FUNDAMENTALS


The audience of Indian Classical Music expects to listen to the Ragas in a specific prevalent format. In linguistic analogy it may be a specific language or a dialect. In order to have the feel of Indian Classical Music one has to be trained or accustomed to that specific language or dialect. More specifically, perhaps it is the characteristic tune of a Raga played or sung in a particular way is considered as the identity of a Raga rather than the critical note structures or the DNA of that Raga. If the same note structure is played or sung in a different way i.e. different format, perhaps the language becomes different and it may not reach the serious audience of Indian Classical Music. If this be true, Indian Classical Music will always be restricted to limited listeners. But if we want to explore Indian Classical Music in global perspective i.e. a common Global Musical Language things can be different. What I want to mean is to transcend Indian Classical Music with its DNA to Rock, Jazz, Blues and other forms of music and this is the purpose of my site Raga Rock Harmony.

The present endeavour to play a Raga in Rock format is an approach to communicate the elegance of Indian Classical Music to the global audience. While making this effort, I have seen that exquisite melodies can be created by changing the format. Evolution is a natural phenomenon and it is applicable to music also. Indian Classical Music also is evolving but to the specific audience it remains confined to the Gharanas. The genesis of all the notes came from Mother Nature and there after human intellect and their profound sense of music applied some rules and structures to establish the Ragas. If different notes become intensified during the different time of the day, human moods or feelings vis-à-vis natural phenomena vary in the same way throughout the world; Indian Classical Music can also have different forms; DNA i.e. structure of the Ragas remaining the same. I feel that Indian Classical Music is a multi-dimensional object which may look different from different perspective but at the end of the day it is Music.

Most of the content involving Indian Classical Music will be in the key of E. If a different key has been used it will be mentioned. There are quite a number of scales in western system of music which are guided by the formula W W H W W W H, which derives the major scale and from which all the other scales are derived. Here W means whole note and H means half note. The Ragas are nothing but some of these scales with some particular set and patterns and restrictions to play the notes. Like Raga Meghmalhar is technically B minor pentatonic with root note E, meaning that it contains the same notes as a B minor pentatonic scale does, with some specific patterns and restrictions which will be discussed later.

There are 12 notes in Indian Classical Music Sa re Re ga Ga ma Ma Pa dha Dha ni Ni
Fret numbers 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
The corresponding western notes are E F F# G G# A A# B C C# D D#

 

Before going to further details I would like to express some important aspects and definitions of notes.

Badi note or prime note in a raga

 

This is the most important note in a raga. The other notes only help it to bloom. This note is most widely played in a raga.

Sambadi note or Prime Helping note in a raga

This is the second most important note in a raga. This note directly helps the Badi or the Prime note to flourish. Its playing frequency is next to the Badi or the Prime note.

Anubadi Notes or Other Helping notes in a raga

The other notes in a raga are called Anubadi notes. These notes again primarily enrich Badi as well as the Sambadi note. The degree of playing frequency of these anubadi notes in respect of a specific raga will be given later.

Bibadi Notes or the Prohibited notes

This is the note, which should preferably not be played in a raga.

Nyas note or Resting note :

There may be more than one Resting note in a Raga. These are the notes, where one should end or Rest short composition or Solo runs.

Important features:

  • 1. There is no raga which is simultaneously devoid of A, A# and B

  • 2. In Indian Classical Music the note A, A# is very colourful and is used to determine the timing of a Raga. The critical application of these notes can change the nature of a Raga and as such it is often called “Half-Observer”

  • 3. Any octave has two parts “Purbanga” (Pre) and “Uttaranga” (Post). The Purbanga notes are from E-B while Uttaranga notes are from A-E. Here A is the common note between the “Purbanga” and “Uttaranga”

  • 4. In Indian Classical Music, A# is used mostly in the Ragas suitable for night time. It is a very special note.

  • 5. The Raga whish are played during the sunrise and sunset time are called Sandhi Prakash Raga or Transient Raga.

  • 6. The Ragas which are played from 12PM to 12 AM those are called Purba(Pre) Raga and those between 12AM to 12PM are called Uttar (post) Raga

  • 7. Any Raga played according to its timing sounds well. In other words it is said that certain notes becomes more eloquent during certain specific time of the day.

  • 8. The following five parameters are essential to any Raga.

    • • Category or THAAT

    • • Ascending & Descending notes

    • • Badi and Sambadi notes

    • • Time

    • • Exquisiteness’

     

  • 9. Each Raga has a Badi and a Sambadi note. If Badi belongs to “Purbanga” the Sambadi generally belongs to “Uttaranga”. Normally there is four notes separation between the Badi and Sambadi

  • 10. Generally the Sharp and Flat versions of the same note are not applied in a Raga. The only exception is Raga Lalit.

  • 11. In a Raga where A# is used, D is not applied. But there can be an application with both A. A#, D and D#.

  • 12. The transient Ragas are peaceful and full of pathos

  • 13. F#, C# and G# are applicable to Happy Tunes while the G, D notes are for Heroic, extreme and evil type of tunes.

  • 14. The Ragas that contain E, A and B as Badi notes those are of serious nature.

  • 15. The morning time Ragas contain more F and C application while the evening time Ragas have more application of G# and D#

  • 16. “D# E F G#” combination denotes transient time.

  • 17. The application of E in mid octave does not sound good for the evening time Ragas while the same application for the morning time ragas it sounds excellent.

  • 18. After 12 PM the intensity of E, A and B keep on increasing. Right at noon F# and D# becomes very strong and then fades.

  • 19. In a Raga if C# and B are used very frequently it creates the serious mood of morning time. Similarly the reverse effect takes place when there is more application of F# and G#. The less application of A and D# brings in a serious mood. The notes of evening time Ragas are mostly from Purbanga (Pre) part of the Octave while that of morning time Raga the Uttaranga(Post) is more prominent. If the Badi or Prime note comes from the Purbanga the Sambadi or Prime Helping note comes from Uttaranga having at least 4 notes separation. Despite having the same Ascending and Descending the Ragas become different due to the intensity of Purbanga or Uttaranga. Purbanga notes are E, F, F#, G, G#, A while the uttarnga notes are-B, C, C#, D, D#, E. The note A# is special, if it replaces ma, it originates another 16 categories or THAAT of ragas. Thus the total number of that’s are 32, 16 from each side of ma and Ma. The THAATs which are originated with the inclusion of Ma lead to Blues

  • 20. During the night time E, A and B of mid octave becomes beautiful