Raga Kedar, also known as Kedara, is a Hindustani classical raga. Named after Lord Shiva, the raga occupies a high pedestal in Indian classical music. It is characterized by many melodious turns. This raga is the repetition of the swaras S and M. It is generally accepted that it displays much thermal energy and is regarded as the ragini of raga Deepak. While preceding from Shuddha Madhyam (m) to Pancham (P), a touch of Gandhar (G) or a smooth passage from Gandhar (G) to Pancham (P) expressed as m G P is the more common way of instant raga manifestation. The raga emerges from the Kalyan thaat. This raga is named after Lord Shiva and is loved by Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna played this raga on his flute and everyone in Gokul was mesmerized.
The meend from D to M via P is the heart of the raga. This phrase is repeated again and again. The G is used as a grace note in the transition from m to P. The movements in the raga from one swara to another are complicated, and the extent of use of the different swaras often depends on the singer. Kedar is one of five ragas that form the Kalyan Panchak or Panchya with Hameer, Gaud Sarang, Kamod, Chhayanat and Kedar. Kedar is an ancient raga, with different genres of classical songs, like khayals, thumris, dhrupads, as well as light classical songs based on it.
Although the contemporary raga is relatively non-controversial, it has an interesting history which impinges upon its contemporary performance. Whoever created Kedar was clearly blessed with a superior musical intelligence and a receptive heart that beat defenselessly to the powerful vibration of Onkarnaad. Music vidwans say that going by 17th century musical treatises, Kedar (which had a somewhat different structure in its medieval avatar) was one of the main ragas in the repertoire of Mughal musicians.
The contemporary Kedar would be unconvincing as a representation of the daunting Lord Shiva. Apparently, the melodic enhancements have progressively diluted the raga’s austere aural image, and allowed it to drift towards pronounced Lalitya – a romantic or sensual experience.
Writing in the first quarter of the 20th century, Bhatkhande provides detailed guidelines for the skilful handling of the svar enhancements that Kedar has 'recently' accepted.
According to the Guru Granth Sahib, raga Kedara expresses and makes the mind aware of the soul's true character. It conveys the emotions of honesty, integrity and truthfulness in a practical and caring way. This approach is memorable, so that the mind is made aware, without arousing cynicism.
Variants of Raga Kedar