by David Courtney working tools


There can be no doubt that Darbari Kanada is one of the most popular rags in the entire North Indian system of classical music.  A few common songs are "Ghunghat Ke Pat Khol Re Tohe Piya Milenge", "Jhana Jhanak Tori Baje Payaliaya", "Mujhe Tumse Kuch Bhi Na Chahiye", "O Duniya Ke Rakhwale".  This rag is also known as Durbari, or Darbari Kanara and a host of other transliterations.  It is said to have been invented by Tansen who sang in the durbar (royal court) of the Emperor Akbar, hence the name Darbari Kanada.

The vadi / samavadi theory is generally discounted by modern musicologists, but for those who are inclined to follow this, Darbari Kanada has been particularly problematic.  Some suggest that Re and Dha are the vadi and samvadi; however, others suggest that it should be Ga and Dha.

Darbari Kanada has some interesting musical characteristics.  It is a night time rag. It is said to be sampurna - sampurna, but it must be presented in a vakra (twisted) fashion to distinguish it from related rags such as Jaunpuri, Asawari, or Adana.  It is especially important to emphasize the lower register (mandra saptak) and the lower tetrachord (i.e., purvang) to distinguish this rag from Adana.

Darbari Kanada has an interesting approach to its intervals.  The minor 3rd (komal Ga) and the minor 6th (komal Dha) are much lower than usually found; this lower than normal flattening is often referred to in Indian music as ati-komal.  Therefore, ati-komal Ga is just ever-so-slightly higher than a natural 2nd (shuddha Re) and the ati-komal Dha is just ever so slightly higher than a natural 5th (Pa).  It is this extreme alteration of the intervals that helps give Darbari Kanada its distinctive character.

Here are Darbari Kanada's overall characteristics:


Ascending structure for Darbari Kanada
(general discussion of arohana) - (general discussion of notation)


Descending structure of Darbari Kanada
(general discussion of avarohana)


Sampurna - Sampurna - (general discussion of jati)


Night - (general discussion of time and rag)


Asawari That - (general discussion of that)


Sa - Pa - (general discussion of drone)

For more information check out "Elementary North Indian Vocal"




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For comments, corrections, and suggestions, kindly contact David Courtney at david@chandrakantha.com