Poorvang and Uttarang

The lower and upper regions of the octave

An octave is divided into two parts: The lower region is called Poorvang - an area between the tonic note (Shadaja) and the dominant note (Panchama), such as

  • Sa Re Ga Ma Pa

    The upper region is called Uttarang, between the dominant note (Panchama) and the upper tonic note (Tar Shadaja), as

  • Pa Dha Ni Sa(u)

    This is similar to lower and upper tetrachords. But now let me explain why these regions are so important in Raga performance and composition.

    Poorvang Precedence Ragas: These are the Ragas which are developed in the lower octave up to the dominant note of the middle octave. The Vadi note of such Ragas is also situated in the Poorvang region. For example in Raga Yaman, the Vadi note is the Third (Gandhar). This Raga is developed in the Poorvang region of the middle octave, and the region of the lower octave.

    Uttarang Precedence Ragas: These are Ragas developed from the dominant note (Panchama) upwards, including the upper octave (Tar Saptak). As a rule of thumb, Poorvang Ragas are performed after 12 noon and Uttarang Ragas come alive in the morning!

    By giving precedence, the main idea is to keep the development of the Raga in that specified area of the octave. This is not to say that the other octaves are completely discarded. To do so would create a severe limitation to complete melodic expansion and the creative process. Instead, expressive maneuvers and cadences are skillfully placed in the desired region as often as possible.

    Before actually proceeding to develop a Raga melody, it is important to verify the precedence area of that Raga. Thus the purity of the Raga can be maintained while ensuring that the shape and tonal patterns of the Raga remain distinctly clear in the mind of the creator and the listener alike.


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