Raga Pilu

I was chatting to Sandipan, a fellow sarod player based in Sydney and we were discussing Shri Tejendra Narayan Majumdar (who has guided him) and his style. We got around to discussing some compositions and eventually onto Raga Pilu

Pilu (Piloo) is a light raga with a vast canvas to paint. Mishra Pilu allows tremendous scope for the artist to bring in melodic lines from other ragas.

Pilu belongs to the Kaafi thaat and uses both the Gandhars (Ga). However, in the Mishra (mixed) form, almost all notes are used.

One of the best Pilus on the sarod is by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan. I’ve taken his Teental composition and changed it a bit, however the key characteristics remain, in particular, the ascending antara leading up to the upper Sa from the 9th and use of some ekhara phrases.

Following this, I also remembered a Deepchandi gat (14 beats) popular with sitar players – it has been played by sitar players including Ustad Shahid Parvez:

Then we have a Pilu in Madhaylay Deepchandi (which has been played by Tejendra da), however, I conclude the piece very differently to him, and have essentially simplified the ending…

– I’ll upload the notations shortly.


4 thoughts on “Raga Pilu

  1. Hi Rahul,
    At the outset let me declare that your fascinating chronicles on the various aspects of sarod and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan in particular will someday prove to be definitively priceless toward the proper evaluation of Khan Sahabs contributions. I also admire your admiration of other sarod gharanas which shows the fact that a keen observer is never really biased but simply objective in his perceptions. I tried out some of Ali Akbars recordings of Zila Kafi. There are a few sparks of brilliance but they are too little to captivate my imagination. Further the bandishes and Masitkhani gats are far too convoluted for my interest as it appears that Ali Akbar simply focuses on one aspect of the gat and develops that in whatever direction he feels like. The results as you would know better than me vary immensely.
    Now onto Raaga Pilu. I post here a Youtube clip of Amjad Ali Khan in the early 90’s playing a fabulously crafted Pilu Jungla which morphs into Vilayat Khans famed Gara composition, then onto Inayat Khan’s wondrous Bihari Gat and then again to a vew heritage compositions in pure Pilu whci can be traced back to Ustad Mohammad Amir Khan (sarodiya). The opening Pilu Jungla is a pedigree composition of Ustad Haafiz Ali Khan. Have a look and give me your feedback:-

  2. Thanks for the link – I enjoyed this medley. Ustadji’s sound in the 90s was still in transition – a bit more of the old rababiya style of playing here, but the accuracy and control is top notch as always. Ustadji was always heavily influenced by Ud VK and Ud Amir Khan and his Pilu compositions are marvellous and explore the full canvas of the raga’s scope.

    • Yes, Pilu can “blend” into Kirwani, and some players do run the risk of doing so by employing similar passages in both, but the use of two gandhars sets Pilu apart to a large extent. Thanks, Rahul

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