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The Course on Indigenous Knowledge for Under Graduate Students with specific reference to INDIAN MUSIC. April 2011, Christ University, Bangalore. Expert Committee. Project Holder: Vice Chancellor Fr. Thomas C. Mathew Project Co-ordinator: Prof. Kennedy Andrew Thomas Internal Experts :

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The Course on Indigenous Knowledge for Under Graduate Students with specific reference to INDIAN MUSIC

April 2011, Christ University, Bangalore


Expert Committee

Project Holder: Vice Chancellor Fr. Thomas C. Mathew

Project Co-ordinator: Prof. Kennedy Andrew Thomas

Internal Experts :

Chitra.s (Guest lecturer )

Asst. Professor : PrabinVillareesh

Asst. Professor : AnupamaNayar

Asst. Professor : Padmakumar M.M.

Student Committee: AnkitAggarwal, AshwinKumar,Shamoon, AkhilScaria, Heidi Mamatha, PreetiSondur, BhavnaGowri.


External Experts

Dr. Priyashri Rao

Vidwan Umashankar

Music, to put it very simply, is a series of sounds arranged in a pleasing sequence. But sound, and in particular musical sound is perceived in terms of combinations of pitches.
  • There are many aspects and facets of music which make for interesting hearing, studying and appreciating.
  • The main objective of this course is to orient the students on the various fundamental concepts based on the principles of music in a systematic and interesting manner. It is hoped that at the conclusion of this course, the student is in a position to develop a fascination and a taste for music by enjoying the spirit of music.
Music like the art of dance, sculpture, painting to mention a few, is fine art. In other words, a musical composition or piece is performed purely with the intention to delight both the performer(s) and the listener(s). The varying enthralling tonal structures that music creates captures the listeners attention in such entirety, that all thought of self is temporarily shelved, whilst surrendering to the pleasing succession of pitches.
  • The captivating tonal structures are woven to form a structure or form integrating melody, rhythm and syllable.
Melody is progression or movement from one pitch to the other and to the other successively in a pleasing manner.
  • Rhythm is the aspect of music which measures melody by way of beats or claps in particular rhythmic patterns.
  • Syllable manifests melody as (a) mnemonic sounds representing fixed pitches called as ‘svara-s’ and (b) the words of a poem, referred to as meaningful words or ‘s¡hitya’.
  • The musical interplay between the three aspects of melody, rhythm and syllable creates endless delightful strains of music.
unit one indian music
Unit One – Indian Music

1.1 An introduction to ‘Indian Music’ with the following


1.1.1 Classical Music

1.1.2 Devotional Music

1.1.3 Folk Music

1.1.4 Film Music

unit one indian music1
Unit One – Indian Music

Indian Music

  • The near equivalent terms for the three aspects of music, that is melody, rhythm and syllable are r¡ga, t¡la and pada as referred to in Indian music. Along with the aspect of ‘bh¡va’ or emotion or expression, the four-some make up the rudiments in the practice and performance of Indian music.
  • ‘S¡hitya’ conveys the emotions through the meaning of the words whereas r¡ga is the vehicle which brings forth the emotion of music as such.
unit one indian music2
Unit One – Indian Music

Classical Music

  • Music particularly in India, is practiced and performed in different forms or genres. The classical form is popular in two modes namely, Carnatic and Hindust¡ni. Other well-liked genres are devotional music, film music and folk music. In all forms r¡ga, t¡la, s¡hitya and bh¡va form the fulcrum with the difference occurring in
    • (a) the emphasis on one aspect and,
    • (b) strict adherence or relaxation of the rules
unit one indian music3
Unit One – Indian Music
  • As stated by the famous Sitar exponent Pa¸·it Ravi Shankar, the Indian classical forms of music are principally based on r¡ga and t¡la and not on harmony, counterpoint, chords, modulation and other basics of Western classical music.
  • Classical music usually is practiced strictly adhering to the grammar. Tradition or ‘samprad¡ya’ is also diligently followed. Improvisations and creativity are given wings well within the boundaries chalked out.
unit one indian music4
Unit One – Indian Music
  • Famous Carnatic classical musicians are vocalists late Smt M S Subbulakshmi and Shri Maharajapuram Santhanam and famous violinist Shri Lalgudi G Jayaraman
  • Well-known Hindust¡ni musicians are Smt Kishori Amonkar, the famous sarod exponent Shri Amjad Ali Khan, tabla player Zakir Hussein
unit one indian music5
Unit One – Indian Music

Devotional Music

  • Devotional music as the name suggests has at its core the element of ‘bhakti’ more than any other aspect. The aspects of r¡ga and t¡la take the backseat. While the aspects of s¡hitya and bh¡va are accorded most importance.
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Unit One – Indian Music

Folk Music

  • India has a very rich tradition of folk music. The cultural diversity of the country creates endless varieties of folk styles. Each region has its own particular style. Folk music is usually a community-based group performance of music. The tune is very simple and the lyrics reflect the feelings of the singer or the situation. Folk music is sung during occasions such as harvest, marriage, festivals etc. Folk music is more often than not accompanied by folk dance. Some examples of folk music are Bihu of Assam and L¡va¸i of Mah¡r¡shtra.
unit one indian music7
Unit One – Indian Music

Film Music

  • Film music is music composed specifically for the films. The lyrics, the musical score of the song and the arrangement of music of different instruments are specially created for a particular song. Usually a r¡ga is the base scale for a song but depending on the mood reflected in the lyrics musical phrases not occurring in the base r¡ga are also included. It is perhaps fair to say that film music generously borrows from other genres of music too.
unit two indian classical music
Unit Two - Indian Classical Music

2.1 An introduction to Indian Classical Music

2.2 Introduction to Carnatic and Hindust¡ni systems of classical music with the following sub-headings

2.2.1 History

2.2.2 R¡ga Classification System

2.2.3 T¡la System

2.2.4 Compositions

2.2.5 Composers

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Unit Two – Indian Classical Music


  • The concepts of r¡ga, t¡la and pada form the core of Indian classical music. Bh¡va or emotion and samprad¡ya or tradition are also important to classical music.
  • Indian classical music has a hoary tradition dating back to the 2nd century BC. The N¡¶ya¿¡stra is the earliest available literature on music dated between the 2nd BC and 2nd AD. However music is constantly evolving and is quite differently practiced today as against what is described in the text.
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Unit Two – Indian Classical Music

There is a plethora of evidence which points to the fact that music was a practicing art form albeit constantly evolving. The various sources include

- written works in Tami¾, Samsk¤ta and Telugu

- commentaries on the written works

- references in sacred and secular literature

- sculptures

- coins

- inscriptions

unit two indian classical music3
Unit Two – Indian Classical Music

- state documents

- district gazetters

- works written by foreign travellers

- copper plates

- personal diaries

- oral tradition

- musical compositions

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Unit Two – Indian Classical Music

R¡ga classification system

Similar to the other elements in music, the r¡ga classification system has also evolved. Presently the M®lakart¡-Janya r¡ga system of classification is followed in Carnatic music while the T¡¶ system of r¡ga classification is followed in Hindust¡ni music.

unit two indian classical music5
Unit Two – Indian Classical Music

T¡la System

The Sapta T¡la-s with their variations and the C¡pu T¡la-s are most commonly used in Carnatic music.

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Unit Two – Indian Classical Music


The musical compositions performed in Carnatic music include the Var¸am, K¤ti, Padam, J¡va½i, Till¡na, D¡sarapada, áloka, Pallavi to mention a few.

In Hindust¡ni music the musical compositions include the Bhakan, Khay¡l, Dhrupad, Ùhumri to mention a few.

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Unit Two – Indian Classical Music


Musicians who composed the compositions are called composers. They composed both the S¡hitya and the Svara part.

unit three fundamental concepts
Unit Three – Fundamental Concepts

3.1 Explanation of fundamental concepts

3.1.1 Svara

3.1.2 Svarsth¡na

3.1.3 áruti

3.1.4 Sth¡yi

3.1.5 R¡ga – melodic aspect

3.1.6 T¡la – rhythmical aspect

3.1.7 Pada – verbal or lyrical aspect

3.1.8 Dh¡tu and M¡tu

3.1.9 Ëroha¸a and Avaroha¸a

3.1.10 System of music notation

3.1.11 Vilambita, Madhya and Druta laya

3.1.12 K¡lapram¡¸a

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Unit Three – Fundamental Concepts


Click here to see the video

unit three fundamental concepts2
Unit Three – Fundamental Concepts


The fixed position or place of each svara. In an octave there are twelve positions or svarasth¡na-s.

Click here to see the video

unit three fundamental concepts3
Unit Three – Fundamental Concepts


(a) It is a small interval of sound which is taken as a unit for measuring bigger intervals between the svarasth¡na-s.

(b) It is the pitch level on which the musician and his accompanying musicians settle their madhyasth¡yi sha·ja.

unit three fundamental concepts4
Unit Three – Fundamental Concepts


It is also referred to as a register or an octave. The seven svara-s from ‘s’ to ‘n’ make an octave. There are three sth¡yi-s

Mandra sth¡yi – lower register

Madhya sth¡yi – middle register

T¡ra sth¡yi – upper register

unit three fundamental concepts5
Unit Three – Fundamental Concepts


The melodic aspect of music is categorized as R¡ga. The sapta svara-s form the basis of R¡ga-s. From the various permutations and combinations of these sapta svara-s, many simple and complex patterns assumes a vivid personality which bears a specific stamp of indivuduality.

unit three fundamental concepts6
Unit Three – Fundamental Concepts


The rhythmic aspect of music is studied in terms of T¡la. T¡la is a device employed to calculate the duration of the music or in other words to measure the time taken to render a composition. T¡la involves certain actions of the hand(s) which act as signals to create a regular rhythmic pattern and to also keep the rhythm from unintended acceleration or deceleration.

unit three fundamental concepts7
Unit Three – Fundamental Concepts


Pada is a verbal or literary aspect of music. The meaningful words are in any language while sometimes syllables such as tana, nadiru taki¶a or meaningless syllables are also used.

unit three fundamental concepts8
Unit Three – Fundamental Concepts


In a musical composition, the svara part is referred to as dh¡tu.


In a musical composition, the s¡hitya part is referred to as m¡tu.

unit three fundamental concepts9
Unit Three – Fundamental Concepts

Ëroha & Avaroha

Click here to see the video

unit three fundamental concepts10
Unit Three – Fundamental Concepts

Musical notation

Musical notation consists of the different symbols and signs used to write or record on paper a piece of music. For instance,

|| - denotes the end of the t¡la ¡vartana

, - denotes the extension of the svara by one count

· - a dot beneath the svara ‘d’ indicates the svara in the mandra sth¡yi

unit three fundamental concepts11
Unit Three – Fundamental Concepts

Vilambita, Madhya and Durita laya

Click here to see the video

unit three fundamental concepts12
Unit Three – Fundamental Concepts


The tempo or speed of music is referred to as k¡lapram¡¸a. Every composition has a particular k¡lapram¡¸a. It is also important to maintain the k¡lapram¡¸a of a song from its commencement to the conclusion.

unit four concept of r ga
Unit Four – Concept of R¡ga

4.1 R¡ga classification system

4.1.1 M®lakart¡ R¡ga-s the scheme of 72 m®lakart¡-s names of the cakra-s 72 m®lakart¡ chart along with the varieties of the svara-s Ka¶apay¡di Sankhy¡

slide45 Bhuta Sankhy¡ Viv¡di R¡ga-s

4.1.2 Janya R¡ga-s Up¡nga R¡ga-s Bh¡sh¡nga R¡ga-s Varja R¡ga-s Vakra R¡ga-s

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Unit Four – Concept of R¡ga

R¡ga is the basis of all melody. It consists of a sequence of svara-s which have a relation

(a) to the basic ¿ruti or the ¡dh¡ra sha·ja

(b) to each other

For a particular r¡ga the svara-s occur in a particular sequence. A sequence of svara-s is called a saµc¡ra. The svara-s are sung in different permutations and combinations.

unit four concept of r ga2
Unit Four – Concept of R¡ga

As Carnatic music evolved over centuries many systems of classifying the r¡ga-s too evolved. The method classification that is in vogue today is the M®lakart¡-janya r¡ga system.

M®lakart¡ r¡ga-s are seventy-two in number. These r¡ga-s are also called as Janaka r¡ga or Samp£r¸a r¡ga-s.

unit four concept of r ga3
Unit Four – Concept of R¡ga

A M®lakart¡ r¡ga is that which

(a) all the sapta svara-s occur in both the ascent and the descent

(b) in both the ascent and the descent the variety of the svara occurs

The M®lakart¡ r¡ga-s are arranged in twelve cakra-s.

unit four concept of r ga4
Unit Four – Concept of R¡ga

The arrangement of the M®lakart¡ r¡ga-s is so ingenious that the serial number and the svara-s taken by the M®lakart¡ r¡ga can be deduced from the name of the r¡ga. This method is called the Ka¶apay¡di sankhy¡.

unit four concept of r ga5
Unit Four – Concept of R¡ga

There are r¡ga-s which are not M®lakart¡ r¡ga-s. These r¡ga-s are called Janya r¡ga-s. There are four categories of Janya r¡ga-s

- Up¡nga

- Bh¡shanga

- Vakra

- Varja

unit five concept of t la
Unit Five – Concept of T¡la

5.1 T¡la

5.1.1 Anga or Sha·anga-s

5.1.2 Sapta t¡la-s along with the ¿loka

5.1.3 J¡ti

5.1.4 Scheme of 35 t¡la-s

5.1.5 C¡pu t¡la-s

5.1.6 T¡lada¿apr¡¸a-s

5.1.7 Ëvartanam

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Unit Five – Concept of T¡la

The rhythmic aspect of music is studied in terms of T¡la. T¡la is a device employed to calculate the duration of the music or in other words to measure the time taken to render a composition.

Anga and Sha·anga-s

Click here to see the video

unit five concept of t la2
Unit Five – Concept of T¡la

There are seven t¡la-s which are collectively referred t as the S£l¡diSaptat¡la-s.

Click the below links to see the video of the seven t¡la-s

  • Link 1
  • Link 2
unit five concept of t la3
Unit Five – Concept of T¡la

J¡ti literally means ‘class’ and it is to do with the ‘Laghu’ anga of the t¡la. It can also be referred to as a ‘time section’. There are five j¡ti-s namely,

Ti¿ra – 3 counts

Catu¿ra – 4 counts

Kha¸·a – 5 counts

Mi¿ra – 7 counts

Sank¢rna – 9 counts

unit five concept of t la4
Unit Five – Concept of T¡la

The Saptat¡la-s combine with the five J¡ti-s to make up the thirty-five t¡la-s. Ti¿raj¡tiTripu¶at¡la is popularly referred to by the name Ëdit¡la.


Click here to see the Video

unit five concept of t la5
Unit Five – Concept of T¡la

The T¡lada¿apr¡¸a-s are ten important elements which govern the concept of t¡la. They are literally the life-force of t¡la. The names of the ten elements are

1. Kala 6. J¡ti

2. M¡rga 7. Ka½a

3. K¤iya 8. Laya

4. Anga 9. Yati

5. Graha 10. Prast¡ra

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Unit Five – Concept of T¡la


One cycle of a tala is called an Avarthana

unit six musical instruments
Unit Six – Musical Instruments

6.1 Four-fold classification of the musical instruments with examples

6.1.1 Chordophones or String instruments

6.1.2 Aerophones or Wind instruments

6.1.3 Membranophones or Skin instruments

6.1.4 Idiophones or Solid instruments

6.2 Pictures of the different musical instruments

with a small note indicating their use in the

different forms of music

6.3 Structure and playing technique of the


unit six musical instruments1
Unit Six – Musical Instruments

As described by the eminent musicologist, the late Prof Sambamurthy, a musical instrument is

“…contrivance, mechanism, thing or apparatus capable of producing a musical note or notes.”

unit six musical instruments2
Unit Six – Musical Instruments

The musical instruments can be classified into four groups, namely,

Chordophones - String instruments – Tata v¡dya

Aerophones - Wind instruments – Sushira v¡dya

Membranophones - Skin instruments - Avanaddha v¡dya

Idiophones - Solid instruments – Ghana v¡dya

unit six musical instruments3
Unit Six – Musical Instruments

In almost any form of music, there is a basic pitch which is also called as the Ëdh¡ra ¿ruti. In Carnatic music the pitch or the level which the musician establishes his madhya sth¡yi sha·ja is his or her ¿ruti.

The instrument which helps the musician maintain his or her ¿ruti is the ¿ruti box or the Tamb£ra. It is also referred to as the drone instrument. Present day musicians also use the electronic ¿ruti box or the electronic Tamb£ra.

unit six musical instruments4
Unit Six – Musical Instruments

The parts of the include

- Ku·am or bowl

- Belly or top plank

- Da¸·i

- neck

- peg

- string

- Bridge

- Beeds

unit six musical instruments5
Unit Six – Musical Instruments

- N¡gap¡sam or attachment

- J¢v¡½i

- Purfling

- Ledge

- Yedirm¢¶¶u

- Soundhole

- Connecting hole

unit seven musical compositions
Unit Seven – Musical Compositions

7.1 Introduction to the different musical compositions - Abhy¡sa g¡nam and Sabh¡ g¡nam

7.1.1 G¢tam

7.1.2 Svarajati

7.1.3 Var¸am – Ëdi and A¶a t¡la-s

7.1.4 K¤ti and K¢rtana

7.1.5 brief note on other compositions of

Kalpita sang¢ta and the musical forms in

Manodharma sang¢ta

unit seven musical compositions1
Unit Seven – Musical Compositions

A musical composition is a piece of music set to a r¡ga or r¡ga-s and more often than not to a t¡la or t¡la-s. The structure of the composition should conform to the genre of compositions to which it belongs. It may or may not have lyrics.

Abhy¡sa G¡na is music intended for practice and is inclusive of the different svara exercises and musical compositions such as G¢tam, svarajati, jatisvara

unit seven musical compositions2
Unit Seven – Musical Compositions

Sabh¡ G¡na is music intended for performance in concerts. There a number of compositions for instance, K¤ti, Padam, J¡vali, Ash¶padi. The Var¸am however is perhaps the only composition which is a part of both the Abhy¡sa G¡na and the Sabh¡ G¡na.

unit seven musical compositions3
Unit Seven – Musical Compositions

G¢tam or g¢ta is the first regular musical composition learnt by a student of music. Every g¢tam is set to a specific r¡ga and t¡la specified more often than not by the composer.

The first g¢ta is ‘ár¢ga¸an¡th¡’ set to Malaharir¡ga andR£pakat¡la and is believed to have been composed by the father of Carnatic music Purandarad¡sa.

Click here to see the video

unit seven musical compositions4
Unit Seven – Musical Compositions

Svarajati-s are the next type of compositions to be learnt by the student of music. The structure of the composition and the r¡ga is more complex than that of the g¢ta.

A popular svarajati is ‘R¡ra v®¸ugop¡b¡la’ set to Bhilaharir¡ga and Ëdit¡la.

Click here to see the video

unit seven musical compositions5
Unit Seven – Musical Compositions

The Var¸am is the next genre of musical composition that the student of music encounters. There are two types of Var¸am-s

- T¡na Var¸am-s

- Pada Var¸am-s

T¡na Var¸am-s are set in a number of r¡ga-s and t¡la-s with the Ëdi t¡la and A¶a t¡la var¸am-s being the most popular ones.

unit seven musical compositions6
Unit Seven – Musical Compositions

The Ëdit¡lavar¸am presented in this demo is set to r¡gaS¡ranga.

Click here to see the Video

The A¶at¡lavar¸am presented in this demo is set to r¡gaBhairavi and is the anupallavi and the ettga or the second section of the first half of the var¸am.

Click here to see the video

unit seven musical compositions7
Unit Seven – Musical Compositions

Of all the types of musical compositions, the bulk of compositions in Carnatic music are those that belong to the genre of K¤ti. The K¤ti is a flexible type of composition for it allows for the composer to compose in any r¡ga or t¡la.

The famous K¤ti of the v¡gg®yak¡raMuddusv¡myD¢kshitar ‘V¡tapi’ set to Hamsadvanir¡ga and Ëdit¡la is presented in the demo.

Click here to see the video

unit seven musical compositions8
Unit Seven – Musical Compositions

Kalpita sang¢ta refers to music which is composed and includes compositions such as

- Padam

- J¡vali

- Ash¶padi

- Tarangam

- R¡gam¡lika

- Till¡na

- K¡va·i cindu

unit seven musical compositions9
Unit Seven – Musical Compositions

Manodharma sang¢ta refers to music which sung or performed extempore. The musical forms in manodharma sang¢ta are

- kalpana svara-s

- r¡ga ¡l¡pana

- neraval

- t¡nam

- pallavi

unit eight composers
Unit Eight – Composers

8.1 Introduction to composers or v¡gg®yak¡ra-s

8.2 Biographies of important v¡gg®yak¡ra-s

8.2.1 Purandarad¡sa

8.2.2 Saint Ty¡gar¡ja

8.2.3 Muddusv¡mi D¢kshitar

8.2.4 áy¡ma á¡stri

unit eight musical compositions
Unit Eight – Musical Compositions

A v¡gg®yak¡ra is a person who composes both the ‘v¡k’ or the lyrics and the ‘g®y’ or the musical part of the composition. In other words one who composes musical portion or only writes the lyrics is only a music composer or a lyricist and not a v¡gg®yak¡ra. There are many famous v¡gg®yak¡ra-s such as

- Purandarad¡sa

- Saint Ty¡gar¡ja

- Muddusv¡mi D¢kshitar

- áy¡ma á¡stri

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Unit Eight – Musical Compositions

Purandarad¡sa (1484-1564) is called the Pit¡maha or the father of Carnatic music and belongs the D¡sa k£¶a-s of Karn¡¶aka. This immortal bard was a multi-millionaire and became overnight a saint and later a composer. He forfeited his entire wealth without a second thought whatsoever and set off in pursuit of the Lord. He is believed to have composed the basic svara exercises for the beginners of Carnatic music in M¡y¡m¡lavagau½a r¡ga.

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Unit Eight – Musical Compositions

The three great composer Saint Ty¡gar¡ja (1767-1847), Muddusv¡mi D¢kshitar (1776-1835) and áy¡ma á¡stri (1762-1827) constitute the musical trinity. The musical form K¤ti which forms the bulk of the compositions of Carnatic music was perfected by these three great musicians. They were all born at Tiruv¡r£r and were men of rare scholarship proficient in Samsk¤ta and Telugu and were also well versed in V®da-s, á¡stra-s and sacred lore.

unit nine practicals
UNIT NINE - Practicals

9.1 áruti alignment

9.2 Sara½i Varisai – 1-9 – with explanatory notes

9.3 Ja¸¶a Varisai – 1-5 – with explanatory notes

9.4 Dh¡tu Varisai – 1 – with explanatory notes

9.5 T¡ra sth¡yi Varisai – with explanatory notes

9.6 Alank¡ram – with explanatory notes

9.7 G¢tam

9.7.1 ár¢ga¸an¡th¡

9.7.2 Varav¢¸¡

9.7.3 Kamalaj¡tala

9.8 K¤ti

9.8.1 ár¢ga¸an¡tam bhajar® - Ì¿amanohari – R£paka t¡la - D¢kshitar

9.8.2 Sarasarasamar® - Kuntalavar¡½i - Ëdi - Ty¡gar¡ja

unit nine practicals1
Unit Nine – Practicals

áruti alignment is a fundamental requirement for music.

The basic exercises that a student of music first learns are the Sara½i Varisai-s.

video clipping of Sara½i Varisai-s 1 and 9 and he second set of svara exercises are the Ja¸¶a Varisai-s.

Click here to see the video

unit nine practicals2
Unit Nine – Practicals

The melodic aspect of music is developed based on the permutation and combination of svara-s. Exercises like the Dh¡tuVarisai-s, the T¡rasth¡yiVarisai and the Alank¡ram-s help in singing the svara-s in various combinations.

video clipping of the R£pakat¡laAlank¡ra

Click here to see the video

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Unit Nine – Practicals

The first introduction to a musical composition is through the G¢ta.

video clipping of the G¢ta ‘Varav¢¸¡’ set in Mohanar¡ga and r£pakat¡la.

Click here to see the Video

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Unit Nine – Practicals

As mentioned before too the K¤ti type of composition is the mainstay of the kalpita (composed) variety of music.

video clipping of the k¤ti ‘ár¢ga¸an¡tambhajar®’ set in Ì¿amanoharir¡ga and r£pakat¡la. This is a composition of D¢kshitar.

Click here to see the Video

unit ten conclusion
UNIT TEN - Conclusion

This is in brief is an introduction to different concepts and elements of music. We hope that this initiation to the endless beauty of music will serve as a spring board to delve deeper into the intricacies and nuances of music.