Mahaganapathim - Carnatic guitar tab

Discussion in 'Carnatic Music of South India' started by ananth222, Mar 2, 2005.

  1. ananth222

    ananth222 Beginner


    Composer: Muthuswamy Dikshidhar
    Raagam: Naattai (chalanaatta janya)
    Taalam: Adi

    Mahaganapathim is a quite famous krithi composed by Muthuswamy Dikshidhar. I will try to present it here
    in tab format, as an introduction to playing carnatic music on the guitar.
    I am a beginner myself in playing carnatic music, so this will be a simplified version.

    First the raagam, Naattai.
    Ascent (aarohanam): S R3 G3 M1 P N3 S (C D# E F G B C)
    Descent (avarohanam): S N3 P M1 G3 M1 R3 S
    Notice that for Re in the descent, there is a complicated little knot instead of first fret on D string as in ascent.
    This is the way Re is often played in this raaga (as u will see in when we get into the song)
    To explain, strike the A string on 3rd fret, and without striking again, slide to 6, back to 5, and to 6 again in one motion.

    Now lets go to the song. Carnatic krithis are composed of various sections.
    The first few lines of a krithi are called the "pallavi". The pallavi for this song is:

    Mahaa ganapathim manasaa smaraami
    Mahaa ganapathim vasishta vaama devadi vandhita

    (Meaning: I meditate on the supreme lord Ganapathi, who is worshipped by sages like Vasishta, Vamadeva etc.)

    This is followed by the "charanam" (some krithis have more lines called "anupallavai")
    The charanam for this song is:

    Mahaa devasutham guruguhanutham
    Maarakoti prakaasham shaantham
    Mahaakavya naatakathipriyam mooshikavaahana modhakapriyam

    Meaning: He is the son of lord Mahadeva, is adored by Guruguha and shines with the brilliance of crores of Cupids.
    He is the tranquil one and exults in the literary pieces like poems and dramas. He is fond of Modaka (a variety of sweet),
    and has a mouse for a mount.

    (Acknowledgement: meanings as taken from the book by TKG)

    This is followed by a "chittaswaram" which is sung as swaras (notes) i.e. "Pa Pa Ma Ga Ma Re Sa" etc.

    These sections have a fixed tune and taalam as set by the composer. (But performers usually improvise in between. )
    The lines are usually repeated, with each repetition getting more and more complicated. These repetitions are called "sangati"s.

    Taalam is a very important concept in carnatic music especially because it can get quite complicated.
    The taalam for this kriti is "adi taalam" which is an eight beat cycle.
    You may see in some places the taalam for this specified as "chaturasra ekam" which basically means each beat has four "pulses"
    So the cycle has 8 beats, 4 "pulses" per beat. It is counted by tapping ur palm and fingers down on ur lap.
    So, 1 to 8 is counted as:
    1 - tap palm face down on lap (called "thattu")
    2 - tap little finger
    3 - tap ring finger
    4 - tap middle finger
    5 - tap palm face down on lap
    6 - sweep palm around and tap back of palm on lap
    7 - tap palm face down on lap
    8 - sweep palm around and tap back of palm on lap
    and basically go back to 1 and repeat

    Of course, u can't be tapping ur palm while playing guitar, but its important that u learn the song
    with this taalam so that u can keep the beat while playing.

    ok now lets get down to business.
    The notes for the pallavi are as below. Note the 8 beats per line and 4 pulses per beat, and the diffreent sangatis.
    Also, each sangati is played twice.
    M - P - | - - M - | R - S - | R - - - | S - N - | S - - - | S - S R | - - G - ||
    Ma  ha        ga    na  pa    thim       ma  na    saa       sma ra        mi
    P N M P | - - M - | M G P M | R - - - | S - N - | S - - - | R S S R | - - G - ||
    Ma  ha        ga    na  pa    thim       ma  na    saa       sma ra        mi
    P N S N | P M G M | P M R S | R - - - | S - N - | S - - - | R S S R | - - G - ||
    Ma  ha        ga    na  pa    thim       ma  na    saa       sma ra        mi
    P N S S | R - S N | P M R S | R - - - | P S - N | P - M G | M R - S | S R G M ||
    Ma  ha        ga    na  pa    thim       Vasih ta  va  made    vaa di  van dita
    P N M P | - - M - | M G P M | R - - - | - - - - | - - - - | - - S - | - N - - ||
    Ma  ha        ga    na  pa    thim                               Sma     raa
    S - - - | - - - - | - - - - | - - - - | - - - - | - - - - | - - - - | - - - - |
    Note that we finish by going back to the second sangati, singing half of it, and finishing with "smarami"
    such that "mi" falls on the first beat of the next cycle.

    Now the tabs! I can't show the intricacies of taala on the tab, so use the above notation as a guide for what comes next.
    Remember, this is a simplified version, so it may not be exactly like the one u just heard on the radio or tv!

    first sangati, play twice:
       ma ha   ga na pa thim         ma na   sa  smaraa      mi
    second sangati, immedietely follows after first is played twice. play this also twice
       ma    ha      ga na   pa     thim       ma na   sa  sma  raa      mi
    then third sangati (play twice):
       ma   ha         ga   na     pa   thim       ma na   sa  sma  raa      mi
    then the 4th sangati (play twice):
      ma   ha               ga   na   pa   thim     vasish tava made  vadivan dita
    After this, pla second sangati once, but only till "maha ganapathim"
    Then wait and play "smarami" as below, such that the last "mi" falls on the first beat of next cycle.
    Then hold that note till end of that cycle, after which we go to the charanam.
    I'll break here for now, this is a lot to gather already!
    Here is an mp3 file of me playing the pallavi fully.
    I have played it with a metronome to help you recognise the taalam.
    I've set the metronome to play bass drum sound on 1, 5 and 7 beats,
    and stick sound for the rest, to give that adi-taalam feel.
    (pls pardon the audio quality).
    shsnawada and (deleted member) like this.
  2. jayswami

    jayswami Blue J

    sounds cool. but it doesnt sound like maha-ganapatim what u r playing. its in nattai.. but melody seems to be different.. is it from different part of the song?
  3. ananth222

    ananth222 Beginner

    lol its mahaganapathim only
    all these guys like prasanna and yesudass and mandolin srinivas have spoiled u! :p
    anyway, they normally start with "ma pa ma ga ma re" instead of "ma pa ma re sa re"
    and start with more complicated sangatis.
    This is the plain version, I can sing it for u if u want! ;)
  4. jayswami

    jayswami Blue J

    professional expert comments from my IM ...

    xxx says: (11:21:55 PM)
    ***snpmgmr is the accepted avarohanam for nattai

    J says: (11:22:13 PM)
    ***what does he play

    xxx says: (11:22:43 PM)
    ***he plays mpmrsr
  5. jayswami

    jayswami Blue J

  6. ananth222

    ananth222 Beginner

    I am quite sure I am playing snpmgmrs in the avarohanam.
    dunno how its heard as mpmrsr
  7. the_googly

    the_googly New Member

    ananth: Good Job... It is very difficult to play Nattai on a guitar or any other instrument with frets
  8. ananth222

    ananth222 Beginner

    thanx :)
    yea naattai is very hard to play on guitar. this is a simplified version.
  9. kishmu

    kishmu New Member

    Lots of people sing it using their own imagination. Yet, theres a "basics" to learn a raagam I guess. Once you learn it, you can improvise.

    Ananth - great stuff. Is there a way to make your lessons stickies so they dont get lost?
  10. andholanam

    andholanam New Member

    nice job ananth. cheers. BTW, I am looking forward to jamming with you in Nashville, after the programme.
  11. golisoda

    golisoda Comfortably Numb

    @ananth, I could play the first sangati. But having trouble playing from then on.... Any tips or things to keep in mind (apart from practice.. which I am doing) would be appreciated.

    One such thing I found was to play 3/6\5/6. start at 3 rd fret slide it just past the fifth but keep it on the 5 fret bar and move the wrist so that it plays 6\5/6. correct me if I am wrong.

    You got me mesmerized with ur playing.
  12. ananth222

    ananth222 Beginner

    well apart from practise I don't know what else can help. I am still quite new to this, and I have trouble playing a lot of gamakas. I need to practise much more myself!

    anyway, some points I can think of:
    first play it slowly, so that u get the slides exact. like for 3/6\5/6 slide slowly from 3 to 6, slowly back to 5 slowly back to 6, and memorize the pattern. gradually increase ur speed in steps, making sure u maintain the correctness. It is more important for instance in the second sangati slide which goes 5/9 and then 3/5. Its very important musically that you slide only till 9 from 5 and not to 10 (cos that will become Sa). So you need to practise it slowly and speed up maintining the accuracy.
    In general, don't pivot your palm on the wrist joint while sliding. let your whole arm move freely as required while sliding (don't intentionally exaggerate that movement either).
    Also, for playing carnatic which involves a lot of slides, it is better you sit down and play, and keep the neck slightly horizontal (instead of the more vertical classical guitaring style). Add a little compression and drive to the sound to improve sustenance and level the sound on different strings.
  13. andholanam

    andholanam New Member

    BTW, folks - Ananth and Me got to meet and we jammed. He is awesome on lead guitar. His hands move like knife in butter. A couple of his equally talented friends participated in it and it was wonderful.

    Great going Ananth. Kudos @
  14. ananth222

    ananth222 Beginner

    thanx murali! :)
    it was great watching ur concert and then jamming with u
    u should post an mp3 ur composition.. it was just amazing!
  15. andholanam

    andholanam New Member

  16. lord_neo

    lord_neo Guest

    Nice work, annanth! Good reps from me.
  17. De-Silva

    De-Silva New Member

    Hi Ananth!

    Hi Ananth,

    I printed the tab off and tried to play it.....rather unsuccessfully due to my low skill level! :)

    Based on what little I was able to get right, I think you've done a great job of tabbing it buddy!

    Just thought I'd post here and say hello!

  18. artmyxolydian

    artmyxolydian New Member

    you people must be joking.......
    this has to be the worst thread ever.

    lemme start off by asking you this-- how can you ""tab"" a kriti ??
    how can you represent the nuances ??
    now, a kriti is not a guitar solo played by yngwie malmsteen which can be represented in detail by tabs.

    and, and, and, with such superficial knowledge and load of crap you write, it aint worth the effort.

    you play such things by 'ear' not tabs.
    and never try to play a carnatic kriti on guitar, becuase you cant play gamakas, and gamakas are the heart and soul of carnatic music.
  19. floydjunky

    floydjunky New Member

    what the heck are you talking about?

    I do'nt think you have a clue about guitar playing, let alone producing gamakas on the guitar. You may want to take your ego, flush down the toilet and check out or perhaps listen to mandolin shrinivas. The mandolin has pretty much the same properties as guitar.
  20. d_ist_urb_ed

    d_ist_urb_ed Genuflect b*tches!

    ^@floydjunky, that was the most amazing amazing work i have ever heard. Brilliant.

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