by David Courtney working tools

Raga / Ragini
Ragini Karnati (circa 1790)

The concept of "families" of rags is an interesting aspect of Indian music.  Over the centuries rags have been ascribed to certain demigods.  A natural consequence of such anthropomorphism is that there be a familial relationship between them.  Therefore, in the past few centuries there arose a complicated system of rags (male rags), raginis (female rags), putra rags (sons of rags), etc.  This was the basis for a system of classification before the advent of modern musicology.

Although this may have been a great inspiration to the painters of the old ragmala tradition, (see example above) it proved to be worthless as a means of musical taxonomy.  The obvious problem was that there was no objective way to accommodate the new rags that were coming into existence.  Today the that is the basis for the classification of rags.



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