Tilang is a raga in Indian classical music, that belongs to the Khamaj Thaat.
Raga Tilang has a mellow, semi-romantic and pleasing mood but with a hint of yearning. Tilang was used a lot in the Islamic Sufi tradition and in modern singing styles such as Thumri and Ghazal. Gurbani in this raga is sprinkled with Islamic vocabulary, further highlighting its Islamic Sufi origin. Tilang was used by Guru Nanak, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan, Guru Tegh Bahadur, Kabir and Namdev for a total of 20 hymns. Tilang is performed mostly at night.
This is a very sweet Raga and resembles the Carnatic Music Raga Hans-Shri. Mostly chota Khyal and Thumri sang in this raga. This is the twenty-ninth raga among the 60 raags present in Guru Granth Sahib ji. Tilang raga occurs in the Raagmala as a ragini of Hindol. Today, it belongs to the Khamaj thaat (raga classification system).
Tilang is full of the feeling of having tried hard to impress, but the feeling that the effort made has not been appreciated. However, the atmosphere is not of anger or upset, but of brooding, as the person you are trying to impress is very dear to you. This raga is mostly sung as a mid-scale raga but it's perfectly appropriate to use all three scales in this raag.
This raga has a Ni flat (ni komal) in the descent. The very popular Shabad: 'Sahib Mera Meharvaan' is written in this raga; the nature of the Bani is very much in keeping with the nature of Tilang.
Tilang is actually a Hindustani raga that belongs to the Khamaj Thaat. Carnatic music has adopted the raga as a Deshi raga. And in Carnatic music, it is considered a bhashanga janya raga of Harikambhoji which is the Carnatic equivalent of the Khamaj Thaat. While Harikambhoji has Kaisiki Nishadam, Tilang has Kakali Nishadam in its avarohanam and Kaisiki Nishadam in its avarohanam.
Tilang exudes positivity, happiness and enthusiasm. It can be used in concerts for classical pieces or the pieces sung towards the end of the concert. Its nature also makes it an apt raga for light classical pieces. The bhajan 'Prabho Ganapathe', the Agathiyar composition about Lord Ganesha in this raga.