Raag Madhuvanti is a creation of the sitar legend, Ustad Vilayat Khan. Comprised of the softer shades of Multani, an afternoon melody, this raga conveys romantic emotions. It was created sometime around the early 1940’s. The word ‘romantic’, however, is a broad canvas of emotions and in case of Madhuvanti, it conveys feelings of longing and pining. It highlights the subtle emotions between happiness and sadness that comprises romance.
This evocative rendition by Ramakant Gaikwad is set against the breathtaking landscape of Mulshi in Maharashtra, India. Gaikwad’s mellowed yet exuberant voice captures the romantic yearning of Madhuvanti. In the alap, he portrays its heart-wrenching flavours, pausing amply at teevra Ma (sharp 4th) and Pa (5th). He expands the upper octave fully, drawing upon the ecstasy and delicacy of the raga.
Gaikwad has an extraordinary voice – the bends, curly notes, gamaks and glides that he adds are delivered with whole-heartedness and submission. His taans display the flamboyance of the Patiala gharana but are extremely restrained and in-keeping with the mellowed personality of this raga.
The stunning surroundings of Mulshi along with the immersive rendition is mindful, meditative and healing.
Raag Madhumanti belongs to Todi thaat. Its jati is audav-sampurna, that is, it uses five notes in its ascent and all seven in its descent. It is a twilight raga, performed during the fleeting period of dusk. Its dominant note is Pa (5th) and the sub-dominant is Sa (1st). The arohana and avarohana of Madhuvanti are as follows:
N.S g m P N S’ (Western Notes: B C D# F# G B C’)
S’N D P m g R S (Western Notes: C B A F F# D# D C)
Both Multani and Madhuvanti have same ascending order. The difference lies in the descent wherein Madhuvanti deploys Shudh Rishabh and Dhaivat (pure 2nd and 6th) instead of Multani’s Ati-Komal Rishabh and Dhaivat. Moreover, Madhuvanti lays a lot of emphasis on its Rishabh while Multani’s Rishabh arrives fleetingly. Madhuvanti’s emotional appeal makes it very popular. Some gharana musicians also include Komal Nishaad (n) to enhance its beauty.
Ramakant Gaikwad (Patiala gharana)
Raag Madhuvanti, Thaat: Todi, Samay: dusk