Ajay Parasuraman
Firstly, apologies to all. After an extremely grueling 3 weeks at work, my zest for writing just flickered back on. Let bygones be that. I have just gotten back from a K.S Gopalakrishnan flutekutcheri at Rasikapriya, Cochin. The review of that can wait. Possibly, forever 🙂
I write this next post as I listen to a Saketh Raman concert very recently downloaded. If you remember right, the last post introduced you to the origins of the two forms, viz a viz, Carnatic and Hindustani. This one will involve the terms involved in both the forms.
You must all be familiar with the Saptaswaras, lit. Seven notes — Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, and Ni. A raaga is a combination of all or some of the swaras. A raaga will have an aarohana or ascent, and an avarohana or descent. The various combinations of the swaras is what gives each raaga it’s distinct identity. Any song, be it in Carnatic or Hindustani, will have a tune. It is based on the raaga of the song that a tune is composed. Most or all of the terms in Carnatic have their similar sounding counterparts in Hindustani as well.
In Carnatic, a raaga is divided into two — Janaka (or Parent) raaga and Janya (or Child) raaga. A Janaka raaga is also called a Melakartha raaga and will have all the seven notes, in order, in it’s ascent and descent. A Janya raaga is one that has evolved from a Melakartha raaga and, as you must have guessed, will not involve all the seven notes. In other words, a subset of a Melakartha raaga will give you a Janya raaga, and innumerable ‘children’ are possible from any given Melakartha raaga. In Hindustani, the thaat is the equivalent to the Melakartha in Carnatic. However the classifications in each of the forms differ from each other. In Carnatic, there are 72 Melakartha raagas, to Hindustani’s 10 thaats.
The 72 Melakartha raagas each have a number associated with them — this number against a raaga is assigned based on the katapayaadi sankhya. In this nomenclature, the digits corresponding to the first two syllables of the name of a raga, when reversed, give the index of the raga. Thus the scale of a melakarta raga can be easily derived from its name. The katapayadi sankhya is a simplification of Aryabhatta‘s Sanskrit numerals. The numbers associated with each of the syllables are given below:
1 
2 
3 
4 
5 
6 
7 
8 
9 
0 

Kadi Nava 
ka 
kha 
ga 
gha 
nga 
ca 
cha 
ja 
jha 
nya 
Tadi Nava 
á¹a 
á¹ha 
á¸a 
á¸ha 
á¹‡a 
ta 
tha 
da 
dha 
na 
Padi Pancha 
pa 
pha 
ba 
bha 
ma 

Yadi Ashta 
ya 
ra 
la 
va 
Å›ha 
sha 
sa 
ha 
à¤•à¤Ÿà¤ªà¤¯à¤¾à¤¦à¤¿ à¤¸à¤‚à¤–à¥à¤¯à¤¾
à¥§ 
à¥¨ 
à¥© 
à¥ª 
à¥« 
à¥¬ 
à¥ 
à¥® 
à¥¯ 
à¥¦ 

à¤•à¤¾à¤¦à¤¿ à¤¨à¤µ 
à¤• 
à¤– 
à¤— 
à¤˜ 
à¤™ 
à¤š 
à¤› 
à¤œ 
à¤ 
à¤ž 
à¤Ÿà¤¾à¤¦à¤¿ à¤¨à¤µ 
à¤Ÿ 
à¤ 
à¤¡ 
à¤¢ 
à¤£ 
à¤¤ 
à¤¥ 
à¤¦ 
à¤§ 
à¤¨ 
à¤ªà¤¾à¤¦à¤¿ à¤ªà¤‚à¤š 
à¤ª 
à¤« 
à¤¬ 
à¤ 
à¤® 

à¤¯à¤¾à¤¦à¤¿ à¤…à¤·à¥à¤Ÿ 
à¤¯ 
à¤° 
à¤² 
à¤µ 
à¤¶ 
à¤· 
à¤¸ 
à¤¹ 
Note that the name katapayadi comes from the contents of the first row in either of the tables formulated by Aryabhatta. Let’s see if an example simplifies the use of the Table(s) – Take Natakapriya. The first two syllables in the name are Naa and Ta. Going by the table, we get 0 and 1 as the corresponding numbers. Now, taking the reverse, we get 10. Hence, Natakapriya has been given the number 10 in the Melakartha list based on this scheme of numbering. Now, that you’ve learnt how to assign numbers to melakartha raagas, next post will be about the classification of raagas within the list of 72 Melakarthas and also the categorization of different raagas in the Hindustani system.
Hope this has been worth your time. Until next time, cheerio!
I write this next post as I listen to a Saketh Raman concert very recently downloaded. If you remember right, the last post introduced you to the origins of the two forms, viz a viz, Carnatic and Hindustani. This one will involve the terms involved in both the forms.
You must all be familiar with the Saptaswaras, lit. Seven notes — Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, and Ni. A raaga is a combination of all or some of the swaras. A raaga will have an aarohana or ascent, and an avarohana or descent. The various combinations of the swaras is what gives each raaga it’s distinct identity. Any song, be it in Carnatic or Hindustani, will have a tune. It is based on the raaga of the song that a tune is composed. Most or all of the terms in Carnatic have their similar sounding counterparts in Hindustani as well.
In Carnatic, a raaga is divided into two — Janaka (or Parent) raaga and Janya (or Child) raaga. A Janaka raaga is also called a Melakartha raaga and will have all the seven notes, in order, in it’s ascent and descent. A Janya raaga is one that has evolved from a Melakartha raaga and, as you must have guessed, will not involve all the seven notes. In other words, a subset of a Melakartha raaga will give you a Janya raaga, and innumerable ‘children’ are possible from any given Melakartha raaga. In Hindustani, the thaat is the equivalent to the Melakartha in Carnatic. However the classifications in each of the forms differ from each other. In Carnatic, there are 72 Melakartha raagas, to Hindustani’s 10 thaats.
The 72 Melakartha raagas each have a number associated with them — this number against a raaga is assigned based on the katapayaadi sankhya. In this nomenclature, the digits corresponding to the first two syllables of the name of a raga, when reversed, give the index of the raga. Thus the scale of a melakarta raga can be easily derived from its name. The katapayadi sankhya is a simplification of Aryabhatta‘s Sanskrit numerals. The numbers associated with each of the syllables are given below:
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  
Kadi nava  ka  kha  ga  gha  nga  ca  cha  ja  nya  
Tadi nava  á¹a  á¹ha  á¸a  á¸ha  á¹‡a  ta  tha  da  na  
Padi pancha  pa  pha  ba  bha  ma  
Yadi ashta  ya  ra  la  va  Å›ha  sha  sa  ha 
à¤•à¤Ÿà¤ªà¤¯à¤¾à¤¦à¤¿ à¤¸à¤‚à¤–à¥à¤¯à¤¾
à¥§  à¥¨  à¥©  à¥ª  à¥«  à¥¬  à¥  à¥®  à¥¯  à¥¦  
à¤•à¤¾à¤¦à¤¿ à¤¨à¤µ  à¤•  à¤–  à¤—  à¤˜  à¤™  à¤š  à¤›  à¤œ  à¤  à¤ž 
à¤Ÿà¤¾à¤¦à¤¿ à¤¨à¤µ  à¤Ÿ  à¤  à¤¡  à¤¢  à¤£  à¤¤  à¤¥  à¤¦  à¤§  à¤¨ 
à¤ªà¤¾à¤¦à¤¿ à¤ªà¤‚à¤š  à¤ª  à¤«  à¤¬  à¤  à¤®  
à¤¯à¤¾à¤¦à¤¿ à¤…à¤·à¥à¤Ÿ  à¤¯  à¤°  à¤²  à¤µ  à¤¶  à¤·  à¤¸  à¤¹ 
Note that the name katapayadi comes from the contents of the first row in either of the tables formulated by Aryabhatta. Let’s see if an example simplifies the use of the Table(s) – Take Natakapriya. The first two syllables in the name are Naa and Ta. Going by the table, we get 0 and 1 as the corresponding numbers. Now, taking the reverse, we get 10. Hence, Natakapriya has been given the number 10 in the Melakartha list based on this scheme of numbering. Now, that you’ve learnt how to assign numbers to melakartha raagas, next post will be about the classification of raagas within the list of 72 Melakarthas.
Hope this has been worth your time. Until next time, cheerio!