Atul’s Song A Day- A choice collection of Hindi Film & Non-Film Songs

Ghar aaja morey raaja

Posted on: June 17, 2015

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Basics of Music part IV (playing swars on keyboard)
After a longish break, here is the fourth article on the series “Basics of Music”. In the first three articles, we looked at notes (swars) and rhythm (taal). Then we discussed the classification of “Raag” into various categories.

In this part, we will discuss another important topic- viz. how to create swars on a musical instrument.

Keyboard instruments (which are basically western instruments) are commonly used by beginners learning any kind of music, including Hindustani classical music. This is done by suitably mapping the keys of the musical instrument to Hindustani swars. Harmonium has been the traditional western keyboard instrument for this purpose. These days, piano , synthesisers etc etc are also used for this purpose.

We have introduced swars and saptak in the first part of this series. It was mentioned that Sa was the first swar in a saptak and from then on we move up to the higher notes. There are seven “Shuddh”, four “komal” and one ‘teevr” swar, that read Sa re Re ga Ga ma Ma Pa dha Dha ni Ni.

These swars can be played on musical instruments mentioned above.

The above music keyboard shows the layout of keyboard. They are denoted by letters like like CDEFG ABCDEFG ABCDEFG which are western “notes” associated with the white keys on the keyboard. So one can say that the western octave consists of CDEFGAB (one octave)followed by another CDEFGAB (higher octave). C D E F G A and B are pure notes in western classical music. They have their sharp variations for five notes while two notes (E and B) are invariants. These twelve notes in an octave(in ascending order) are C,C#,D,D#,E,F,F#,G,G#,A,A#,B.

C# stands for C sharp and it is the sharp, viz teevra version of C and so on.

Western music too can have “komal”, viz flat notes (though not used in western classical music) which are indicated as ♭. For example D♭ stands for D flat whose pitch is lower than pure D note whereas D# has its pitch higher than pure D note.

The black keys indicate the sharp/ flat notes. Thus the black key between C and D white keys produces C# note on pressing it while the next black key adjacent to it produces D# note. It must be kept in mind that the sharp version of a pure note is the same as the flat note of the next pure note. Thus C# key also represents D♭

In other words, white key represents pure notes, whereas black keys in between two white keys represent the corresponding “sharp/ flat” note.

It will be noticed that E and B (viz third and seventh note in western classical music) are non variant, whereas Hindustani classical music has the first and fifth swar (viz Sa and Pa) non variant swars. One can also notice that western classical music has five “Teevr” notes in addition to seven pure notes, whereas Hindustani classical music have four “komal” swars and only one “teevr” swar.

While playing our notes, we use a movable scale, which means that any white key on the keyboard can be used to denote our first swar “Sa”. That starting point becomes the root key of our octave and other swars of the octave are then defined with respect to this root. This note generated by the root key is called “Keynote”. Now you know how the often used term “keynote” came into usage. This term finds wide use in non musical fields, viz. board meetings etc where they have “Keynote Address” by an important person.

If C key (the leftmost key in the keyboard) is used as the keynote for our Hindustani classical music then it means that C white key=Sa, D white key =Re… etc etc.

In a tabular form, it would be

Keyboard key notation (western music notation) Hindustani music swar Remarks
C (white key) Sa octave begins
C# (black key) re
D (white key) Re
D# (black key) ga
E (white key) Ga
F (white key) ma
F# (black key) Ma
G (white key) Pa
G# (black key) dha
A (white key) Dha
A# (black key) ni
B (white key) Ni
C (white key) Sa’ Next octave begins here

One can also make a black key as the root, if one so decides.

This writeup, likes the earlier writeups in the series, has also become heavy duty for beginners. But let me assure readers that this series contains information that is vital to understand the basics of music and these information, once assimilated, will help us appreciate music better.

Here is a song from “Garam Coat”(1955). This song is sung by Lata. Majrooh Sultanpuri is the lyricist. Music is composed by Pt. Amarnath Chawla. The comments on this youtube link is full of “Knowledgeable” comments who hail this music director as the elder brother of Husnlal and Bhagatram. This Pt Amarnath Chawla was different from Pt Amarnath who was the elder brother of Husnlal and Bhagatram. Internet (including wikipedia) cannot differentiate between the two Amarnaths and provides highly incorrect information about the musician (s) called Pt Amarnath.

This song is picturised as a lullaby song (of sorts) on Nirupa Roy and a kid playing her son. The song is based on Raag Adana (a raag of Asawari thhaat).

Aaroha : S R m P d n S’
Avaroh : S’ d n P ; m P g m R S
Vadi : Sa
Samvadi : Pa
Jaati : Shadhav – Sampoorna
Varjit Swara – ga in Aaroh ( g, d, n are komal, other swars are shudhh)
Time for this raag-Raatri ka dwitiya prahar(Late night)



Song-Ghar aaja morey raaja (Garam Coat)(1955) Singer-Lata, Lyrics-Majrooh Sultanpuri, MD-Pt Amarnath Chawla


Ghar aaja morey raaja
more raajaa aaja aaja
ke tere bina chanda udaas phire
ghar aaja more raaja
more raaja aaja aaja

tera naam leke roothhe
kehna na maane mera
tera naam leke roothhe
kehna na maane mera
it ut leke doloon
chanda na soye tera
it ut leke doloon
chanda na soye tera
chanda na soye tera
ke tere bina chanda udaas phire
ghar aaja more raaja
more raaja aaja aaja

aaja re nanha tera
behle nahin behlaaye
aaja re nanha tera
behle nahin behlaaye
kumhlaaya mukhda haaye
mose na dekha jaaye
kumhlaaya mukhda haaye
mose na dekha jaaye
mose na dekha jaaye
ke tere bina chanda udaas phire
ghar aaja more raaja
more raaja aaja aaja

aaja re ab to aaja
mere bhi thake do naina
aaja re ab to aaja
mere bhi thake do naina
angna andhera chhaaya
gaya din aayi raina
angna andhera chhaaya
gaya din aayi raina
gaya din aayi raina
ke tere bina chanda udaas phire
ghar aaja more raaja
more raaja aaja aaja

3 Responses to "Ghar aaja morey raaja"

That was quite a revelation about the intricacies of keybord made easy. This will go a long way in understanding and playing other instruments as well. Keep it up. Thanks


This is the most elegant song in the raag Adana, The intricacies of this raaga (or for that any raga) are quite endless and depends on the artists mood, impression and style. This song is about as straightforward as it gets rendering this raga. The composer however could not resist the temptation of experimenting in the pakads however those are very minor and will be noticeable only to very experienced ears. But then, there are not many songs that can claim to be absolutely pure in their rendition.


Thanks for your comments on this song.


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