I've been practicing to play song 'Har Ghadi Badal Rahi He'

from the movie 'Kal Ho Na Ho', I extracted notes/swaras of that music by hearing.

I got these notes/swaras combinations: C D E F G A A# B

8 notes / swaras in total, which is contrary to what I learnt; a song/music cannot exceed 7 notes.

Side note: I searched over Internet for notations as well, many websites had wrote 8 notes.

How is that possible [8 notes]? Genuinely looking for answers.

Thank you.

  • 4
    Who told you "a song/music cannot exceed 7 notes."? That's not correct at all. – Dom May 9 '17 at 18:40
  • This song has a chord progression. Already it's not likely to follow raags strictly just based on that alone; raags are really scales that you sing over a fixed drone – Some_Guy May 11 '17 at 15:21

In Indian classical music, every Raag's Aroh and Avroh (ascending and Descending) must not contain less than five or more than 7 notes. This rule defines the Jati of a Raag. There are three main Jaties (Categories) of Indian Raags:

  1. Heptatonic or Sampooran or all seven notes
  2. Hexatonic or Chhadav or 6 notes
  3. Pentatonic or Audav or 5 notes

However songs do not have to strictly follow the grammar of Raags. Also most raag based songs do not comply with every aspects of the raag.

Reference: http://www.ragopedia.com/raga/jati.html

  • 1
    It is only a good rule of thumb that a ragam must have between five and seven notes in its arohanam and avarohanam, but that is not strictly necessary. There are many legitimate ragams that employ more or less notes. – user38256 Jan 15 '20 at 10:17

Okay so according to the notes you said, basically there are two 7ths in the scale right? A and A#? One is the minor seventh and the other is the major seventh respectively. This corresponds to having two "Ni's" in the swaras. So this is a fun aspect of some ragas where on ascension, they would use different notes like in this one.. On the ascent it's the major seventh (Pure Ni) and on the descent they would use the minor seventh (Komal Ni). This is the Raga Khamaj.. Even the song 'Mitwa' is in Raga Khamaj. You can notice it in the chorus when he sings "Mi-thu-wa" it is (P-N-S) (5th, maj7th, octave) and the next line it is "Ka-he-dhad" it is (P-n-n..) (5th, min7th, min7th).. Hope this makes sense. Basically, this song uses both the A and A# like in Raga Khamaj for flavour and variety and it's completely possible. Major seventh is used on the ascent and on the descent minor seventh is used.


It is possible for a song/music to exceed 7 notes/swaras. Because in total there are 12 notes/swaras in music (viz. Sa, Komal Re, Re, Komal Ga, Ga, Ma, Tivra/Kori Ma, Pa, Komal Dha, Dha, Komal Ni and Ni). Yaman Kalyan is a good example of such a Raga, where more than 7, i.e. 8 notes/swaras (viz. Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Komal Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni) are used, and Bhairavi is a Raga where all the 12 notes/swaras are used.

But what you have learnt, that a song/music cannot exceed 7 notes is also not wrong. Because according to some, as the komal Re, Komal Ga, Komal Dha, Komal Ni and tivra/kori Ma are derived from their own respective Shuddha swaras/notes so, they are not individual notes/swaras but are a part of their own respective Suddha swaras/notes and they don't count them.

The conclusion is that both the theories are correct. What you have learnt is even correct and what others might have learnt is also correct.


Many types of keys and modes, particularly in the Western musical tradition, are defined as 7 notes. There are still many other keys with more or less notes.

Additionally, much — if not most — music in those 7-note keys uses all 7 of those notes plus accidentals (i.e., sharped/flattened versions of those notes). This is common and violates no hard rules, and very few made-up ones.

Keys are only a guideline or basis, and should be completely ignored (if the composer wishes) in favor of what sounds good or accomplishes the composer's intent.


I am not expert in Indian classical music, but I understand there are rules for constructing a Raag. But is your film song classical Indian music? It sounds to me like contemporary international pop, with infulences from Indian classical. So it can do whatever it likes!

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