The scales of Raga Bhairavi are as follows :

Aarohanam (Ascending) : S G2 R2 G2 M1 P D2 N2 S’
Avarohanam (Descending) : S’ N2 D1 P M1 G2 R2 S

Bhairavi is a janya raga, derived from Natabhairavi (see below), 20th on the Melakarta scale.

20 Natabhairavi

The Raga uses D2 in Aarohanam and D1 in Avarohanam. Please note that the Carnatic Bhairavi is not related to the Hindustani Bhairavi. It is a heavy raga, used often as the backbone of a concert. There are many compositions in this raga; some of the well known ones are like Viriboni varnam by Pacchimiriam Adiyappa, Upacharamulanu and Raksha Bettare by Tyagaraja, Balagopala by Muthuswami Dikshithar, Yaaro Ivar Yaaro by Arunachala Kavi and a beautiful Swarajati by Shyama Shastri – Kamakshi Anudinamu.

Tamil speakers may enjoy Charulata Mani’s presentation of Bhairavi below:

Note : The 12 notes in the octave are named as below. Please note that C is used as Sa for the sake of simplicity as the scale is relative in Carnatic Music. Also note that the scales paint only a superficial picture of the raga as the gamakas(ornamentations) are a very important part of a raga.


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