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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 natural 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

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

The Hindu

The Hindu
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 02:52:30 -0800

The next composition in Natabhairavi sounded like a normal RTP. The 'jhod' and 'jhala' on the guitar was an approximation of the tanam. Conversely, the flautist presented a regular tanam. The ragamalika in the pallavi featured, among others, Neelambari ...
The Hindu
Thu, 19 Feb 2015 05:07:30 -0800

While singing Papanasam Sivan's “Srivalli” in raga Natabhairavi and Dikshitar's “Kanjadalayatakshi” in Kamalamanohari, the sisters brought out the emotive contents of the lyrics to the fore. Tyagaraja's fast-paced “Bantureeti” in raga Hamsanadam added ...
The Hindu
Mon, 01 Dec 2014 04:10:31 -0800

He chose, in the style of temple bards, ragas such as Harikhambodhi, Atana, Natabhairavi, Sahana and so on. When we performed Sanskrit verses from texts such as the 'Krishnaleela Tarangini,' the core ideas were enhanced by the way it was sung, which in ...

Times of India

Times of India
Wed, 10 Dec 2014 10:33:45 -0800

The common man has, for long, sought to understand and enjoy the brilliance of classical music just like how a fortunate few do. However, for reasons more than one, their limited understanding of ragams and talams has made them consider the subject ...
The New Indian Express
Wed, 07 Jan 2015 11:18:45 -0800

In the end, the thillana in Raga Natabhairavi, composed by Veena Krishnamachary, brought out the rhythmic movements. The dance recital was sharp and precise, in addition to her sense of timing and footwork formation. Rarely does one come across such ...

The Hindu

The Hindu
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 10:44:53 -0800

'Astadikpalaka Kainkaryam', 'Bheri Tandavam' and 'Asthanam' were performed and as many as 20 ragas were rendered with Nadaswaram including Sriraga, Sankarabharanam, Natabhairavi, Mohana, Punnagavarali, Kalyani, Varali, Goula, Todi and several ...


Mon, 22 Sep 2014 08:33:27 -0700

Another raga I got introduced to courtesy U. Srinivas (and courtesy the same album Raga Sangamam), Amruthavaahini is a derivative of the raga Natabhairavi. The one I have shared is however from another performance. Patta patta Boota Boota (The Hindu ...
The Hindu
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 06:48:20 -0700

With Hrishikesh Badave's smooth voiced singing, the tarana in Natabhairavi and the concluding Meera bhajan in Bhairavi made for a proper end. Suresh Talwalkar's unbelievable padhant with the array of pakhawaj players demonstrated the musicality of this ...

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