As most aficionados of Hindustani classical music are aware the ragas are affiliated to various time cycles known as prahar. Times Music has brought out a double CD entitled Teen Prahar catering to three time cycles of the day. Under discussion is Part One of the CD group.
The first composition in Raga Bhatiyar is a crack of dawn melody with its distinctive sights and sounds. A derivative of the melancholic Marwa and the rustic Mand, Bhatiyar’s overt simplicity beautifully belies its innate density. The asymmetrical ascendant-descendant, known as aroh-avroh in the Hindustani musical idiolect, the emblematic bound from Sa to Dha and the dramatic nyasa (repose) on Ma make Bhatiyar a delightful morning melody, bringing home memories of warm cardamom-sprinkled tea.
Pandit Jasraj’s mellifluous adaptation of this complex raga in a truncated madhaya laya composition in his typical Sufi-spiked Mewati singing style is an early morning indulgence. The protracted aakar tans, however, are a departure from his typical Mewati signature style.
Advance a little into the day and treat yourself to the powerful rendition of Ashwini Bhide Deshpande’s rendition of the extremely lofty Raga Multani. This eponymous melody (yes, it originated in Multan) is the soulful maverick that broke away from its parent melody- Raga Todi. Its ponderous fascia and broad melodic scope is more compatible with the Dhrupad mode of singing. The singer remaining sincere to her Jaipur-Atrauli khayal singing tradition, however, renders this rather thorny raga with the confident aplomb of a professional. Amateurs attempting the Multani sans correct guidance are likely to articulate Komal or flat Gandhar incorrectly being unaware that it becomes slightly elevated after the utterance of the sharp Madhyam. Hindustani music with all its idiosyncrasies cannot be ‘read’ like western music, perpetuating the need for the guru-shishya tradition.
The crowning glory of the first part of the series is the Pt. Bhimsen Joshi-rendered Ambuva ki daar tale in Bageshwari Bahar. Seasonally appropriate it has all the elements of both Bageshwari and Bahar. The latter, usually rendered around midnight, may be heard (or sung) at any time of the day in this current season of spring.
The ragas of Teen Prahar can be heard throughout the day.