Sur malhar (also called Surdasi malhar) is regarded as a combination of Sarang and Malhar (Shah [Malhar ke prakar] 1969: 53)
Tone material: S R m P D n N
Pa and high Sa are important notes. Dha features only in the descent. Natural Ni is used in the ascent while flat Ni is included in the descent. The general movement of the rag is around high Sa. In fact many compositions in this rag commence on middle Sa but soon take off to high Sa. R /P is a characteristic glide indicative of its Malhar association.
Some characteristic phrases:
m \ R N S /S (high Sa)
R m P n D P
Some musicians, especially from the dhrupad tradition, use flat Ga in this rag (ibid), however, this is not a common practice. When used, Ga features in a phrase- g m R S. The texts of vocal compositions are full of vivid descriptions of the rains. the composition presented here also depicts the same theme.
The ascent in Sur malhar is very similar to that of Brindavani sarang (vide). However, the phrase S-n D m P n D P in the descent makes it distinct from the latter.
Time: any time during the rainy season (ibid)
Performance by Mashkoor Ali Khan
Composition: chhota khayal
बादरवा बरसन को अाये
नन्ही नन्ही बूँदन गरज गरज
चहू अोर बिजरी चमकत
कोयल की कूक सुनत हूक उठत
कलना परत मनवा धडक पिया बिन
पपीहा पिया पिया करत
The song describes the rainy season; clouds ready to burst, raindrops, lightening, thunder, birds singing, and also a love-lorn maiden waiting for her lover to arrive and comfort her.
3-8: Performance opens with phrase typical to Sarang including Re, Ma and lower Ni. Note the glide – m R \N
14-20: Variation of the above including Pa. Note the phrase returning to lower Ni
23-25: Glide from middle to high Sa, characteristic of Sur malhar
31-39: Another typical movement – m P n D P, followed by P \ mR \N
44: Composition begins. Note the accentuated beat (sam) of the 16-beat rhythmic cycle coinciding with the high Sa
57: Second line
68-87: The first part of the composition is repeated
91: Second part of the composition (antara)
103: Concluding line of the composition
111: Elaborations using words of the composition (bol alap)
182: Gradually higher notes are included in the elaborations