Raga Dhani – An afternoon introspection

Raga Dhani is a rather uncommon afternoon raga and is not very common on the sarod, although it’s structure lends itself very well to the instrument. Some experts believe it can be played any time of the day and night. I tend to favour the afternoon time cycle.

Dhani is an amalgam of Malkauns and Bhimpalasi – if not careful, the identity of the raga is masked by either of these major ragas – so it’s a very delicate balance.

There are two schools of thought on Dhani- the common one sees it as a Bhimpalasi flavoured raga, the other sees it as a Malkauns anchored scale.

Raga Dhani

Thaat: Kafi

Aaroh (Ascent): Sa g M P n S

Avroh (Descent): S n P M g (R) S

The Re in the descent is sparingly used.

I think of Dhani as a “pukar” raga (plaintive calls)-  this is where the Malkauns comes in.  In particular, the ascent to the M has to be deliberate in my opinion.

Since I did not get much material on Dhani, I had to “roll my own”. Most of the established material was too similar to Bhimpalasi – whereas I lean towards Malkauns.

First,  vilambit teental (point of emphasis is ga)


Secondly, a Rupak composition (point of emphasis shifted to Ma – ala Malkauns)


Lastly a drut teentaal (point of emphasis remains on Ma)

Notations are here in PDF format
As always, all omissions and errors are mine, and this is a one take recording on Mr Zoom H2 in my music room.

10 thoughts on “Raga Dhani – An afternoon introspection

  1. Excellent site you have here!

    After meeting Ustadji Amjad Ali Khansahib and hearing more of him in concert I have become a great fan of his style and music.

    More recently, I have been submerged in his treatment of Raag Shahana. I have only two records of his playing this amazing raag. The first (Prisoner Of Conscience) is one where he displays his technical brilliance; without a doubt. His clarity, speed and power is jaw dropping as well as the beauty of his playing and compositions.

    The second is a alap/jor only. Its quite interesting about the contrast from the earlier recording. His playing is extremely simple yet stunningly beautiful. All of his meends are quite simple but he inputs a unique element that really releases each phrase’s beauty.

    I was wondering if you could do a post about the Amjad Ali Khan gharana’s treatment of this raag? Thank you!

    1. Hello there
      Thanks for your comments. I completely agree with your comments re: Ustadji’s Shahana. I’ll cover that in my next post as best as I can.


      1. Your 3 Audio samples couldn’t be heard at all. They are for just 0 seconds. I played them again n again, nothing could be heard !!

  2. Thank you for your soulful rendering of Dhani – the compositions are very nice and do tend towards the Malkauns ang of this raga.

  3. Hello Sir,
    My name is Akash and I study at IIT Delhi in the electrical engineering department. I have learnt the sarod for two years in my earlier school. Recently
    I bought a sarod to satisfy my thirst for classical music. Would it be possible to learn playing and studying, simultaneously.
    Your website is tremendous tool for people like us. Thanks for taking so much effort in making and perfecting it. I usually felt depressed on seeing online
    guitar tutorials and failed to find a similar thing for sarod. Thanks once again…

    1. Hello Akash
      Thank you for your note.
      Hope you are enjoying your stay at IIT. I was in Nilgiri Hostel and Dr. Surendra Prasad, who’s now the Director was one of our professors in Elec at that time.
      Yes, it is possible to study and play music simultaeneously – I did it. If you are passionate about something, you will find the time for it.Also, you are within 2 kms of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan’s residence, although it might be a bit tricky getting him to teach you the sarod – but proximity to him should inspire you to do more riyaz !
      Best Wishes for your sarod and studies.



  4. Surely you must have seen this, if not


    jha saheb on tape when he talks about bhimpalasi, he also talks about dhaani at the end http://www.parrikar.org/music/bhimpalasi/jha_bhimpalasispeak.mp3

    “In the Western hemisphere only the African-American musicians have done something worthwhile with Dhani’s scale.”

    This amazes me
    All the bollywood songs that have g, dha, ni komal
    what raga they fall into?
    (basically minor chords in guitar – 1st 4th 5th)

    1. Not sure of the source of your comment re Western musicians. ..I don’t understand why they would even know what Dhani stands for
      Re Ragas in Bollywood- Bollywood doesn’t use structured ragas…it’s popular music after all, so it’s futile trying to map every Bollywood song to a raga…some are based on ragas, but that is not universally applicable…

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