Kafi (raga)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Kafi (IAST: Kāfi) is a raga in Hindustani classical music. It corresponds to Kharaharapriya in Carnatic music.

Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande classified most ragas into ten thaats; Kafi thaat is one of them. The raga Kafi is the principal raga of its thaat. It is a more recent raga; according to Bhatkhande, the name of the raga first appears in the Raga Tarangini of Lochana Pandit, who lived in the Mithila district around the 15th Century CE.

Raga Kafi has a direct lineage with the folk music of India. Folk music in Tappa, Hori, Dadra, Kirtan and Bhajans from different parts of India have been composed in this raga.

Modern day[edit]

Nowadays, quite a few variations of Kafi exist. Contamination with vivadi swaras are judiciously used to increase the listening pleasure. This mixing has given rise to Mishra Kafi. Hence, a pure form of Kafi is seldom heard in recent performances.



Kafi is a sampoorna-sampoorna or heptatonic raga, with komal (lowered) Gandhar (g) and Nishad (n).


Sa Re ga Ma Pa Dha ni Sa

(ga and ni are komal swars)


Sa ni Dha Pa Ma ga Re Sa. (ga and ni komal)

Vadi & Samavadi[edit]

Pancham (Pa) is the vadi swara and Shadj (Sa) is the samavadi swara.


A typical improvisation of Kafi starts as nD,PmgR *, SS RR gg mm P, P m g R, g m P g - R.

The phrases below and termination in R are characteristic of the raga. S R g M P D n. S, RgMP, M P D (M)g


The typical chalan of the raga can be illustrated as follows:

S S R R g g M M P - - D M P g R R n D n P D M P S n D P M G R S.

M P D D n S - S R g R S N D S - S R S n D n D P M P D P g - R - R n D n P D M P S n D P M g R S

Organization & Relationships[edit]

Various distinguished ragas, such Bhimpalasi, Bageshree, Kafi Kanada, Bahar, and Brindabani Sarang are associated with this raga. Important tributaries of this raga include Sindhura, Barwa, Neelambari, and Pilu.


Time of Day to Perform[edit]



The raga is suitable to be performed during any season.


The principal rasa for this raga is sringara.

Important recordings[edit]


  • Hindustani Sangeet Paddhati and his concise commentary, A Comparative Study of Some of the Leading Music Systems of the 15th, 16, 17th, & 18th Centuries by Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande.