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Karnatik Music

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UNDERSTANDING KARNATIK MUSIC

UNDERSTANDING KARNATIK MUSIC

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  • 1. 1 UNDERSTANDING KARNATIK CLASSICAL MUSIC BY PRABIR DATTA
  • 2. 2 This Compilation Document Is Dedicated To Shakuntala, Anindita, Tina, Abhishek, Pradipta & My Other Family Members, Relatives, Friends, Aquaintances And All Classical Music Lovers Of India & Abroad & LATE NOBEL LAURATE RABINDRANATH TAGORE AT HIS 150TH BIRTH ANNIVERSARY YEAR
  • 3. 3 PREFACE Earlier I published 2(two) compendiums-UNDERSTANDING INDIAN CLASSICAL MUSIC and MUSIC THERAPY—in the web.Those two documents gave me inspiration and daring courage to compile this volume on Karnatik Classical Music.This document does not need any introduction.This is itself a self explanatory and a compilation document on Karnatik Classical Music & Tala.Many of my friends and relatives asked me why I am compiling this document with so much of strain and pain at this age.I am running 63(sixty three) years.I am also engaged in my Engineering Consultancy work & that is why this work is delayed.I am collecting the materials for more than last 20 to 25 years or may be more,I don’t remember.My personal feeling is that it may not be mandatory for anyone of any profession,that he or she must be a renowned person or a performer of the classical music and belong to the same community.He or she may be a good& avid listener,learner,reader,collector&so on.He or she may understand the music in his/her own way of learning,grasping,updating self,diligent reading,listening to great maestros etc. I took up this work in the same light.After scruitinising a number of course study materials,I observed that the published books cover mainly the college and university syllabus,which contain a few common ragas,raginis& even talas& those are not always very illustrative and complete in nature.All are lying scattered through in a number of literatures& even in the form of manuscripts.I had to search extensively in libraries,acquaintances,websites of Indian and foreign origins.I also travelled extensively across the length&breadth of Indian territory and met many not so famous musical personalities.I have no hesitation to express the amount of help and inputs I received from these gentlemen/ladies in the southern part of India & without their help and cooperation,this compendium would have been incomplete.My sincere thanks to them.I have enlarged my collection with the assistance from my European and American friends. Also,it is very difficult to get hold of the renowned people in the community due to their commitments&paucity of time,to get some of my queries answered.I could not.Everything,I had to find out of my own interest.While carrying with the work,my personal experience is that though Indian performers are the best in the world for Indian classical music,the research work carried out and the data& information maintained for Indian classical music, remains far better,accessible&scientific in the foreign countries than that in India. Still,one question remains—Why I took up this task? A bit of explanation and background is necessary,I feel. I am extremely fortunate and blessed for being born in a joint family full of musical talents.Revered Late Nikunja Behari Dutta of Baje Shibpur,Howrah,West Bengal, India,was a renowned Classical& Tappa singer in his time.It was said that he could play all the instruments related to Indian classical music.His name was associated with respected late Kalipada Pathak,the great Bangla tappa singer. He was the uncle of my late father-Prabhakar Dutta.Revered Late Baroda Kanta Dutta of our family was also a renowned Pakhwaji during his time.He was also another uncle of my father.My grand father,revered late Manmatha Nath Dutta,was having very sweet voice and under training with his brothers,he sang a few very good songs.He died at a very early age & my father had to stay with his maternal uncles Boses at Jhamapukur area.There my father learnt classical vocal as a pupil of Revered late Sachin Das Motilal.He was also in close association with Revered late Murari Dutta and Bibhuti Dutta.But for his social and family commitments& responsibilities,he had to join service and after about 15 years of learning classical music,he could not take the music much forward for himself.But even at old age also, he used to sing for his own enjoyment and for the family members only but not for earning.I am also blessed with the fact that,one of my aunt(PISHIMA) Smt.Uttara Devi alias Uma Ghosh was a regular artist for Kirtans in the All India Radio,Calcutta(now AKASHBANI,KOLKATA) & she was a very renowned Kirtan singer of her time.My another aunt was a short span singer in the AIR,Calcutta-Smt.Sunanda Devi alias Aparajita Ghosh,who could not continue for long due to commitments in the family.All the family members, mentioned above,had the distinction of recording their songs at the PATHEPHONE CO.,GRAMOPHONE CO.,HINDUSTAN RECORDING CO.etc.We had a few of them in our collection but some of the records had been taken on loan by some persons but never returned back and majority of the recordings had been spoiled by the passage of time.There were others in our family
  • 4. 4 also,who had beautiful GOD gifted voices and knowledges of classical music but did not care much about their genius.So,for us,the kids in the family,music was not the cup of tea and we had chosen different professions for bread earning.But,we,from our very childhood,were blessed to get the rare opportunity to hear beautiful songs of all types,from morning to night,at our home.Even our domestic help,sometimes in the morning, during cleaning the utensils,could sing a line or two of”Guru Bina Kaise Guna Gabe”or”Phula Rahi Belaria”etc.At times,we used to accompany our seniors to attend musical soirees,specially classical.This scenario has given us a deep insight,inclination&interest in Indian Classical.Though I am not a so called performer,yet I can identify good performances and love to hear great maestros as well as present Ustads&Pandits of the class of music. It is my passion and a no. of good collection keep me busy in listening to them. I tried to compile a kind of writeup,which will be easily understandable about— HOW,WHY,WHEN,WHAT—of Indian classical music for the commoners,the theory and the science behind it.Deliberately,the chapterisation has not been made so that this document remains a seamless reading material for one and all. While making this compilation,I thought that when I am compiling something,let me explore into some more areas and I really drowned into the deep sea of unknown depth.Therefore,to cut short,I stopped somewhere in between, where I don’t know.I could be able to gather only 7000(seven thousand) nos Ragas. Due to paucity of time & reducing energy level,It could not be possible to incorporate all those 7000 ragas.But,all the 7000 items are in my databank&record.When I shall get sufficient time,I intend to put all of them in this single collection.Any body interested may contact me,if need so arises. I enjoyed full support from my family members all through in completing this compilation document,adjusting with the high and lows of my temperament. If this document serves the purpose of easy understanding of the subject for commoners and increase the population of Indian Classical Music lovers and audience,then I shall feel greatly accomplished.This document will be continually revised with the help of corrective suggestions from one and all.Any discrepancy found in this document may please be intimated for which I shall remain ever grateful to the critics and music lovers. I am really fortunate to complete the document in the 150th birth anniversary year of the great poet RABINDRA NATH TAGORE,without whom We can’t live and move. This document is primarily dedicated to his memory. Hyderabad/Bangalore/Kolkata PRABIR DATTA 02/05/2010 Mobile No.-- 09903886778// E mail:datta.pk2003@gmail.com
  • 5. 5
  • 6. 6 INTRODUCTION Karnatic sangeet, (Karnatik Sangit) is the south Indian system of music. It has a rich history and a very sophisticated theoretical system. The performers and composers have, gained a world class reputation by singing and playing instruments such as veena (vina), gottuvadyam, violin, and mridangam. GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION Karnatic Sangeet is found in the south Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnatica. These states are known for their strong presentation of Dravidian culture.
  • 7. 7 RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HINDUSTANI AND KARNATIC SANGEET The reasons for the differentiation between North, and South Indian music is not clear. The generally held belief is that North Indian music evolved along different lines due to an increased exposure to the Islamic world. This results from nearly 800 years of Islamic rule over northern India. Unfortunately, evidence suggests that this answer is a gross over- simplification. For instance, Kerala has an extremely large Muslim population, but virtually no identification with north Indian music. By the same token, the Islamic influence over Orissa was negligible, yet the artistic forms are clearly identifiable as Hindustani. Although there is a poor correlation between the geographical distribution of Hindus / Muslims and the two musical systems; there is an almost exact correlation between the Indo-European/Dravidian cultures and the two musical systems. Therefore, we come to the politically uncomfortable, yet inescapable conclusion that the differences between North and South Indian music does not represent a differentiation caused by Islamic influence, but instead represents a continuation of fundamental cultural differences. HISTORY OF KARNATIC SANGEET We can begin our discussion of the history of Karnatic Sangeet with Purandardas (1480-1564). He is considered to be the father of Karnatic Sangeet. He is given credit for the codification of the method of education, and is also credited with several thousand songs. Venkat Mukhi Swami (17th century) is the grand theorist of Karnatic music. He was the one who developed the melakarta system. This is the system for classifying south Indian rags. Karnatic music really acquired its present form in the 18th century. It was during this period that the "trinity" of Karnatic music, Thyagaraja, Shamashastri, and Muthuswami Dikshitar composed their famous compositions. In addition to our "trinity". Numerous other musicians and composers enriched this tradition. Some notable personalities were; Papanasam Shivan, Gopala Krishna Bharati, Swati Tirunal, Mysore Vasudevachar, Narayan Tirtha, Uttukadu Venkatasubbair, Arunagiri Nathar, and Annamacharya.
  • 8. 8 KARNATIC MUSIC THEORY Karnatic music has a very highly developed theoretical system. It is based upon a complex system of ragam (rag) and thalam (tal). These describe the intricacies of the melodic and rhythmic forms respectively. The melodic foundation is the ragam (rag). Ragam (rag) is basically the scale. The seven notes of the scale are Sa Ri Ga Ma Pa Dha and Ni. However, unlike a simple scale there are certain melodic restrictions and obligations. Each ragam (rag) has a particular way that it moves from note to note. The ragams are categorised into various modes. These are referred to as mela, and there are 72 in number. The mela are conceptually similar to the thats of North Indian music. There is however, a major difference. South Indian scales allow chromatic forms that are not allowed in Hindustani sangeet. For instance it is perfectly acceptable for the first three notes (i.e., Sa Re Ga to all be roughly one semitone apart. It is these permissible forms which allow there to be so many mela. The tal (thalam) is the rhythmic foundation to the system. The south Indian tals are defined by a system of clapping and waving, while this is much less important in the north. North Indian musicians define their tals by their theka. Nomenclature is one of the biggest differences between North and South Indian music. It is normal for a particular rag or tal to be called one thing in the North and something totally different in the South. It is also common for the same name to be applied to very different rags and tals. It is theses differences in nomenclature that have made any theoretical reconciliation difficult. PERFORMANCE Vocal music forms the basis of South Indian music. Although there is a rich instrumental tradition that uses vina, venu and violin, they revolve around instrumental renditions of vocal forms. There are a number of sections to the Karnatic performance. Varanam is a form used to begin many south Indian performances. The word varanam literal means a description and this section is used to unfold the various important features of the ragam. The kritis are a
  • 9. 9 fixed compositions in the rag. They have well identified composers and do not allow much scope for variation. However such compositions are often preceded by alapana. The alapana offers a way to unfold the ragam to the audience, and at the same time, allow the artist considerable scope for improvisation. The niruval and the kalpana swara also provide opportunities to improvise. Another common structure is the ragam, thanam, and, pallavi South Indian performances are based upon three major sections. These are the pallavi anupallavi and charanam. These roughly correspond to the sthai, antara and the abhog in Hindustani sangeet. Karnatic music is considered by many to be one of the most sophisticated systems of music, how it's more complex than any other music in the world. So, what is this music? Karnatic music is the classical form of music in the Southern part of the country India. Indian music in general is really devotional and started out folkish so it's all about the TUNE of the song. The language is hard to understand because it's in one of the languages of India or Southern India, usually Sanskrit, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, or Malayaalam. Since the languages are pretty different. As for the tune, one can start learning to like it by listening. One can hear a few songs and slowly start to recognize them, because maybe one can hum them, or maybe he/she heard something similar before. It may be noticed that each song has a particular kind of tune to it - it tends to stick to the same sorts of notes. That's what is meant by the term raaga. Karnatic uses only particular notes in a particular song or section of a song. The other component of a song is rhythm. People on stage and in the audience keep beating their thighs or clapping their hands to the rhythm - no, this is not some strange masochistic ritual or a weird way of showing appreciation; these people are keeping time. This rhythm or system of keeping time is called taala. How can one keep time? Watch someone who seems to be pretty good. Now copy their movements. You can do this softly on your thigh or hand without inflicting horrendous pain which will make you scream and make everyone else lose their beat! Slowly you'll start to see a pattern arising - usually of 8 beats or 3 beats on your thigh. Each cycle of the pattern determines what taala it is. If it's 8 beats (or 16) it's usually aadi taala, and if it's 3 (or 6), it's usually roopakam. The
  • 10. 10 trick is keeping track of the beat even during complicated parts of the music. There are a number of instruments in Karnatic. The main ones to worry about are the veena, the violin, the mridangam, and the tambura. The veena is the one that sounds like an instrument being tuned. There are always some sounds after the strings are pulled - and often it just "sounds Indian." Veenas are long and have a round end and a bulb that sticks down from the other end. It's the favorite instrument of the goddess of music, Saraswati. It's played with it placed across the lap, like a baby. A violin is a violin. It looks like a small bass violin, or a small cello, or a fiddle. Basically it's brown with 4 strings and played with a long stick called a bow. Indian musicians play the violin by sitting on the ground cross-legged with the violin under their chin and facing down. Their left-hand fingers move on the violin and the right hand manipulates the bow. The violin player usually sits to the right of the main performer if the main person is a singer. The violinist usually plays along with the main artist and follows behind them, too. A mridangam is a drum. It's got drum heads on both ends and is played from the side, one hand playing each side. The performer sits to the left of the main performer if you're looking facing the stage. This drummer plays for the main parts of the songs and often gets a separate time to play on his or her own. The tambura is not in all concerts. It's a long instrument with a round bulb at the bottom and a long stalk and 4 strings on it. The strings are tuned to 2 different notes, and the other two are the octave of those notes (the same note but higher). The person who plays it just keeps plucking those strings one by one to keep the pitch (called the shruti) steady. These days the tambura (and the tambura player) is often replaced by a particular instrument called a shruti box. During the concert, one can see the main performer sing out just random notes without words but notes like "aaa" or "naa" or "reee" - this is also called raaga, but it's really them explaining the raaga. Then there are times when they just sing strings of notes like sa, ri, ga, ma, pa, da, ni. These are like do, re, mi etc. If not, just think of them as random notes set to a specific pitch. This is to show they know the raaga along with the beat well and to show they can get the names of the syllables right at the same time.
  • 11. 11 Many things will tell it's nearing the end of the concert: the fact that there are only five people in the audience, the yawns from shruti box, the violinist trying to play and look at the main performer's watch at the same time, and the kinds of songs that are performed. The songs are usually light stuff. You might even see people go up to the artists with slips of paper to tell them that they should sing such-and- such song or else. Usually the artists pick out one or two songs from the audience to sing. When it's all over,they sing a mangalam, which is to thank God for the great concert (some might be thanking God it's over, too) and finishing it all up. Equivalent (and Near-Equivalent) Ragas in Hindustani and Karnatic Music The hindustaani equivalent of a melaa is called a thaat. All hindustaani ragas are classified under 10 thaats. Names in brackets are melaa names. The thaats are as follows: 1. Kalyaan (Mecakalyaani) 2. Bilaaval (dheera shankaraabharaNam) 3. khamaaj (harikaambhoji) 4. bhairav (maayamaaLava gowLa) 5. bhairavi (todi) 6. asaavari (natabhairavi) 7. todi (shubhapantuvaraali) 8. poorvi (pantuvaraali) 9. maarvaa (gamanaashrama) 10. kaafi (kharaharapriyaa) What follows is a table of raagaas, which are the scales in Indian music, or the set of notes used in any given piece. First is the hindustani (north Indian) raagaa, followed by its equivalent/near equivalent raagaa in carnaatic music. For each raga, the thaat and the melakartaa or melaa scales, notations of the main or raga from which the derivative or janya raagaa is formed, are also given. Where karnatic raagaas are separated by a slash , the first raga is aaroha (ascending scale) and the second raga is the avaroha (descending scale). That Hindustani Raga Mela Karnatic Raga
  • 12. 12 10 abhogi kanada 22 aabhogi 1 adbhut kalyan 29 nirosta 2 alahiya bilaval 29 bilahari 9 ambika 59 dharmavati Anandi, Anandi, 1 Anandkalyan, 65 Anandkalyani, nand nand 6 asavari 20 natabhairavi 2 audhava bilaval 29 Lalita 10 bageshri 22 bageshri 10 bageshrikanada 22 kanada 10 bahar 22 kanada 4 bairagibhairav 2 revati 4 bangalabhairav 15 kannadabangala 4 basantmukhari 14 vasantamukhari 2 behag 29 behag 4 bhairav 15 mayamalavagaula 5 bhairavi 8 sindhubhairavi chayatarangini, 2 bhatiyari 28 sama bhimpalas, 2 bhimpalasi 20 karnatakadevagandhari bhupali, 1 28 mohana bhup 1 bhupkalyan 65 mohanakalyani bibhasu, 4 bibhas 15 bauli dhirashankarabharana, 2 bilaval 29 shankarabharanam 10 brindavanisarang 22 Puspalatika 3 champak 28 balahamsa 1,3 champakali 64 Ketakapriya 10 chandrakauns 21 kadaram 1 chaya 29,65 begada/saranga 8 dipak 51 dipaka
  • 13. 13 3 des 28 des 3 desgaud 28 desyagaula 3 deshaksi 28 bilahari 2 deshkar 28 mohana 4 devaranjani 15 devaranji 10 dhanashri (bhimpalasi anga) 22 karnatakadevagandhari 5 dhanashri (todi anga) 8 dhanyasi 6 darbarikanada 22 darbarikanada shuddhasavari, 2 durga 29 madhuradhwani 3 gara 22 dhanakapi 4 gauri 15 gauri 4 girija 17 Vasanta 10 gopikambhodi 20 gopikavasanta puspalatika, 10 gaundgiri 22 suddhadhanyasi 1 hamirkalyan 65 hamirkalyani 2 hamsadhvani 29 hamsadhvani 1 hamskalyan 29/65 hamsadhvani/kalyani 2 hemkalyan 29 Begada 2 hemant 29 hemant hindol 1 65 sunadavinodini sanjh 8 indumati 51 indumati 9 jait (type 4) 53 gamanashrama 1 jaitkalyan 28 mohana dvijavanti, 10 jaijaivanti 22 jijavanti 10 jayant 22 jayantasena jivanpuri, jonpuri, 6 20 jonpuri shuddhadesi 10 jhinjoti 28 jinjuti jogiya, 4 15 saveri gunakri 3 kalavati 16 valaji
  • 14. 14 kalyan, mecakalyani, 1 65 yaman kalyani 3 khamaj 28 harikambhoji 4 kamalamanohari 27 kamalamanohari 10 kafi 22 kharaharapriya 6 kokilapancham 8 prabhupriya 2 kedara 29 nilambari 3 khamaji 28 khamaji 3 khambavati 28 balahamsa 8 kusumaranjani 15 gaulipantu 2 lajvanti 29 shuddhasavari 9 lalit 17/53 suryalalit 4 lalitpancham 15 lalitapanchama madhmadsarang, 10 22 madhyamavati madhyamadisarang 36 gambhiranata 10 madhuranjani 22 shuddhadhanyasi 9 madhuvanti 59 dharmavati 5 malkauns 20 hindola 1 malarani 60 hamsanada 6 malkali 20 Jayantashri 2 mand 29 Mand 2 manohari 22 manohari 1 margabehag 65 shuddhakoshala 9 marva 53 Gamanashrama 4 megharanji 15 megharanjani 7 multani 45 gamakasamantam 3 nagasvari 28 nagasvarali 3 narayani 28 narayani 4 naybhairav 27 sarasangi 3 natakuranji 28 natakuranji puspalatika 10 palasi 22 rudrapriya 5 pancham malkauns 20 jayantashri
  • 15. 15 paraju, 9 paraj 15 paras 10 patadip 22 patadip 10 patamanjari 22 phalamanjari 10 pilu 22 pilu 9 puria 53 hamsanandi 9 puriadhanshri 51 kamavardhini 8 purvi 51 kamavardhini 9 purvakalyan 53 purvikalyani 3 pratapavarali 28 pratapavarali 3 pundalika 28 nagavalli 3 rageshri 28 ravichandrika 2 salang 29 skandamanorama 1 sarasvati 64 sarasvati 4 saurastrabhairav 17 saurastra 10 shahana 22 Shahana 2 shankara 29 shankara 10 sindhura 22 salagabhairavi 6 shobhavari 20 sutadri 1 shrikalyan 64 sarasvati 2 shuddha bilaval 29 shankarabharana 1 shuddha kalyan 65 mohanakalyani 6 sindhubhairavi 10 sindhubhairavi 9 sohini 53 hamsanandi 3 sorat 28 surati 3 suhakanada 28 Puspalatika 3 suryakauns 23 kamala 4 takka 15 takka 3 tilak kamod 27 nalinakanti 3 Tilang 30 tilang 7 todi 45 shubhapantuvarali 9 varati 52 patalambari 9 vibhavari 14 lasaki
  • 16. 16 1 yamankalyan 65 yamunakalyani darbaar and naayaki are two of the many close raagas which have the same swarastaanas (notes) but which differ subtly from one another.So keeping such raagas straight is not an easy task even for seasoned musicians. There are many such raagas, with the same notes but which differ slightly. Other raagas have very different swaras but strongly have the chaaya of another raaga. These can be hard to separate whether one is performing or just listening to music. Some often confused raagas: • darbaar and naayaki • bhairavi and maanji • aarabi and shyaamaa • sudda dhanyaasi and udhaya ravi candrikaa • shree and madyamaavati • valaci and malayamaarutam Darbaar is separated from naayaki by the phrase g, g, r s with emphasis on the two ga's. In naayaki, one should have only m g r s or g r s. This makes a very subtle but important distinction that separates the two raagas. Bhairavi and maanji are different subtly as well, both having the same swaras. You will find, however, that only maanji contains P M P M P, or P G R S. These can be difficult to separate but these subtle sancaarams will make the difference. Similarly, in huseni, the phrase P N2 D2 N2 is characteristic. Aarabi and shyaamaa are also very close raagas. Aarabi often uses a nishaadam (N3) in avarOhana phrases such as S N D P, which is never used in shyaamaa. But some compositions in aarabi are nishaadam varja (no ni is performed), and in these, subtle phrases like S R G S will tell you it's shyaamaa, because aarabi does not have G in the aarOhanam. Other phrases like M D D S and D P D S are also usually restricted to shyaamaa. Udhaya ravi chandrikaa and sudda dhanyaasi are not always distinguished as raagas, and indeed are considered by some to be the same raaga. However, strictly speaking, sudda dhanyaasi's aarohana uses S G M P N P S while the other uses S G M P N S.
  • 17. 17 Shree and madyamaavati often sound very similar. However, shree raga contains a saadhaarana G, which when it appears is distinct. It also contains da in the phrase S N P D N P M. Madyamaavati is simply S R M P N S, S N P M R S. Also, the R oscillates in madyamaavati and is usually stationary in shree. Valaci and malayamaarutam are often confused. They have the same scales, but they are easily distinguished because valaci does not contain ri. Malayamaarutam includes sudda rishabam (R1) in both the aarOhaNam and avarOhanam. These brief notes will help you distinguish some of the easily confused raagas, but the best training, of course, is to just listen to compositions in these raagas to get a feel for them. There is another, subtle, aspect of ragas: how they evoke emotion. This is called the "rasa" or "rasam" - literally the "essence" of the raga. There are a number of rasas corresponding to various ragas. Below is a table of ragas that are associated with different rasas.A single raga can evoke diverse feelings. Rasa Meaning Ragas behaag adbhuta/arpuda wonder, astonishment saaranga bhayanaka fear punaaagavaraali bibhatsa disgust athaanaa hamsadwani hasya joy/laughter kedaaram mohanam ghanta kaanadaa karuNaa sorrow, anguish naadanaamakriyaa sahaanaa varaali athaanaa rowdra anger aarabi shaanta calm, peace shyaamaa
  • 18. 18 vasantaa asaavari bhairavi huseni kaanadaa shringaara love kalyaani kamaas sahaanaa shurutti athaanaa bilahari veera courage begada devagaandhaari hamsadwani Beside these rasas, there is "bhakthi rasa," the feeling of devotion. Many ragas invoke this, most notably the ragas used in the Vedas and slokas, like kharaharapriyaa and revati. Some types of songs also go with certain ragas. Lullabies typically use ragas like neelaambari or navroj, among others. Mangalams and finishing songs use madyamaavati. Finally, different composers may use various ragas to evoke emotions other than what is assigned to that raga. So, one may find a laali in madyamaavati, a sad song in hamsadwani. The composers define the music, so the raga itself may be adapted to the feeling that seems to suit the song! Each raaga actually has an appropriate time to be performed! Here is a brief compilation of the times and some raagas corresponding to them. Time of day Time Ragas ghanakaala raagas before sunrise Early Morning bhoopaaLam 4-6am bowli after sunrise bilahari Morning 6-9am dhanyaasi
  • 19. 19 kedaaram asaavari before noon Forenoon deva manohari 9am-noon saaveri madyamaavati Midday noon-1pm manirangu shree begada Afternoon 1-4pm mukhaari ghanakaala raagas aananda bhairavi end of day naattai kurinji Evening 4-7pm poorvi kalyaani shanmugapriyaa vasantaa kedaara gowla Night 7-10pm neelaambari bhairavi kaambhoji Sarvakaalika any time of day kalyaani shankaraabharanam The last set, the sarvakaalika raagas, are common raagas and can be performed at any time. Many lullabies are sung at night and are therefore composed in neelaambari. Other songs are morning songs and composed in bhoopaalam. Performers always conclude a concert with madyamaavati. Though it is intended to be a midday raaga, it is said to appease the gods and nullify any inconsistencies in singing raagas at the wrong time. Rhythm, or taalam in Karnatic music consists of regular beats to which a composition is set. Usually, each song has its own taalam, which is carried from the first word of the song to the last. Each taalam cycles through a number of beats, each cycle called an aavartanam. For example, one of the most common
  • 20. 20 taalam is called aadi. In aadi taalam, 8 beats (commonly 4 swaras to each beat) make one cycle. Thus, up to 32 swaras may comprise one cycle, lengthened and shortened to accomodate the taalam. Example: Aadi Taalam For aadi taalam, first beat the palm of the hand (1), then tap the fingers pinky (2), ring finger (3), middle finger(4). Then beat palm (5), turn the hand over and tap or wave the back of the hand (6), palm (7), back (8). This is one cycle. This cycle will repeat throughout the song. Although often the number of swaras per beat will change during a Karnatic song, the actual beat changes within a song VERY rarely, and even then, it is a fixed change, not a slowing down or speeding up of the beat itself. The dEshaadi taalam starts aadi taalam after 1/2 beat, and the madhyaadi taalam starts after 3/4 of a beat, even though these originally were written to be 3 beats and a wave. Angas There are several basic movements, called angas (limbs), in Karnatic music. 3 of these are most common: drutam, which is a beat with the palm and then with the back of the hand (as in steps 5 & 6 or 7 & 8 of aadi taalam), anudrutam, which is simply a beat of the hand, laghu, which consists of a beat plus the movements of the fingers of the hand (steps 1-4 of aadi taalam). Each of these movements of the 3 angas is called a kriyaa and usually signals the beginning of the beat. Other movements (for 4 or more beats each) of the hand are used rarely. Suladi Sapta Taalam System The combination of these 3 types of movements creates different types of taalam. If we name drutam 0, anudrutam U, and laghu 1, we get the following major taalam combinations, which are the suladi sapta taalams: taalam components Eka 1 roopaka 01 triputa 100 matya 101 jhampa 1U0 ata 1100
  • 21. 21 dhruva 1011 Laghu, Jaati, and the 35 Taalams The number of beats used in the laghu is added to these taalams to give the jaati. 7 jaatis of beats 3 (tishra), 4 (chatushra), 5 (khanda), 7 (mishra), 9 (sankeerna), create more variations of these so that there are 7 types each of the seven taalams, giving 35 taalams. Thus aadi taalam is actually catusra jaati tripuTa taalam. Other common taalams are roopakam (chatusra jaati roopaka taalam) and mishra caapu (tishra jaati triputa taalam). Other taalams The caapu is a beat and a wave. Thus mishra caapu is 3+4 beats (viloma is 4+3). tishra caapu is 1+2, khanda caapu is 2+3, and sankeerna caapu is 4+5. In addition to the drutam, anudrutam and laghu, there are also guru (symbol 8) which is 8 beats and formed by a beat of 4 and a wave of the hand, plutam (symbol ^8, 12 beats) a beat and 2 waves, and kaakapaadam (symbol +, 16 beats) a beat and wave up then to the left then to the right (forming a + sign). These allow for even more taalams - one taalam, called simhananaanam taalam even has 1008 beats! Tempo The tempo of the rhythm is also important in a song. This is called the kaalam. The same beat can be performed at half the speed simply by counting 2 beats to every one, and it can be speeded up by counting faster. In these cases, the number of swaras to every beat changes. At the basic speed, if 4 swaras form one beat (1st kaalam, madhyama), then at the slower speed there will be 8 swaras of the same length per beat (1/2 kaalam, vilambita), at the faster speed 2 swaras per beat (2nd kaalam, durita), and at an even faster speed 1 swara per beat (3rd kaalam). Thus the performer must perform faster to keep the same number of swaras per beat in the song as the kaalam doubles or triples. Expert performers can also work in other combinations where there are 5, 3 or 1 1/2 swaras per beat. The number of swaras or subdivisions per beat is called the gati or nadai. This is equivalent to gait (waltz would be a gait of 3). Thus our basic aadi taalam at madhyama kaalam is in chatushra gati or chatushra nadai.
  • 22. 22 Kalai Another term is kalai, which refers to using multiple beats in one beat. Thus 2nd kalai of aadi taalam will use 2 beats for every one beat of the taalam. This is noticeable in the speed of the song and the length of the aavartanam (cycle of the taalam). Eduppu In some cases, the taalam doesn't "begin" on the beginning of the first beat (called the samam). It may begin just 1/2 beat before or after, or 1 1/2 beat after, for example. The place where a particular section of a song (anupallavi, pallavi, or charanam) begins in the taalam is called the graham or eduppu. When eduppus begin, for example, 3/4 beat after or before the samam, one can get an effect very much like Western syncopation. Percussion, Rhythm, and Taalam The mridangam artist is an expert at keeping the taalam correctly and will often indicate the samam of the taalam or the beginning of a musical phrase by movement in addition to showing the sequence of beats. Karnatic rhythm may be complicated but by practice in keeping taalam to music correctly and understanding the underlying principles, it can be very satisfying to appreciate the melody as well as the rhythm of the music. Here is a table of the major taalas used in Karnatic music. . anga name symbol aksharakaalas movement anudrutam U 1 beat with palm Drutam 0 2 beat with palm + turn (wave) U druta viramam 3 (1 + 2) anudrutam + drutam 0 laghu |(#) 4 (or 3,5,7,9) beat + finger counts U laghu viramam 5 (1+4) anudrutam + laghu | laghu drutam 0| 6 (4+2) laghu + drutam laghudruta U 7 (1+2+4) anudrutam + drutam + laghu viramam 0| wave to left and right or circle guru 8 8 with thumb-up U guru viramam 8 (1+8) anudrutam + guru 8
  • 23. 23 guru drutam 08 10 (8+2) guru + drutam gurudruta U 11 (1+2+8) anudrutam + drutam + guru viramam 08 plutam |8 12 (8+4) beat + wave to sides U pluta viramam 13 (1+12) anudrutam + plutam |8 pluta drutam 0|8 14 (12+2) plutam + drutam pluta druta U 15 (1+2+12) anudrutam + drutam + plutam viramam 0|8 kaakapaadam + 16 beat plus wave up and to sides The table of the 35 taalas is listed below. The total numbers in the laghu are given in parenthesis, ex. chatushra jaati = |(4). Taalas are named first by their jaati then by the taala type of the 7, as in tishra jaati eka taalam. taala group jaati angas aksharakaalas 1. dhruva tisra |(3) 0 |(3) |(3) 11 2. chatushra |(4) 0 |(4) |(4) 14 3. khanda |(5) 0 |(5) |(5) 17 4. mishra |(7) 0 |(7) |(7) 23 5. sankeerna |(9) 0 |(9) |(9) 29 6. matya tisra |(3) 0 |(3) 8 7. chatushra |(4) 0 |(4) 10 8. khanda |(5) 0 |(5) 12 9. mishra |(7) 0 |(7) 16 10. sankeerna |(9) 0 |(9) 20 11. roopaka tishra 0 |(3) 5 12. chatushra 0 |(4) 6 13. khanda 0 |(5) 7 14. mishra 0 |(7) 9 15. sankeerna 0 |(9) 11
  • 24. 24 16. jhampa tishra |(3) U 0 6 17. chatushra |(4) U 0 7 18. khanda |(5) U 0 8 19. mishra |(7) U 0 10 20. sankeerna |(9) U 0 12 21. tripuTa tishra |(3) 0 0 7 22. chatushra (aadi) |(4) 0 0 8 23. khanda |(5) 0 0 9 24. mishra |(7) 0 0 11 25. sankeerna |(9) 0 0 13 26. aTa tishra |(3) |(3) 0 0 10 27. chatushra |(4) |(4) 0 0 12 28. khanda |(5) |(5) 0 0 14 29. mishra |(7) |(7) 0 0 18 30. sankeerna |(9) |(9) 0 0 22 31. Eka tishra |(3) 3 32. chatushra |(4) 4 33. khanda |(5) 5 34. mishra |(7) 7 35. sankeerna |(9) 9 These are the major taalas (suladisapta taalas). Incorporating the other angas (guru, plutam, kaakapaadam) brings us up to 108 taaLas, and even more if one includes the caapu taalas and other variations. Gamakas are subtle (and not-so-subtle) decorations of notes, usually referred to as "shaking the note." They come in various forms and are incorporated into ragas, giving each note a unique characteristic and a delicate beauty when performed. The types of gamakas are below:
  • 25. 25 aaroha - this is the ascending scale. Moving from one note ascending to the next is a gamaka. These can also be done rapidly and in succession, giving long runs of great beauty when executed with skill. ex: s r g m p d n S R G M avaroha - similarly, moving down from a higher note to the next lower note is also a gamaka. ex: M G R S n d p m g r s daatu - using one note as a base and jumping to others in succession. This is great for emphasizing one note and also giving almost a rhythmic tone to the singing. ex: sr sg sm sp sd sn sS spuritam - these are repeated notes, in twos. In such cases, the second note is usually stressed. ex: ss rr gg mm pp dd nn SS kampitam - this means singing a note between two notes. For example, ma can be sung instead as gpgpgp... giving a shake to the note aahatam - using notes in succession (ascending) but paired with the next note. ex: sr rg gm mp pd dn ns It can also be used as gmg rgr srs pratyaavatam - the same as aahatam but in the descending scale. ex: Sn nd dp pm mg gr rs It can also be used as sns ndn dpd ... tripuccam - repeated notes in threes. ex: sss rrr ggg mmm ppp ddd nnn sss aandolam - also called dOlakam, this is, for example, srsg srsm srsp srsd srsn srsS moorcanai - this is using the proper gamakam of the raaga. If a raga requires the use of a particular gamaka for a certain note, this must be performed when singing the scale or whenever the note is sung or performed daatu - this is jumping of notes within a scale, skipping notes. ex: sg rm gp md pn dS jaaru - a glide or slide from one note to another (whether successive or from a distant note) ex: s .... S hampitam - a rarely used gamaka in recent years, this is the use of the syllable "hoom" (like boom) naabhitam - swelling a note in volume (like a crescendo) mudritam - humming, singing with the mouth closed ex: mmmmm... tribhinnam - performing multiple (usually 3) notes at once, as in a chord. This is for instrumental performers only mishritam - using a mixture of any gamakas listed above Symbols & Transliteration - Certain symbols are used in Karnatic musical notation. An explanation for some of these is given below. Below that, is the transliteration scheme for many lyrics and terms. traditional on these meaning example (based on these
  • 26. 26 symbol pages pages) (indicated by a line over pdpmgrsn will one line double speed taala make it last only 4 over swaras from normal notation) aksharakalas instead of 8 (indicated by two lines over pdpmgrsn will double line 4 times speed of taala make it last only 2 over swaras normal notation) aksharakalas lower case lower case madhya staayi Srgmpdn swara swara swara extend note to upper case comma after an extra s,rg swara swara aksharakala dot over upper case taara staayi srgmpdnS swara swara swara dot below dot to right of mandra staayi ndpmgrsn.d.n.s swara swara swara apostrophe two dots next to ati taara staayi SRGMPDNS'NDPMGRSn over swara uppercase swara swara two dots two dots to anu mandra below sn.d.p.m.g.r.s.n..d..n..s. right of swara staayi swara swara string of string of dots aakaaram kaa...maa...kshee.... dots end of a section vertical line vertical line of a taala or srgm pdns | sndp mgrs phrase end of a taala double double cycle, srgm pdns sndp mgrs || vertical line vertical line aavartanam 1/4 eduppu, one comma comma ,srg mpdn s,,, ,,,, aksharakaala semicolon or 2 1/2 eduppu, 2 semicolon ;rg m,,p commas aksharakaalas semicolon semicolon plus 3/4 eduppu, 3 plus comma or 3 ;,r g,,, mpdn s,,, aksharakaalas comma commas
  • 27. 27 Wavy line wave below kampita Srgmpdns over swaras swaras gamaka ~~~~~~~~ asterisk asterisk anya swara s r2 g3 m1 p m2* d2 n3 S splitting of Dash dash phrases by srg - rgm – gmp pattern The transliteration scheme is below. The letter used is given first (lowercase or uppercase is important in most cases), then the sound it makes, an example English word for the sound, an example lyric word (in Hindi, Tamil, Sanskrit) or term, and finally (if any) an explanation. Letter sound English lyric Explanation A uh bus mandra short a A, aa aaa far maataa extended a I ih pin nin short i I, ee eee flee shree long e U oogh put mudi short u U, oo oooh moon cooda long u E eh pet neeve, telisi short e E ay nay, hay sute long a ay, ey ayee weigh sey long a + y ai, y aii kite vairi long i O oh rock, for mrokka in between short o O ohh road, home modi long o ow, ou oww found, south sowkiyam ow sound K ka kick vikrama hard k, c Kh k-ha book-hop khanda aspirated k G ga good, egg suragana hard g sound Gh g-ha dog-house ghana aspirated g C cha charm calamela ch sound Ch ch-ha beach-house chaaya aspirated ch J ja jay, reg jagan, vajra hard j sound Jh j-ha hedgehog jhaala aspirated j T ta top venkata t sound Th t-ha anthill vitthala aspirated t D da dog vidu d sound
  • 28. 28 Dh d-ha mad-hop vidhala aspirated d T th thing tiru hard th sound Th th-h bath-house mathuraa aspirated th D dh there madana soft th Dh dh-ha bathe-hee dharma aspirated soft th N n now manam n sound N ln darnit (no equivalent) vanna N, tongue back Ng nga stringy mangala ng, back of throat ny, gn nya banyan gnaana ny, back of throat P p pot pin p sound Ph p-ha uphill phal aspirated p B b bin baala b sound Bh b-ha clubhouse bhoota aspirated b M m mom manam m sound Y ya yes yaar short y sound R r rrip para hard r R trrr rrruffles patra harder r Zha rlya furry (no equivalent) pazham ry, back of throat L l lollipop lankaa l (el) sound L rla (no equivalent) mangala l, back of throat V v every, very veera v sound W w, wo wish, swing swaagatam w sound S s hiss, see saraseeruha s sound Sh sh hush shilangi soft sh, front of mouth shh, S shh shut shhanmuga hard sh, back of mouth H h hard hameer h sound Tca, tca tcha match, itch matca tcha sound Ksha ksha rikshaw vraksha ksha sound F f feel, if feroz f sound Z z zoo, fizz zindagi z sound
  • 29. 29 More on Raga The notes of Karnatic music are not usually fixed. In this sense they are much like the do re mi fa so la ti of western music. A performer tunes an instrument to the desired pitch (accompanists of course tune to the main performer's pitch) or sings at whatever pitch is most comfortable. This is called the kattai. Traditionally, the G above middle C is kaTTai 5, F is 4, A is 6, etc. Most Indian instruments do need tuning for each performance, according to the main artists' pitch - even percussion instruments are tuned. The notes used correspond to do re mi, but are called sa ri ga ma pa da ni. Sa is shadjamam, the basic note that exists in all scales. It is used as a drone note (played on a tambura), along with Pa, pancamam, its fifth. In concerts, you will hear sa pa Sa playing in octaves in the background to allow musicians to stay in tune. The other notes are rishabam (ri), gaandaaram (ga), madyamam (ma), daivatam (da), and nishaadam (ni). These notes are called swaras. While all scales have sa, not all have the other notes. Though sa ri ga ma pa da ni sa comprise the main vocalized notes of Karnatic music, the actual notes (relative frequencies) that they form number 12. There is only one sa (not counting octaves) and one pa, but there are 2 types of ma and 3 each of the other notes. As an example, let's take sa as middle C. Pa is then G. From here on out, the notes will be designated by first letter only. R1 is C#, R2 is D natural, R3 is D#. Ga is overlapping, so G1 is D, G2 is D#, and G3 is E. M1 is F, M2 is F#. Similarly, D1 is G#, D2 is A, D3 is Bb, N1 is A, N2 is Bb, and N3 is B. These twelve notes are used in combination to give various scales of ascending and descending order. Some scales (these are ragas) take seven notes in the ascending and seven in the descending, but others remove notes and still others vary the order of the notes. However, because G1=R2 (D), G2=R3 (D#), N1=D2 (A), and N2=D3 (Bb), these do not occur in the same scale successively. These combinations give 72 main ragas and innumerable other ragas from which compositions are composed. Taalam and rhythm Rhythm in Karnatic music changes for each composition. Songs are set to a specific taalam, or beat. Each taalam comes in cycles of a number of beats, called an aavartanam. For example, one of the most common taalam is called aadi. In aadi taalam, 8 beats (commonly 4
  • 30. 30 swaras to each beat) make one cycle. Thus, up to 32 swaras may comprise one cycle, lengthened and shortened to accomodate the taalam. Taalam is kept by beating the right hand gently against the right thigh while seated with your legs crossed ("Indian style"). For aadi taalam, first beat the palm of the hand (1), then tap the fingers pinky (2), ring finger (3), middle finger(4). Then beat palm (5), turn the hand over and beat the back of the hand (6), palm (7), back (8). This is one cycle. This cycle will repeat throughout the song. Although often the number of swaras per beat will change during a Karnatic song, the actual beat changes within a song VERY rarely, and even then, it is a fixed change, not a slowing down or speeding up of the beat itself. The concert and compositions Compositions are composed in a fixed raga. This means that they do not deviate from the notes in the raga. In Karnatic, there are no "accidentals" or variations in rhythm (there are exceptions but rarely). Each composition is set with specific notes and beats, but performers vary widely in their presentation. Improvisation occurs in the MELODY of the composition as well as in using the notes to expound the beauty of the raga. As you enter the hall, you will notice the main performer(s) sitting in the middle. The musical sound you hear first is the drone (tambura) playing sa, pa, Sa. Accompanists like violin and veena sit to the main performer's left (your right), and percussion instruments are usually to your left. All performers sit on the stage without chairs or stools. A concert (called a kuTcEri) will usually begin with a piece called a varnam. This piece is composed with an emphasis on swaras of the raga. It is lively and fast to get the audience's attention. Varnams also have words, the saahityam. After the varnam, compositions are performed called kritis or keertanams. Most often, these compositions are religious in nature. These stick to one raga, although a few have sections composed of different ragas (a raagamaalika). Many performers first begin main compositions with a section called raagam. In this, they use aakaaram (essentially, using the vowels aa, ri, na, ta, etc. instead of swaras or words) to slowly elaborate the notes and flow of the raga. This begins slowly and then becomes more intense and finally establishes a complicated exposition of the raga that shows the performer's skill. All of this is done without any rhythmic
  • 31. 31 accompaniment. Then the melodic accompaniment (violin or veena), expounds the raga. Experienced listeners can identify many ragas after they hear just a few notes. With the raga established, the song begins, sung usually only with the saahityam. In this, the accompaniment (usually violin, sometimes veena) performs along with the main performer and the percussion (mridangam, and sometimes ghaTam and ganjeera). A song usually contains 3 parts: pallavi, anupallavi, and caraNam. The pallavi is analogous to a chorus. After the anupallavi, the pallavi is again sung, and again after the caraNam as well. Each phrase is repeated with variations. Next the performer begins swaram. In this section, swaras are sung separately (as sa ri ga, etc.) to the beat. The performer must improvise a string of swaras in any octave according to the rules of the raga and return to beginning of the cycle of beats smoothly, joining the swaras with a phrase selected from the saahityam. The violin performs these alternately with the main performer. In very long strings of swara, the performers must calculate their notes accurately to ensure that they stick to the raga, have no awkward pauses and lapses in the beat of the song, and create a complex pattern of notes that an experienced audience can follow. The main composition of any concert will have a section at this time for the percussion to perform separately (the tani aavartanam). The mridangam performer alone will perform complex patterns of rhythm and display his or her skill, and if other percussion performers are present on stage, they too will perform, and the percussion instruments engage in a beautiful rhythmic dialog until the main performer picks up the melody once again. The composition ends with the performing of the main portion of the song. Following the main composition, the performer will play or sing other songs with or without raga and then perform lighter songs that are more catchy and popular. Hindustani pieces are often performed, as well as short westernized songs and other popular pieces. Some performers also take requests at this time. Every concert that is the last of the day ends with a mangaLam, a thankful prayer and conclusion to the musical event.
  • 32. 32 Other aspects and songs In some songs, performers sing the words and then proceed to sing the same line repeatedly in variations. This is called neraval - it may be done in the same raga as the song or it may even travel from the main raga to other ragas before returning. Another aspect with which musicians expound raga and their own sense of rhythm is with taanam, in which the word aananta is used for syllables. This may also be performed in different ragas before returning to the raga of the composition and has no rhythmic accompaniment. Another type of song that is often performed (usually near the end of a concert) is the tillaanaa. This is done to beat sounds like dheem, takiTa, nadiru, etc. and is meant for the end of classical dance performances. It is very rhythmic and lively with only a short saahityam section. Other songs like love songs and lullabies may also find their way into the end of a concert. Music is said to have begun from the sounds of the Universe, the Om. However, karnatik itself can be traced back to a time when there were no distinctions among the styles of music in India. Among the first music forms were the recitation of scriptures, including the Vedas (especially Sama Veda), which were originally performed with only three notes (ni, sa, ri), and later in 7 notes (400BC), in the raga kharaharapriya. The Vedas also described musical instruments. From 300-100BC, the Upanishads mention the notes and instruments, including the veena. The Ramayana and Mahabharata (around 40BC) also mention music. In the second century, Bharatha's Natyasastra described dance, but also music, in great detail. He described ragas (jaatis), swaras, varnams, tala, and other aspects of music (see Glossary). It was also at this time that the Tamil Silappadikkaram described folk songs and ragas, including the Tamil paNNs, the octave, and the shifting of the sa to create new ragas. The Tolkappiam also expanded on this emerging form of Karnatic music. In the sixth century, the Brihaddesi first used the word "raga," and mentioned some popular ones. Caves at Pudukottai in Tamil nadu describe more ragas in the seventh century, and the Thevaarams and Divya Prabhandams at this time also described several panns. In the 12th century, Jayadeva's Gita Govinda inspired music and dance in his Ashtapadis, each in a different raga. Until the 13th century, classical music was similar or common across India. With the arrival of Moghul influences, Hindustani music and Karnatic music split into the two forms, the former incorporating the new influences and the
  • 33. 33 latter retaining the original form. The Sangita Ratnakara described swaras, ragas, talas, instruments, and gamakas, and this work first used the word "Karnatic," but it wasn't until the 1300s that Karnatic music and Hindustani were clearly distinguished. Sangeeta Sara was also written in the 1300s, and first classified ragas as melas and janya ragas. In the 15th century, Arunagirinathar wrote his famous Tiruppugazh in Tamil. At this time, Annamacharya first described the musical form known as the kriti, which had a pallavi, anupallavi, and caraNam, and Purandara Dasa also wrote the varisais for musical exercise and geetams which are still used to teach beginners. In the 16th century, Swaramela Kalanidhi described a further elaboration of melakarthas, ragas, and playing techniques for the veena. In the 17th century, Venkatamakhi created his 72 melakartha raga system, which used the katapayadi scheme. The Sangeeta Saramrita and Sangraha Choodamani were written in the 18th century. This was the century of the Trinity also: Syama Sastry, Tyaagaraaja, and Dikshitar were born. It wasn't until the 19th century that systematic notations were developed, written in Sangeeta Sampradaya Pradarsini and Sangeeta Chandrikai. Some were even written at this time in Western staff notation. Swati Tirunal composed during this time, Papanasam Shivan was born, and others like Gopalakrishna Bharathi, Patnam Subramanya Iyer also composed music. In the 20th century, Karnatic music came into its modern form. It was then that sabhas were formed, concerts were performed for the public (and not just kings and nobles). Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar also created a system of concert format which most musicians use today. In the 21st century, Karnatic music continues to develop, with schools and concerts and organizations around the world. Swaras The swaras are said to have arisen from the Universe-pervading Sound of Om, which represents the drone notes SA and PA. The other swaras came from the 5 faces of Shiva. The story is told that RaavaNa, who was very devoted to Shiva, ripped out his guts and used them as strings to play the notes as Shiva kept time. RaavaNa kept playing, however, and threatened to shake the worlds and bring Shiva down from the heavens. In response, Shiva pressed him down to Earth with his big toe. The table below lists some more interesting information about the Karnatic swaras, which are named shadjam (sa), rishabam (ri), gaandhaaram (ga), madhyamam (ma), pancamam (pa), dhaivatam (da), and nishaadam (ni). Each is associated with an
  • 34. 34 animal, a color, a God of Hindu mythology, and a particular feeling (rasa). meaning of Swara full name Western animal color god rasa name veera (courage), giving birth adbhuta Sa shadjam do peacock light pink Brahma (to next 6 (wonder), notes) rowdra (anger) veera Agni (courage), bull parrot (Fire, adbhuta Ri rishabam re morality (nandi) green with (wonder), Seeta) rowdra (anger) Rudra karuNaa fragrant, Ga gaandhaaram mi goat gold (Shiva) (compassion) light middle, karuNaa Ma madhyamam fa crane white Vishnu intermediat (compassion) e hasya (laughter), Pa pancamam so cuckoo black Naarada fifth shringaara (love) bibhatsa (disgust), of gods, Da dhaivatam la horse yellow GaNEsha bhayanaka devas (fear) Surya karuNaa Ni nishaadam ti elephant multicolor sit, lie down (Sun) (compassion) . The Melakarta raagas The melakartaa ragas of Karnatic music come from the 12 basic notes: sa (shadjamam), 2 types of ri (rishabham), 2 types of ga (gaandhaaram), 2 types of ma (madhyamam), pa (panchamam), 2 types of da (dhaivatam), and 2 types of ni (nishaadam), all of which are found on the typical piano or keyboard and consist of
  • 35. 35 one octave. If included further, subtler notes found in-between these notes, one each for ri, ga, da, and ni, you have 16 notes: sa (shadjamam), 3 types of ri (rishabham), 2 types of ma (madhyamam), pa (panchamam), 3 types of ga (gaandhaaram), 3 types of da (dhaivatam), and 3 types of ni (nishaadam). These are numbered and named as follows (names in parentheses are alternate designations sometimes used): Swara sa ri ga ma pa da ni R1 = D1 = N1 = shuddha G1 = shuddha shuddha M1 = (ra) shuddha (ga) (dha) (na) shuddha R2 = G2 = D2 = N2 = S= (ma) P= Types catshruti saadhaaraNa catshruti kaisiki shadjam M2 = pancamam (ri) (gi) (dhi) (ni) prati R3 = G3 = antara D3 = N3 = (mi) satshruti (gu) satshruti kaakali (ru) (dhu) (nu) kural kural kural kural taram tutam uzhai kural kaikilai vilari (ku- (ku- (ku- (ku- ancient kural (ku-kai,G2) vi,D1) ta,N2) tu,R1) u,M1) ili (yi,P) Tamil (ku,S) nirai kaikilai nirai nirai nirai nirai (ni-kai,G3) vilari (ni- taram tutam uzhai vi,D2) (ni- (ni-tu,R2) (ni-u,M2) ta,N3) The melakartaa ragas are formed from combinations of these 16 notes, 7+1 in the ascending, 7+1 descending, giving 72 ragas. From these are derived janya ragas, which may combine different melakartas in ascending and descending scales, add or remove some notes in either scale, and have variations in the notes, mood, gamaka (shaking of the note), emotions, or other aspects of raga. These are nearly innumerable, but a select number are used in practice. All the melakartas in the table below begin with sa and end in high sa, with the order sa ri ga ma pa da ni sa. These are sampoorna ragas, containing all the notes in the ascending and descending scales. They also contain the SAME notes in both scales. They are divided into 2 groups, by the type of ma they possess. Every group of six ragas (total 12 groups) comprises one chakraa. Interestingly, the naming of the ragas has also been systematized. The first 2 letters of each raga give the number of the raga according to this table, which
  • 36. 36 gives the katapayadi formula: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 ka kha ga gha nga ca cha ja jha nya Ta Tha Da Dha Na ta tha da dha na pa pha ba bha ma ya ra la va sha shha sa ha Thus, a raga (see below) like ramapriya begins with ra (2) and ma (5). 25 in reverse gives the number of the melakarta, 52! The melakarta raagaas and their swaras, divided by their ma follow. They are also separated into 12 groups of six, called chakras, and all the ragas in the cakra have the same ri, ga, and ma. Shudda madhyama M1 Prati madhyama M2 1 Indu Chakra 7 Rishi Chakra R1 G1 1 kanakaangi (kanakaambari) 37 saalagam (sowgandini) D1 N1 R1 G1 2 ratnaangi (phenadhyuti) 38 jalaarnavam (jaganmohinam) D1 N2 gaanamoorti R1 G1 3 39 jhaalavaraaLi (dhaalivaraali) (gaanasaamavaraali) D1 N3 R1 G1 4 vanaspati (bhaanumati) 40 navaneetam (nabhomani) D2 N2 R1 G1 5 maanavati (manoranjani) 41 paavani (kumbhini) D2 N3 R1 G1 6 taanaroopi (tanukeerti) 42 raghupriyaa (ravikriyaa) D3 N3 2 netra Chakra 8 Vaasu Chakra R1 G2 7 senaavati (senaagrani) 43 ghavaambhodi (geervaani) D1 N1 R1 G2 8 hanumatodi (janatodi) 44 bhaavapriya (bhavaani) D1 N2 R1 G2 shubhapantuvaraali 9 dhenukaa (dhunibhinnashadjam) 45 D1 N3 (shivapantuvaraali) R1 G2 shhadvidamaargini 10 naatakapriyaa (natabharaNam) 46 D2 N2 (stavaraajam)
  • 37. 37 R1 G2 11 kokilapriyaa (kokilaaravam) 47 suvarnaangi (sowveeram) D2 N3 R1 G2 12 roopavati 48 divyamani (jeevantikaa) D3 N3 3 Agni Chakra 9 Brahma Chakra R1 G3 dhavalaambari 13 gaayakapriyaa (geya hejjajji) 49 D1 N1 (dhavalaangam) vakulaabharanam (vaaTee R1 G3 naamanaaraayani 14 50 vasantabhairavi) D1 N2 (naamadEshi) kamavardhini R1 G3 15 maayamaalava gowla 51 pantuvaraali D1 N3 (kaashiraamakriyaa) R1 G3 16 chakravaakam (toyavegavaahini) 52 raamapriyaa (ramaamanohari) D2 N2 R1 G3 gamanashramaa 17 sooryakaantam (chaayaavati) 53 D2 N3 (gamakakriyaa) haatakaambari R1 G3 18 54 vishvaambhari (vamshavati) (jayashuddhamaalavi) D3 N3 4 Veda Chakra 10 Disi Chakra jhankaaradhwani R2 G2 19 55 shyaamalaangi (shyaamaLam) (jhankaarabhramari) D1 N1 R2 G2 shhanmugapriyaa 20 natabhairavi (naareereetigowLa) 56 D1 N2 (caamaram) R2 G2 simhendra madhyamam 21 keeravaani (keeraNaavaLi) 57 D1 N3 (sumadyuti) R2 G2 hemaavati 22 kharaharapriya (shreeraagam) 58 D2 N2 (deshisimhaaravam) R2 G2 23 gowri manohari (gowrivelaavali) 59 dharmaavati (dhaamavati) D2 N3 R2 G2 24 varunapriyaa (veeravasantam) 60 neetimati (nishhadam) D3 N3 5 Bana Chakra 11 Rudra Chakra R2 G3 25 maararanjani (sharaavati) 61 kaantaamani (kuntaLam) D1 N1 R2 G3 26 chaarukeshi (tarangini) 62 rishhabapriyaa (ratipriyaa) D1 N2 27 sarasaangi (sowrasEnaa) R2 G3 63 lataangi (geetapriyaa)
  • 38. 38 D1 N3 R2 G3 28 harikaambhoji (harikedaaragowla) 64 vaachaspati (bhooshaavati) D2 N2 R2 G3 mecakalyaani 29 dheera shankaraabharaNam 65 D2 N3 (shaantakalyaani) naagaanandini R2 G3 30 66 chitraambari (caturaangini) (naagaabharanam) D3 N3 6 Rutu Chakra 12 Aaditya Chakra R3 G3 31 yaagapriyaa (kalaavati) 67 sucharitra (santaana manjari) D1 N1 raagavardhani R3 G3 32 68 jyotiswaroopini (jyOti raaga) (raagacoodaamani) D1 N2 gangayabhooshhani R3 G3 dhaatuvardani (dhowta 33 69 (gangaatarangini) D1 N3 pancamam) vaagadeeshwari (bhogachaayaa R3 G3 naasikabhooshhani 34 70 naattai) D2 N2 (naasaamani) R3 G3 35 shoolini (shailadeshaakshhi) 71 kosalam (kusumaakaram) D2 N3 R3 G3 36 chalanaattai 72 rasikapriyaa (rasamanjari) D3 N3 Janya ragas are scales derived from the melakarta ragas. The melakarta ragas have 7 notes, sa ri ga ma pa da ni, in both the ascending and descending scales. Janya ragas, however, are raagas that do not necessarily have all these notes. They may be missing the notes from their "parent" melakarta, have added notes from another melakarta, have some variations in the order of the notes, or some combination of all these factors. These are divided into a few categories: • upaanga or bhaashaanga • varja or sampoorna • vakra or non-vakra Upaanga or bhaashaanga - This refers the using notes from the parent melakarta. Upanga raagas use only the notes from their parent melakarta (for example, aabhogi uses only notes from melakarta 22, kharaharapriyaa). Bhaashaanga raagas, on the other hand, use what
  • 39. 39 are called anya swaras, notes from a different melakarta. Thus, aahiri uses swaras from melakartas 8, 14, and 20. A raaga may use up to 3 swaras from an outside melakarta, but no more. Varja or sampoorna - Varja means that the raaga is missing some swaras. revati is missing a G and D, so it is an audava varja raaga. Swarantara refers to having only 4 swaras (this is rare, for example S R P N), audava refers to having 5 swaras, shaadava refers to 6 (for example, S R G M P N), and raagas with no missing swaras, having all seven S R G M P D N are sampoorna raagas. Vakra or non-vakra - Vakra means "crooked." Thus these raagas have crooked scales, with the order being changed. Raagas like kaanadaa are often considered vakra when they have scales such as S R G M P M D N S instead of simply S R G M P D N S, which is non-vakra (even though it is sampoorna, having all the swaras). Combinations - Raagas may also have combinations of the above, so raagas such as aahiri again are sampoorna (have all the swaras) but are vakra (S R S G ...) and bhaashaanga (with anya swaras). In addition to these nuances, raagas can also have changes in the stressing of notes and the decorations (gamakas) they are given to give rise to an even wider variety of raagas. These changes can give rise to hundreds of thousands of raagas based simply on the 72 melakarta raagas. N.B.:So,far 7000(SEVEN THOUSAND) ragas have been identified in the Karnatik Music form and with utmost pain and my own effort, I could be able to collect the scales(SARGAM) of all the 7000( seven thousand) ragas.All those are kept properly in my databank.Due to paucity of time and energy,the same could not be incorporated in this compendium.However,if any person is interested in any particular raga,he may like to approach me through my email(datta.pk2003@gmail.com) and I shall be pleased to inform him the required information. A few "starter" ragas to identify Karnatik form: 1. aabhogi 2. amritavarshini 3. behaag
  • 40. 40 4. bhairavi (easy to confuse with todi) 5. hamsadwani 6. hindoLam 7. kaambhoji 8. kaanadaa 9. kalyaani 10. kamaas 11. katanakutuhalam 12. mohanam 13. naattai 14. revati 15. saaveri 16. vasantaa A few names of stalwarts of Karnatik music are appended below :- M.Balamurali Krishna Balamurali Krishna has reigned at the forefront of South Indian music for the past five decades. D.K.Pattammal Damal Krishnaswamy Pattammal (b.1919), popularly known as DKP, is one of the finest classical Karnatic vocalists of India. Madurai Mani Iyer Madurai Mani Iyer (1912-1968) was born into a family of musicians, deeply interested in classical music. His paternal uncle Maharajapuram Vishwanatha Iyer Maharajapuram Vishwanatha Iyer (1896-1970) was a renowned vocalist of the Karnatic music who was known for his magnificent M.L.Vasanthakumari M.L.Vasanthakumari (1928-1990), popularly referred to as MLV was a vidushi of outstanding merit. She was great in all aspects of Karnatic music and was endowed with a melodious voice. M.S.Subbulakshmi
  • 41. 41 Born in the temple town of Madurai on September 16, 1916, to veena player Shanmugavadivu, M S Subbulakshmi, popularly known as 'MS' to her admirers, is a legendary Karnatic vocalist. Muthuswamy Dikshitar Muthuswamy Dikshitar (1775-1835) was the famous composer of Karnatic music who wrote his songs primarily in Sanskrit. Mysore Vasudevachariar Mysore Vasudevachariar (1865-1961) was a renowed vocalist of the Karnatic music who has composed nearly 200 kritis in Sanskrit and Telugu. Papanasam Sivan Papanasam Sivan (1890-1973) was a highly acclaimed vocalist of the Karnatic music renowned for his spiritual compositions. Purandara Dasa Purandara Dasa (1480-1564) is considered as 'the Father of Karnatic Music' Sri Semmangudi R. Srinivasa Iyer Srinivasa Iyer (b.1908) is hailed as the Sangita Pitamaha of the Karnatic music. He has been singing for 72 years and has left his own deep impression on the Karnatic music Subbarama Dikshitar Subbarama Dikshitar (1839-1906) was an immediate scion and successor of the great composer Sri Muttuswami Dikshitar Syama Sastri Shyam Sastri (1762-1827) was a Tamil-speaking Brahmin known as auttara vadama. His actual name was Venkata Subrahmanya but he was affectionately called Syama Sastri. Thyagaraja
  • 42. 42 Thyagaraja (1767-1847) is hailed as 'the King of Karnatic Music'. V.Doreswamy Iyengar Doreswamy Iyengar (b.1920) was a shining star in the galaxy of famous vainikas of Mysore. ●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●

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