indian music has been indoctrinated from scratch. By pursuing the previous course, understanding of the ragas will be increased and students will enjoy singing.
  • In this previous course "Learn Indian music from scratch", musical definitions and terminologies are explained in detail after knowing that one can go further to learn the ragas. This course is probably not for those who do not know the XYZ of Indian music, or who have not taken any formal training before.
  • This course is based on some of the basic ragas primarily the ragas of kalyana structure. If you are looking for some ragas in particular then you should see the course overview and check whether the raga you want is existing in it and according you take the course.

What you get with this course?

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Section 1: What is a Thata or Parent Raga?

This video lecture demonstrates the overview of the course. It explains what is course will teach you. The course starts with an explanation of what is a Thata or parent ragas, followed by the Kalyana thata in particular. We will enter into the circumference of Kalyana Thata which comprises of the ragas like Yaman, Hansdhwani, Nand, Kedar, bhoopali. Among the various ragas which come under the kalyana thata, we will focus on a few ragas in detail.

Brief Glimpse Of what is Covered in the Ragas

This lecture explains the concept of Thata. You will know what is thata in detail, what are the characteristics of thata, Historical aspects of thata etc. Thatas are 10 in number and all the various ragas we know or listen, are created by these thatas. Carnatak name of thata is mela.

10 Thatas and their structures

In this lecture, one of the 10 thatas, Kalyana has been described in detail. Kalyana thata is the most easy and casual parent raga which comprises of the various popular ragas. You will be introduced about the attributes of Kalyana Thata and different kind of ragas which come under Kalyana family.

3 questions

This quiz concerns the first section of the course which is theoretical.

Section 2: Raga Yaman: Most famous raga in Kalyana category

In this lecture, the most popular raga in Kalyana, Raga Yaman has been introduced. The basic introduction of Yaman involves Aaroh, Avroh, Pakad, Mukhyaang, Time of the raga, Vadi-Samvadi, Jaati, etc. For instance, Raga yaman starts with: n Re Ga instead of S R G....

Other Characteristics in Yaman:

  • Ma is Teevr or raised
  • Ga and Ni are the most important and used notes
  • Aaroh leaves the Pa or 5th note and Avroh takes all the notes: n R G m D N SA// SA N D P m G R S
  • It wanders in all octaves.
  • Main phrases are : P R G, or P R S, or mPDP or mDNSA etc.

Again, this lecture introduces the raga Yaman in detail including the different elements of raga Parichay.


The best way to understand a raga is to notice the raga tunes into casual songs. Raga Yaman is the most popular raga and is found in around 90% percent of the Indian music, no matter it's Ghazal Bhajan, Indian Rap, folk song, Indian classical or recent Bollywood songs.

In this lecture, old LataJi songs and the recent Bollywood songs based on the Yaman tunes are explained in order to familiarize you with Raga Yaman more deeply by associating them with the other songs you know.


This lecture includes the Aalap in Raga Yaman. If you have gone through my previous/beginner course, you might be knowing the definition of Aalap. Aalaap is a slow improvisation taking the raga notes, which is an important element in Raga music. Aalap exhibits the personality of the raga and form an impression on the listener of how the raga is going to be. Aalap carries all the attributes of the ragas like note-structure, nature, stressed and sustained notes, ornamentation and presents the raga as it is. However, aalaap is performer's own and extempore creation, but in this lecture, aalap has been written for students to understand the syntax of the raga.


This lecture demonstrate the STHAYEE of a bandish is created in Raga Yaman. As we discussed in the previous course, Bandish is a mirror of a raga which exhibits the nature, structure and overall persona of a raga. A bandish is a composition or song or piece in a raga, which has two parts: Sthayee and Antara. Sthayee is the first part which can be called rephrase. Antara means stanza. This Bandish in Raga Yaman is created in Teentala and starts from the ninth beat as we have done many bandish in the ragas.

Raga Yaman - Bandish Teentala

Sthayee: Piya Ki Nazariya jaadu bhari, Moh liyo man prem bhari


In this lecture, the sthayee of the bandish is discussed and vocalized in detail with beats and correct rhythm.

4 questions

These questions are regarding the theory and practical knowledge of raga Yaman


Bol Baant is an element which is used to improvise or elaborate a bandish. After singing a full bandish, a performer starts improvising the bandish, with badhat, Behlawa, or Bol-Baant, vocalizing the raga notes, in swar, Aakar or with the help of the bandish words simultaneously and in extempore.

Badhat means elaborating the bandish with the help of the swaras and gravitating often on the SAM (First beat of the tala). Similarly, Bol-baant implies to the rhythmic swara-improvisation with the lyrics (Bols). The rhythmic swara-pattern and returning to the sam gives an awesome effect and adds on to the raga-performance.


A bandish can never be completed without the tanas, Taans are the fast improvisation followed by returning to sam or bandish. Tanas are never written or planned and is performer's own random impromptu creation.

But in this lecture, organized taans have been vocalized to give an idea on how the tanas are sung in the bandish. Taanas can be in faster or superfast laya (Tempo) and lengthier according to the performer's capability.

Section 3: Raga Hansdhwani: Pleasant Raga in Kalyana Thata

Hansadhwani is a very auspicios Pentatonic raga, very popular and is prevalent in both carnatic and hindusthani music. An audavaraga derived from 29th mela Dhirasankarabharanam. This raga is believed to be invented by Ramaswamy Dikshithar, father of Muthuswamy(Mudduswamy) Dikshitar.

Arohana and Avarohana which sets the swaras and swara stanas of any particular raga. For Hansadhwani, the Arohana and Avarohana of this raga are as follows:

Arohana: s r g p n s [s r(sgri) g p n s(s^ns^)]

Avarohana: s n p g r s [s n(sn) p g(pg) r(grg) s(rss)]

Raga Hansdhwani- Aaroh-avroh

This lecture demonstrates the sthayee (First part) of the Bandish in Raga Hansdhwani. The bandish instructed here is the most populous one in Raga Hansdhwani, which is based on Lord Shiva theme. The meaning refers to the appraisal of Lord Shiva by his wife Bhagwati Parvati. The Bandish sthayee is:

Lagi Lagan Pati sakhi san

Param sukh Anandan


This lecture introduces the second part i.e, Antara of the same bandish. Antara is:

Aaye naye kaaman saghan man

Ang Sugandhan chandan maathe tilak dhare

Mriga Nain Anjan Pawan Te...

Amar ho nit pati Kaaj sukhan

Raga Hansdhwani- Antara with beats

In this lecture, simple 8-beats taanas, (fast note improvisation) are vocalized which starts from the Sam (first beat). Taan rendition is an essential element and is vocalized after completing the bandish, rhythmic intonations like bandish-aalap, bol-baant, behlava etc.

2 questions

This quiz concerns the knowledge in raga Hansdhwani

Section 4: Raga Nand : Another mesmerizing raga in Kalyana

Raga Nand or Anandi or Nand-Kalyana is another captivating raga in the Kalyana group. The raga is very similar to Yaman but due to its softness and placidity. The raga goes unique when the phrase: G M Dh P R S is added in the Yaman-oriented notes. This melodic combination impresses instantly and without any difficulty creates its own unique mood. However, the Vakra movements in rendering result more in repetition and hence it can not be performed for longer duration and the effect is then lost. It is a very popular melody and was much in demand though its impression is not enduring (Long lasting).

The illustrative combinations of this melody which is also called Anandi are as follows;

S - SG m D P - G m P D - DN sP Ds MP - sG ms DP GR s S s Gm PD NR' R' - N s P s - Gm PD Ns Ps - PD PM DP Gm D P GR s S s


Famous song Tu Jahan Jahan Chalega from an old movie 'Mera saaya' is an excellent illustration to show the note-structure, temprament, Chalan, and nature of Raga Nand. This song is beautifully composed in the raga.

This lecture demonstrates the raga through this familiar song. The reason it is very well heard has to do with a very famous film song called “Tu Jahan Jahan Chalega” (translation: wherever you go…) from the Indian film Mera Sayaa (1966) (translation: My Shadow).

1 question

The questions in this quiz are related to theory and practical of Raga nand.


This lecture introduces a famous bandish in Raga Nand "ajhun na aaye shyaama" composed and written by an Agara Gharana (Agara music tradition) exponent Ustaad Vilayat Hussian Khan. In fact, this bandish is so popular and sung by all the vocalists that Raga nand and this bandish is associated heartily with each other. As stated by Dr. Parrikar, "Today it has a presence in virtually all vocal gharanas. Another early bandish – ajahun na aaye Shyam, bahuta dina beete – composed by Agrawale Vilayat Hussain Khan ‘Pranpiya’ also made quite a splash."

Bandish - Sthayee

Ajahun Na aaye Shyaam...Bahut Din Beetey


This lectures further introduces the second part that is Antara of the same bandish.

Bandish - Antara

Palkan Dagar Buhaarun Aur Magjharun

Jo Aaye mere Dhaam


In this lecture, fast rhythm notes that is Tanas are introduced and vocalized.

Section 5: Raga Kedar

Kalyana thaat envelops another beautiful raga called Kedar which starts from Sa M P. It comprises of both the madhyama (shuddha M and teevra Ma). This lecture represents the introduction of Raga Kedar.


In this lecture, slow development i.e., Aalap of raga kedar phrases like: S M M P, mP, mPDPM R S, Aalap familiiarizes the raga in detail by manifesting its persona before the listeners, if vocalized properly with utter knowledge and aesthetics.


A raga can be understood more clearly if it's associated and identified through the casual movie songs. In this video, casual Hindi film songs, are composed in Raga Kedar are introduced.


This lecture introduces a Bandish in Raga Kedar: Here is a sthayee of the bandish which is explained without beats.

Sthayee: Bol Bol Mose Nand Kunwarava

Rasa bhari Batiyan Laage Madhur Tori


This lecture introduces the same sthayee formally with the beats which is created in Teentala (16 beats). The sthayee starts from the 9th beat which is Khali.


In this lecture, second part of the bandish, i.e., Antara is vocalized and explained, which again starts from the 9th beat.


Subhag haath tori bansi shyaam si

Brijvasi Nirakhat nayan bhari

Nahi aghaat jaise bhook bhikhari

1 question

This quiz is based on the raga Kedar.

Section 6: Raga Bhoopali: A Pentatonic Raga

Raga Bhoopali is a pentatonic raga, having only five notes. Omitting Ma and Ni, it is a tranquil soft melody that fills up a new life force in the environment with the dominant Gandhar strengthened by the Swayambhu Gandhar (Consonent longitudinal vibrations) from the Kharja tonic of the drone (Tanpura). This Raag belongs to Kalyan Thaat. This Raag is also known as Raag Bhoop.  In South Indian music, this is referred to as Mohanam.


This lecture teaches about the aalap is initiated or how Raga bhoopali  is developed and improvised through its notes-structure. Aalap is the slow development of a raga which represents the overall persona of the particular raga.


This lecture provides an overview of the association of the popular film songs from Raga Bhupali. Identifying any raga and its notes by casual film songs helps largely in familiarizing with raga more easily.

Some of the popular songs from Raga Bhupali are:

  • Sayonara Sayonara
  • Dekha ek Khwaab to ye silsile Hue
  • Lagi tumse man ki Lagan
  • Chanda Hai tu


In this lecture, a very beautiful Bhupali bandish sthayee is introduced which is composed by a veteran exponent, legend composer and a vocalist Pt. Ramashrey Jha (Ramrang). 'Ramrang' is his pen name which you will see quoted in the antara's last line. This bandish offers a splendid description of the beauty and grandeur of Lord Shiva. The bandish garnishes a masculine touch through its three-dimensional taan-oriented note-structure and mandra saptak intonation.

Words of the Bandish Sthayee is:

Har Har Mahadev

Eesh Eeshani Akhileshwar

Aghar panchanan Tripurari 


This lecture takes you further vocalizing the second part of the bandish that is antara. The antara is:

Vaahan Bail Vasan Baaghaambar

Vyaal Maal Gal Dhari

'Ramrang'  Sir gang bal chakradhaari


In this lecture, same Antara has been described and offered with beats or Teentala.


This lecture provides the guidance of taanas or the fast development of notes in this raga. The taans are an essential element for practicing the fast rhythmic note-phrases. 

3 questions

These questions are related to theory and practical knowledge of Raga Bhoopali.

Section 7: Let's revise What We Learnt

This lecture serves the revision of whatever has been covered throughout in this course.


This is last ection of the course in which you have to guess the ragas. You are requested not to read the answers before you analyze the ragas carefully.   Here are the answers of the pieces I have sung:

  1. Raga Bhoopali 

Explanation: If you would have listened properly, there are no Ma and ni in the phrases. All the notes are natural in the phrases. The phrases were revoloving around GP DH P G P G R S R d S...

   2.  Raga Kedar

Explanation:  You might have noticed it started with S M M P and frequently the notes mPDPM shows up.

  3.    Raga Nand

Explanation: The frequent use of GMDHP RS has been vocalized. 

   4.   Raga Yaman

Started from NRG, the fast improvisations had Ma teevr in it.

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Instructor Biography

Shambhavi Das, Indian Classical Vocalist (Hindustani discipline)

My Story

Early Days

Back in India, Music has been the crucial part of my life, since I was five years old.

My mother is a musician too and she groomed me tediously to make me a good singer. Since my childhood, my mother incorporated me to her teacher, Mr.Kashalkar, who has always been my source of guidance, inspiration, and knowledge in this field.

After being mentored by him and clearing all Prayag (prestigious north-Indian classical level) Exams for 10-12 years approximately, I moved to Delhi for my higher studies in music.


Moving to Delhi was my jump start move in music, as I found myself competing among the highly talented students and veteran teachers and maestros. In Delhi, I started my training with my professor's wife, Dr. Soma Singh, who helped me in developing the nuances, improvisations, and minute variations in the raga system.

During my Graduation, Masters, M.Phil and PhD in Indian music, I have been fortunate to achieve the guidance from many great maestros like Pt. Vidyadhar Vyasa, etc..

I fell in love with the tunes and peculiarities of different ragas and perceived them as my mental healer.

PHD Experience

Doctorate in music was the time, when I actually perceived music as a source of spiritual, emotional, physical development of my persona. I enjoyed music without any pressure or exam fear. Research field works, meeting eminent musicians, gaining knowledge regarding my thesis rejuvenated me from within and made me feel on the top of the world.

Waking up at four, doing yoga for the voice warm ups, daily practices starting with OM rendition, followed by swarabhyasa, raga rendition, imbibed an overwhelming confidence and contentment in my personality.

Swar practices, Alankaras and different raga development engages our brain and mind, which unleash the brain knots and enhances the brain-mind-soul functionality. Music imparts optimism and mindfulness in our trait and subsides negativity like ego, sorrow.


In my experience, Indian vocal music including raga system helps us in tranquilizing our overall attitude, behavior, and thought process, focus etc.. My advice to all the students, even for those who are not interested in music, is that they should surely give it a try and take this course,

in order to rekindle and transcend their lifestyle.

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