ASA, one of the thirty one ragas or musical measures into which compositions comprising the Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, except the Japu, are cast and in which they are meant to be recited and sung. This raga is important in the Sikh system of music, and is said to have developed from the tune of a folk ballad Tunde Asraje di Var prescribed as the musical key for singing the Sikh morning liturgy, Asa ki Var.Asavari and Asa Kafi are two subsidiaries of Asa employed in the Guru Granth Sahib. Also, more appropriately, it is assigned to the cold season and is meant to evoke a calm mystical mood.
Although in the concluding section of the Guru Granth Sahib called Ragamala (q.v.), it is described as a ragini, feminine subsidiary of the parent raga Megh, it is employed in the main text as a full fledged raga. By its structure and mood, it lends itself very well to rendering devotional songs and hymns. Komal nishad and Komal gandhar, made as vivadi, are employed in the movements of this raga. Asa is a crooked raga in that approaches to certain notes have to be made from a set position.
The melodic structure of the raga is as under:
That = Bilaval Jati = Aurav,
Sampuran Aroh = Sa Re Ma Pa Dha Ne, Pa Dha S`a
Avaroh = Sa Ne Dha Pa Ma Ga Re Ga Sa
Pakar = Sa Re Ma Pa Dha Pa, Ma Ga Re, Ga Re Ga Sa
Besides the Gurus Guru Nanak, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan, and Guru Tegh Bahadur Kabir, Namdev, Ravidas, Dhanna, and Farid have composed hymns in this musical measure contained in the Guru Granth Sahib.
1. Charan Singh, Sri Guru Grantha BaniBeura. Amritsar, 1860
2. Sundar Singh, Bhai, Gurmat Sangit. Amritsar, n.d.
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