Dynamic attributes for Hindustani raga system

I asked about that on a related Jira ticket but got no reply.

Currently there are dynamic attributes (rāga/tāla) for Carnatic music, but Hindustani music requires separate lists. How to proceed with this? I could compile the lists based on some releases/Wikipedia/etc. but those won’t be exhaustive.

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We got the original lists from the CompMusic project. It seems they also have a Hindustani list now (Dunya - Hindustani - select “Rags”). In fact, the works for those are also in MusicBrainz, but without a selected raga :slight_smile:

If you can take that list and give it to us in a new STYLE ticket, we should be able to look into it.

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BTW, I don’t think the works should be created for ragas per se. Raga is a building block and does not correspond to what is understood by work. Works should only be created for particular performances (recordings) where raga is involved. This is not ideal, but it is the only way of using the corresponding attributes.

IMO in the case of ragas the system should allow attaching attributes to recordings. Works do not make sense here.

Is it because most of raga performances are improvised? It reminds me about a previous topic:

No, I meant they created works for the music in their Hindustani collection but (unlike for the Carnatic one) they did not add the raga info to them :slight_smile:

Performance of a raga assumes improvisation, but this improvisation is restricted to a limited set of well-known patterns (let’s use this word for the sake of simplicity). I am not a musicologist, but one might say there is a canon here. This is very different from the improvisation as it comes from jazz music or Japanese improvised music. It is no coincidence that we have the term Hindustani classical music. Jazz can be considered as antagonistic to Western classical music.

The system behind Indian music is just different. It does not map well to the MB model of track-recording-work which was obviously built with European/Western/First World/use-the-word-you-like music in mind. For example, it does not make sense to have a work named “Raga Jog” as there will be only one recording of such a work. The recording is the work – if one still wants to use the concept of a work (which is also questionable).

All in all, if you want to understand better what raga is you can start with Wikipedia and raga.hu which provides listening examples.

FWIW, I suspect that this is not true in all cases - at the very least, I’m sure there’s western artists covering specific recorded improvisations which would probably still be the same work :slight_smile: In any case, we have plenty of works that have only been recorded once and probably won’t be recorded again, so I don’t feel this is a problem in itself.

I am talking only about classical Hindustani music here. It does not have the concept of raga as a work.

The problem is that the system does not communicate the meaning adequately. People come and see ragas as works and what is worse they start linking different performances of a raga to a single work with the same name. Which is basically nonsense. Unless the system will designate a very special type of a work for this. Still “work” is not appropriate word.

Oh, I think we were misunderstanding each other :slight_smile: I agree works shouldn’t be created for the ragas themselves - that’s why they’re just attributes that can be applied to works, same as key can be applied to western works.

Works should not be created for ragas at all, that is the point. This is a poor man’s way to overcome the deficiencies of MB when it comes to representing things more involved than popular Western music.

Seems like we’re all in agreement?


The statements quoted above are very misleading without the context. They are actually conflicting despite lexically equivalent.

The two different meanings are, correspondingly:

  1. There should be no such thing as a raga-related work, neither for a particular raga, nor for related performances. More adequate means are required to properly model classical Hindustani and Carnatic music.
  2. There should be no such thing as a work to represent a particular raga. There will be, however, a separate work for each performance where raga is involved (i.e. a work per recording).