Bhupalam (pronounced bhūpalam) is a rāgam in Carnatic music (musical scale of South Indian classical music). It is a pentatonic scale (audava rāgam or owdava rāgam). It is a janya rāgam (derived scale), as it does not have all the seven swaras (musical notes). It is also written as Bhoopalam.
It is considered an auspicious scale and a morning rāgam. In Tamil music, this scale is called Puranirmai pann and some thevarams are set to this scale. This rāgam is played in the mornings before opening the sanctum-sanctorum of temples, using nadaswaram. It is also used for chanting slokas, folks songs, Kathakali music and other rituals. The equivalent scale in Hindustani music is Bhupal Todi.
Structure and Lakshana
Bhupalam is a symmetric rāgam that does not contain madhyamam or nishādham. It is a symmetric pentatonic scale (audava-audava ragam in Carnatic music classification – audava meaning 'of 5'). Its ascending and descending scale (ārohaṇa-avarohaṇa structure) is as follows:
The notes used in this scale are shadjam, shuddha rishabham, sadharna gandharam, panchamam and shuddha dhaivatham, as per Carnatic music notation and terms for the swaras. Bhupalam is considered a janya rāgam of Hanumatodi, the 8th Melakarta rāgam, though it can be derived from 5 other melakarta rāgams by dropping both the madhyamam and nishādham.
Bhupalam rāgam lends itself for good elaboration and has a few compositions in both classical music and film music. Here are some popular songs composed in Bhupalam.
- Sadhu vibhatam (varnam) and other kritis, Nijadasanam prati and Samajendra composed by Swati Tirunal
- Annai Janaki by Arunachala Kavi
- Sadachaleshwaram by Muthuswami Dikshitar
This section covers the theoretical and scientific aspect of this rāgam.
Bhupalam's notes when shifted using Graha bhedham, yields another pentatonic rāgam, Gambhiranata. Graha bhedham is the step taken in keeping the relative note frequencies same, while shifting the shadjam to the next note in the rāgam. For more details and illustration of this concept refer Graha bhedham on Gambhiranata.
- Revagupti rāgam differs from Bhupalam only by the gāndhāram. It uses antara gāndhāram instead of sadharana gāndhāram and its ārohaṇa-avarohaṇa structure is S R1 G3 P D1 S : S D1 P G3 R1 S
- Bhauli rāgam uses an additional nishadam in descending scale, in comparison to Revagupti above. Its ārohaṇa-avarohaṇa structure is S R1 G3 P D1 S : S N3 D1 P G3 R1 S
- Karnataka Shuddha Saveri rāgam uses shuddha madhyamam in place of sadharana gandharam of Bhupalam. Its ārohaṇa-avarohaṇa structure is S R1 M1 P D1 S : S D1 P M1 R1 S
- Ragas in Carnatic music by Dr. S. Bhagyalekshmy, Pub. 1990, CBH Publications
- Raganidhi by P. Subba Rao, Pub. 1964, The Music Academy of Madras