Sikh Ragas

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Sikh Ragis playing Raga

Raga (singular rag or raga, plural raga or ragas) is a complex structure of musical melody used in India and should not be confused with scales. The main part of the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy Book and the perpetual Guru of the Sikhs consists of 31 distinct section called Ragas. The holy Granth starts with the a non-raga section which begins with Japji as the first entry. This is followed by Rehras and ending with Kirtan Sohila.

Then begins the main section consisting of 31 Ragas or chapters. A raga is a musical structure or set of rules of how to build a melody. It specifies a scale, as well as rules for movements up and down the scale; which notes should figure more and which notes should be used more sparingly; etc. The result is a framework that can be used to compose or improvise melodies in, so that melodies in a certain raga will always be recognisable yet allowing endless variation.

A raga is basically a set of rules of how to build a melody. It specifies a scale, as well as rules for movements up and down the scale, which notes should figure more and which notes should be used more sparingly, which notes take which ornamentation, which notes must be bent, which notes may be bent, phrases to be used, phrases to be avoided, and so on. The result is a framework that can be used to compose or improvise melodies in, so that melodies in a certain raga will always be recognisable yet allowing endless variation.

The underlying scale is a five, six or seven tone-scale. In the seven tone-scale the second, third, fourth, sixth, and seventh notes can be sharp or flat, making up the twelve notes in the Western scale. However, ragas can specify microtonal changes to this scale: a flatter second, a sharper seventh, and so forth. Furthermore, such variations can occur between styles, performers or simply follow the mood of the performer. There is no absolute pitch; instead, each performance simply picks a ground note, and the other scale degrees follow relative to the ground note.

Every time of the day, morning, afternoon, evening and night, has its specific ragas.

Also See Kirtan, Sikh Kirtan, Taal, Ragmala


Ragas in Alphabetical Order

The following are the ragas that are mentioned in the SGGS:

Table of Ragas
No. Name of Raga Order in SGGS Page Range Page Count
1 Asa 4 347 to 489 142
2 Bairari 13 719 to 721 2
3 Basant 25 1168 to 1197 29
4 Bhairon 24 1125 to 1168 43
5 Bihagara 7 537 to 557 20
6 Bilaval 16 795 to 859 64
7 Devagandhari 6 527 to 537 10
8 Dhanasari 10 660 to 696 36
9 Gauri 3 151 to 347 196
10 Gond 17 859 to 876 17
11 Gujari 5 489 to 527 38
12 Jaijavanti 31 1352 to 1353 1
13 Jaitsri 11 696 to 711 15
14 Kalian 29 1319 to 1327 8
15 Kanara 28 1294 to 1319 25
16 Kedara 23 1118 to 1125 7
17 Maajh 2 94 to 151 57
18 Mallar 27 1254 to 1294 40
19 Mali Gaura 20 984 to 989 5
20 Maru 21 989 to 1107 118
21 Nat Narain 19 975 to 984 9
22 Prabhati 30 1327 to 1352 25
23 Ramkali 18 876 to 975 99
24 Sarang 26 1197 to 1254 57
25 Sri 1 14 to 94 80
26 Sorath 9 595 to 660 65
27 Suhi 15 728 to 795 67
28 Tilang 14 721 to 728 7
29 Todi 12 711 to 719 8
30 Tukhari 22 1107 to 1118 11
31 Vadahans 8 557 to 595 38



Ragas in the Order they appear

The following are the ragas that are mentioned in the SGGS:

Table of Ragas
No. Name of Raga Page Range Page Count
1 Sri 14 to 94 80
2 Maajh 94 to 151 57
3 Gauri 151 to 347 196
4 Asa 347 to 489 142
5 Gujari 489 to 527 38
6 Devagandhari 527 to 537 10
7 Bihagara 537 to 557 20
8 Vadahans 557 to 595 38
9 Sorath 595 to 660 65
10 Dhanasari 660 to 696 36
11 Jaitsri 696 to 711 15
12 Todi 711 to 719 8
13 Bairari 719 to 721 2
14 Tilang 721 to 728 7
15 Suhi 728 to 795 67
16 Bilaval 795 to 859 64
17 Gond 859 to 876 17
18 Ramkali 876 to 975 99
19 Nat Narain 975 to 984 9
20 Mali Gaura 984 to 989 5
21 Maru 989 to 1107 118
22 Tukhari 1107 to 1118 11
23 Kedara 1118 to 1125 7
24 Bhairon 1125 to 1168 43
25 Basant 1168 to 1197 29
26 Sarang 1197 to 1254 57
27 Mallar 1254 to 1294 40
28 Kanara 1294 to 1319 25
29 Kalian 1319 to 1327 8
30 Prabhati 1327 to 1352 25
31 Jaijavanti 1352 to 1353 1



Ragas in Order of Number of Pages

The following are the ragas that are mentioned in the SGGS shown in order of number of pages devoted to the raga:


Table of Ragas
No. Name of Raga Order in SGGS Page Range Page Count
1 Gauri 3 151 to 347 196
2 Asa 4 347 to 489 142
3 Maru 21 989 to 1107 118
4 Ramkali 18 876 to 975 99
5 Sri 1 14 to 94 80
6 Suhi 15 728 to 795 67
7 Sorath 9 595 to 660 65
8 Bilaval 16 795 to 859 64
9 Maajh 2 94 to 151 57
10 Sarang 26 1197 to 1254 57
11 Bhairon 24 1125 to 1168 43
12 Mallar 27 1254 to 1294 40
13 Gujari 5 489 to 527 38
14 Vadahans 8 557 to 595 38
15 Dhanasari 10 660 to 696 36
16 Basant 25 1168 to 1197 29
17 Kanara 28 1294 to 1319 25
18 Prabhati 30 1327 to 1352 25
19 Bihagara 7 537 to 557 20
20 Gond 17 859 to 876 17
21 Jaitsri 11 696 to 711 15
22 Tukhari 22 1107 to 1118 11
23 Devagandhari 6 527 to 537 10
24 Nat Narain 19 975 to 984 9
25 Kalian 29 1319 to 1327 8
26 Todi 12 711 to 719 8
27 Kedara 23 1118 to 1125 7
28 Tilang 14 721 to 728 7
29 Mali Gaura 20 984 to 989 5
30 Bairari 13 719 to 721 2
31 Jaijavanti 31 1352 to 1353 1

See Also