Kalyani (raga)

Kalyani or Kalyan, alternatively called Yaman in Hindustani Music, is a melakarta raga (parent musical scale) in the Carnatic music. Its Western equivalent is the Lydian mode.

Kalyani in Carnatic music

In South Indian weddings it is a very prominently played raga. The word Kalyani means she who causes auspicious things. It is the 65th melakarta raga under the Katapayadi sankhya. It is also called Mechakalyani. The notes for Kalyani are S R2 G3 M2 P D2 N3. Kalyani is the first Prathi Madhyama raga that was ever discovered. It was obtained by the process of Graha Bhedam or modal shift of tonic of the ancient Shadja Grama. [1]

Specifics on this raga

Kalyani has scope for elaborate alapana. One should not remain too long on panchamam (pa) or alternate between shadjamam and panchamam too frequently. Kalyani is prominently known among the public. It is often performed at the beginning of concerts because it is considered auspicious.[1] This raga is very special because it is sung with all higher notes.

Structure and Lakshana

Kalyani scale with Shadjam at C

It is the 5th ragam in the 11th chakra Rudra. The mnemonic name is Rudra-Ma. The mnemonic phrase is sa ri gu mi pa dhi (or 'di') nu.[2] Its arohana-avarohana structure is as follows (see swaras in Carnatic music for details on below notation and terms):

The notes used in this scale are shadjam, chatushruti rishabam, antara gandharam, prati madhyamam, chatushruti dhaivatam, kakali nishadam. It is a Sampurna raga in Carnatic music, that is to say, has all the seven notes: Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni. It is the prati madhyamam equivalent of Dheerasankarabharanam, which is the 29th melakarta. This raga is very significant to the chart, because it is sung with all higher notes.

Janya Ragams

Kalyani has many janya ragams (derived scales) associated with it, of which Hamir Kalyani, Mohanakalyani, Saranga, Sunadavinodini and Yamuna Kalyani are very popular. See List of Janya Ragams for full list of rāgams associated with Kalyani.

Popular compositions

Nearly every significant Carnatic composer (including the Trinity of Carnatic music) has composed several pieces in the Kalyani ragam. Kalyani is also considered one of the "major" ragams of Carnatic music along with Sankarabharanam, Todi and Kharaharapriya (the set of "major" rāgams is an informal grouping of the most popular ragams used for elaboration and exploration, and which often form the centerpiece of a Carnatic music concert in the form of a Ragam Tanam Pallavi (RTP) or a kriti). See next section for further information on relationships between these ragams.

Here is a short list of well known compositions in Kalyani.

The most popular film composition set in Kalyani is " Mannavan Vandhanadi Thozhi" by K V Mahadevan rendered by P Susheela, [3]" "Amma Endrazhaikkaatha Uyirillaye" by Ilayaraja, "Manmadha Pournami" (P Susheela) in Panchavankadu by G Devarajan. The track Kalaivaniye in Sindhu Bhairavi that is set in the Kalyani rāgam and sung without an avarohaṇam. The Bharathiar composition Veenai Adi Nee Enakku from the movie Ezhavathu Manithan is also set in the Kalyani ragam. The Telugu movie Sankarabharanam has a Shloka "Māṇikya Upalālayanti" set in this ragam.

Related ragams

This section covers the theoretical and scientific aspect of Kalyani.

Kalyani's notes when shifted using Graha bhedam, yields 5 other major Melakarta ragams, namely, Hanumatodi, Sankarabharanam, Natabhairavi, Kharaharapriya and Harikambhoji. For further details and an illustration of Graha bhedam of this ragam refer Related ragams section in Sankarabharanam page.

Kalyan in Hindustani music

Avarohana S' N D P M+ G R S

Vadi and Samavadi

Vadi is ga, Samvadi is ni.

Pakad or Chalan

Kalyan has no specific phrases or particular features, many musicians avoid Sa and Pa in ascend or treat them very weakly. You often hear N0 R G M+ D N S' in ascent and S' N G M+ G R S in descend[4]).
Sa is avoided in beginning the ascend such as N0 R G M+ P D N S'

Organization and relationships

There is some discussion whether Yaman and Kalyan really just are different names for the same raga, or that these are actually 2 ragas. Joep Bor says "Kalyan (today usually referred to as Yaman)",[5] Kaufmann[6] says that Yaman and Kalyan are just different names, but insists that rāga Yaman-kalyan is different as there natural Ma is occasionally inserted between two Ga, like Ga Ma Ga Re Sa, while in all other instances tivra Ma (Ma+ is used as in Kalyan). S. Bagchee[7] agrees with Kaufmann. Bor : If natural Ma is occasionally added in a concluding figure leading to Sa, the raga is known as Yaman-Kalyan.[5]
Kalyan is mixed with several ragas:

Thaat: Kalyan is type raga of Kalyan thaat. In thaat Kalyan, all notes are shuddha (natural) except teevra (sharp) Ma.


Yaman is regarded one of the grandest and most fundamental ragas in Hindustani music. It is one of the first ragas taught to students.

Samay (Time)

Kalyan should be performed during the first quarter of the night.


Kalyan is described by Meshakarna(1570) as "lord in white garments and pearl necklace on a splendid lion-throne, under a royal umbrella, fanned with whisk, chewing betel"[5]
A song text is:
Hey friend, without my lover
I don't find peace
At any moment of the day;
Since my lover went away
I spend my nights counting the stars

Historical Information

Yaman is not an ancient raga. It is first mentioned in the literature in the late 16th century, by which time it was very popular: The Sahasras contains 45 dhrupad song-texts for Kalyan and five for Iman-Kalyan. According to Venkatamakhin(1620), Kalyan was a favourite melody to the Arabs, and Pundarika included Yaman among his 'Persian' Ragas.[5]

Important recordings

Film songs


  1. 1 2 Rao, B.Subba (1996). Raganidhi: A Comparative Study Of Hindustani And Karnatak Ragas. Volume Three (K to P). Madras: The Music Academy. p. 10. line feed character in |title= at position 65 (help)
  2. Ragas in Carnatic music by Dr. S. Bhagyalekshmy, Pub. 1990, CBH Publications
  3. http://www.thamizhisai.com/tamil-cinema/tamil-cinema-001/tc0001_thiruvarut-selvar.php
  4. Kaufmann(1968)
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Bor 1997
  6. Kaufmann 1968
  7. Bagchee 1998


Bor, Joep (1997), The Raga Guide, Charlottesville,Virginia: Nimbus Records 
Kaufmann, Walter (1968), The Ragas of North India, Calcutta: Oxford and IBH Publishing Company .
Bagchee, Sandeep (1998), Nād, Understanding Rāga Music, Mumbai: Eshwar (Business Publications Inc.) .
Bhatt, Balvantray (1964–1974), Bhāvaranga, Varanasi: Motilal Barnasidas .
Gandharva, Kumar (1965), Anūparāgavilāsa, Bombay: Mauj Prakashan .
Patwardhan, Vinayak Rao (1961–74), Rāga Vijñāna, Poona: Sangeet Gaurav Granthamala .
Srivastava, Harichandra (1973–79), Rāga Paricaya, Allahabad: SangeetSadan Prakashan .
Telang, Gokulanand; Bhartendu, Banwari Lal (1962), Sangīta Rāga Aṣṭachāpa, Hathras: Sangeet Karyalaya .
Thakar, Vasant Vaman, Sangīta Rāga Darśana, Prayag: Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Mandal Prakashan .
Rao, B. Subba (1964–66), Raganidhi, Madras: Music Academy .

External links

Examples of Kalyan:

Examples of Yaman-Kalyan:

Examples of Shuddha Kalyan:

Moutal, Patrick (1991), Hindustāni Rāga-s Index, New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt Ltd, ISBN 81-215-0525-7 .

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