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Carnatic music terminology

ruti ruti is musical pitch. It is considered equivalent to tonic of western music. This is the pitch at which the drone is set, which is usually played by a tambura. ruti types Canonically there are 22 ruti in the octave although systems with more or fewer ruti have been proposed. Here they are given in terms of just intonation, although many authors assume schismatic temperament implicitly. There are infinite ratios, and therefore kinds of rutis, in Indian music as there is full freedom; yet the classical values described are

Chatuh ruti : 9/8 Tri ruti : 10/9 Dwi ruti : 16/15 Single or Mono ruti : 81/80 which is called pramana ruti.

Furthermore, there are Antar-ruti which give distances within one ruti and show how distances were formed: 1. 2:1 is taken as distance between same Swar ruti Sa to Sa, Re to Re Ga to Ga & likewise. this was placed on "4th ruti" 2. 3:2 is distance between Sa & Pa that is ist tone & 5th tone. this was placed on "17th ruti" 3. 4:3 is taken as distance between Sa & Ma Shuddha this was placed on "13th ruti" 4. 5:4 is taken as distance between Sa & Ga Shuddha this was placed on "9th ruti" 5. 6:5 is taken as distance between Sa & Ga Komal which was called teevra in old ages as moving Ga towards Re makes Re Suddha

Swaram Swaram or Swara is a single note. Each swaram defines the position of note in relation to the ruti. The seven notes of the scale (swaras), in Indian music are named shadja, rishabh, gandhar, madhyam, pancham, dhaivat and nishad, usually shortened to Sa, Ri (Carnatic) or Re (Hindustani), Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, and Ni and written S, R, G, M, P, D, N. Collectively these notes are known as the sargam (the word is an acronym of the consonants of the first four swaras). Sargam is the Indian equivalent to solfege, a technique for the teaching of sight-singing. Sargam is practiced against a drone. The tone Sa is not associated with any particular pitch. As in Western moveable-Do solfege, Sa refers to the tonic of a piece or scale rather than to any particular pitch. Notation A dot above a letter indicates that the note is sung one octave higher, and a dot below indicates one octave lower. Or, if a note with the same name-Sa, for example-is an octave higher than the note represented by S, an apostrophe is placed to the right: S'. If it is an octave lower, the apostrophe is placed to the left: 'S. Apostrophes can be added as necessary to indicate the octave: for example, ``g would be the note komal Ga in the octave two octaves below that which begins on the note S (that is, two octaves below g). The basic mode of reference is that which is equivalent to the Western Ionian mode or major scale (called Bilawal thaat in Hindustani music). All relationships between pitches follow from this. In any seven-tone mode (starting with S), R, G, D, and N can be natural (shuddha, lit. 'pure') or flat (komal, 'soft') but never sharp, and the M can be natural or sharp (tivra) but never flat, making twelve notes as in the Western chromatic scale. If a swara is not natural (shuddha), a line below a letter indicates that it is flat (komal) and an acute accent above indicates that it is sharp (tivra or tivar). R, G, D, and N may be either shuddha or komal; M may be either shuddha or tivra. Sa and Pa are immovable (once Sa is selected), forming a just perfect fifth. In some notation systems, the distinction is made with capital and lowercase letters. When abbreviating these tones, the form of the note which is relatively lower in pitch always uses a lowercase

letter, while the form which is higher in pitch uses an uppercase letter. So komal Re/Ri uses the letter r and shuddha Re/Ri, the letter R, but shuddha Ma uses m because it has a raised form-tivra Ma-which uses the letter M. Sa and Pa are always abbreviated as S and P, respectively, since they cannot be altered. The chart below assumes Sa to be at C. Full form (Carnatic) Shadjam Shuddha Madhyama Prati Madhyama Panchama Abbreviated form (Carnatic) Sa Shuddha Ma Full form (Hindustani) Shadj Shuddha Madhyama Tivra Madhyama Panchama Abbreviated form (Hindustani) Sa Ma



Prati Ma Pa

M'a Pa

F# G

Swaras in Carnatic music The swaras in Carnatic music are slightly different in the 12 note system. There are 3 types each of Rishabha, Gandhara, Dhaivatha and Nishadha. There are 2 types of Madhyama, while Panchama and Shadja are invariant. Position 1 2 3 3 4 Shadja Shuddha Rishabha Swara Short name Notation Mnemonic Sa Ri S R1 R2 G1 R3 sa ra ri ga ru

Chathusruthi Rishabha Ri Shuddha Gandhara Shatsruthi Rishabha Ga Ri

4 5 6 7 8 9 10 10 11 11 12

Sadharana Gandhara Anthara Gandhara Shuddha Madhyama Prati Madhyama Panchama Shuddha Dhaivatha

Ga Ga Ma Ma Pa Dha

G2 G3 M1 M2 P D1 D2 N1 D3 N2 N3

gi gu ma mi pa dha dhi na dhu ni nu

Chathusruthi Dhaivatha Dha Shuddha Nishadha Shatsruthi Dhaivatha Kaisiki Nishadha Kakali Nishadha Ni Dha Ni Ni

As you can see above, Chathusruthi Rishabha and Shuddha Gandhara share the same pitch (3rd key/ position). Hence if C is chosen as Shadja, D would be both Chathusruthi Rishabha and Shuddha Gandhara. Hence they will not occur in same raga together. Similarly for two swaras each at notes 4, 10 and 11. What the Swaras Mean Each shuddha swara (i.e., Sa, Re/Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha/Da, and Ni) is traditionally held to have originated in the sound of a different animal, and some have additional meanings of their own. Also, each swara is associated with one of the seven chakras of the body. Just as the swaras ascend through the saptak, so they are mapped onto the chakras in the body in ascending order. Komal notes are associated with the left side of each chakra; the left channel, Ida Nadi, is the side of emotion and intuition. Shuddha and tivra notes are associated with the right side; the right channel, Pingala Nadi, is the side of logic. Ragas, therefore, have more or less of an effect on a given chakra depending on the notes they contain.

Swar Expansio a n Shadja ( )



Chakra mldhra





(anus) svdhih



Rishabha ()



na Agni (genitals) maipra


Gandhar a ( )



Rudra (solar (Shiva) plexus and stomach) anhata


Madhya ma ( )



(heart and lungs)



Pancham a () Dhaivata ()


viuddha cuckoo/nighting ale (throat) horse jñ (third eye) sahasrra






Nishada ( )

outcast/hunt elephant er

(crown of the head)

Surya(Su n)

In certain forms of Indian classical music and qawwali, when a rapid 16th note sequence of the same note is sung, different syllables may be used in a certain sequence to make the whole easier to

pronounce. For example, instead of "sa-sa-sa-sa-sa-sa-sa-sa" said very quickly, it might be "sa-da-da-li-sa-da-da-li" which lends itself more to a quick and light tongue movement. Rgam A rgam prescribes a set of rules for building a melody - very similar to the Western concept of mode. Different combination of swarams and swaram phrases form different rgams. Rga (Sanskrit, lit. "colour" or "mood"; or rgam in Carnatic music) refers to melodic modes used in Indian classical music. It is a series of five or more musical notes upon which a melody is made. In the Indian musical tradition, rgas are associated with different times of the day, or with seasons. Indian classical music is always set in a rga. Non-classical music such as popular Indian film songs or ghazals sometimes use rgas in their compositions. Nature of Rga "That which is a special dhwani, is bedecked with swara (notes) and varna and is colorful or delightful to the minds of the people, is said to be rga" - Matanga in the Brihaddeshi. The basic mode of reference in modern Hindustani practice (known commonly as the shuddha - basic - form) is a set which is equivalent to the Western Ionian mode -- this is called Bilawal thaat in Hindustani music (the Carnatic analog would be Sankarabharanam). In both systems, the ground (or tonic), Shadja, Sa, and a pure fifth above, Pancham, Pa, are fixed and essentially sacrosanct tones. In the Hindustani system, in a given seven-tone mode, the second, third, sixth, and seventh notes can be natural (shuddha, lit. 'pure') or flat (komal, 'soft') but never sharp, and the fourth note can be natural or sharp (tivra) but never flat, making up the twelve notes in the Western equal tempered chromatic scale (Western enharmonic pitch equivalences like, for example, A and B do not apply; e.g. Re tivra may, to a Western musician appear enharmonic to Ga shuddha in that system, but in practice is not.) A Western-style C scale could

therefore theoretically have the notes C, D, D, E, E, F, F, G, A, A, B, B. The Carnatic system has three versions -- a lower, medium, and higher form -- of all the notes except Sa, Ma and Pa. Ma has two versions (lower and higher), while Sa and Pa are invariant. Rgas can also specify microtonal changes to this scale: a flatter second, a sharper seventh, and so forth. Tradition has it that the octave consists of (a division into) 22 microtones ("rutis"). Furthermore, individual performers treat pitches quite differently, and the precise intonation of a given note depends on melodic context. There is no absolute pitch (such as the modern western standard A = 440 Hz); instead, each performance simply picks a ground note, which also serves as the drone, and the other scale degrees follow relative to the ground note. The Carnatic system embarks from a much different shuddha (fundamental) scalar formation, that is, shuddha here is the lowest-pitched swara. By comparison, using the common tonic "C" for a western musician: Carnatic Sa Shuddha Ri Chatusruti Ri Shatsruti Ri Shuddha Ga "Ri 1" "Ri 2" "Ri 3" "Ga 1" Hindustani Sa Komal Re Shuddha Re (Komal Ga) (Shuddha Re) Komal Ga Shuddha Ga Western E.T. "C" "D" "D" "D" "D" "E" "E" "F" "F"

Sadharana Ga "Ga 2" Antara Ga Shuddha Ma Prati Ma "Ga 3"

"Ma 1" Shuddha Ma "Ma 2" Teevra Ma

Pa Shuddha Dha

Pa "Dha 1" Komal Dha

"G" "A" "A" "A"

Chatusruti Dha "Dha 2" Shuddha Dha Shatsruti Dha Shuddha Ni Kaisika Ni Kakali Ni "Dha 3" (Komal Ni) "Ni 1" "Ni 2" "Ni 3"

(Shuddha Dha) "A" Komal Ni Shuddha Ni "B" "B"

Rgas and their seasons Many Hindustani (North Indian) rgas are prescribed a time of day or a season. When performed at the suggested time, the rga has its maximum effect. During the monsoon, for example, many of the Malhar group of rgas, which are associated with the monsoon and ascribed the magical power to bring rain, are performed. However, these prescriptions are not strictly followed, especially since modern concerts are generally held in the evening. There has also been a growing tendency over the last century for North Indian musicians to adopt South Indian rgas, which do not come with any particular time associated with them. The result of these various influences is that there is increasing flexibility as to when rgas may be performed. Notations Although notes are an important part of rga practice, they alone do not make the rga. A rga is more than a scale. Many rgas share the same scale. The underlying scale may have five, six or seven tones made up of swaras. Rgas that have five swaras are called audava () rgas; those with six, shaadava (); and with seven, sampoorna () (Sanskrit for 'complete'). Those rgas that do not follow the strict ascending or descending order of swaras are called vakra () ('crooked') rgas.

It is the mood of the rga that is more important than the notes it comprises. For example, Rga Darbari Kanada and Rga Jaunpuri share the same notes but are entirely different in their renderings. Northern and southern differences The two streams of Indian classical music, Carnatic music and Hindustani music, have independent sets of rgas. There is some overlap, but more "false friendship" (where rga names overlap, but rga form does not). In north India, the rgas have been categorised into ten thaats or parent scales (by Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande, 1860-1936); South India uses an older, more systematic classification scheme called the melakarta classification, with 72 parent (melakarta) rgas. Overall there is a greater identification of rga with scale in the south than in the north, where such an identification is impossible. Rgas in north Indian music system follow the 'law of consonances' established by Bharat in his Natyashastra, which does not tolerate deviation even at the shruti level. As rgas were transmitted orally from teacher to student, some rgas can vary greatly across regions, traditions and styles. There have been efforts to codify and standardise rga performance in theory from their first mention in Matanga's Brhaddesi (c. tenth century). Carnatic rga In Carnatic music, rgas are classified as Janaka rgas and Janya rgas. Janaka rgas are the rgas from which the Janya rgas are created. Janaka rgas are grouped together using a scheme called Katapayadi sutra and are organised as Melakarta rgas. A Melakarta rga is one which has all seven notes in both the rhanam (ascending scale) and avarhanam (descending scale). Some Melakarta rgas are Harikambhoji, Kalyani, Kharaharapriya, Mayamalavagowla, Sankarabharanam and Todi. Janya rgas are derived from the Janaka rgas using a combination of the swarams (usually a subset of swarams) from the parent rga. Some janya rgas are Abheri, Abhogi, Bhairavi, Hindolam and Kambhoji. See the full List of Janya Ragas for more. Each rga has a definite collection and orders of swaras (the basic notes). In Carnatic music, there are 7 basic notes of which there are

12 varieties. The seven basic swarams of Carnatic music are: Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Da, Ni. Related rgas Even though Janya rgas are subsets of Janaka rgas in notation and representation, the differences between the child ragas are clear due to the differences like

some notes that figure more in a particular rga compared to another, while other notes used sparingly some notes may be sung with gamaka, stress, elongation, etc., in one rga compared to other specific phrases used and other phrases to be avoided in a rga (so as to avoid deviation into another rga's domain)

The effect of the rgas are different from each other, even if they notationally use same swarams (or subset of swarams between each other) due to above subjective differences related to bhava and rasa (mood caused in the listener). The artists have to ensure the same when elaborating on a rga, as has been followed and expected on each rga, without digressing into the phrases of another related rga. As we all know, science and notations cannot fully represent emotions and feelings. Rga-rgini The rga-rgini scheme is an old classification scheme used from the 14th century to the 19th century. It usually consists of 6 'male' rgas each with 6 'wives'(rginis) and a number of sons (putras) and even 'daughters-in-law'. As it did not agree with various other schemes, and the 'related' rgas had very little or no similarity, the rga-rgini scheme is no longer very popular. rhanam rhanam of a rgam is the ascending scale of the rgam. It describes the rules for singing ascending notes of a rgam, including the swarams to use and swaram patterns that form the rgam. Avarhanam Avarhanam of a rgam is the descending scale of the rgam. It describes the rules for singing descending notes of a rgam.

Melakart A Melakart rgam is one which has all seven swarams, namely, Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha and Ni (sampoorna rgam). The rhanam and avarhanam of a melakart ragam are strictly ascending and descending scales. It is also known as janaka rgam (parent rgam), because other rgams are derived from it. Chakra A chakra consists of a group of 6 Melakart rgams, which differ from each other only in the Dhaivatham and Nishadham. Janya A Janya rgam is one which is derived from a Melakart rgam. It may have (a) a subset of the seven swarams Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha and Ni (varjya rgam), (b) an external swaram (anya swaram) not found in it's parent or (c) vakra praygam of swarams in rhanam or Avarhanam (zig-zag sequence of notes, instead of strictly ascending or descending scales). Tlam Tlam refers to the rhythm cycle or beat cycle for a particular song. Tala (Sanskrit tla, literally a "clap") is the term used in Indian classical music for the rhythmic pattern of any composition and for the entire subject of rhythm. A tala is a rhythmic cycle of beats with an ebb and flow of various types of intonations resounded on a percussive instrument. Each such pattern has its own name. Indian classical music has complex, all-embracing rules for the elaboration of possible patterns, though in practice a few talas are very common while others are rare. Carnatic music uses a comprehensive system for the specification of talas, called the suladi sapta tala system. According to this system, there are seven families of talas, each of which has five members, one each of five types or varieties (jati or chapu), thus allowing thirty-five possible talas. In Carnatic music each pulse count is called an aksharam or a kriy, the interval between each being equal, though capable of division

into faster matras or svaras, the fundamental unit of time. The tala is defined by the number and arrangement of aksharams inside an avartanam. There are three sub-patterns of beats into which all talas are divided; laghu, dhrutam and anudhrutam.

A dhrutam is a pattern of 2 beats. This is notated 'O'. An anudhrutam is a single beat, notated 'U'. A laghu is a pattern with a variable number of beats, 3, 4, 5, 7 or 9, depending upon the type of the tala. It is notated '1'. The number of matras in an aksharam is called the nadai or gati. This number can be 3, 4, 5, 7 or 9, and these types are respectively called Tisra, Chatusra, Khanda, Misra and Sankeerna. The default nadai is Chatusram: Jati Aksharams in laghu Tisra 3 Chatusra 4 Khanda 5 Misra 7 Sankeerna 9

The seven families are: Tala Description of avartanam 1O1 Default length Total Aksharas according of laghu to the Saptha Alankaras 4 4 4 7 3 5 4 14 10 6 10 7 14 4

Dhruva 1O11 Matya Rupaka O1 Jhampa 1UO Triputa 1OO Ata Eka 11OO 1

For instance one avartanam of Khanda-jati Rupaka tala comprises a 2-beat dhrutam followed by a 5-beat laghu. An avartanam is thus 7 aksharams long. With all possible combinations of tala types and laghu lengths, there are 5 x 7 = 35 talas having lengths ranging from 3 (Tisra-jati Eka) to 29 (sankeerna-jati Dhruva) aksharams.

Chatusra-gati Khanda-jaati Rupaka tala has 7 aksharam, each of which is 4 matras long; each avartanam of the tala is 4 x 7 = 28 matras long. For Misra-gati Khanda-jati Rupaka tala, it would be 7 x 7 = 49 matra. In practice, only a few talas have compositions set to them. As in the table above, each variety of tala has a default family associated with it; the variety mentioned without qualification refers to the default. For instance, Jhampa tala is Misra-jati Jhampa tala. The most common tala is Chatusra-nadai Chatusra-jaati Triputa tala, also called Adi tala (Adi meaning primordial in Sanskrit). From the above tables, this tala has eight aksharams, each being 4 svarams long. Many krtis and around half of the varnams are set to this tala. Other common talas include:

Chatusra-nadai Chatusra-jaati Rupaka tala (or simply Rupaka tala). A large body of krtis is set to this tala. Khanda Chapu (a 10-count) and Misra Chapu (a 14-count), both of which do not fit very well into the suladi sapta tala scheme. Many padams are set to Misra Chapu, while there are also krtis set to both the above talas. Chatusra-nadai Khanda-jati Ata tala (or simply Ata tala). Around half of the varnams are set to this tala. Tisra-nadai Chatusra-jati Triputa tala (or simply Triputa tala). A few fast-paced kritis are set to this tala.

Sometimes, pallavis are sung as part of a Ragam Thanam Pallavi exposition in some of the rarer, more complicated talas; such pallavis, if sung in a non-Chatusra-nadai tala, are called nadai pallavis. Eduppu or Start point Compositions do not always begin on the first beat of the tala: it may be offset by a certain number of matras or aksharas or combination of both to suit the words of the composition. The word Talli, used to describe this offset, is from Tamil and literally means "shift". A composition may also start on one of the last few matras of the previous avartanam. This is called Ateeta Eduppu.

Rarer Carnatic talas Other than these 35 talas there are 108 so-called anga talas. The following is the exhaustive pattern of beats used in constructing them. Anga Anudrutam Druta Drutavirama Laghu (Chatusrajati) Laghuvirama Laghudrutavirama Guru Symbol Aksharakala Mode of Counting U O (OU) l U) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 A beat followed by circular movement of the right hand in the clockwise direction with closed fingers. 1 beat + 3 finger count 1beat 1 beat + Visarijitam (wave of hand)

Laghu-druta O) OU)


8 9 10 11

Guru-virama (8U) Guru-druta (8O) Guru-druta(8OU) virama




1 beat + kryshya (waving the right hand from right to left) + 1 sarpini (waving the right hand from left to right) - each of 4 aksharakalas OR a Guru followed by the hand waving downwards

Pluta-virana U) Pluta-druta O) Pluta-drutaOU) virama

13 14 15




1 beat + patakam (lifting the right hand) + kryshya + sarpini - each of 4 aksharakalas)

Compositions are rare in these lengthy talas. They are mostly used in performing the Pallavi of Ragam Thanam Pallavis. Some examples of anga talas are: Sarabhandana tala 8 Ol l O U U) O

O O O U O) OU) U) U O U O U) O

(OU) O)

Simhanandana tala : It is the longest tala. 88 l)l8OO 88 l)l) 8 l l + Another type of tala is the chhanda tala. These are talas set to the lyrics of the Thirupugazh by the Tamil composer Arunagirinathar. He is said to have written 16000 hyms each in a different chhanda tala. Of these, only 1500-2000 are available. lpana lpana is a preface to a song, which explores the rgam of the song, without any lyrics. It is a slow improvisation with no tlam (rhythm). An Alapana is defined as the introduction and elaboration of a raga (musical scale). The flavor of the raga is outlined in the alapana by rendering the raga's permitted notes in structures and phrases unique to the raga (known as "raga lakshanam"). Alapana typically precedes a song that is going to be sung in the same raga. Alapana is rendered in different speeds, with a gradual increase in tempo. Likewise, the complexity of the patterns increases steadily as the alapana progresses. Alapana is divided into three parts:

Akshipthika Ragavardhini Magarini

In Carnatic Music, the alapana is sung in a free-flowing format, without adherence to a specific beat or taalam. In a Carnatic music concert, the vocalist or instrumentalist may spend anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes or more on the alapana prior to beginning the song that is in that raga. Performers and instrumental accompanists often render the alapana together and individually (for example, vocalists's phrases shadowed by that of a violinist, as well as vocalist's rendering followed by that of the violinist). Niraval Niraval or Neraval is the repeated singing of one or two lines of a song, with improvised exposition in each repetition. Niraval also known as Neraval or Sahitya Vinyasa is considered to be one of the important features in the extempore improvisation aspect (Manodharma Sangita) of Carnatic music. Niraval is essentially the extempore construction, elaboration and improvisation of swaras for a particular line in the kriti, within the framework of a talam which brings out the Raga bhava effectively. It is usually just one line from the charanam part of the kriti and has to sit within the framework of a tala and highlight every rasa and bhava singularly. For example : 4-beat niravals for Shyama Sastri's "sarojadala netri himagiri putri" set to Adi talam (double) in the Raga Shankarabharanam can be constructed for the line "sama gana vinodhini guna" (like this : gpmgrs | s,ndpmgrs) in the charanam of the song. Kalpanaswaram Kalpanaswaram literally means imagined swarams. It is the singing of swarams of the rgam of a song, following the completion of the song. Though many phrases of the swarams may have been practiced, experienced artists may spontaneously play new phrases within the rgam's rules - hence the term Kalpana. It is an improvisation of the rgam, by singing the swarams, namely Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha and Ni.

In classical music of south India Kalpanaswaram (also called swara kalpana, svara kalpana, manodharmaswara or just swaras), is raga improvisation within a specific tala in which the musician improvises in the Indian music solfege (sa, ri, ga, ma, pa, da, ni) after completing a composition. The kalpanaswaram start may start at at any place in the tala, but the artist must end their improvisation at the first note of the first phrase of the composition, at the place in the rhythm cycle, where that note is. To arrive at that note, one has to approach it from the closest note below. Kalpanaswaram improvisations increase in intensity the more tala cycles used. One complete tala cycle is called an avartanam. While improvising, the musician must abide by the rules of the raga and should sing kalpanaswaram phrases that have been sung over the years. Some ragas omit notes and others have zigzagging ascents or descents. The great musicians develop a vocabulary of phrases in kalpanaswaram as in an alapana, especially when doing kalpanaswaram at low speeds, which allow for more gamaka. The place where the first note of the first phrase of the composition exists in the rhythm cycle is called the eduppu. Kalpanaswaram is performed in a Carnatic Concert for the main song, the singer chooses to perform the Raga Alapana. However in concerts, artists will choose a difficult raga to perform a Kalpanaswaram in. Although there are no set rules, there can be confusion. Take the Raga Sahana (janya of 28th Melakarta raga Harikambhoji):

Arohanam : S R G M P M D N S Avarohanam : S N D P M G M R G R S

In this raga, when the artist improvises, when ascending in pitch after the Pa (Panchamam), the Ma (Madhyamam) needs to be sung, or the raga will be wrong. So with a raga like Sahana or Anandabhairavi, Purvi Kalyani etc, which have Dhattu (jumping) swarams in their arohanam and/or avarohanam the Kalpanaswaram is harder to master and perform.

Rgamlika Rgamlika, which literally means garland of rgams, is a composition that has different verses set to different rgams. Rgamlika swarams refers to singing of Kalpanaswarams in different rgams. Rgam Thnam Pallavi Rgam Thnam Pallavi is a rendition of Carnatic music which lends to total improvisation, in different forms. It consists of Rgam lpana (rgam), Thnam and a Pallavi line. The pallavi line is sung many times in different speeds, different ranges of the rgam and different octaves. This is usually followed by Kalpanaswarams, sometimes in multiple rgams (rgamlika). Ragam "Ragam" in the context of "Ragam Thanam Pallavi" refers to ragam alapana - the first component. In this form of pure melodic improvisation, the musician starts with a refrain to create the mood of raga and lays a foundation for composition to follow. Each ragam thanam pallavi has at least one raga associated with it. Thanam Thanam is one of the most important forms of improvisation, and is integral to ragam thanam pallavi. It is the second component of this composite form of improvisation. Originally developed for the veena, it consists of expanding the raga with syllables like tha, nam, thom, aa, nom, na, etc. Thanam is a rhythmic version of the raga alapana. Although tanam is often rendered without percussion support, the element of rhythm is more obvious in this type of improvisation. It is rendered in medium speed and just before commencing the third component of this composite form of improvisation; the pallavi. Pallavi The word Pallavi is derived from the three syllables Pa - Pada (words), La - Laya (rhythm) and Vi - Vinyasam (variations). Pallavi is the equivalent of a refrain in Western music. The Pallavi is usually a one-line composition set to a single cycle of tala. The tala could range from the simple to the complex and there may also be different gatis being employed.

Pallavi has 2 portions to it. The first half of Pallavi is an ascending piece of notes and the first half of the Pallavi should always end at the strike of the beginning of the second half of the Talam cycle, called the Ardhi. Between the first half of the Pallavi and the second half of the Pallavi there will be a brief pause called as the Vishranthi and then the second portion of the Pallavi starts. Executing niraval far a pallavi is unique, as, unlike in a krithi, the artist is not allowed to change the locations of each syllable in the sahithyam, as this lessens the innate beauty of the pallavi. The basic style in Pallavi rendition is to sing the Pallavi in different speeds or Nadai. In most cases the Pallavi is set to Chathushtra Nadai meaning each beat carries 4 units. So the singer will then sing the Pallavi in 3 different speeds, once with each Beat carrying one unit, then 2 units and then 4 units per beat. Once this is completed then they would sing the Pallavi in a different Nadai called Tisra Nadai meaning each beat now carries 3 units. Once these aspects are covered, the singer explores in the Kalpanaswara phase and they would start exploring different Ragas during the Kalpanaswara. Pallavi can be sung in 2 different aspects, one called as Prathiloma and then the Anulomam. In Carnatic music the Talam is always constant and only the Swaras or the Pallavi set for the Talam can undergo Nadai bedam. But in theory if you sing Pallavi without changing any speed but increase the Talam cycle in a geometric progression, it would be the other kind. The Pallavi challenges the musician's ability to improvise with complex and intricate patterns. The whole exercise is very demanding, both technically and musically, since all the artiste's musicianship is put to test. Viruttam Viruttam is a devotional verse or phrase sung in an impromptu choice of rgam or rgamlika usually before a song. The rgam (or last rgam in case of rgamlika) is usually the same as that of the song that follows. Viruttams do not have talas and are mainly improvised using one or more ragams. It is one of the different forms of manodharma (spontaneous improvisations) in Carnatic music.

A viruttam usually precedes rendition of a song. In most cases, it is sung in the same ragam as the song that follows it. Occasionally, viruttam of multiple verses are sung in different ragams, followed by a song in the same ragam as the last sung ragam of the viruttam. The artist may also sing the same verse in different ragams in different concerts. Mandharma Manodharma is a form of improvised music and is created on spot during the performance, but within the confines of strict grammar of music. It can be likened to speakers resorting to impromptu speech while reading from their prepared texts. It serves as an important aspect of Carnatic music. There are many types of improvisations, like Rgam lpana, Thnam, Niraval, Viruttam and Kalpanaswaram. Arising out of Manodharma, Individual styles are developed. There is ample scope for manodharma while rendering raga alapana, tanam, neraval, pallavi, swaram and also kritis. The manodharma is cultivated after several years of constant learning and experience in rendering various set compositions like varnams, kritis, javalis, etc and also by listening to consummate artistes. Manodharma plays such a significant role that a capable artiste may never render a raga the same way twice. To bring out the quintessence of a raga, one has to resort to the exclusive and distinct raga prayogas of the raga which are mostly taken from the 'set compositions' like varnams, kritis etc. Unless, these prayogas are brought out in the raga alapana, the bhava (identity) of the ragam can seldom be established. For a beginner to identify a raga, these "exclusive" prayogas are of immense assistance. Keeping in mind, the "lakshana" (swarupa) of the raga, its jeeva swaras and also the special prayogas, the artistes develop the raga, weaving patterns after patterns, using various combinations of swaras. The caliber and finesse of a musician is often judged by his/her ability to bring out the excellence of a raga. Many musicians of the recent past, such as G. N. Balasubramaniam, Madurai Mani Iyer, Rajarathnam Pillai, Karaikkurichi Arunachalam, excelled in their application of manodharma bringing in many a sweet combination of notes of melodies, while limiting themselves to the confines of the raga concerned, embellishing the raga with their ability to produce melodic prayogas.

Kalpita sangeetam Kalpita sangeetam is music that is already composed, learnt and practiced. It is opposite of Manodharma sangeetam, which complements Kalpita sangeetam. Swarams The seven swarams in Carnatic music, then followed by other terms related to swaram. Shadjam The first swaram in the scale is Shadjam (Sa). It is invariant and is always included in all ragams. Rishabham The second swaram in the scale is Rishabham (Ri). It has three pitch possibilities, namely Suddha, Chathusruti and Shatsruti. Gndhram The third swaram in the scale is Gndhram (Ga). It has three pitch possibilities, namely Suddha, Sdhrana and Antara. Madhyamam The fourth swaram in the scale is Madhyamam (Ma). It has two pitch possibilities, namely Suddha and Prati. Panchamam The fifth swaram in the scale is Panchamam (Pa). It is invariant. Dhaivatam The sixth swaram in the scale is Dhaivatam (Dha). It has three pitch possibilities, namely Suddha, Chathusruti and Shatsruti. Nishdham The third swaram in the scale is Nishdham (Ni). It has three pitch possibilities, namely Suddha, Kaisiki and Kkali.

Anya swaram Anya swaram in a janya rgam is a swaram that is not found in its parent rgam (melakart rgam). Anya means outside the set/ group. Sthi Sthi refers to an octave of music. There are 5 sthis in Carnatic music, namely, Anumandra (lowest), Mandra (literally means chant, which means lower), Madhya (literally means middle), Tara (means higher) and Athitara (meaning very high). Most artists sing over two octaves or two and a half octaves range (within Mandra, Madhya and Tara sthais). Very few can sing well in bigger range of 3 or more octaves. Anga Anga means part. In the context of a rgam's scale, the terms poorvanga (meaning former part, in this case first-half) and uttaranga (latter part, or second-half) are used. Sa, Ri, Ga and Ma notes in a scale are referred are poorvanga, while Pa, Dha and Ni are referred as uttaranga Gamaka Gamaka is the term used for variations of the swarams in a scale. It can refer to the shake of the note, grace around the note, decoration or embellishment of the swaram. It is an integral part of most rgams, as it is not arbitrary but is essential part of the structure/ scale. Vdi Vdi swaram in a rgam is the main/ primary swaram of importance in it. A vdi swaram is repeated quite often in a rendition. Samvdi Samvdi swaram in a rgam has a concordant effect with the vdi swaram. It has a good effect to the ear (melody or pleasing) along with the vdi. In western music it is equivalent of the consonant.

Vivdi Vivdi swaram in a rgam has a discordant effect with the vdi swaram in it. It may not have a pleasing effect when sounded together, but composers use appropriate phrases so that such discordant effect is skipped or avoided. In western music it is equivalent of the dissonant. Anuvdi Anuvdi swaram in a rgam has neither concordant nor discordant effect with the vdi swaram. Janya rgams Praygam A musical notes phrase of a rgam (series of swarams sung in a particular rgam) is known as Praygam. Vishesha Praygam Vishesha means special. Hence, important phrases of a rgam are known as Vishesha Praygams. Varjya Missing swarams in a janya rgam, when derived from a melakart rgam are referred as varjya. For example, Rishabham and Panchamam are varjya in Hindolam when derived from Natabhairavi. Natabhairavi (sanskrit , tamil ) is a rgam in

Carnatic music (musical scale of South Indian classical music). It is the 20th melakarta rgam in the 72 melakarta rgam system. In the Muthuswami Dikshitar school this rgam is called Nrirtigowla. Natabhairavi is known to be a rgam that incites feelings of grandeur and devotion in the listeners. Structure and Lakshana It is the 2nd rgam in the 4th chakra Veda. The mnemonic name is Veda-Sri. The mnemonic phrase is sa ri gi ma pa dha ni. Its rohaa-

avarohaa structure is as follows (see swaras in Carnatic music for details on the notations used):

rohaa : S R2 G2 M1 P D1 N2 S avarohaa : S N2 D1 P M1 G2 R2 S

(this scale uses the notes chathusruthi rishabham, sadharana gandharam, shuddha madhyamam, shuddha dhaivatham, kaisiki nishadham) It is a sampoorna rgam - rgam having all 7 swarams. It is the shuddha madhyamam equivalent of Shanmukhapriya, which is the 56th melakarta. Janya rgams Natabhairavi has a number of popular janya rgams (derived scales) such as Bhairavi, Anandabhairavi, Saramati, Jonpuri, Hindolam (sometimes Hindolam is also assosciated as a Janya of Hanumatodi) and Jayanthasree. See List of janya rgams for a full list of Natabhairavi's janya rgams. Popular compositions Sri Valli Devasena pathe is a popular composition in Natabhairavi, composed by Papanasam Sivan. Parulaseva by Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar is another well known composition in this rgam. Related rgams The theoretical and scientific aspect of this rgam. Natabhairavi's notes when shifted using Graha bedham, yields 5 other major melakarta rgams, namely, Kalyani, Sankarabharanam, Hanumatodi, Kharaharapriya and Harikambhoji. For further details and an illustration of Graha bedham of this rgam refer Graha bedham on Sankarabharanam. Even though Natabhairavi has quite evenly spaced swara sthanas (pitch positions, notes) like the other 5 in this group, it has not found as much importance in concerts. One is likely to find Kalyani, Todi, Sankarabharanam and Karaharapriya as the main ragam in concerts, more often than Natabhairavi by a big count.

Vakram Swarams are said to be vakram in a rgam, if either the rhanam, Avarhanam or both, do not follow a strictly ascending or descending order. They go up and down (example, 2 steps forward one step back). In such a rgam, these swarams should always use the same order in order to give the unique melody of the rgam. Upnga A janya rgam is Upnga if all the swarams in its scale are strictly derived from its melakart rgam (parent). There are no anya swarams (external swarams). Bhshnga A janya rgam is Bhshnga if an anya swaram is introduced in its scale, when derived from its melakart rgam (parent). Nishdhntya A janya rgam is Nishdhntya if the highest note that can be played is the Nishdham. The rules for such rgams are that they should be played or sung within the single octave - Ni, Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni. Examples are Nadanamakriya and Punngavarli rgams. Dhaivatntya A janya rgam is Dhaivadhntya if the highest note that can be played is the Dhaivatam. The rules for such rgams are that they should be played or sung within the single octave - Dha, Ni, Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha. Example Kurinji rgam. Panchamntya A janya rgam is Panchamntya if the highest note that can be played is the Panchamam. The rules for such rgams are that they should be played or sung within the single octave - Pa, Dha, Ni, Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa. Example Navroj rgam.

Madhyama sruti Tuning the sruti (tonic note) to Ma (and also changing Pa string of Tambura to Ma) is called Madhyama sruti. It is usually set for Panchamntya, Dhaivadhntya and Nishdhntya rgams. Tambura The tambura (Devanagari: ) is a long necked plucked lute that

derives its name from the Persian Tanbur, a stringed instrument found in different versions in different places. The tambura (South India), tamburo (Gujarati), or tanpura (North India) in its bodily shape somewhat resembles the sitar, but it has no frets, as only the open strings are played as a harmonic accompaniment to the other musicians. It has four or five (rarely, six) wire strings, which are plucked one after another in a regular pattern to create a harmonic resonance on the basic note (bourdon or drone function).

Tanpuras come in different sizes and pitches: bigger "males" and smaller "females" for vocalists and yet a smaller version that is used for accompanying sitar or sarod, called tamburi or tanpuri. Male vocalists pitch their tonic note (Sa) to about C#, female singers usually a fifth higher. The male instrument has an open string length of approx. one metre, the female is sized down to 3/4. The standard tuning is 5881, sol do' do' do, or in Indian sargam: PA sa sa SA. For ragas that omit the fifth, the first string will be tuned down to the natural fourth: 4881 or Ma sa sa Sa. Some ragas require a less common tuning with shuddh NI (semitone below octave sa) : NI sa sa SA. With a five-string instrument, the seventh or NI (natural minor or major 7th) is added: PA NI sa sa SA (57881)or MA NI sa sa SA (47881). The name 'tanpura' is probably derived from tana, referring to a musical phrase, and pura which means "full" or "complete". Both in its musical function and how it works, the tanpura is a unique instrument in many ways. It does not partake in the melodic part of the music but it supports and sustains the melody by providing a very colourful and dynamic harmonic resonance field based on one precise tone, the basic note or keynote. The special overtone-rich sound is achieved by applying the principle of jivari which creates a sustained, "buzzing" sound in which particular harmonics will resonate with focused clarity. 'Jiva' refers to 'soul', that which gives life. What is implied is that an 'animated' tone-quality is the idea which the tanpura embodies. The principle of jivari can be likened to the prismatic refraction of white

light into the colours of the rainbow, as its acoustic twin-principle at work. To achieve this effect, the strings pass over a wide, arched bridgepiece, the front of the bridge sloping gently away from under the strings. When the string is plucked, it will have an intermittent periodical contact with the bridge at a point close to the front edge. This intermittent grazing of string and bridge is not a static process, as the points of contact will gradually shift, being a compound function of amplitude and the curvature of the bridge and string tension. When the string is plucked it has a large amplitude, moving up and down and contacting the bridge on the down-phase. As the energy of the string's movement gradually diminishes, the contact point of the string with the bridge slowly creeps up the slope to the top of the bridge toward point zero when the string has finally come to rest. (depending on scale and pitch, this can take between 3 and 10 seconds) This dynamic sonic process can be fine-tuned using a cotton thread between string and bridge. By shifting the thread minutely, the whole dynamic process of the grazing contact is also shifted to a different position on the bridge, thus changing the harmonic content. Every single string produces its own cascading range of harmonics and at the same time builds up a particular resonance. Evidently, this generates a diversity of harmonic possibilities. According to this refined principle tanpuras are most attentively tuned to achieve a particular tonal shade in function of the intonation-related qualities of the raga. These more delicate aspects of tuning are directly related to what Indian musicians call 'raga svaroop', which is about how very characteristic intonations strengthen the tonal impression of a particular raga. The particular set-up of the tanpura with the adjustable sonic-prismatic function of curved bridge and thread made it possible to explore a multitude of harmonic relations produced by the subtle harmonic interplay of four strings. Theoretically, at least, this is what the instrument was designed to do. However, it seems that this degree of artistry is slowly being eclipsed by the common use of the readily accessible electronic tanpura, which is not capable of this natural diversity as it produces one 'standard' sound per setting. Tanpuras are designed in three different styles:

Miraj style: the favourite form of tanpura for Hindustani performers. It is usually between three to five feet in length,

with a well-rounded resonator plate (tabli) and a long, hollow straight neck. The round lower chamber to which the tabli, the connecting heel-piece and the neck (dandh) are fixed is actually a selected and dried gourd (tumba). Wood used is either tun or teak, bridges are usually cut from one piece of bone. Tanjore style: this is a south Indian style of tambura, used widely by Carnatic music performers. It has a somewhat different shape and style of decoration from that of the Miraj, but is otherwise much the same size. Typically, no gourd is used, but the spherical part is gouged out of a solid block of wood. The neck is somewhat smaller in diameter. Jackwood is used throughout, bridges are usually cut from one piece of rosewood. Often two rosettes are drilled out and ornamented with inlaywork. Tamburi: small-scale instruments, used for accompanying instrumental soloists. It is two to three feet long, with a flat bed-pan type wooden body with a slightly curved tabli. It may have from four to six strings. Tamburi are tuned to the higher octave and are the preferred instruments for accompanying solo-performances by string-playing artists, as the lighter, more transparent sound does not drown out the lower register of a sitar, sarod, or sarangi.

Swaram counts The following terms are applicable to ascending scale (rhanam) of a rgam, descending scale (avarhanam) of a rgam, or the rgam as a whole. Samprna rgam Sampurna rgam is a rgam that has all seven swarams, namely, Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha and Ni. Shdava rgam Shdava rgam is a rgam that has only six of the seven swarams in its scale. Owdava rgam Owdava rgam is a rgam that has only five of the seven swarams in its scale. It is a pentatonic scale.

Svarantara rgam Svarantara rgam is a rgam that has only four of the seven swarams in its scale. Tlam components Jathi Jathi of a tlam specifies beat count of the rhythm cycle. It specifically applies to lagu component(s) of the tlam and not necessarily to the entire tlam. The different jathis are tisra (three beats in lagu), chathusra (four), khanda (five), misra (seven) and sankeerna (nine). Gati Gati of a tlam specifies sub-divisions of a beat in a composition. It is also referred as Nadai. Chathusra gati is the most common (four), followed by Tisra (three). Others are Khanda, Misra and Sankeerna. Lagu Lagu is the component of a tlam which is the variant part. Its beat count is dependent on the jathi of the tlam. The action for counting includes a tap / clap, followed by a count of sub-beats of the full rhythm cycle. Note that a tisra jathi lagu is actually 1 clap and 2 counts = 3 beats. Dhrutham Dhrutham is the component of a tlam which is invariant and includes only two beats. Its action includes a tap / clap, followed by a veechu (wave). Anudhrutham Anudhrutham is the component of a tlam which is invariant and includes only one beat. Its action is a tap / clap. vartanam vartanam of a tlam refers to one cycle of the tlam. Most tlams have at least 1 lagu, except for the rare tlams

Eduppu Eduppu, from Tamil, means start. Eduppu denotes the point within the vartanam of a tlam when a composition or stanza in a composition begins. Onru (one beat later, meaning second beat), Onrarai (one and half beat later, meaning between 2nd and 3rd beat) are common, other than Samam (meaning equal) which starts in synchronization with the beginning of a tlam. Tlams Rpaka tlam Rpaka tlam refers to the group of tlams that consist of 1 dhrutam, followed by 1 lagu. Rpaka tlam also refers to chathusrajathi rpaka tlam as a default (2 + 4 = 6 beats in an vartanam). This is considered equivalent of 3/4 of western music or the Waltz rhythm. Triputa tlam Triputa tlam refers to the group of tlams that consist of 1 lagu, followed by 2 dhrutams. Triputa tlam also refers to tisra-jathi triputa tlam as a default (3 + 2 + 2 = 7 beats in an vartanam). Dhruva tlam Dhruva tlam refers to the group of tlams that consist of 1 lagu, followed by 1 dhrutam, followed by two lagus. Dhruva tlam also refers to chathusra-jathi dhruva tlam as a default (4 + 2 + 4 + 4 = 14 beats in an vartanam), unless a different jathi is specified. Matya tlam Matya tlam refers to the group of tlams that consist of 1 lagu, followed by 1 dhrutam, followed by 1 lagu. Matya tlam also refers to chathusra-jathi matya tlam as a default (4 + 2 + 4 = 10 beats in an vartanam). Jhampa tlam Jhampa tlam refers to the group of tlams that consist of 1 lagu, followed by 1 anudhrutam, followed by 1 dhrutam. Jhampa tlam

also refers to misra-jathi jhampa tlam as a default (7 + 1 + 2 = 10 beats in an vartanam). Ata tlam Ata tlam refers to the group of tlams that consist of 2 lagus, followed by 2 dhrutams. Ata tlam also refers to khanda-jathi ata tlam as a default (5 + 5 + 2 + 2 = 14 beats in an vartanam). Eka tlam Eka tlam refers to the group of tlams that consist of 1 lagu only. Eka tlam also refers to chathusra-jathi eka tlam as a default (4 beats in an vartanam). dhi tlam dhi tlam refers to chathusra-jathi triputa tlam (4 + 2 + 2 = 8 beats in an vartanam), which is very common in Carnatic music. This is the equivalent of 8 beat / 16 beat of Western music. Khanda chpu tlam Khanda chpu refers to a tlam with 10 beat vartanam (Khanda literally means 5) which does not fit into above classification of tlams. Misra chpu tlam Misra chpu refers to a tlam with 14 beat vartanam (Misra literally means 7) which does not fit into above classification of tlams. Desdhi tlam Desdhi refers to dhi tlam with (8 beat vartanam), where the eduppu is one and a half beats from beginning of varatanam (onrarai). Kalai Kalai refers to the speed of the tlam during a rendition of song.

Learning exercises Learning Carnatic music involves learning most of the following exercises, mostly in the order listed below. Sarali varisai Sarali varisai is used to learn the swarams in the octave, usually in Mymlavagowla ragam. It is learnt in simple straight ascending and descending fashion and a few variations. It is also learnt in multiple speeds (kalams). Swarvali Avali means row or arrangement. Swarvali are exercises with different arrangements of swarams. It is shortened and referred as Sarali, as in Sarali varisai described above. Jhanta varisai Jhanta varisai are exercises used to learn the swarams in the octave in twin fashion (sa sa ri ri ga ga and so on) and a few other combinations. It is also usually learnt in Mymlavagowla rgam. Dhttu varisai Dhttu literally means jump. Dhttu varisai are exercises used to learn the swarams in zig-zag fashion, so that more control of the notes and different combinations are achieved. Example, sa ma ri ga, sa ri ga ma, and so on. Each of these exercises are set to different tlams, so that different rhythm aspects are learnt. Alankra Alankra means decoration. These exercises are groups or patterns of swarams, each of which are set to seven main tlams, so that rhythm aspect is also learnt together with different rgams. Types of composition Geetham Geetham, the simplest music form in Carnatic music, was created by Purandara Dasa in order to introduce talas with sahithya (lyrics).

Structure Though Geethams have no absolutely defined divisions of pallavi, anupallavi or charanas, they may be observed in some cases. Some Geethams contain sections rather than the defined divisions (pallavi etc). They often have no sangathis or variations, with each swara taking one syllable of the sahithya. The Geetham is sung without repetition from beginning to end. However most Geethams are concluded by repeating a portion of the opening part. Geethams are set in medium tempo and contain no Sangathis or variations and the flow of the music is natural. The theme of the Sahithyam (lyrics) is to praise God. Students learn these Geethams after a course in the preliminary Sarali exercises and Alankaras. Types There are three types of Geetams: Sanchari or Samanya Geethams, Lakshana Geethams, and Suladi Geethams. Samanya Geethams are the simple ordinary Geethams and are called by other names such as Sadharana Geetham or Sanchari Geetham. In Lakshana Geethams, the sahithyam (lyrics), instead of praising God, enumerates in so many words, the Lakshana of the Raga, in which it is composedgiving amongst other details, its Vakra Swaras, Graha, Nysa, Amsa Swarams and lastly its parent Raga (Melakarta raga). Most Lakshana Geethams have been composed by Purandara Dasa.[1] Common Geethams Some of the most common Geethams have been composed by Muthuswami Dikshitar. 1. Vara Veena in Mohanam Raga (Janya of 28th Mela Harikambhoji) - Chatusruthi Jathi Rupaka Tala 2. Sree Gananatha (Lambodara) in Malahari Raga (Janya of 15th Mela Mayamalavagowla) - Chathusruthi Jathi Rupaka Tala 3. Analekara in Shuddha Saveri Raga (Janya of 29th Mela Sankarabharanam) - Tisra Jathi Triputa Tala 4. Kamala Jadala in Kalyani Raga (65th Melakarta Raga)- Tisra Jathi Triputa Tala

Swarajati Swarajati is a form in Carnatic music, which is helpful before learning a varnam. It has pallavi, sometimes an anupallavi, and at least one charana. The themes of swarajathis are usually either bhakthi, love or courage. It is a composition which usually has a pleasing melody and are suitable for singing in early lessons, musical concerts and dance concerts Varnam Varnam is a form of song in the Carnatic music repertoire. A varnam is a relatively long piece and can range from 30 minutes to up to an hour. It is usually set to Aadi or Ata tala. It is the center piece in a recital of music or dance. The lyrics are simple and consist mostly of long syllables and swara phrases of various lengths which bring out the essential features of the raga. It has two types: Taana varnam and Pada varnam. Varnams are considered vocal exercises in a particular raga. The patterns in a varnam are considered to be characteristic patterns of a particular raga or scale. Varnams are considered the most complex of the vocal exercises in Carnatic Music. They are designed to help develop voice culture and proper control of rhythm. Indeed, varnams are often practiced in double and triple speeds and proper rhythmic control (tala) must be kept. Type of varnams Named for it's thanam-like rhythmic qualities, tana varnams only have lyrics for the pallavi, anupallavi and charanam.[1] With rhythmic elements like a padam, pada varnams are generally sung to accompany South Indian classical dance, including bharatanatyam. Unlike the tana varnam which only has lyrics for the pallavi, anupallavi and charanam and swarams for the rest of the sections a pada varnam also have lyrics that correspond to the muktayi and chitta swaras of the varnam, so generally, pada varnams contain more lyrical content than a tana varnam. The swaras in this type of varnam are suitable for intricate footwork. Padajathi varnams are simply pada varnams that also contain jatis in it, making it again more suitable for South Indian classical dance.

Contents of a Varnam The varnam is subdivided into several sections:

Pallavi: The first section of the Varnam, sung with lyrics or sahithyam. Anupallavi: A sort of recapitulation, sung with lyrics or sahithyam also. Mukthaayi Swaram: Sung completely with syllables -- or swaras -- (like sa ri ga ma pa da ni sa). In Pada Varnas it is known as Mukthaayi Swaram-Sahithyam. Charanam: Sung with lyrics Chittai Swarams: Sung completely with syllables. In a Pada varnam, there are lyrics which correspond to the Charanam swaras. The swaras occur in several groups or stanzas.

Generally, a varnam is sung as follows:

Pallavi Anupallavi Muktayi Swaram Pallavi (in double speed)

Repeat, then Pallavi sung in triple speed, or in original speed.

Charanam Charanam Charanam Charanam Charanam Charanam Charanam Charanam Charanam

Swara Group 1 Swara Group 2 Swara Group 3 Swara Group 4

There are generally 3-5 swara groups in every varnam. In a concert, the entire charanam section is sung at approximately 1.5 speed. Sometimes when repeating the Pallavi the Annupallavi and Muktayi Swarams are repeated in double or triple speed. Varnams are generally sung in 2 varieties of talas, or metric systems, Adi Tala (8 beat cycle) and Ata Tala (14 beat cycle), where Ata Tala varnams are generally more complicated and advanced. In

most of the Adi Tala Varnams the tala is placed in the 2 kalai version. So therefore each beat and finger count is placed twice. Famous Varnams Famous Adi Tala Varnams include:

"Sami Ninne" in Sree Ragam composed by Karur Devudu Iyer "Ninnukori" in Mohanam ragam by Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar "Evvari Bodhana" in Abhogi ragam by Patnam Subramania Iyer "Valachi Vacchi" in Navaragamalika (9 ragas, similar to Ragamalika which literally translates to a garland of ragams.

Famouns Ata Tala Varnams include:

"Viriboni" in Bhairavi ragam by Pacchimiriam Adiyappa "Nera Nammithi" in Kaanada ragam by Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar "Chalamela" in Sankarabharanam by Swati Tirunal

The Arabhi ragam varnam is supposed to be the only longest piece with jantai and tattu prayogas. Keerthanam/ Kriti Keerthanam or Kriti is the category of most compositions in Carnatic music. A concert consists mainly of Keerthanams with zero or one of Varnam, Rgam Thnam Pallavi and Thilln included in appropriate order. Thillana Thillana (also called tillana) is a rhythmic piece, generally performed at the end of a concert and widely used in dance performances. A thillana uses taal phrases in the pallavi and anupallavi, and lyrics in the charanam. Parts of a composition Pallavi Pallavi is the thematic line of a song. It is usually one cycle long and repeated twice or thrice in order to give the percussionist the idea of

the chosen taalam. Sometimes it is repeated a few more times using different phrases of the Rgam to which the song is set. The life of the song, the word pallavi consists of a wide range of items that are considered as a single item:

pa is derived from padam which means word or phrase; lla comes from layam which means poetry or rhythm; vi is from vinyasam which means imagination

In Carnatic music, pallavi also forms a part of a special type of rendition called Rgam Thnam Pallavi. Rgam in this context is the initial lpana of chosen rgam (elaboration and exploration of its scale). Thnam is elaboration of the rgam using percussion syllables. Pallavi, a single line of one tlam cycle duration, is chosen for further elaboration of the rgam in different speeds, octaves, rgam phrases, etc. Anupallavi In Carnatic music, the anupallavi comes after the pallavi and is usually the second section of any composition. It is then followed by one or more charanams. The anupallavi is optional. In such compositions pallavi is followed by one or more charanams. Charanam Charanam (meaning foot) in Carnatic music (South Indian classical music) is usually the end section of a composition which is sung after the anupallavi. There may be multiple charanams in a composition which make up different stanzas, but in compositions that do not have an anupallavi, there often exists a samraashti charanam that combines both the anupallavi and charanam of the composition which directly follows the pallavi. The charana swaras are grouped in four different ways:

1st - one tala cycle. 2nd - one tala cycle. 3rd - two long tala cycles 4th - four long tala cycles

Chittaswaram In Indian classical music, chitta swaras are a set of solfa passages (phrases of swaras). These are sung after the anupallavi and charanam, in the krithis which enriches the beauty of the composition. This is usually done by the performers and not by the composers and in Carnatic music is an important improvisation aspect (manodharma music). Muktyi swaram Muktyi swarams are the swaram phrases sung as swaram syllables as part of a rendition, which does not have a corresponding lyrical verse. This is more related to the songs for dance performances, like Bharatanatyam.


Microsoft Word - Carnatic music terminology

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