Music theory mentions Kharaharapriya as a raga that can roughly be equated to the shadja grama, the primordial scale of the ancient texts. In spite of its indicated hoary past and its status as a major raga, Kharaharapriya is a relatively new entrant in the current scheme of things. In fact, Tyagaraja seems to have more or less created this raga, since his contemporary, Muthuswami Dikshitar, has not composed in this raga, but in Sri, which is the equivalent of Kharaharapriya in the mela system of Venkatamakhi, which Dikshitar followed; nor has Syama Sastri. However, Tyagaraja's compositions in Kharaharapriya, taken together, give a comprehensive picture of the raga.

Like Todi and Shankarabharanam, Kharaharapriya also has an uttaranga that mirrors the purvanga: sa-ri-ga-ma has the same structure as pa-dha-ni-sa. This produces beautiful phrases across the two halves of the octave, such as dha-ni-dha ri-ga-ri dha-ni-dha.

Given Kharaharapriya's position in the hierarchy of ragas, there is no dearth of popular compositions in the raga. Perhaps not surprisingly, most of them are Tyagaraja kritis: Chakkani Raja Maargamu, Nadachi Nadachi, Rama Neeyeda, Pakkala Nilabadi, and Rama Nee Samaanam Evaru. Other popular compositions are Senthil Aandavan, Appan Avathariththa (both Papanasam Sivan), and Okapari Kokapari (Annamacharya). There is also a composition of Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar, Moovaasai Konda Thirumaan - not very popular but none the less beautiful for that.

Kharaharapriya also has a wide enough presence in film music, and while some of the songs take the classical route, there are others that successfully integrate elements of pop and dance music, indicating the universality of the scale.

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