Basant is a very old rag, regarded as one of the six principal rag-s used for rag classification (Tagore [Six Principal Rag-s] 1982).
Basant or Vasant is the spring, and the song texts in this rag often appropriately portrays the natural beauty of this joyful season (Bhatkhande [KPM IV] 1976: 372 & Thakur [Sangitanjali VI-3] 1962: 109).
Tone material: S r G m M P d N
Most of the melodic movements are in the upper tetrachord, the ascent often begins with sharp Ma, as in M d N S or M G M d S. In fact, many songs begin on high Sa, which is the predominant note in this rag besides Pa. The treatment accorded to natural Ma is very particular in Basant; this note only occurs in certain ascending passages like S/m and G m /N d P.
M dNS – N d P – MG M G
M d /S – N d P
S /m – G
Some of the old dhrupad compositions use natural Dha instead of flat Dha (ibid). Rag Purvi (vide) has the same tonal material as Basant. However, the ascent and the treatment of the two forms of Ma, natural and sharp, is quite different in each rag. Rag Paraj is very similar to Basant as well but it has a faster pace and not as serious character as Basant.
Time: late at night, any time during the spring season (ibid)
Performance by Padma Talwalkar
देरना देरना देरना देरना तननन
ना तन तुन्द्रे तनन तनन ता
तान दानी तदारे दारे (दान)
अोदन (उद न) तोम तोम तोम तनन नननन
नादिरदिर तन द्रितन द्रितन द्रितन तन
तनोम तनोम तोम तदारे दानी तदारे
नादिरदिर नादिरदिर, तुम्दिरदिर (तुंदिरदिर) तुम्दिरदिर
तन तुन्द्रे धेतलान तुम्दिरदिर (तुंदिरदिर) धेतलान तुम्दिरदिर दिरदिर दिरदिर
तकिट धिकीटतक धा धा धीं किडधानधा कत्तिन्धा क्डान किडनग तागदाधा
The words of this composition are linguistically meaningless; a characteristic feature of the genre of tarana. (For more, see ‘Genres’ under ‘Theory & Concepts’).
Tal: Tintal (fast tempo)
The initial phrases first stress the Ga (5-11) and then Pa (25 -28), which is sustained
30 – 37: This is followed by a phrase including the sharp Ma and flat Dha, woven around the Pa, returning to Ga.
52 – 58: Once again Ga is held, followed by phrases with Ma and Dha, bringing in focus the Pa ( 60 -72). Note how most phrases from Pa return to Ga with a typical phrase M \G
74: Ni is introduced and held
86: d /S – N d P – Typical phrase of Basant
96 – 100: Another typical phrase including natural Ma – S /m – G
110 – 128: Exploration continues to meander around the Pa, which is an important note in this rag
156: High Sa is introduced and the phrases thereafter bring the note in focus, sometimes juxtaposing the Pa. Note how most phrases approaching the high Sa commence on Ga or Ma
216: As most composition, this composition too begins around the high Sa. Rhythmically the refrain commences on the first beat itself
285: Having presented the first part of the composition (sthayi), melodic elaboration begins, mainly covering the upper part of the middle octave approaching the Sa
365: Ni is held and juxtaposed first with the sharp Ma and then with the lower Ni (octave below)
391: The tempo increases and the first part of the composition is repeated
432: The second part of the composition begins on the 9th beat of the tal cycle
463: Note the syllables (bol) of percussion instruments