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An Overview of Raga Malkauns

by Ashish Kumar Ambasta

Let me talk about Raag Malkauns one of the most beautiful ,popular and most ancient of the raagas in Hindustani Classical music. Raag Malkauns belongs to Bhairavi Thaat or scale of Hindustani classical music. It is a pentatonic raag ie its type is Audav Audav and this raag is sung at late night. The notes of this raag corresponds to Bhairavi Thaat ie, komal notes are used.

In raag Malkauns Rishabh and Pancham are prohibitted. When ascending(aaroha) the notes are Sa Ga Ma Dha Ni Sa. While descending(awaroha) the notes are Sa Ni Dha Ma Ga Sa.The vaadi swara of Raag Malkauns is Madhyama. Sanwaadi Swar is Sadaja. These notes in combination portray darkness and secret.

The raag is said to have evolved when Lord Shiva performed The Taandava dance. The raag thus evokes a feeling of vigour or we can say this Raag is a VEER rasa raga. And as traditions in Indian classical music ascribes this vigour and veer rasa is not the veer rasa of the battlefield but a sense of conquering the self and reaching a state of inner satisfaction.
This raga is said to have supernatural powers and can conjure spirits if rendered properly. Though a simple pentanoic raga in structure, it requires great skills to convey and evoke the mood of Malkauns.

A very famous composition based on this raag is the song 'Man Tarpat Hari Darshan ko aaj' from the film Baiju Baawra. Numerous other songs have been composed based on this raga.

No amount of writing can describe the raga in true sense. Listen to it to experience the bliss of malkauns. Frankly the journey on which malkauns takes the listener to would be an experience to cherish.