Morning Serenity: Raga Bilaskhani Todi

This post deals with the exquisite morning raga Bilaskhani Todi
Morning ragas are timed just before sunrise (pre-dawn), at dawn, and then mid morning
Ragas which fall into this category are largely derived from the Bhairav group of ragas eg.
Bhairav, Ahir Bhairav, Basant Mukhari, Gunkali, Nat Bhairav, Ramkali, Vibhas, Bhatiyaar, etc.
Some other ragas of the morning are: Jaunpuri, Gaud Sarang, Komal Rishabh Asavari
The Todi group of ragas also provide mid morning ragas eg.
Milan Ki Todi, Gujari Todi, Bhupal Todi, Bilaskhani Todi, Desi (Desi Todi) etc.
Note that Desi Todi has nothing whatsoever to do with the Todi group of ragas.

 

Raga Bilaskhani Todi

Legend has it that Bilaskhan, the son of Tansen, composed this Todi variant, Upon Jansens demise, a dispute broke out as to who would be his successor. A contest was organised with all contenders singing next to Tansens body, with the aim of producing some kind of movement in it.

Apparently Bilaskhan sang his Todi variant and Tansen’s hand rose in blessing – anointing him his successor !
Bilaskhani Todi is a serene and fragile raga. With the same notes as that of Bhairavi, it can quickly disintegrate if the main emotion of the raag is not adhered to.
A lot of maestros have only played alaap in this raag
Bollywood adoption  of Bilaskhani Todi comes from the movie Lekin (1990), with the song Jhoothe Naina Bole.

 

Classical Treatment

 

Bilaskhani Todi has been unfortunately diluted in several classical performances. The serene but not austere main mood of the raga can be easily compromised by too much embellishment and even some eminent names have done so.
On the sarod, I talk about this (except from a recent concert) and present alaap and compositions  Note Raw Video/Audio

 

Technical

 

For those technically inclined, Bilaskhani Todi has the same notes as Bhairavi
Ascending: Aaroh: S r g M P d n S
Descending: Avro: S(upper) n d P M g R S
The key phrases which separate Bilaskhani Todi from Bhairavi are:
1 d (lower) S r g,….. n(lower) S r g,
  1. r g P….. d M r……g r S
  2. S r g P …..d  S (upper)…..r(upper) n d M r …. g r S