Asa

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This is an India musical raga (composition) that appears in the Sikh tradition from northern India and is part of the Sikh holy scripture called Sri Guru Granth Sahib or SGGS for short. Every raga has a strict set of rules which govern the number of notes that can be used; which notes can be used; and their interplay that has to be adhered to for the composition of a tune. In the SGGS, the Sikh holy Granth (book) there are a total composition of 31 ragas and this raga is the fourth raga to appear in the series. The composition in this raga appear on 142 pages from page numbers 347 to 489.

Asa is a very old raga which was once popular in the Punjab (northern India) but seldom heard in concerts today. In the Guru Granth Sahib's Ragmala this is a ragini (subset) of raga Megha. However, today it is assigned to the "Bilaval" thata ("set"). Asa is a devotional raga for the cold season and is performed in the early morning just before sunrise. However, it is also known as a twilight melody with a calm mystical mood. Raga Asa was used by Guru Nanak, Guru Angad, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan and Guru Tegh Bahadur.

The following represents the order of notes that can be used on the ascending and descending phase of the composition and the primary and secondary notes.

Section Punjabi English
Aroh: ਸ ਰ ਮ ਪ ਧ ਸ Sa Re Ma Pa Dha Sa
Avroh: ਸ ਨ ਧ ਪ ਮ ਗ ਰ ਸ Sa Ni Dha Pa Ma Ga Re Sa
Vadi: Ma
Samvadi: Sa

Asa is a crooked (vakra) raga in that approaches to certain notes have to be made from a set position. Its variants as given in the SGGS are Kafi and Asavari, both of which have many features in common with Asa. This raga may have originated in Maharashtra about the time of the major Muslim invasions. Its pleasing sound made it suitable for bhajans by the Hindu devotees.

Gurbani Keertan in Raag Asa

See also

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