Raga Pilu

Updated Jan 2023

I recently uploaded a video containing 8 compositions in Raag Pilu (Peelu)- or Mishra (mixed) Pilu to be more exact.

Here is the video:

Pilu is a “tune” based raag, which means the raag is instantly recognised by some key passages and not by note progression as such. 

It’s usually seen as a vehicle for light classical music (a dessert item after the main course of raag) and not used in Dhrupad, Dhamaar or Khayal 

Most compositions in Pilu are also in lighter taals such as Deepchandi, Keherva, Dadra, although I have played teentaal gats in this video

The compositions covered in this video are as follows with sources and notes: (all compositions are in 16 beat time cycle : Teentaal)

1. Pilu Jangla by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan. This is an old traditional composition and note the use of chikari in place of notes

2. Pilu by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan in his album “Music of Love”

3. Pilu Barwa: Barwa is an old affiliate of Pilu from the Kaafi thaat. A short composition with the signature P D N S progression which defines this raag.

4. One of the many compositions from Ustad Shahid Parvez. This is an unusual composition in that it goes up the octave. I have modified it from the original

5. This composition was created by Pt Buddhadev Dasgupta based on the Tagore Song “She din du jone” (that day we two). It takes the phrases and turns them into classical format

6. Pilu by Ustad Halim Jaffar Khan: Unique composition in that it starts from the lower octave Pa and has his distinctive style (Jaffarkhani baaj). Again, modified by me for sarod

7. Ustad Vilayat Khan’s composition which uses:

– no chikari in the sthayi 1st line

– one stroke chikari after each mini phrase in manjha (or Sthayi 2nd line)

– two stroke chikari after each phrase in the antara. 

It’s a challenging composition to keep on top of as it completely veers off the main teental theka and has to be carefully executed.

8. An adaptation of a fast composition by Ustad Shahid Parvez.

Technical discussion:

Scholars such as Pt Ramashreya Jha have opined that as it is tune based, there is no particular restriction of the Aaroh and Avroh

Classification:

Thaat: Kafi

Vadi: Komal Gandhar

 Komal Nishad:Samvadi

Jaati is Vakra (complex)

Time: Any time after 12 noon

Octaves: Mainly played in lower and middle octaves

Related Raags: Kafi, Bhimpalasi, Patdeep, Bhairavi, Jangla,Kirvani, Shivranjini, Barwa

 

 

Original Post from 2012: Some links may not work

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.

 

7 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.

    1. 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

  3. Nice…. Very nice….but I am interested on violin(Sri Lanka)….
    Can you send me a rag miyan Ki todi chotakyal gaths notations…..(specially I need dr.kalaramanath’s gaths)….
    If u it send me…we very gladness about u….

    Finally,best of luck ?.and god bless you!!!
    . Namasthe!
    ( I am a student in Sri Lanka.and I am learning biology.as well as north indian music is my hobby.specially I want to say,I am crazy about INDIAN MUSIC….exactly I believe it as a religion)

  4. Nice…. Very nice….but I am interested on violin(Sri Lanka)….
    Can you send me a rag miyan Ki todi chotakyal gaths notations…..(specially I need dr.kalaramanath’s gaths)….
    If u it send me…we very gladness about u….

    Finally,best of luck ?.and god bless you!!!
    . Namasthe!
    ( I am a student in Sri Lanka.and I am learning biology.as well as north indian music is my hobby.specially I want to say,I am crazy about INDIAN MUSIC….exactly I believe it as a religion)

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