The pakad or swarup, is a defining phrase or a characteristic pattern for a rag. This is often a particular way in which a rag moves; for instance the "Pa M'a Ga Ma Ga" is a tell-tale sign for Rag Bihag, or "Ni Re Ga M'a" is a telltale sign for Yaman. Often the pakad is a natural consequence of the notes of arohana / avarohana (ascending and descending structures). However, sometimes the pakad is unique and not implied by the notes of the arohana /avarohana. It is customary to enfold the pakad into the arohana / avarohana to make the ascending and desending structures more descriptive.
Sometimes the pakad involves a particular ornamentation. A good example is the peculiar andolan (slow shake) that is found in Rag Darbari Kannada. This particular andolan slowly oscillates around a komal Ga which is so low that it is almost a shuddha Re.
Not every rag has a clear pakad. For instance some peculiar rags may be defined simply by their modal characteristics. This seems to be a growing trend, especially for new rags which are coming into Hindustani sangeet from other sources.
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