List of 10 Thaats in Indian Classical Music

THE CONCEPT OF THATTS IN INDIAN CLASSICAL MUSIC & List of 10 Thaats in Indian Classical Music


The thatts play the vital role in learning the Indian classical music. This is known to be the basic knowledge of each person who wishes to learn or know about the Indian classical music. There are 10 basic Thatts on which all the music scholars and the Great Ustad agree. They feel that these 10 Thatts should be enough to cover the entire knowledge of Indian classical music. Well these 10 thatts are as follows:

1. Bilawal

2. Kafi

3. Bharavi

4. Kalyan

5 .Khamaj

6. Asavari

7 .Bairav

8. Marva

9. Purvi

10. Todi

Each student has to know the formation of these thatts.

Bilawal (=Ionian mode): S R G m P D N S’ –

Kafi (=Dorian mode): S R g m P D n S’

Bhairavi (=Phrygian mode): S r g m P d n S’ –

Kalyan (=Lydian mode): S R G M P D N S’ –

Khamaj (=Mixolydian mode): S R G m P D n S’ –

Asavari (=Aeolian mode): S R g m P d n S’

Bhairav= double harmonic: S r G m P d N S’ –

Marva: S r G M P D N S’ –

Purvi: S r G M P d N S’ –

Todi: S r g M P d N S’ –

A thāt must have seven tones out of the twelve tones [seven natural, four flat (Re, Ga, Dha, Ni), one sharp (Ma)]

It is very important that the tones must be in ascending sequence: Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni

A thāt, unlike a raga, does not have separate ascending and descending lines
(as most of you must be knowing that each raga has its own formation to make it separate from others)

A thāt has no emotional quality (which ragas, by definition, do have) (A that only lets you know the boundaries or the limits in which one emotional raga should remain)

We all know that Thāts are not sung but the ragas produced from the thāts are sung.

The Indian classical music is unique in many ways. It has vast canvas on which every mood of life can be painted. Each raga has its own time, and according to the lyrics the melody of the song is composed (sad or joyful mood).

Bilawal is the first basic of all the ten thaats. All the notes in the thaat are white or all in the natural scale. Bilawal as a raag is not sung these days however a small variation of the raag called Alhaiya Bilaval is very common. This is a morning raag and this is note worthy that many religious melodies are composed in this raga. its very easy to sing and even the person who has very little knowledge of music can easily cope with it. Since all note are natural it makes for the singers to sing it effortlessly. it has also been observed that my rhymes for kids are composed in this raga to make it very very easy for the kids to learn it. The most famous ragas in this Thatt are Deshkar, Hamsadhwani, Bihag, etc

The next thaat is Khamaj and it can be obtained by replacing the white Nishad of Bilawal by Komal Nishad. The raags of this thaat are (romantic) hence this raag is mostly used in the form of light classical thumris, tappas, horis, kajris etc. Some people still believe that the origin of this raga is China. Well it must have come from there through travelers or otherwise. The most famous ragas in this thaat are : Rageshree, Jhinjhoti, Des, Mishr Khamaj, Tilang, Tilak Kamod, Jaijaiwanti, Khambavati, Kalavati etc.
this raag is mostly rendered in the form of light classical thumris, tappas, horis, kajris etc

Kafi thaat makes use of the Komal Gandhar and Komal Nishad. So basically it adds Komal Gandhar to the Khamaj Thaat. raag Kafi is one of the oldest raags and its intervals are described as basic scale of the Natyashastra. Thus in ancient and medieval times, Kafi was considered as natural scale. Kafi is a late evening raag and said to convey the mood of spring time.

Raags in Kafi Thaat : Dhanashree, Dhani, Bahar, Bhimpalasi, Pilu, Megh Malhar, Bageshree, etc.

We shall discuss other Thatts in forthcoming Articles.

Some interesting Relevant Posts:
Indian Classical Music Theory
Indian Music Theory

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