A raga (Sanskrit rāga राग, Tamil irāgam இராகம், Telugu "Raagam" రాగం, Kannada "Raaga" ರಾಗ, Malayalam rāgam രാഗം literally "colour, hue" but also "beauty, melody"; also spelled raag, raaga, ragam) is one of the melodic modes used in Indian classical music.
A raga uses a series of five or more musical notes upon which a melody is constructed. However, the way the notes are approached and rendered in musical phrases and the mood they convey are more important in defining a raga than the notes themselves. In the Indian musical tradition, rāgas are associated with different times of the day, or with seasons. Indian classical music is always set in a rāga. Non-classical music such as popular Indian film songs and ghazals sometimes use rāgas in their compositions.
Joep Bor of the Rotterdam Conservatory of Music defined Raga as "tonal framework for composition and improvisation." Nazir Jairazbhoy, chairman of UCLA's department of ethnomusicology, characterized ragas as separated by scale, line of ascent and descent, transilience, emphasized notes and register, and intonation and ornaments.