Carnatic Music 101

Discussion in 'Carnatic Music of South India' started by harini, Mar 7, 2005.

  1. harini

    harini Hameer Kalyani

    Hello people,

    I was asked to come up with an explanation of how the ragams are formed, and here is a simplified explanation of the same.

    Any ragam consists of a maximum of seven swarams. The ragams that consist of all seven swarams are called Melakartha Ragams. Any ragam that has less than seven swarams, is a derived ragam, from one of the melakartha ragams. The focus of this post is melakartha ragams

    Many people find it confusing as to how the ragam system works. Let me explain the melakartha ragams first. I have provided a mapping document for Indian notes to western notes at the end of this post.

    The Swarams are-
    Shadjam – Sa
    Rishabam- Ri
    Gandharam- Ga
    Madhyamam- Ma
    Panchamam- Pa
    Dhaivatam- Da
    Nishadam- Ni

    Of these swarams, the Sa and Pa are constant.

    Ri, Ga, Da, and Ni have three varieties.

    Ri could be Shuddha, Chatusruthi,, or Shatsruthi (Ri1, Ri2, Ri3)
    Ga could be Shuda, Sadharna or Anthara (Ga1, Ga2, Ga3)
    Da could be Shuda Chatusruthi or Shatsruthi(Da1, Da2, Da3)
    Ni could be Shudha, Kaisiki, Kakali.(Ni1, Ni2, Ni3)

    Ma has two varieties, Shudha, and Prati(Ma1, Ma2

    The Ragams are broken down into a very distinctive pattern. There are seventy two melakarthas. They are split into half by the madhyamam. In simple words, the first 36 Ragams are shudha madyama ragams(Contain only ma1), and the second 36 are prathi madyamam ragams. If we take a close look at the sudha madhyama ragams, it is easy to understand the prathi madhyamam ragams as they are replicated using the second ma.

    The 36 ragams are broken into groups of six, giving us 6 ragams in each chakram.

    Lets take a look at the first ragam. Kanakangi is melakartha 1.

    Sa, Ri1, Ga1, Ma1, Pa, Da1, Ni1

    Second Ragam : Ratnangi
    Sa, Ri1, Ga1, Ma1, Pa, Da1, Ni2

    Third Ragam, Ganamoorthe

    Sa, Ri1, Ga1, Ma1, Pa, Da1, Ni3

    Fourth Ragam Vanaspathi

    Sa, Ri1, Ga1, Ma1, Pa, Da2, Ni2

    Fifth Ragam

    Sa, Ri1, Ga1, Ma1, Pa, Da2, Ni3

    Sixth Ragam

    Sa, Ri1, Ga1, Ma1, Pa, Da3, Ni3

    Thereby Completing the first chakra.

    There is a pattern followed where the swarams are increased one by one.

    If one were to use a guitar to understand the same, the first ragam has the pa, da and ni, in consecutive frets.
    The second ragam would have the pa and da together, but the ni would move to the fret above the original spot.
    The third ragam has the ni right below the melsthai Sa (upper sa).
    Fourth ragam, increases the da, second ni
    Fifth ragam has da and third ni
    And sixth ragam has da and ni, rite next to sa.

    The next chakram, would follow the same format for the swarams above pa, increasing only one swaram in the swarams below ma, in the same pattern.

    For eg. The seventh ragam is Senavathi.

    Sa, Ri1, Ga2, Ma1, Pa, Da1, Ni1

    The first ragam in the Next Chakram would be
    Sa, Ri1, Ga3, Ma1, Pa, Da1. Ni1

    First Ragam in the Fourth Chakram:
    Sa, Ri2, Ga2, Ma1, Pa, Da1, Ni1

    First Ragam in the Fifth Chakram

    Sa, Ri2, Ga3, Ma1, Pa, Da1, Ni1

    First Ragam in the Sixth Chakram, Sa, Ri3, Ga3, Ma1, Pa, Da1, Ni1

    Hence, each chakram increases only one swaram before pa, and follows the pattern of increasing the swarams after pa.

    The second thirty six follow the same pattern, with the exception of M2 instead of Ma1

    Confusing, but try playing it on the guitar, it should make more sense. Im open to any questions...

    Swaram Notation Western
    Sadjamam Sa C
    Suddha Rishabam Re1 C #
    Chathusruthi Rishabam Re2 D
    Shatsruthi Rishabam Re3 D #/ E b
    Suddha Gandharam Ga1 D
    Sadharana Gandharam Ga2 D # /E b
    Anthara Gandharam Ga3 E
    Suddha Madhyamam Ma1 F
    Prati Madhyamam Ma2 F #/G b
    Panchamam Pa G
    Suddha Dhaivatham Da1 G #/A b
    Chathusruthi Dhaivatham Da2 A
    Shatsruthi Dhaivatham Da3 A #/ B b
    Suddha Nishadam Ne1 A
    Kaisiki Nishadam Ne2 A #/B b
    Kakali Nishadam Ne3 B
  2. kishmu

    kishmu New Member

    A minor point:
    The swaram system (or Sa, Re, Ga - Solfege system) above is based on the key of C. You could take any key and make it Sa. You shift to a different key, all notes move relatively.
  3. jayswami

    jayswami Blue J

    [FONT=Courier New]C C# D  Eb E  F  F# G Ab A  Bb B  C  C# D  Eb E  F  F# G Ab A  Bb B  C
    s r1 r2 g1 g2 m1 m2 p d1 d2 n1 n2 s
      s  r1 r2 g1 g2 m1 m2 p d1 d2 n1 n2 s
         s  r1 r2 g1 g2 m1 m2 p d1 d2 n1 n2 s
            s  r1 r2 g1 g2 m1 m2 p d1 d2 n1 n2 s
               s  r1 r2 g1 g2 m1 m2 p d1 d2 n1 n2 s
                  s  r1 r2 g1 g2 m1 m2 p d1 d2 n1 n2 s
                     s  r1 r2 g1 g2 m1 m2 p d1 d2 n1 n2 s
                        s  r1 r2 g1 g2 m1 m2 p d1 d2 n1 n2 s
                           s  r1 r2 g1 g2 m1 m2 p d1 d2 n1 n2 s  
                              s  r1 r2 g1 g2 m1 m2 p d1 d2 n1 n2 s
                                 s  r1 r2 g1 g2 m1 m2 p d1 d2 n1 n2 s
                                    s  r1 r2 g1 g2 m1 m2 p d1 d2 n1 n2 s
                                       s  r1 r2 g1 g2 m1 m2 p d1 d2 n1 n2 s[/FONT]
  4. jayswami

    jayswami Blue J

    any volunteers to add r3,g3,d3and ni3 to that table somehow.. i couldnt think of an elegant way. so the above table is just for the 12 physical notes.
  5. madhura

    madhura pani poori yum yum ....

    thanks for clearing few things regarding carnatic.... now the stuff given by J matches perfectly with my knowledge of hindustani music .....

    but frm harini's explaination, there is r1 r2 r3 and so on... so does R3 = G1 ??
    or it is something in between ?? ( but i can not see any note/seminote in between them, on the keyboard ).... :think: .....

    EDIT: opps, i meant R2 = G1 ...

    so thats cleared now..... thanks ananth
  6. ananth222

    ananth222 Beginner

    R3=G2 and R2=G1
    this is simply so that all melakartha raagas can me denoted with sa re ga ma pa da ni sa. Otherwise some raagas will have to have 2 res or 2 gas. The notes are otherwise the same (R2=g1, R3=G2. D2=N1, D3=N2)

    btw in jay's notation g1 is the G2 in the G1 G2 G3 notation (I know its confusing but the confusion is only int he notation)
    S R1 R2 R3 
         G1 G2 G3 M1 M2 P D1 D2 D3 
                             N1 N2 N3 S
    C C# D  D# E  F  F# G G# A  A# B  C
  7. harini

    harini Hameer Kalyani

    madhura, my name is harini
  8. madhura

    madhura pani poori yum yum ....

    yeah ....
    i think i said the same.....

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