Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Celebrating the Full Moon : Raags Chandrakhauns & Chandranandan!

The moon (Chandra) is the second planet of the sun, next to Surya. He is the brother of the divine mother Lakshmi. Chandra is white like the autumn moon, has four hands (chatur bhuja) and is adorned with bracelets, garland and crown. Chandra produces nectar and can manufacture herbal medicine. He is the creator of the night… and god of kalas, the sixteen moon phases. Chandra controls the comprehension and calms the human mind.

1- Raag Chandrakhauns:

Chandrakauns* is a very beautiful and striking rag.  It is also surprisingly easy to perform.  One should keep in mind, that there are actually two versions of Chandrakauns.  There is an old obsolete version, and there is the modern version. Time: Late Night
The name Chandrakauns is interesting.  The prefix "chandra" means "moon".  Although the etymology of the term "kauns" is obscure, it generally is used to represent five note raga. There are several forms of both pronunciation and spelling, Chandrakosh is the second most common pronunciation.

Pandit Habib Khan and Ustad Zakir Hussien at Berkeley. Chandrakauns[Part 3]

Old Form - This is an example of how quickly rags can change.  Where a century ago, this might have been the only form that you would hear, today you will probably only hear this in old recordings.  The old form as was mentioned by Bhatkhande has the structure:

This form of Chandrakauns has a strong feel of Bhageshree about it.

Raag Chandrakauns by Keerti Kumar Badseshi
Disciple of Pt. Vinayak Torvi, at Susagar in 2003.

Modern Form - The modern and most widely accepted version of Chandrakauns is an audav rag that is essentially identical to Malkauns with one small change.  In Chandrakauns the Nishad is shuddha rather than komal.  At first glance, one would think that the shift from the komal Ni to the shuddha Ni would make this rag more harmonically balanced and have a much more mellow feel.  However we must remember that the mind performs a musical inversion where theMadhyam is perceived to be the tonic.  With such an inversion, the shift from komal Ni to shuddha Ni actually increases the feeling of tension.  It is this tension that is the characteristic "massala" which makes Chandrakauns so strikingly beautiful.
For quite some time Chandrakauns has been a popular rag for the lahara.  The lahara, also known as the naghma (nagma), is a repetitive melody used in the accompaniment of tabla solos and in kathak pieces.  Bollywood in turn has picked up on this, and has further reinforced the association by frequently using Chandrakauns based laharas in scenes that depict traditional tawaifs (an Indian version of the geisha) and traditional kathak dances.

Here are the characteristics of Chandrakauns:


That: Not one of Bhatikhande's 10 thats, but some suggest that it is kafi.

Sa - Ma 

Harmonium Jugalbandi in the Raag - Chandrakauns.
Harmonium Jugalbandi Pt. Dr. Vidyadhar Oke and Aditya Oke
Unbelievable speed, skill and control displayed by Aditya Oke.

2- Raag Chandranandan:

The exceptional Sarode legend Late Ali Akbar Khan of North Indian Classics created the moon  
raga Chandranandan. It can be counted as one of the outstanding compositions of Ali Akbar Khan. Chandranandan is a mix of four traditional Ragas: Malkoush, Chandrakauns, Nandakoush and Kaushi Kanada.

Rag Chandranandan (1of2) late Ustad Ali Akbar & late Dhyanesh Khan
Recorded onto VHS tape (regrettably, on extended play speed) in the early 90s.
Tabla:Swapan Chaudhri

So ja re so ja - A lilting lullaby composed by Shankar Jaikishan
Perhaps one of the loveliest lullabies created in Indian cinema. The song from Kathputli (1957) is written by Hasrat Jaipuri and rendered by Lata Mangeshkar. Shankar Jaikishan had a close association with the Sarod maestro Ustad Ali Akbar Khan in the early fifties (he himself played Sarod in Suno chhoti si gudiya ki lambi kahani in Seema). Ustad Ali Akbar Khan created a Raag by name 'Chandra Nandan'. Shankar Jaikishan created this beautiful melody in Raag Chandra Nandan.
Very rich on melody quotient, this was possibly the first ever lullaby with rich orchestration and full fledged 'Counter Melody' - a Shankar Jaikishan speciality.

Pt Ulhas Bapat santoor with Suryaksha Deshpande on Tabla in a concert at Belgaon. Raag: chandranandan Taal : Teentaal

Abhisek Lahiri on Sarod, Rag- Chandranandan
Rag: Chandranandan on Sarod by "A" Grade Sarod player Shri. ABHISEK LAHIRI... Live Concert in France, Nov' 09. Gat played in Rupak Tal (7 beats). Accompanied on the Tabla: Parimal Chakrabarty.

Sarod maestro Rajeev Taranath and Anindo Chatterjee on tabla - Over The Moon:
1LISTENRaga Chandranandan: Alap, Jor 22:11
2LISTENRaga Chandranandan: Gat in Madhya-Laya Teentaal 19:03
3LISTENRaga Chandranandan: Drut Gat in Teentaal 13:55

Another variant of a moon ragas is ChandraDhwani. A blend between the moon raga Chandrakauns and night raga Kaushik Dhwani. Both are 5 notes ragas (pentatonic). For Kaushik Dhwani the 2nd pitch Re (Rishabh) and 5th pitch Pa (Pancham) are omitted. All notes are played as “suddha” (natural).

3- South Indian Classics (Carnatic) - Ragams of Melakarta system:

Same as in Indian Astrology in South Indian Classics (Carnatic) there exist 12 groups (chakras) with each six Ragams. Altogether exist 72 Ragams in the the classification system of Carnatic music, called Melakarta system. Ragams are the South Indian form equivalent to the North Indian Ragas. The first group is Indu, beside Chandra a second name for moon. There is only one moon, therefore Indu is the first group, the first Chakra in the Melakarta system. The color red (similar to Chakra Svadhisthana) is assigned to this Melakarta Chakra. Singing of these moon ragas makes the heart feels relieved. We feel the gentleness and pleasant effect of the full moon.
6th Melakarta Ragams (Kanakangi, Ratnangi, Ganamurti, Vanaspati, Manavati and Tanarupi) of the 1st Chakra Indu (Source:

Ranjani-Gayatri - 15 - Chandrakauns - Bhoota Mothe (Abhang)
Margazhi Mahotsavam 2007
Song: Pandhari Che Bhoota Mothe (abhang)
RAgam: Chandrakauns (somewhat similar to Malkauns/HindoLam) 
Composer: Tukaram - Language: Marathi
Pandhari Che Bhoota Mothe
Aalya Gailya Zhadapi Vaatay
Bahu Ghethalicha Raana
Bagha hey Veeday hoya Mana
Thethay Jaavu nakaa konnee
Gailay Nahi aalay Parathoni
Tuka Pandhari see gailaa
Punha Janma Nahi Aalaa

 * Source:

No comments:

Post a Comment