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This raag occurs in the Raagmala as a ragini of Hindol. Today, it belongs to the Khamaj thata (raag classification system). It is/was used a lot in the Islamic Sufi tradition and in modern singing styles such as Tumri and Ghazal. Gurbani in this raag is sprinkled with Islamic vocabulary, further highlighting its Islamic Sufi origin.

Tilang is used by Guru Nanak Dev Ji (6 hymns), Guru Ram Das Ji (3), Guru Arjan Dev Ji (5), Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji (3), Bhagat Kabir Ji (1), and Bhagat Namdev Ji (1) for a total of 19 hymns.

Tilang is performed mostly at night (3pm to 6pm); it has a mellow, semi-romantic, and pleasing mood but with a hint of yearning. In the texts composed for this raag, the question asked is why should one cling to all the evils of this life when Guru Nanak Dev Ji has shown the way to true happiness and fulfillment. This raag is mostly sung as a mid-scale raag but it's perfectly appropriate to use all three scales in this raag.

This raag has a Ni flat (ni komal) in the descent.

It's defining characteristics are: PS'NS'nP, PS'NS'PnP, some ragis add a R (S*R*NS*PnP).

The very popular Shabad: "Sahib Mera Meharvaan" is written in this raag; the nature of the Bani is very much in keeping with the nature of Tilang.

Section Punjabi English
Aroh: ਸ ਗ ਮ ਪ ਨ ਸ Sa Ga Ma Pa Ni Sa
Avroh: ਸ ਨ੝ ਪ ਮ ਗ ਸ Sa Ni Pa Ma Ga Sa
Vadi: Ga
Samvadi: Ni

There is a variant of this raag in Gurbani called Tilang Kafi.

Gurbani Keertan in Raag Tilang

See also Raga, Kirtan, Sikh Kirtan, Taal

(source: Harjinder Singh Lallie of GurmatSangeet.org).

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