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Hamsadhvani (meaning Sound of Swans) also spelled as Hansadhwani, is a rāga in Carnatic music (musical scale of Carnatic tradition of Indian classical music). It is an audava rāgam (or owdava rāga, meaning pentatonic scale). It is a janya rāga (derived scale), as it does not have all the seven swaras (musical notes).

Hamsadhvani is also extensively used in Hindustani music and said to be borrowed into it from Carnatic music.[1] It was created by the Carnatic composer Ramaswami Dikshitar (1735–1817)[2] and brought into Hindustani music by Ustad Aman Ali Khan of the Bhendibazaar gharana.

Structure and Lakshana[edit]

Hamsadhvani scale with shadjam at C

Hamsadhvani does not contain madhyamam or dhaivatam. It is a pentatonic scale (audava-audava ragam[1][3] in Carnatic music classification – audava meaning 'of 5'). Its ārohaṇa-avarohaṇa structure (ascending and descending scale) is as follows (see swaras in Carnatic music for details on below notation and terms):


The notes used in this scale are shadjam, chatushruti rishabham, antara gandharam, panchamam and kakali nishadam.

Hamsadhvani may be considered to be a janya rāgam of Shankarabharanam, the 29th Melakarta rāgam, although it can also be considered to be derived from other melakarta rāgams, Sarasangi, Kalyani or Latangi, by dropping both madhyamam and dhaivatam. It is an elusive question as to whether Hamsadhvani is a janya of this or that melakarta. In Hindustani music it is associated with Bilaval thaat (equivalent of Shankarabharanam).


Hamsadhvani rāgam lends itself for elaboration and exploration and has many compositions in both classical music and film music. It is usually sung at the beginning of a performance.[1] There are many kritis (compositions) in praise of Lord Ganesha set in this musical scale.

Film Songs and Popular Compositions[edit]

  • "Vellai Pookal" from the movie "Kannathil Muthamittal"
  • "Sriranga Ranganathanin" from the movie "Mahanadi"
  • "Let me see the love" by "Colonial Cousins"

Related rāgas[edit]

Graha bhedham[edit]

Hamsadhvani's notes when shifted using Graha bhedam, yields another pentatonic rāgam, Nagasvaravali. Graha bhedam 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 bhedam on Hamsadhvani.

Scale similarities[edit]

  • Mohanam is a rāgam which has chatushruti dhaivatam in place of the nishadam. Structures are shown in second table.
  • Amritavarshini is a rāgam which has Prati Madhyamam in place of the rishabham. Structures are shown in first table.
  • Gambhiranata is a rāgam which has shuddha madhyamam in place of the rishabham. Structures are shown in first table.
  • Niroshta is a rāgam which has chatushruti dhaivatam in place of the panchamam. Structures are shown in second table.
Rāgam Śruti
Hamsadhvani C S R2 G3 P N3 S'
Amritavarshini C S G3 M2 P N3 S'
Gambhiranata C S G3 M1 P N3 S'
Rāgam Śruti
Hamsadhvani C S R2 G3 P - N3 S'
Mohanam C S R2 G3 P D2 - S'
Niroshta C S R2 G3 - D2 N3 S'

In Hindustani music[edit]

Vadi & Samavadi[edit]



Pakad or Chalan[edit]

Re Ga Re Ni Pa Sa Re Sa

The packad is the one where one can identify to which raga does the composition belongs.

Organization & Relationships[edit]

Thaat: Bilawal.


Second quarter of night.

Important Recordings[edit]

• “Ther Kondu Sendravan" by P Susheela in "Enakul Oruvan" (1984)


  1. ^ a b c Raganidhi by P. Subba Rao, Pub. 1964, The Music Academy of Madras
  2. ^ P.P.Narayanaswami on www.carnatica.net
  3. ^ Ragas in Carnatic music by Dr. S. Bhagyalekshmy, Pub. 1990, CBH Publications


Bor, Joep (ed). Rao, Suvarnalata; der Meer, Wim van; Harvey, Jane (co-authors) The Raga Guide: A Survey of 74 Hindustani Ragas. Zenith Media, London: 1999.

External links[edit]