In a previous article in this series on Bhairavi, we had referred to the flexibility of the raag in allowing equal prominence to all notes in the gamut. This is manifested not just in the interpretations of the raag, but even in the vocal and instrumental compositions that form a basis for such interpretations.
Eminent scholar-musician Buddhadev Dasgupta presents a series of gats or instrumental compositions on the sarod. Each of these has a mukhda – initial part of the song-text – that lands or begins on the sum/sam or the first matra or time-unit of the rhythmic cycle with a different note. This is explained by the maestro in his presentation.
The following tracks feature bandish ki thumri compositions, each of which once again gives prominence to a different note on the sum/sam. The first of these has a komal Dhaivat or flat sixth of the lower octave on the sum/sam of the 16-matra Teentaal, to which this composition is set. This has been sung by vocalist Qudratullah Khan accompanied by Bashir Ahmed on tabla and Mohyuddin on sarangi, all of who were residents of Pakistan.
Banaras gharana exponent Girija Devi sings a bandish ki thumri in Bhairavi set to Teentaal. In this case, the komal Nishad or the flat seventh is placed on the sum/sam.
Bade Ghulam Ali Khan of the Patiala gharana also sings a composition with komal Nishad on the sum/sam. He also employs the murcchana technique to convert different notes into temporary tonics and transposes other notes accordingly. His vocal virtuosity is evident in his display of taans or swift melodic passages that include all 12 notes of the scale.
The composition sung by well-known vocalist Malini Rajurkar begins on the sum/sam and with Madhyam or the fourth note. This is also set to Teentaal.
We conclude with a joint presentation by renowned Kathak dancer Birju Maharaj and vocalist Ajoy Chakrabarty. The composition chosen by them has Pancham or the fifth on the sum/sam of Teentaal.