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A to Z Singing Traits of Rafi Sahab

By Vineet Kumar Bhatia

Mohd Rafi with Muhammad Ali

Mohd Rafi with Muhammad Ali

Accent: The diction of Rafi Sahab was so pure & clear that even a well versed person, having the command of his own language & words, would find it difficult to pronounce as efficiently & clear as  Rafi Sahab used to do. The Xenolalia of Rafi Sahab was so impressive & perfect that his every song in different languages were sung with such a grammatical perfection that it appears as if all these songs are sung in his own mother tongue.

Bass: Every singer has his own Bass. This is the least intonation of voice, which should be reasonably produced by the voice chord. This Bass is an essential part of melody. It has been observed that very few of male singers do possess this appreciable Bass. Those singers, who do not have appreciable Bass in their credits, have limitations in their singing. Because they are unable to sail across high to lower tone & vice –versa with ease. But Rafi Sahab had a very incredible Bass. That was the reason that he could able to sing a song like “O duniya ke Rakhwale” in Tar saptak tone & other song like “tumse kahun ik baat palon ki ——-halki—halki (Film-Heer Ranjha) in just whispering tone.

Class: The standard of singing of Rafi Sahab was of top class. The voice of him was comprised of all features essential for a class singing. Let the song was sung for A, B or C grades movies, the result was only perfection.

Dexterity: This was the quality of that great singer. Let the tune of the song be little meek in nature or so, Rafi Sahab’s art of Xesturgy (process of polishing) used to improve every thing.

Emotional elegance: The songs of Rafi Sahab are full of emotions with superb elegance. No singer in both male & female categories could sing with such an emotional elegance as Rafi Sahab could do. Let the song be of “Babul ki duwaen leti jaa” or “Ganga tera paani amrit” or “Teri ankhon ke siwai duniyan men”, the emotions were as per the requirement of the situations. No singer could sing these different moods songs with so much emotional elegance.

Fineness:  Rafi Sahab was the best initiator & the finest finisher. Let the song is required to be started with an AALAAP or end with a vigorous thump, he was always at the best.

Gorgeousness: Rafi Sahab’s singing was full of gorgeousness. He used to sing with so much ease & relaxed that his face used to be filled with innocent smile during singing. His cuteness used to give the feeling, as some angel had come on the earth for singing.

Harmoniousness: His voice was like a harmonium. As in the harmonium, the pressing of the particular sound button brings out the sound of that particular scale instantly. So was the case with the voice of Rafi Sahab. He could start & end with any scale instantly that to with an ease. Moreover, his voice was so flexible & adaptable that it can be easily mixed with his co-singers’ voice harmoniously, let it be a heavy voice of RD Buman (in song – Yamma yamma yeh khubsurat sama), kishore Kumar (in song –Mere dost kissa yeh kya ho gaya) or a thin voice of Lata (thousands of songs ).

Integrity: In true sense, Rafi Sahab was a complete singer. His integrated voice quality was the boon of God, which enchanted millions of people of the world. Whatever he sang became the mile stones for the generations. By listening to his songs, it appears that these (songs) are complete in all respect & there is no margin whatsoever, for any further improvisations.

Jollity (Liveliness & Cheerfulness): By listening to the voice of Rafi Sahab, it is felt that he has been performing a live show on the stage. His voice bears a lot of jollity & enthusiasm.  It is known by everyone that his voice used to enact.

Knowledgeability with knack: Rafi Sahab’s voice had a knack of singing. For both learners & researchers, he was the school of music. Still a large numbers of people learn lot of singing tricks from this Godly voice.

Longevity: The voice of Rafi Sahab is evergreen & imperishable. Still after his 32 years demise, we can see that magic of his enchanting voice is on increase.  This is so because he himself was so esthetical in terms of moral values that these values are reflected in his songs. Rafi Sahab’s voice will remain alive in this world till this universe is alive.

Melodious Modulation: Many singers can modulate theirs voice in their own set styles, but Rafi Sahab’s voice modulation bears no preset style. It has been noticed by many researchers that in each different stanza of a song, Rafi Sahab’s voice modulation used to be different. This unique quality was possessed by this wonderful singer only.

Naturality: Rafi Sahab’s voice was congenital, constitutional, intrinsic & innate in all respect. By listening to the songs of Rafi Sahab, we feel, as if we are under the influence of omnipotent power of God. Each word of the song are so naturally expressed that all the time, we find ourselves in the environment of calm & peace of nature.

On Pitch: We never heard of Rafi Sahab being in off pitch. His voice remained on pitch all the times in all respect of singing ranges & moods.

Perfection: Rafi Sahab always believed in perfection & flawlessness. To achieve this trait, he used to emphasize on RIYAZ. He was very laborious & arduous person. It is learnt that before going for the recordings, he used to do proper home work in the form of RIYAZ & rehearsals. Although he himself was the voice of God, yet he always considered himself like an ordinary person. He never took anything lightly, whenever the matter of singing arose. He left no stones unturned on his part for the betterment of the song & its quality.

Quality: The voice of Rafi Sahab was of highest quality, standard & endowment. He never compromised with the quality. It had been seen number of times that Rafi urged the music directors to re-record the song, which had not come up to his satisfaction level, though song as per the opinion of MD was perfect. To justify my statement, I would like to quote one incidence, as described by noted MD LP. He mentioned the recording incidence of song- Hui Sham Unka Khayal Aagiya – Film Mere Hamdam Mere Dost. LP Quoted” This song was perfectly sung by Rafi Sahab & recorded well. But Rafi Sahab was not satisfied with that. So he urged me to re-record the song. I was surprised for the moment. But soon I accepted his request & re-recorded the same song. This time Rafi Sahab sang with different modulation & song was improvised”.

Range: Rafi Sahab’s voice had an immense range. It can be said undisputedly that no singer (male or female) in the world had such a wide range of voice, as Rafi Sahab had. Let the song be a soft number like Kahin ek masoom nazuk si ladki (Film: Shankar Hussain) or song in tar saptak like “O duniya ke rakhwale (Film- Baiju- Bawara”) or mixture of high & low range like-“Akele Akele kahan jaa rahe ho” (Film- An evening in Paris), the range seems to be endless.

Sublime voice: Rafi Sahab voice is full of high spiritual, moral, & intellectual worth. Rafi Sahab sang each of the songs by bringing out its esthetical values. Religious songs like- Mahima Apram Paar Ram ki (Film-Pawan Putra Hanuman) or song like-Suno ramzan ki daastaan KO suno (film-Aalam- Aara) or song of patriotic philosophy-Hum laye hen toofaan se kashti (Film-Jagriti) or of Human philosophy like- Waqt se din aur raat (film-Waqt). All these songs are sung with utmost submission.

Tranquility: The songs of Rafi Sahab take us to the world of ataraxia, calm, composure, coolness, equanimity & imperturbability. & after reaching to that no one wants to return without tasting the essence of nectar or ambrosia…

Ultimate in all respect: Rafi Sahab’s voice is last & final hymns of singing. As described earlier that Rafi Sahab was the complete singer & could sing everything with an equal ease. He can be described as good song initiator with as good song finisher.

Versatility: Rafi Sahab has been considered as the most versatile singer of all the times. He has been considered to having sung most variety of songs with equal perfection.

Wholeness: The Rafi Sahab’s voice can be described as full of adequateness, ampleness, broadness, comprehensiveness & vastness.  This statement is not just exaggeration but well justified, when we listen this golden voice carefully, we find that voice moves from mole to a heap of compactness. In his songs we will  find the taste of all 56 Bhogs, feelings of all Nav- ras (9 moods) viz. Love- Song like ”Chudhavin Ka Chand ho”, Mirth- Song like ”Sar jo tera chakrai”, Pity or Tender- Song like ”Gareebon ki suno woh tumari sunegaa”, Anger or Wrath- Song like ”Gujren hen aaz ishk men hum us mukaam se” , Heroism-Ha agar dushman dushman, jamaanaa gam nahin”, Terror or Fear-Song like ”Raaz ki baat kah dun to jane mehfil men fir kya ho”, Astonishment or Surprise- Song like ”Tu ha yaa nahin Bhagwaan”, Tranquillity or Peace- Song like ”Man ke Khzane men maya hi Maya”, Disgust- Song like ”Mere dushman tu meri dosti ko tarse”,.”

Xylographical voice:  Rafi Sahab’s voice bears xylographical characteristics i.e. he could engrave anything on any musical surface with his magical voice. On any type of musical notes, he could bring out required feelings & emotions.

Youthfulness: This is yet another one of the most significant traits of Rafi Sahab’s voice. It is always noticed by the researchers & music lovers that Rafi Sahab’s voice was the voice which never created any kind of dullness & monotony, despite forever listening to his incredible voice. Instead, his voice created a kind of excitement, interest & pleasure in the minds of people concerned. The masti, which was created in the song ”Mere peron men ghungaru pah na de to (Film-Sangharsh) stands still to the later generation’s era songs like ”Men jat yamlaa, pagala, deevaana (Film-Pratigya)” & “ kaan men jhumkaa, chaal men thumkaa, kamar pe choti latke (Film-Sawan- Bhadon)”. Rafi Sahab’s voice always abbreviated the huge generations’ gap with his youthful voice.

Zestfulness: The voice of Rafi Sahab was vigorous and enthusiastic. Let it be the songs of any moods, we always have the craze to listen & that to the unlimited period.

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34 Blog Comments to “A to Z Singing Traits of Rafi Sahab”

  1. Ruban Dass says:

    In fact the voice of Rafi Sahab is the voice of God. Music, melody and eternity are the Real traits of the Voice quality of Rafi Sahab. I love Rafi Sahab.

  2. RUBAN DASS says:

    Rafi sahib a wonderful Muse of God.I love Rafi Sahib.

  3. RUBAN DASS says:

    Rafi Sahab a wonderful muse of God. He is always t

  4. Anonymous says:

    suno ramzan ki dasta toa suno rahmato ka bayya hai toa bayya to suno

  5. Praveen Kumar Sharma says:

    I think one of the best sad song of Rafi Saheb
    akele hai.n chale aao jahaa.N ho 2
    kahaa.N aavaaz de.n tumako kahaa.N ho
    akele hai.n chale aao …

    tumhe.n ham Dhuu.NDhate hai.n hame.n dil Dhuu.NDhataa hai 2
    na ab ma.nzil hai koii na koii raastaa hai
    akele hai.n chale aao …

    ye tanhaaii kaa aalam aur us par aapakaa Gam 2
    na jiite hai.n na marate bataao kyaa kare.n ham
    akele hai.n chale aao …

    Part 2

    akele hai.n chale aao jahaa.N ho 2
    kahaa.N aavaaz de.n tumako kahaa.N ho
    akele hai.n chale aao …

    merii aa.Nkho.n me.n aa.Nsuu mere lab pe hai.n aahe.n
    tumhe.n hii Dhuu.NDhatii hai.n merii viiraa.N nigaahe.n
    akele hai.n chale aao …

  6. Praveen Kumar Sharma says:

    nd sir where is mh treat ?

  7. Praveen Kumar Sharma says:

    wow…. sir … i m proud of u… great tribute to a great singer…

  8. Imran Rustam says:

    Great Article indeed!!

    great tribute to a great singer…

  9. Good day to all of the Rafi Age and best wishes for the season. (happy birthday Rafi Sahab)

    Mr. Vineet Kumar Bhatia, I happened to re-read your article on this page above and I looked at the picture of Rafi Sahab & Muhammad Ali and wondered why I did not notice this the first time.

    This is a picture of: The world’s Heavy-weight boxing champion & The world’s Heavy-weight SINGING champion.

    What a titanic combination: The fist punch of the west & The VOICE punch of the east. ( one champion inflicts it–the other soothes it) Thanks. soni

  10. vineet kumar bhatia says:

    In reference to the post no-24.
    My mobile no is-9717633412

  11. varun bhatia says:

    respected bhatiaji

    Can you tell me your address as well as ur contact no.


  12. vineet kumar bhatia says:

    In reference to the post no-5.
    Mr. Nadeem Sundoo sahab,
    Aadaab, thanks for your kind comments for my article.Your wish for me to carry out a deeper analysis of the features, with a camparison to other singers and with examples is very much desirable & I will try my best to fulfill your wish soon. But before this I would like from you all gentlemen that they should analyse themselves other singers with reference to the A-Z traits chart of Rafi Sahab. I feel that as Rafi Sahab is the ultimate & the right reference point, therefore all other singers (Males & Females) must be evaluated with this reference point only. I am sure that all other singers will fall within the range of 12-20 singing traits points. Please try to evaluate yourselves.
    with regards
    vineet Kumar Bhatia

  13. vineet kumar bhatia says:

    in reference to the post no-5.
    Mr. Nadeem Sundoo sahab,

  14. Ahamed Kutty says:

    i think lataji is lying over the issue of royalty.all singers
    except lataji and ashaji have very good respect on rafi
    saab.a divine personality like rafi saab cannot hurt a
    human being especially a lady like lataji by calling

    with utmost respect to all religions my humble opinion
    is that a muslim should be very careful to have for his
    income as well as waisting a single drop of
    rafi saab must have opposed the royalty because of
    when he received an amount for the recording of a
    song,he should not ask for more.

  15. Binu Nair says:

    Post 17.. Ahmed Kutty:

    Singing sensation who is the closest singer to come near to mohd rafi saaheb is anil bajpai.

    anil ji rocked cochin and 2000 people attended the musical evening. a day earlier he was in mumbai performing for the red cross society and mesmerised 2000 spectators.

    Anil bajpai will again be singing on 24th and 25th in mumbai and the programme is titled : Man tadpat rafi sunne ko.

    Anil ji hails from gwalior – the city of tansen . mohd rafi saaheb has given some amount of blessings to this simpleton singer.

    high notes, romantic songs and the mohd rafi flavour is heavily loaded in all of his renderings.

    and, thats why his musical shows are sold-outs. meanwhile in todays mumbai mirror there are announcements of five musicals in mumbai alone on the 24th – mohd rafi saahebs 88th birth anniversary.

    if the music is good, the heart will cry……….

    from the rafi foundaiton. mumbai

  16. khaja Aliuddin MD says:

    Janab Bhata Sahab,
    Sorry I forgot to give you my e-mail address.
    Dr. Khaja Aliuddin

  17. khaja Aliuddin MD says:

    Janab Bhatia Sahab, Salaam,
    I would appreciate, if you give me permission to print this article in English section of weekly Urdu Times published from Chicago on or before Rafi Sahab’s birthday.
    Dr. Khaja Aliuddin,

  18. Ahamed Kutty says:

    the grant art festival “Cochin Binaale” inaugurated by the
    kerala chief minister on 12.12.12 at 12 noon at cochin.
    yesterdays programme was “rafi night”.

  19. Binu Nair says:

    Vineet ji : Many thanks are due for the Original thinking you have done and penning those in a great essay of our godly singer mohd rafi.

    Keep writing the gems and we are eager to read those written with a different flavour.


    Permit me please to invite mohd rafi saheb lovers to a musical evening in mumbai.

    ON 24th at Rang Sharada, Bandra and on 25th at Yashwant Natya Mandir Dadar West

    on the occassion of rafi saahebs 88th birth anniversary.

    Imp…. All those Mohd Rafi lovers coming from outside the state will be given complimentary passes for the musical. this is a small gesture from our side.

    Pls see details on the masthead of

    regards and greetings to mohd rafi saaheb’s devotees.

    binu nair

  20. J.K. Bhagchandani says:

    Dear Shri Vineet Kumar Bhatia ji,

    Brilliant concept. Very craftily written. Please accept my compliments for this. The examples under the heading ‘Wholeness’ were very interesting.

    There is no doubt that Rafi saab was A to Z of playback singing. For every conceivable situation in life, there is a Rafi song to go with it. The standards, the benchmark he has set remain untouched by many a mile.

    I just hope that this article is read by the two sisters who, of late, have intensified their tirade against Rafi saab to such an extent that their jealousy is appearing too obvious. May be this article awakens their conscious, and they realize that how ‘intellectually dishonest’ they have been.

    -J.K. Bhagchandani

  21. dear bhatia sahab,
    thanks for this great article. all i can say west or south, east or west rafi sahab is the best. no one can be compared with rafi sahab in the whole universe.
    Rafi sahab zindabad. my dear rafians be ready for celebrating the birthday of our beloved rafi sahab the singing god on 24th Dec’12.
    regards, Birendra Singh Bisht

  22. Deepak Rahi says:

    Respected all Rafians,
    Of late i downloaded non filmy songs of rafi saheb. the songs include 2 english songs as well. “Although we hail” beautiful rendition. in addition “ishq mein kya kya mere junu” just outstanding. i kept lustening to all the songs (42 items) whole day and still desire to listen them. that is what we call “Rafi Magic”

  23. khaja Aliuddin MD says:

    Janab Bhatia Sahab,
    Bahut Khoob,unique, well researched and comprehensive article.
    Thanks and hearty congratulations.
    Dr. Khaja Aluddin

  24. Chitta Ranjan Deka says:

    Thanks a lot. So detailed approach and analysis of my favorite Rafi Saab. It requires lot of understanding to come up with such a brilliant analysis.

  25. K P Hassan says:

    Dear Vineetji,
    Please accept my heartiest congratulations for giving us a lovely article about our great singer mohd rafi saheb. The detailed research carried out by you on the voice quality of rafi saheb is fantastic and praiseworthy. I totally agree with your findings that there is no any singer in the world who can compare with rafi saheb. Being a rafian, i wish you all success to carry out more such researches on rafi saheb in future also.
    with regards

  26. Good day to all Rafians of the Rafi table and welcome to the Rafi age. A very beautiful article indeed Mr. Vineet Kumar Bhatia On Rafi’s voice character analysis. About this great singer, if there’s an encyclopedia of the many facets of his voice mastery that is yet to come to the fore, I look forward to you doing this research, and bringing it to us. His versatility extends beyond conventional infrastructural guidelines and exceeded ALL limitations, in other words, he re-structured and re-wrote the domain that is called :”Versatility”, he took it to the highest level., that is why today, as I keep on saying I refer to him as The reference standard, the benchmark by which all others will be evaluated. Rafi’s voice overshadows and takes precedence over all aspects of the movie. eg, the acting, background, the players, the scenery and many more. Let’s say a movie is showing, all well and good, but the moment his voice in a song comes on , everything about the movie takes second place, his voice dominates without parallel. you feel your senses immersed in total focus. his voice elevates the audiences to a higher level. To Mr. Asim Chattopadhyay , comment #3 “off pitch” in song from: Ram aur Shyam. as soon as I finished reading your comment, I stopped and got out my soundtrack of this movie and I played this song, because I really never noticed anything like this in the song. for the past 40 years. I just played this song 5 times and I still cannot pinpoint the off pitch. Is it possible that you can say exactly , where in the song this happened : is it in the chorus, or the first verse, the bridge verse (second verse) or the 3rd verse or the chorus after which verse. I really want to notice this too, like how you did, of course, I can learn something from you. Before I close, I want to remind us rafians of the Rafi age, that we are standing guard over this great singer, and do not pay attention to those who say negative things about him for they will be in their own class, as they become derelicts of the past. Thanks. soni of the rafi age.

  27. Ahamed Kutty says:

    Dear Bhatia ji,

    from the above 26 qualities of rafi saab, I think you can write
    26 articles by analyzing each topic.while reading your this
    write up i was dreaming not to have an end for the
    qualities of rafi saab.

    with best wishes.

  28. Nikhil says:

    Wow!!!! I am filled with an awe to read this incredible article. Indeed Rafi Sahab is a voice of God (and vice-versa). I know that 26 letters of the English language or characters in any other language are exhaustive to scale the praises of Rafi Sahab.
    Thanks for the great presentation, i wish u would continue to post such gems in future.

  29. Nadeem Sundoo says:

    Mr. Vineet Kumar Bhatia

    What a lovely article – I enjoyed reading it. You have obviously researched well and unlike me you do seem to know a lot about Rafi’s singing features.

    Because I myself do not understand these features from a technical point of view, I’m unable to do the reseach and analysis as you are doing. As every other Rafi fan I feel his greatness in his songs and personality, but cannot always understand it from a technical point of view. So, when I come apon an article like yours I long for more.

    Thus I have a request: Is it possible for you to make a deeper analysis of the features, with a camparison to other singers and with examples?

    Yes, I know that this is not a light task, but if you could do it for just some of the features, I’m sure that all the Rafi fans in the world would be delighted.

    But once again, Thanks for a nice article 🙂

  30. Binu Nair says:

    Rafi Saaheb is a National Treasure. No one can sing like him and he was selfless . A paragon of virtues which will visit this earth just once.

    hearing rafi saaheb and reading about him – takes you nearer to the gods. an angel sent on earth for all of us.

    a very nice article will be loved by all .

    thanks vineet ji for the wonderful research and write-up.

    from the rafi foundation, mumbai.

  31. I love this article. With due honour to the writer and with maximum respect for my Rafi Sahab, I would like to comment very humbly on the portion “On Pitch: We never heard of Rafi Sahab being in off pitch. His voice remained on pitch all the times in all respect of singing ranges & moods.” May I be permitted to refer to the song “AJI KI RAAT MERE DIL KI SALAMI LE LE” in the film “RAM AND SHYAM” (music director : Naushad Sahab), where to my surprise Rafi Sahab has been found to be off pitch for a moment, just for a moment. By saying this, I do not want to prove any odd thing about this proverbial and all-time-best male singer. Such off pitch happens simply due to overload. Otherwise what a tremendous pitched voice we hear from him. Ah, Rafi Sahab means “soor” only, pure soor. If I have hurt anyone by my comment, I beg pardon. I am a lover of Rafi Sahab too.

  32. r l arora says:

    Dear Mr.Vineet Kumar Bhatia

    You hv described our beloved Rafi Saab’s qualities in details and I hv the pleasure to thank you and I also fully agree with what you hv mentioned. I fully agree no singer whether male of female has and had such unique qualities. I thank you for your analysis and I fully agree with you.


    r l arora

  33. Deepak Rahi says:

    Dear Vineet Ji,
    An article full of knowledge. Heartiest congratulation. Rafi Saheb work is an endless subject of research and discussion. I just don’t anybody else have commanded such attention of masses after 32 years of his/her demise. Something unbelievable.

    with regrads.

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