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Raga (Punjabi: ਰਾਗੁ) singular rag or raga, plural raga or ragas) is a complex structure of musical melody used in India and should not be confused with scales.

A raga is basically a set of rules of how to build a melody. It specifies a scale, as well as rules for movements up and down the scale, which notes should figure more and which notes should be used more sparingly, which notes take which ornamentation, which notes must be bent, which notes may be bent, phrases to be used, phrases to be avoided, and so on. The result is a framework that can be used to compose or improvise melodies in, so that melodies in a certain raga will always be recognisable yet allowing endless variation.

raga on the SikhiWiki