1. one of the melodic formulas of Hindu music having the melodic shape, rhythm, and ornamentation prescribed by tradition.

noun (in Indian music)

  1. any of several conventional patterns of melody and rhythm that form the basis for freely interpreted compositions. Each pattern is associated with different aspects of religious devotion
  2. a composition based on one of these patterns

1788, from Sanskrit raga-s “harmony, melody, mode in music,” literally “color, mood,” related to rajyati “it is dyed,” from PIE *reg- (3) “to dye” (cf. Greek rhegos “blanket, rug”).

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