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

Origin of raga

First recorded in 1780–90, raga is from the Sanskrit word rāga color, tone
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British Dictionary definitions for raga


noun (in Indian music)

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
a composition based on one of these patterns

Word Origin for raga

C18: from Sanskrit rāga tone, colour
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for raga

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").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper