Detailed, organized Chords for Indian ragas at Raga Chord Resources
Raaga Bhairav has the same swara or note positions as the 15th Carnatic melakarta Raaga Mayamalavagoula.
Raga Bhairav has the same scale notes as the western Double Harmonic major scale. The double harmonic major scale has all the notes as the major scale with the 2nd and 6th notes flattened (reduced by one note – the shuddh notes become komal).
Raga Bhairav swaras be written as S r G M P d N, where:
- ‘r’ represents the komal ri, minor 2nd interval
- ‘d’ represents the komal dha, minor 6th interval
- G M N are shuddh Ga Ma and Ni respectively (major 3rd, perfect 4th, major 7th)
- P represents Pa, the 5th note.
The notes / swaras / intervals
Carnatic: Sa Ri1 Ga3 Ma1 Pa Dha1 Ni3 Sa
Hindustani: All swaras shuddh except Ri and Dha.
When C is the root: C Db E F G Ab B C
When D is the root: D Eb F# G A Bb C# D
Root – minor 2nd – major 3rd – perfect 4th – perfect 5th – minor 6th – major 7th – octave
Detailed ascend and descend patterns
- Aroha: ‘N S G M P G M, P G M (N)d, G M (N)d, (N)d N S’
- Avroha: N S’ (N)d N d P, P G M P G M (G)r S
Chords based on Arohana Avarohana of Raga Bhairav
Below we look at the Arohana and Avarohana of the Raag Bhairav and find chords for each by dividing them into manageable parts or pieces.
Raaga Bhairav arohana: ‘N S G M P G M, P G M (N)d, G M (N)d, (N)d N S’
‘Ni Sa Ga Ma Pa Ga Ma
Notes: B C E F G E F
The FM7add9 chord (notes: F A C E G) has F,E,C and G notes from the phrase.
The CM7add11 chord (notes: C E G B F) has the notes B C E F G from the phrase, therefore being a chord that has all the phrase notes.
The notes C F G gives the Csus4th chord.
The Em add b9 chord (E minor added flat ninth chord notes: E G B F) has 4 of the notes.
Pa Ga Ma (Ni)dha G M (N)d
Notes: G, E F B Ab, E F B Ab
The F dim Chord (notes: F Ab B) has three of the notes in the phrase
The E add b9 chord (E added flat ninth chord notes: E Ab B F) has 4 of the notes in the phrase
The Em add b9 chord (E minor added flat ninth chord notes: E G B F) also has 4 of the notes.
(N)d N S’
Notes: B Ab B C
The E major chord (notes: E Ab B) has two of the notes in the phrase, plus the Ga note within the scale
Use the C major chord for the Sa note C.
The F minor chord (notes: F Ab C) has two of the phrase notes and the Ma note F.
Chords for Raga Bhairav Arohana Phrase Video
The chords and melody as an image at Raga Bhairav Chord Melody Arohana images
Raga Bhairav Avarohana: N S’ (N)d N d P, P G M P G M (G)r S
Raga Bhairav Phrases
G M P G M (G)r, S, G M (N)d, d, P
GMPGMG part has the same notes as a major scale – Major 3rd (Ga3), perfect 4th (Ma1) and Pa. The difference comes with the Ri (‘r’), since Raga Bhairav has the small Ri/ R1 (Komal Ri)/ minor 2nd while the major scale has a Shuddh Ri/R2/major 2nd.
Notes: E F (when C is the root note – Sa)
The FM7 chord (chord notes: F A C E) has the notes E and F in it.
P G M
Notes: G E F
The Csus4 chord (chord notes: C F G) has the F and G notes in it. We have not included the E note of the phrase in the chord. This is alright, especially if the E note is not very prominent in the melody. Anyway, we don’t have to include all the melody notes in the chord; the melody note + the chord will give us a denser total chord variation.
Another possible chord you could try is, adding the F note to the C major scale.
For example when playing the C major scale with open strings in the first 3 frets of the guitar, the F note can be added on the first string 1st fret or 4th string 3rd fret. Below images show how they look on the fret board. Try them, and decide if you like it for the situation.
Notes: E C#
We have used the C# major chord (notes: C# F G#) for these two notes. One could try using the A major chord (notes: A C# E) which has both the melody notes in it.
The C major chord would be the most obvious option – being the root chord.
G M (N)d, d, P
Similarly one can find chords for the second part of the phrase. Below video shows the chords derived.
G M (N) d
Notes: E F B G#
The E major chord (chords notes: E G# B) has been used for this part of the melodic phrase. Only the F note from the melody has been omitted in the chord. The F note can also be added to the E major chord (on the 4th string on the guitar, for example)
The C# chord (notes: C# F G#) has been used when the ‘dha’ is repeated. The E major chord used before is ‘enough’ but variety or change is always welcome – like changing the context while keeping the idea the same.
The C major chord (chord notes: C E G), which is the basic chord from the root note Sa (when Sa is C), can be used for the Pa too.
G M (n)d, (n)d, P, P G M (G)r, S
The small Ni, minor 7th note, Komal Ni is not a part of the Bhairav raaga usually, but in this phrase, the dha note is arrived to from the komal ni note.
Notes: E F
The FM7 chord (notes: F A C E) is a possibility.
Notes: Bb A#
The Bb7 chord (notes: Bb D F Ab) is a possibility, with all notes except the D note within the raga.
The Bbm7 chord (notes: Bb Db F Ab) has all the notes of the phrase and within the raga.
The Db6 chord (notes: Db F Ab Bb) is another chord with all the phrase notes.
The Em chord, the C major chord
P G M
PM (notes: GF) gives us the option of the Csus4 chord (notes: CFG).
‘r’ the R1 note, minor 2nd note. Db note when C is the root.
The Db major chord (notes:Db F Ab) is an option with all notes within raga.
The A#m chord (notes: A# Db F) is another option with the Db note, though the A# note is not within the strict raga notes.
The C major chord.
The below video uses some of the chord options in one possible way. You can find your own ways of arranging the chords, following the basic logic. Download or view as jpg
Version: G M (N)d, (N)d, P, P G M (G)r, S
If the same phrase had ‘N’ – the shuddh Nishad, major 7th note, the chords for the n-d part will change.
Notes: B Ab
The E major chord (notes: E G# B) has both the notes of the phrase and all the notes are within the raga.
The Db6 chord above will become Db7 chord (notes:Db F Ab B) when the Bb note is changed to a B note.
Here are a few more usual phrases.
- G M (N)d, (N)d N S”, N S” (N)d N d P
- S G M P G M, G M (G)r, S r G M P
- S, (G)r (G)r S, (N’)d’ N’ S, N’ S G M, G M (G)r, S
- S r G M P, P G M (N)d, d, P, P GMPGM (G)r, r S
- G M (N)d, d, P, G M P d N S”, r” S” N S” (N)d, d, P
Detailed, organized (the full story starting from the basic logic) Chords for Indian ragas at Raga Chord Resources
Chords for more ragas in the Bhairav family
Chords for the following ragas can also be found in a similar manner, phrase by phrase, exact and safe, within the scale or with conscious additional notes.
All the following ragas are associated with the Bhairav family in one way or the other.
- Raga Bairagi
- Raaga Kshanika
- Raga Anand Bhairav
- Raga Saurashtra Bhairav
- Raga Mangal Bhairav
- Raga Bhatiyari Bhairav
- Raga Ahir Bhairav
- Raga Virat Bhairav
- Raga Kabiri Bhairav
- Raga Shivmat Bhairav
- Raga Devata Bhairav
- Raga Beehad Bhairav
- Raga Prabhat Bhairav
- Raga Bhavmat Bhairav
- Raga Ramkali
- Raga Roopkali
- Ragas Hussaini Bhairav
- Raga Bakula Bhairav
- Raga Basant Mukhari
- Raga Kaushi Bhairav
- Raga Zeelaf
- Raga Devaranjani
- Raga Nat Bhairav
- Raga Asa Bhairav
- Raga Jaun Bhairav
- Raga Gunakali/Gunakri
- Raga Bhairav Bahar
Let us find out chords for ragas which are similar to Raag Bhairav. Raag Jogiya has all the swaras of the Bhairav thaat plus komal nishad : (when C is the root) C Db E F G Ab B C + Bb (komal Ni)
- The komal Ni (minor 7th note) implies the possibility of the Cdominiant7th chord (the usual C7)with the notes: C E G Bb.
- Use all the chords of Bhairav, but when the melody phrase has the komal Ni or minor 7th note or Bb note in it, make sure that the chord doesn’t have a B note, in case the two sounds (B and Bb consecutive notes) clashing is not desirable. You can do this by:
- avoiding chords with the B note while the melody phrase has the Bb note, or
- if a chord has the B note, change the B note to a Bb instead. For example, the C major 7th chord has the B note, which when flattened to the Bb note gives us the C7 chord mentioned above.
The Ma note is nyaasa, paused and important. We may encounter phrases where the Ma is important. So in case of doubt on which chord to choose, during phrases with Ma important, try the Ma important chords like (when C is the root) the F minor chord (notes: F Ab C, the chord based on the 4th note Ma, all notes from within the scale) or C# major chord (notes: C# F Ab, all notes from within the scale), C sus 4, G7(Especially when Ma and Pa are present) etc… See below for usage examples.
Example Raaga Jogiya phrases
M1 P D1 S”, S” (N2)D1 P, M1 P D1 N1 D1 M1, M1 R1 S
M1 P D1 S”
Notes: F G Ab C
FAbC is the Fminor chord. G note along with the F minor chord gives Fmadd9 (F minor added 9th chord)
S” (N2)D1 P
Notes: C B Ab G
The notes CAbG are in the Fmadd9 as found in the above phrase.
C G B note are found in the CM7 (C major 7th) chord.
M1 P D1 N1 D1 M1
Notes: F G Ab Bb Ab F (remember that Bhairav has B as the Ni, but Jogiya includes Bb note also as the Ni in some of its phrases)
F G Ab are included in the Fmadd9 chord.
Bb Ab F are included in the Fm11 chord. Fsus4 chord (notes: F Bb C) has two of the notes of the phrase.
Other Chords from the Raga phrase notes
The phrase is made of the notes: F G Ab Bb
If we need a chord that has all the notes, the Gm7b9 chord would be an example, with the notes:
- Bb(minor 3rd)
- D(5th – can be omitted)
- F(minor 7th)
- Ab (flat 9th)
The Fm11 chord is another example, which has the following notes:
- Ab(minor 3rd)
- Eb (minor 7th – maybe omitted, not in the raga nor phrase)
- G (9th)
- Bb (11th)
Other example options:
F Ab notes are in the Fm chord
G Bb notes in the G minor chord.
Ab and F in the F minor chord.
Try the chords, depending on how frequently you want to change chords within the phrase and also depending on which note or part of the phrase you want to base the chord on.
M1 R1 S
Note: F Db C
The Db Major 7th chord (notes: Db F Ab C) has the notes of the phrase and the extra note Ab is also from within the raga/scale.
Another example of finding chords for Raga similar to or based on the Raga Bhairav family. Folk forms and bhajans may have elements of the raga Kalingada.
An example chalan (melodic pathway):
S r G M P, d P M P M G, M G r G
S r G M P
Notes: C Db E F G
C E G -> C major chord
C F G -> C sus 4 chord
All the notes together, is a major added 11th chord with a b9 note.
The notes Db F G and C can form another chord which sufficiently expresses the whole phrase. It is a C sus 4 chord with the b9 note. Maybe we could call it the susb9 chord (suspended flat 9th chord).
This is how one could play the chord on the guitar, with open strings:
- C# – b9 note – 5th string
- F – 4th note – 4th string
- C – root – 2nd string,
- E – major 3rd note – 1st/6th string
- G – 5th note – 3rd string
(the ‘1’ on top left of the image indicates 1st fret.)
d P M P M G
Let us divide the phrase into two parts using the ‘|’.
Notes: Ab G F G | F E
Chords for the phrase:
- Fm | C
- Fm2 | C
- G7 | C
- Fm2 | C with 4th note added (Cadd11)
M G r G
Notes: F E Db E
Db F Ab -> Db major chord, has two of the notes (F Db) of the phrase.
Db E Ab -> Db minor chord has two of the notes (E Db) of the phrase.
Try and use what suits.
The notes B and G could suggest the G major chord (notes: G B D, where D is not a note within the scale – try the chord and decide).
Based on the notes Ab and B, we get the Db7 chord (notes: Db F Ab B) which has all the notes within the scale of Bhairav (or Mayamalavagowla)
Choose a chord based on the sound you need.
Chords are based on the raga notes, regardless of the specific movements etc
Ragas Kalingda and Gouri of the Bhairav thaat use the same notes and therefore have the same family of chords to choose from. The melody player makes different ragas with the same group of notes, by playing the notes in different combinations, different ragangas, different usage of nyasa (which notes are paused) etc.
As a chord maker our job is to find chords that suit the notes.
Ragas that have the same notes will have the same group of chords to choose from, but depending on the difference in phrases, naturally some chords are more obvious choices than others for a particular raga.
Also, the notes that begin and end each phrase, the emphasized note, the paused note etc make the decision easier, distinguishing one raga from the other and thereby making some of the chords a better choice over the others.
Detailed, organized basics and step by step logic for Chords for Indian ragas at Raga Chord ResourcesFree resources at musicianself.com/rlo