28. Gurbaani Raag Kaanra

The modern name for this raga appears to be "Kanada", probably a mattcr of transliteration from its original name. Under the Kanara spelling this raga was prevalent in the classifications of 16th and 17th centuries. However, in one instance, Kanara and Kanada both appear in the same ragmala. This would indicate that at one time these were two distinctly different ragas. Kanara was used by Guru Ram Das and Guru Arjan for 69 hymns, a var, plus numerous slokas. In the Ragmala, Kanara is a putra of Dipak. The modern Kanada is one of a group of many Kanada ragas which are combinations of Kanada with other ragas; one of the most popular is Darbari Kanada classified under the Asavari thata. Assigned to the night hours, its mood is quiet and full of majesty. Darbari-Kanada is performed in slow tempo and is a popular concert form today. The details of this raga:

Aroh  Sa Re Ca, Ma Pa, Ni Sa

Avroh  Sa, Ni Pa, Ma Pa, Ga Ma Re Sa

Vadi  Pa

Samvadi  Sa


It is a not a very ancient raga. It became famous in the medieval historical period. Tansen, one of the most famous musician of Emperor Akbar, who was contemporary of Guru Amardas, Guru Ramdas and Guru Arjan Dev, used this raga in the court of Akbar, thus this raga became famous as Darbari (court) Kanra.

Kahn Singh Nabha has given 17 variations of this raga :

This raga is mentioned as a son of raga Deepak in the Ragamala listed at the end of Guru Granth Sahib.

The scale and notes of the raga are as follows :

Arohi (ascending scale) - sa re ga, ma pa, ni sa

Avrohi (descending scale) - sa ni pa, ma pa, ga ma re sa

The vadi (most popular) note is 'pa' and samvadi (second most popular) note is 'sa'.

This raga is sung in the first part of the night i.e., 6 p.m. 9 p.m. The season of its recitation is summer (grikham) i.e., during May - June. In Guru Granth Sahib it has hymns from pages 1294 - 1318 (25 pages).

The Composers

The composers of bani (hymns) in this raga are: