In the classical music of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, a melodic framework for improvisation and composition. A raga is based on a scale with a given set of notes, a typical order in which they appear in melodies, and characteristic musical motifs. There are several hundred ragas in present use, and thousands are possible in theory. The concept of raga, introduced sometime before the 9th century, became influential throughout South Asia, and it remains central to the region's classical music. See also South Asian arts.
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