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Natabhairavi (pronounced naṭhabhairavi) is a rāgam in Carnatic music (musical scale of South Indian classical music). It is the 20th melakarta rāgam in the 72 melakarta rāgam system. It corresponds to the Minor scale of western music system.

Natabhairavi corresponds to the Asavari thaat of Hindustani music.[1][2] In the Muthuswami Dikshitar school this rāgam is called Nārīrītigowla.[3] Natabhairavi is known to be a rāgam that incites feelings of grandeur and devotion in the listeners.

Structure and Lakshana[edit]

Natabhairavi scale with shadjam at C

It is the 2nd rāgam in the 4th chakra Veda. The mnemonic name is Veda-Sri. The mnemonic phrase is sa ri gi ma pa dha ni.[1] Its ārohaṇa-avarohaṇa structure is as follows (see swaras in Carnatic music for details on the notations used):

(this scale uses the notes chathusruthi rishabham, sadharana gandharam, shuddha madhyamam, shuddha dhaivatham, kaisiki nishadham)

It is a sampoorna rāgam - rāgam having all 7 swarams. It is the shuddha madhyamam equivalent of Shanmukhapriya, which is the 56th melakarta.

Asampurna Melakarta[edit]

Nārīrītigowla is the 20th Melakarta in the original list compiled by Venkatamakhin. The notes used in the scale are the same, but the scales have vakra prayoga (zig-zag usage of notes in the ascending and descending scale).[3]

Janya rāgams[edit]

Natabhairavi has a number of popular janya rāgams (derived scales) such as Bhairavi, Anandabhairavi, Saramati, Jaunpuri, Hindolam (sometimes Hindolam is also associated as a Janya of Hanumatodi) and Jayanthasree. See List of janya rāgams for a full list of Natabhairavi's janya rāgams.

Popular compositions[edit]

Sri Valli Devasena pathe is a popular composition in Natabhairavi, composed by Papanasam Sivan. Parulaseva by Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar is another well known composition in this rāgam. Upacaharamu jeseva, composed by Thyagaraja is also popular.

Muthuswami Dikshitar's composition Sri Neelotpalanayike is set to Nārīrītigowla.

Related rāgams[edit]

This section covers the theoretical and scientific aspect of this rāgam.

Natabhairavi's notes when shifted using Graha bhedam, yields 5 other major melakarta rāgams, namely, Kalyani, Sankarabharanam, Hanumatodi, Kharaharapriya and Harikambhoji. For further details and an illustration of Graha bhedam of this rāgam refer Graha bhedam on Sankarabharanam.

Even though Natabhairavi has quite evenly spaced swara sthanas (pitch positions, notes) like the other 5 in this group, it has not found as much importance in concerts. One is likely to find Kalyani, Todi, Sankarabharanam and Karaharapriya as the main ragam in concerts, more often than Natabhairavi by a big count.


  1. ^ a b Ragas in Carnatic music by Dr. S. Bhagyalekshmy, Pub. 1990, CBH Publications
  2. ^ Raganidhi by P. Subba Rao, Pub. 1964, The Music Academy of Madras
  3. ^ a b Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar Keertanaigal by Vidwan A Sundaram Iyer, Pub. 1989, Music Book Publishers, Mylapore, Chennai Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "dikshitar" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natabhairavi — Please support Wikipedia.
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80 news items

The Hindu
Thu, 07 Jun 2012 03:27:38 -0700

The 20th melakarta ragam of the Carnatic genre Natabhairavi finds its counterpart in Asaavari, the sixth thaat (parent raga) in Hindustani music scheme. Occurring in the second place in the Veda chakram (fourth corresponding to chaturveda), the ...

The Hindu

The Hindu
Thu, 10 Mar 2016 02:30:00 -0800

In the 1930s there was much discussion regarding the revival of 'Sadir,' as Bharatanatyam was then known, due to its association with the Devadasis, hereditary temple dancers. The art form was to be abolished, along with the artists, when activists E ...

The Hindu

The Hindu
Thu, 18 Feb 2016 03:34:31 -0800

Do you remember the Naturals of Singerpore? You know, the famous happy bunch who toured the world, performing their annual play “Solfege” with grand success at various venues? And then they ran into this theatre called the Dorian Mode, a place for ...

The Hindu

The Hindu
Wed, 04 Nov 2015 23:18:45 -0800

He started with 'Merusamana' in Mayamalavagowla, followed by the popular 'Sree Valli Devasenapathe' in raga Natabhairavi. 'Paramdhaam Avati' (Dharmavati) was a rare choice and the audience enjoyed the Dikshitar kriti with manodharma swaras.

The Hindu

The Hindu
Wed, 18 Nov 2015 23:41:15 -0800

Narasimha Mamava in Aarabhi of Swati Tirunal was a simple kirtana presentation before he went for his sub-main number Sri Valli Devasena Pathe in Natabhairavi of Papanasan Sivan. He presented ragalapana and swarakalpana too in this number.
The Hindu
Thu, 22 Oct 2015 03:00:29 -0700

After a soulful version of a Purandaradasa song the passionate RTP 'Ananda Natesa' in Natabhairavi was rendered with an adjunct of swaras leading to a rhythmic thani. 'Thillaithalam Endru Solla' in Bahudari was a delectable delivery imparting glory to ...

The Hindu

The Hindu
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 16:33:25 -0800

'Eppo Varuvaro' was given a spirited and plaintive rendition, as is Sandeep's wont, with the Natabhairavi janyas. The tillana in Madhyamavati was marked by a deft excursion along the Ni-Ri-Ma-Ni-Ri-Ma sequence. The modest reception that greeted the ...


Sat, 17 Oct 2015 05:53:18 -0700

Finally, how can one forget this pastmaster's formidable Sweety Nanna Jodi based on Natabhairavi raga? As has always been the case, what one heard in this song was the output of the genius of a man with a special vision unlike anyone else before, or after.

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