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

1780–90; < Sanskrit rāga color, tone

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World English Dictionary
raga (ˈrɑːɡə)
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
[C18: from Sanskrit rāga tone, colour]

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Word Origin & History

1788, from Skt. raga-s "harmony, melody, mode in music," lit. "color, mood," related to rajyati "it is dyed."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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