Marwa Raag Description

Marwa is an hexatonic Indian raga; Pa (the fifth tone) is omitted. Marwa is also the name of the thaat.

Aroha and Avaroha

Arohana Ṇi re_ Ga Ma_ Dha Ni re# S’
In the Western scale this would roughly translate to: C C-sharp E F-sharp A B c

Avarohana re_ Ni Dha Ma_ Ga re Ṇ Ḍ S

The Ma is actually Ma Tivratara, which is a perfect fourth above re komal (which is 112 cents above Sa))

Vadi and Samvadi

The Vadi is komal Re, while the Samvadi is shuddh Dha. Notice that these do not form a perfect interval. So V.N.Paṭvardhan says “It is customary to
give Re and Dha as vādi and saṃvādi, but seen from the point of view of the śāstras (treatises) it is not possible for re and Dha to be saṃvādī (i.e.
consonant) to each other. For this reason, in our opinion it is proper to accept Dha as vādī and Ga as saṃvādī” On the other hand if Ga receives too
much emphasis, it would create the impression of raga Puriya

Pakad or Chalan

Sa is omitted within a taan; it may only be used at the end of a phrase and even then is used infrequently. Bhatkhande gives the pakad as Dha Mâ Ga
re, Ga Mâ Ga, re, Sa. Patwardan has shown the mukhya ang as re Ga Mâ Dha, Dha Mâ Ga re, but points out that the raga is also clearly indicated by: Ṇi
re Ga Mâ Dha, Dha Mâ Ga re Ṇi re Sa.[5]
The chalan given by Ruckert is: Ṇi Ḍha re__ Ṇi Ḍha Ṃâ Ṇi Ḍha Ṇi Ḍha Sa__ re’ Ga Mâ Dha__ Mâ Ni Dha Mâ Ga re__ Sa Ṇi Ḍha re Sa__

Organization & Relationships

Thaat: Marwa

Puriya and Sohini have the same tonal material. In Puriya Ni and specially Ga are emphasised.
Komal re of Marwa is slightly higher than komal re of Bhairavi
According to O.Thakur Pūrvā Kalyāṇa is Marwa with Pa and less emphasis on komal Re. R. Jha treats Bhaṭiya as a mixture of Marwa and Maand.
There is only one Author (B. Subba Rao) mentioning a raga Māravā Gaurī, thus Moutal does not consider this an own form. Aspects of Marwa are also
incorporated in Mali Gaura
For western listeners the tone material may feel strange. As the sixth is emphasised while the tonica is omitted it may feel like playing in A Major, while
the base tone is C (not C sharp). If the musician turns back to Sa at the end of a phrase it always comes like a surprise note.
Other ragas in thaat Marwa:

Lalit (although it is sometimes placed in Purvi thaat)
Bibhas (two other types of Bibhas (Vibhasa) are placed in Bhairav thaat or Purvi thaat)
Pancham (Hindol Pancham)
Purba (Purbya)
Jait (Jayat) (not to be confused with Jait Kalyan
Bhatiyar (Bhatyar, Bhatihar)
Bhankar (Bhakhar, Bhikhar)
Lalita Gauri (sometimes placed in Purvi-thaat)


Ni is not a leading note to Sa. Because Sa is omitted Ni leads to re or Dha (and then only to Sa), as in “Ḍ Ṇ r S” or “r Ṇ Ḍ S” .

Samay (Time)

Sunset 5:30 pm


Bor characterizes Marwa as “heroic”. In ragamala paintings Malav (see history) is often pictured as lovers walking towards the bed-chamber.
Marwa is also characterized as quiet, contemplative, representing gentle love. According to Kaufmann is the overall mood defined by the sunset in
India, which approaches fast and this “onrushing darkness awakes in many observers a feeling of anxiety and solemn expectation”. Puṇḍarika
Viṭṭhala describes as follows:” The king at war always worship Maravi, whose face shines like the moon and who has long tresses of hair. With moist
eyes, faintly smiling, she is adorned skillfully with sweet smelling flowers of different varieties. Her complexion gleams like gold; she is attired in red
and her eyes are like those of a fawn. She is the elder sister of Mewar. In Marwa Ni and Ga are sharp, SA is the graha and amsa and Ri and Dha are the

Historical Information

Marwa’s forerunners (Maru or Maruva) have different scales in the literature from the 16th century onwards. Pratap Singh (end of 18th century) writes
that Marwa is the same as the ancient Mālavā, and its melodic outline is very similar to today’s Marwa Also Jairazbhoy reports that Locana’s Mālavā
“may be the origin of modern Mārvā”

Important Recordings

Amir Khan, Ragas Marwa and Darbari, Odeon LP (long-playing record), ODEON-MOAE 103, later reissued by HMV as EMI-EALP1253
Ravi Shankar, “Ravi Shankar in New York”, Angel Records (July 18, 2000). ASIN: B00004U92S. Original Recording 1968.
Imrat Khan, “Raga Marwa”, Nimbus Records (1992), NI 5356 (recorded July 10, 1990)
Ali Akbar Khan, “Raag Marwa” Connoisseur Society US (1968)

Prahar4 (3 pm - 6 pm)
Important Anuvaadi
Tanpura TuningN
Other Characteristics
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