Western Notes Vs Carnatic Ragam
This post is basically to share what I learnt (as a beginner) over the last two years about playing guitar and some basic information about carnatic ragam. I request the veterans in guitar and carnatic music to bear with me for using simple words as against the normal technical words.
Just like major and minor scales following a particular pattern of notes, a ragam follows a clear cut pattern in carnatic music. The attached file gives the ‘Arohanam’ and ‘Avarohanam’ (the ascending and descending pattern) of 72 melakartha ragams – both carnatic notes and guitar notes are given.
Melakartha ragams are 72 in number which uses all the seven swaras in both ascending and descending way in a well structured way. Carnatic ragam uses 3 variations of all the swaras except ‘s’, ‘ma’ & ‘pa’ – the lower, normal and higher of ‘ri’, ‘ga’, ‘da’ & ‘ni’. ‘ma’ has two variations lower & higher. A permutation and combination of the 7 swaras with above said variations result into 72 melakartha ragams. These are also called ‘parent’ ragams.
You might be wondering one of your known ragam is missing in this list.
The other ragams are called ‘Janya’ ragams which basically came out of these 72 parent ragams. A janya ragam may contain any subset of (minimum of 5 notes) of these 7 swaras with variations. The ascending and descending may have same number of notes or different. The ascending and descending of the notes may not also strictly follow a specific pattern (as seen in parent ragam). The use of notes may also be in a zig zag way. There may be ‘anniya swaram’ either in ascending or descending.
The ragams are set in the attached file in such a way that the note ‘s’ corresponds to western note ‘C’
If you carefully see Sankarabharanam ragam (29th melakartha ragam) corresponds to C Major.
Natabhairavi ragam (20th melakartha ragam) corresponds to C Minor (Natural Minor)
Kiravani ragam (21st melakartha ragam) corresponds to C Minor (Harmonic Minor)
Gowrimanohari (23rd melakartha ragam) corresponds to C Minor (Melodic Minor)
I am unable to identify any other pattern with my little knowledge.
A carnatic ragam can be started and played in any western note – the starting note should correspond to ‘s’ and the pattern of the ragam is to be maintained subsequently.
As I see only Sankarabharanam can be played in any major scale. Other ragams can started in any note but will not follow the scale of the starting note.
I request everyone to comment on above and also write more about your views and share your knowledge in this topic.
I am not a guitar chord player – but interested in knowing the relationship between a particular chord and a carnatic ragam. Your input will enrich the knowledge of everyone.
Pick, Play & Enjoy the melody that each ragam creates…….. Sathya