Legend for Keyboard Notes on Eastern/Western

Discussion in 'Misc Musical Instruments' started by batliwala, Oct 24, 2005.

  1. batliwala

    batliwala New Member

    Taken from VK's Site:

    Original Link : http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Ridge/4694/keyboard-class/legend.htm

    Hope you are familiar to an extent that there are some swaras with 3 variations (like r, g, d, n) and one with only two variations (m) and two with no variations (s, p). Find below the swaras and their meanings (they are also depicted with the key mappings on the keyboard below)

    s - Shadjamam
    r1 - Sudhdha Rishabam
    r2 - Chatusruthi Rishabam
    r3 - Shatsruthi Rishabam
    g1 - Sudhdha Gaandhaaram
    g2 - Saadhaarana Gaandhaaram
    g3 - Anthara Gaandhaaram
    m1 - Sundhdha Madhyamam
    m2 - Prathi Madhyamam
    p - Panchamam
    d1 - Sudhdha Dhaivatham
    d2 - Chatusruthi Dhaivatham
    d3 - Shatsruthi Dhaivatham
    n1 - Sudhdha Nishaadham
    n2 - Kaisiki Nishaadham
    n3 - Kaakali Nishaadham

    Keyboard mappings for swaras (I am assuming that we will start 's' with 'C'; oru kattai).
    : g2 n2 :
    : r1 r3 m2 d1 d3 :
    : | | | | | :
    | : | | | | | | | : |
    n : s r2 g3 m1 p d2 n3 : S
    . : g1 n1 :

    The keys inside the two columns of ':' (colons) depict one octave in the keyboard. Ofcourse, just keep pasting these octaves on the left or the right, you get lower octave and higher octave resp., Note that in this scheme of notations, there are four keys sharing two notes (r2-g1, r3-g2, d2-n1, d3-n2). Notes in the higher octave are depicated in CAPS (S, R, G, M) whereas notes in the lower octave are depicted with a '.' under the swara.

    Western Notation
    Now, if that is confusing for you to remember and you can understand the western notations better, here is a keyboard/piano layout with western notations on it.

    : Db Eb Gb Ab Bb :
    : C# D# F# G# A# :
    : | | | | | :
    | : | | | | | | | : |
    B: C D E F G A B : C

    Note that the western notations have almost the same pattern as the carnatic swaras. We have the basic notes C, D, E, F, G, A, B (like the s,r,g,m,p,d,n) but these are all the white keys. Now the black keys are specied by either a '#' (pronounced as SHARP) and 'b' (pronounced as FLAT). Note that only five notes have the corresponding '#' or 'b'. A black note immediately to the right of the white key is considered a sharp note for the corresponding white key. For example, looking at the above picture, the 'C#' is the immediate (note: only adjacent) black key to 'C'. Thats why its called C# (pronounced as C-SHARP).

    The same black key (C#) can also be called as 'Db' (pronounced as D-FLAT). The explanation is the same as the sharp, the flat key is the immediate left black key for the corresponding white key with which they are associated with. Basically, the point to understand is that C# and Db both point to the same key on the keyboard (its the black key between C and D). Its just a matter of convenience. You can call it either way whichever is convenient to you (somebody's SHARP or somebodyelse's FLAT).

    Why is it called sharp/flat anyway?
    Well, lets do some math now.

    Music is a sequence of notes in some well defined (or may be random) order. A 'note' is a sound in a specific frequency. Its the frequency of the notes that make them different. So, what are the frequencies of these notes C, C#, D, D# etc?<
    They are well defined and remain the same. The 'A' key on the piano or keyboard is always 440 Hz (its used as an index, sort-of). Its a universal constant.

    Finding Frequencies of notes in piano/keyboard
    Fn = BaseFreq * 2^(n/12)

    where BaseFreq is the frequency of the key which we have as the base
    n is the key number from the base key for which we need to find the frequency.
    Fn is the resultant frequency of the 'n'th key from the key with BaseFreq.

    For example:
    Assume BaseFreq (for A) is 440 Hz. To find out the frequency of C (which is 3rd key to the right of A, dont forget to include the black keys), the formula has to be substituted with n=3 and that gives
    F3 = 440 * 2^(3/12)
    F3 (frequency of C) = 440 * 2^(1/4) = 523.25 (approx)

    Suppose, you want to calculate the frequency of the A in the next octave, (as you know, since there are 12 keys in the octave) there are 11 keys between the current octaves 'A' and the next octave's 'A'. Which means, now our 'n' should be 12.
    F12 = 440 * 2^(12/12) = 440 * 2 = 880.

    It is very evident from the above that the same note (in our case 'A') if played in the next higher octave, sounds a frequency which is double the frequency of the current octave (880 = 440 * 2). The same holds good for subsequent higher octaves and lower octaves (except that previous octaves 'A' sounds with half the frequency as the current one).

    The point to note in the western notations (depicted in the figure above) is that they dont change. The key specified as 'C' or 'D' will continue to be 'C' or 'D' for their lifetime. Thats the way they have designed/defined the western notes on the keyboard. When it comes to playing classical carnatic swaras (like s, r, g, m, p, d, n), since we associate the 's' with 'C', we play in 1-scale. We can also associate the 's' with a 'D' on the keyboard. In that case, our mappings will change for the swaras on the keyboard and we play in 2-scale. Typically this is what dictates a 'sruthi' (the base) for any song (whether vocal or instrumental). You must have heard singers being low-pitched or high-pitched. Low pitched means their 's' will be mapped to either 'C' , 'C#', 'D', 'D#' etc., (mostly in the 1 to 3 scale). Male singers usually are invariably low-pitched. The female singers on the other hand are high-pitched (mostly 4-scale, 5-scale, 6-scale like F, G, A, etc.,).

    But dont worry! Our notations are always going to be in 1-scale ('s' will start in 'C').
  2. samio143

    samio143 New Member

    Hey Cool info.....Thanks buddy

Share This Page