by David Courtney working tools


Deshkar is a rag which is quickly disappearing.  It is being merged into Bhupali and in the process, it is loosing its identity.  Therefore whatever you read in this page must be taken with the understanding that Deshkar's relevance is somewhat suspect.  It is entirely up to you as to whether you wish to go "old school" and consider Deshkar and Bhupali to be separate, or whether you wish to follow contemporary usage which merges them together.  (I know that there are "old school" readers right now who are mad at me for even bringing this up, but remember, I am only describing the present state of affairs.  I did not create it.)

Deshkar is considered to be a a morning rag.  It has the exact same notes as Bhupali.  According to the old school, Deshkar tends to remain in the upper tetrachord revolving very heavily around the Dha.  Even though Ga is considered to be the samvadhi, it should not be rested upon for too long; otherwise Deshkar impinges upon Bhupali.

To make matters even more tricky, one should be careful about using meeds to slide down from Sa to Dha or from Pa to Ma.  Excessive use of these meeds, causes Deshkar to impinge upon Shuddha Kalyan.

But Shuddha Kalyan and Bhupali are not the only rags vying for this mode.  There are also Jait Kalyan and Audav Devgiri.  Although these are much less common rags, they still must be attended to.

It is this impingement of rags which seems to be partly responsible for its subsumation into Bhupali.  Many classical musicians are not particularly excited about developing any 5 note rag (audav rag) to begin with.  It is correctly noted that that audav jati rags have a somewhat limited scope for development.  In the case of these rags, it is even more confining because there is the added requirement of not mixing them together.

The result is that many classical musicians abandoned both Deshkar as well as Bhupali for classical performances; but still use ikt for semiclassical songs.  In the semi-classical and lighter styles things are different.  For quite a long time, we have heard Bhupali in bhajans, film songs, geets and whatnot.  Remember, in the lighter interpretations, one is free to explore every aspect of Bhupali's modality without fear of being accused of improperly mixing rags.

But why is Bhupali absorbing Deshkar, and not the other way around?  This is probably a reflections of North Indian musicians tendency to follow the timings of the rags.  Remember that Bhupali is a night time rag while Deshkar is a morning rag.  Most concerts are held in the night; this creates many more opportunities to perform Bhupali.


Ascending structure for Deshkar
(general discussion of arohana) - (general discussion of notation)


Descending structure of Deshkar
(general discussion of avarohana)


Audav - (general discussion of jati)


Morning - (general discussion of time and rag)


Bilawal that - (general discussion of that)


pakad for Deshkar
(general discussion of pakad)


Sa - Pa - (general discussion of drone)

For more information check out "Elementary North Indian Vocal"




Selected Video

Abir Gulal - Marathi Abhang - Raag Deshkar


Sri. Nachiketa Sharma performing Raag Deshkar




© 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 David and Chandrakantha Courtney

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