Ustad Bismillah Khan (Urdu: استاد بسم اللہ خان صاحب; March 21, 1916 – August 21, 2006) was an Indian shehnai maestro. He was the third classical musician to be awarded the Bharat Ratna (in 2001), the highest civilian honour in India and gained worldwide acclaim for playing the shehnai for more than eight decades.
It is customary to expound this Raga in the first half of the night. It permits the use of all the seven notes in the scale. But the 3rd (Gandhar), 4th (Madhyam) and the 7th (Nishad0 notes are komal (flat) both in the ascent (Aroha) and the descent (Avaroha). Bismillah Khan in the initial exposition reveals the salient features of the Raga and gradually builds up a beautiful euphoneous structure on the foundation of a rhythm of 16 beats known as Teental.
This Raga is usually rendered towards the middle of the night. It completely drops the 5th (Pancham) note both in the ascent (Aroha) and the descent (Avaroha), the 2nd note (Rishabh) is Komal (flat), and the rest are sharp. It is characteristic of this Raga that its exposition is mostly confined to the upper half of the scale. This is known in the musical terminology as 'Uttarang-Pradhan'. It has a mood of urge and poignancy. Bismillah Khan's superb and flawless artistry casts a magic spell on the listeners right from the start. He winds up his brilliant performance after elaborating all the beautiful facets of the Raga. As on the other side, the rhythm is Teental, consisting of 16 beats (Matras).