The outstanding feature of Indian music is the raga system. Each raga is a distinct musical entity by itself and possesses well defined characteristics. A Raga is a particular combination of swaras and different combination of swaras bring about different ragas. There are 7 swaras and 12 swarasthanas in asthayi. There are 72 Melakartha ragas. These are divided into two equal groups. The first 36 melas are called poorvamelas and the next 36 form the uthramelas.
There are different types of ragas which can be sung at different times of the day. The early morning ragas are Bhoopalam, BauliNadanamakriya, Mayamalavagowla and Valaji to name a few. Natakurunji, Huseini, Hamsanandi and Mandariare some of the ragams that can be sung in the afternoon.Vasantha, Kalyani, Bhairavi, Hamsadhvani and Gowlai are some of the ragams that are traditionally sung in the evening while Todi, Kamboji, Kamas and Ranjani are to be sung at night.
There are different kinds of ragams which bring out the various emotions. Karuna rasa is brought out in the ragamsSahana, Kanada, Bhairavi and Nadanamakriya, to mention a few. Sringara rasa is well brought out by Suruti, Kamas and Huseini. Atana and Arabhi bring out the Raudra rasa well. Veera rasa is brought out by Nattai, Bilahari, Hamsadhvani and Devagandhari. Kedaram and Mohanam bring out the Hasya rasa. Wonder or Arpuda rasa is brought out by Saranga and Hindustan Behag. Atana brings out the Bibatsa rasa while Punnagavarali brings out the Bhayanaka rasa and Sama and Vasantha stand for Shantha rasa.
Compiled by Anandhi Sundar