Thoughts of experts on Mukhari-
Dr. V V Srivatsa (Introduction and historical background): Mukhari is one of the ancient, pristine ragas and was accorded, in days bygone, the status of a mela by musicologists like Tulajaji. We learn from texts like the Sangeeta Saramrita that the traditional name for this raga was ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œSuddha SadaritaÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢, which subsequently got modified as Mukhari, in common parlance. Reference to Mukhari as a Suddha mela did cause confusion and resulted in two ragas, namely, Suddha Mukhari and Mukhari. The raga in vogue today, was structurally enunciated by Shahaji and Tulajaji. Textual references to raga Mukhari are available in ancient treatises, ranging from the Sangeeta Makaranda to Sangeeta Ratnakara. Venkatamakhi refers to raga Mukhari as ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œPoorva-PrasiddhaÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢, i.e., well known even prior to his time. Copper plates found in the Tirumala temple precincts refer to two songs of Annamacharya in this raga, ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œAakali VelalaÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ and ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œNaanaati bratukuÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ (the second song is now rendered in raga Revati). Haridasa tradition holds that PurandaradasaÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s devaranamas ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œVasudeva NaamaavaliyaÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ and ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œPaalisamma muddu SaradeÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ were always rendered in raga Mukhari. Narayana TeerthaÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s Krishna Leela Tarangini shows that the Tarangam ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œKrishnam kalaya sakhiÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ was tuned to raga Mukhari.
Govindacharya defined this raga as Gandhara swara varjita (meaning a raga wherein the note Ga is absent) in the arohana and gave the scale as a vakra (zigzag) sa-ri-ma-pa-ni-da-Sa. The avarohana was sampoorna (containing all seven notes) and sequential too. Subbarama Dikshitar stated that the Nishada swara is also to be excluded in the arohana and that the ascent was without vakra. In Subbarama DikshitarÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s view, this raga is audava-sampoorna. Nevertheless, the majority and consensus view is that this raga is shadava-sampoorna and that GovindacharyaÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s portrayal is perfect.
Chitravina N Ravikiran (Melodic individuality): The constituent swaras of this raga are Chatusruti Rishabha, Sadharana Gandhara, Suddha Madhyama, Panchama, Chatusruti Dhaivata, Suddha Dhaivata and Kaisika Nishada. The presence of two Dhaivata swaras renders this a Bhashanga raga. The Chatusruti Dhaivata dominates the Arohana, especially in the prayoga pa-dha-Sa, while the Suddha Dhaivata is usually rendered in the Avarohana.
The presence of two Dhaivatas results in complications in classification. Undoubtedly, Bhairavi and Manji are proximate ragas, notwithstanding which, Mukhari has its own melodic identity. Mukhari is a raga known for its multi-faceted rasaanubhava. It is maligned as a raga, which exudes sorrow, as a soka rasa pradhana raga, which is factually and musicologically erroneous.
Mukhari has a strong poorvanga and uttaraanga, requiring correct emphasis of some swaras, to establish the melodic individuality. Stress is usually laid on Madhyama in prayogas like sa-ri-ma-ga-ri. The emphasis shifts to Rishabha in passages like pa-da-Sa-Ri. This warrants correct conception and proper emphasis by the performer. The raga mudra has been used by Muthuswami Dikshitar, in one of his compositions, ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œPahimam RatnachalanayakaÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢.
There is finite difference and distinction between Mukhari and other allied ragas like Huseni, Bhairavi and Salagabhairavi. (Ravikiran rendered briefly, some passages, to accentuate this distinction).
The scope of rasanubhava in this raga is quite wide although the dominant rasas can be Karuna and Soka rasa-s. (He referred to compositions of Tyagaraja to substantiate the view that Bhakti, Sringara and Shanta rasa-s can also be effectively portrayed in this raga.) Thus, this raga has melodic individuality.