Alhaiya bilaval is the most commonly performed variety of the large Bilaval group and hence it is often simply referred to as rag Bilaval. It is a major rag including all the seven notes but movements are not straightforward. It is a rather difficult rag to perform because some movements are also used by other rag-s.
Tone material: S R G m P D n N
Ma is omitted from the ascent, but is often used as in G m R G P. Flat Ni is used only in the descent, and always in between the two Dha as D n D P. There can be a slight oscillation on Ga and Dha in conjunction with Ma and flat Ni respectively. Ga and natural Ni are the important notes in this rag, but Pa and Sa are sustained as well.
Some characteristic phrases:
G~ R G /P
D~ n D \ P
G m R G P m G
The movements in this rag are often in the upper tetrachord (Thakur [Sangitanjali III-2] 1979: 73). The refrain of many traditional compositions such as the one presented here include a typical movement, m / n D P. Alhaiya bilaval is closely related to now almost extant rag Shuddha bilaval, which uses Ma in the ascent and does not include flat Ni.
Time: morning, well before noon (Bhatkhande [KPM I] 1979: 28)
Further listening: Mogubai Kurdikar ELRZ 17
Vilayat Khan ECsD 2772
Nissar Hussain Khan 7EPE 1242
Omkarnath Thakur’s recording of this rag (33ECK3303) comprises on one side a lecture (in Hindi) explaining the rag-s Shuddha bilaval and Alhaiya bilaval, while on the other side there is a performance of Alhaiya bilaval by the maestro.
Shuddha bilaval can be heard on a recording by Abdul Karim Khan (33ECX 3251) for comparison.
Recording by Ulhas Kashalkar
Performance by Manjiri Asanare
Composition: chhota khayal
दैंया कहाँ गैलो (गइलो)
ब्रिज के बसैंया
ना मोरे पंख
न पायल अौर पलना को
सुध को लेवैया
Oh my God, where has the one (Krishna) who resides in Brij (region around Mathura), vanished?
I neither have the wings nor the feet to run to look for him. I stand dazed and bereft of consciousness.
Tal: Tintal (slow tempo)
4-10: Performance commences on the lower natural Ni, which is an important note in this rag, and hence sustained with Dha in between
18-28: Ga, another important note in this rag is emphasised. Note the typical onset from Sa and the oscillations in conjunction with Ma
31-39: G~m R G P m G, one of the characteristic phrases in this rag
60-69: Pa is sustained. Note the preceding phrase – S G~R G P
74-76: The flat Ni between the two Dha-s
79-81: D \G, another characteristic phrase
105-110: The upper Ni is sustained in similar fashion as the lower Ni earlier, with Dha in between
110- 119: The upper Sa is held and is followed by a typical phrase – D~ n D P
146-150: Composition begins and the accentuated beat (sam) of the rhythmic cycle is on Ga. The refrain commences just after the 14th beat
208: Second half of the composition starting on the 16th beat of the rhythmic cycle. The melody includes the upper Ga and Ma
209: The composition ends & improvisations begin using the text of the composition (bol) and the syllable ‘aa’. Keeping with character of the rag movements are mainly in the middle octave, although occasionally going beyond in the high octave (333-339 & 358-370)
Performance by Ashwini Bhide
Composition: chhota khayal
कवन बटरियाँ गैलो माई
येहो बता माई
मैं गरवा गत माई चुरियाँ भईलवा
लेन गयी सौदा
अरे हटवारे इतनी घडीमें गैलो का बटरवा
Which way has he gone? Hey friend, please tell me. He embraced me and crept away. He took my soul and then vanished down the lane.
Tal: Sitarkhani (medium tempo)
4-9: Performance begins with a phrase in which Ga as one of the important notes in this rag is held. Note a typical onset from Sa
10-20: The next phrase too initially centers around the Ga with characteristic andol in conjunction with Ma, followed by a movement leading to Pa, which is sustained -G~ R G /P
21-30: Now the movement leads to the high Sa and descends down to Pa via the flat NI embedded between two Dha-s, typical for this rag
34-37: D \G, another characteristic phrase
38-39: A fast movement (murki) including Ga and Ma
54: Composition begins. Note a typical phrase – m /n D P in the refrain (mukhda) . The first line is presented several times with slight variation each time. The refrain commences either from the 9th beat
92: The second line of the composition followed by the third line (108) & return to the composition (116)
156: The first line of the second part of the composition (antara) approaching the high Sa
169: Followed by the second line & the concluding line (175). Note the movement reaching beyond the high Ga
198-208: Improvisations around Ga
220-248: Initially Pa is in focus. Note how the phrases ascend up to the flat Ni and descend down to Ga
255: In the next couple of cycles improvisations also include the lower Dha & flat Ni as well as the same notes in the middle octave
291-292: Again a fast movement (murki) including Ga and Ma similar to that around (38-39).
295-309: This is juxtaposed by similar movement including the natural Ni & Sa (295-296). Ni is held, followed by the high Sa. Now refrain from the second part of the composition is used to base the improvisations
318: Approaching the high Sa again
332-345: Yet another approach to the high Sa. Note the symmetric patterns – mGmG R G P & SNSN D N S. Also note the descent including the flat Ni embedded in between two Dha-s and final Ga with the typical movement – D \G
359: The movements include the high Re, Ga (372) & later even the the high Pa (between 393 & 394). Note the repeated use of refrain of the second part of the composition which is completed and brought back to the starting refrain (426)
Performance by Ulhas Kashalkar
Composition: chhota khayal
पिवन लागो मा
मद मद वारे वारे
लागी लगन सो करियो (डरियो) डरियो (बरियो)
पार सजन मैं सन
माँगत मधुवा मैं सन अब तो
परी वो मोरी मा
कलनिया नयन करा
In this composition the feeling of being in love is likened to being intoxicated by consuming intoxicants.
Tal: Tintal (fast tempo)
3-10: Like in the exposition by Ashwini Bhide, this performance too opens with Ga in focus
22-27: Dha in the lower octave oscillated with a touch of flat Ni
50-57: G m R G P, a characteristic movement to approach Pa
61-64: D \G, a typical descending movement
78: Composition is presented. It has a refrain which begins on the 10th beat of the 16 beat rhythmic cycle of Tintal. Similar to the two compositions presented in this rag by Manjiri Asnare and Ashwini Bhide, the refrain of this composition too has a typical ascending phrase m /n D P
92-106: The first line of the composition is repeated a couple of times with small variations
107: The second line
129-156: A couple of cycles of improvisation interspersed with the second line
164-189: Two more lines of the composition are presented to complete the first part (sthayi)
195-221: Improvisations using the words of the composition (bol). Note the oscillations on certain notes, also clearly heard.
227-248: Similar improvisations continue. Note a fast and long run of notes (tan) including notes up to high Ma (239-242)
254-264: The first line of the second part (antara) starting just after the 9th beat
264: Second line
272: Back to the first line of the composition
286-332: Again improvisations