Raga identification made easy!

Surabhi Post : Carnatic Music Terminologies Contd (Post0004)


Continuing our discussion on commonly used carnatic music terms, lets look at a few more of them.

Scale - Arohanam Avarohanam - Definition and Difference: Scale is defined as the ascending and descending sequence of notes or flat swaras.  Though it may appear identical to Arohanam-Avarohanam, it is actually not so.  Scale gives an idea of only the swaras present in a raga.  To arrive at the Arohanam Avarohanam of a raga, necessary gamakas have to be incorporated in to appropriate swaras.  For e.g., the scale of Shankarabaranam is S R2 G3 M1 P D2 N3 S (Arohanam) and its reverse S N3 D2 P M1 G3 R2 S (Avarohanam). To arrive at the Arohanam Avarohanam of Shankarabaranam, necessary gamakas have to be incorporated at Ri, Ma, Da etc (Listen to Arohanam-Avarohanam of Shankarabaranam).  Though most of our ragas are gamaka oriented, there are also ragas which do not give much scope for gamakas.  The Ragas Kadanakuthoohalam, Sivaranjani, Revathy, Bageshri are some examples of ragas where in the scale and arohanam-avarohanam are mostly the same. So, roughly it is possible to say, that:

Scale + Gamaka = Arohanam-Avarohanam!

Kaarvai: Holding on to a particular swara for longer intervals of time is called kaarvai.  This is usually done to highlight the beauty of a particular raga with respect to that swara during raga aalapana or while singing a kriti or even kalpana swaras. (Listen to kaarvai at Ni and Sa in Kalyani)

Sangathi: Improvisations in the raga structure for a line or a particular phrase in a composition are called sangathis. In the Dikshitar Kriti, Vathapi Ganapathim Bhajehum, there are atleast six to seven sangathis possible. The rendering of 'Vathapi' becomes more and more interesting and complicated progressively and each sangathi reflects the beauty of the raga Hamsadwani in different dimensions. Another good example is Bantureeti Kolu which has four to five sangathis. (Listen to Bantureeti Kolu Sangathis in Raga Hamsanadam).  The common practice is to render each sangathi twice. Usually sangathis are taught to the students from their gurus who have inturn learnt it from theirs.  This passing of the tradition over the generations is referred to as the 'paatanthara'.  It is possible that the same kriti when sung by different artistes, do not have exactly matching sangathis, because they have learnt from different schools of music.

More to follow in my next post.  Till then, happy reading and listening!

Musically yours,

A step by step initiation in to Carnatic music theory addressing raga classification, common music terminologies, various swara sthanas, raga lakshanas and more...Do take time to go through our blogs where all concepts are described with appropriate audio demonstrations. (Explanations in English)