Free melakarta course

Tips for using the slideshow

To follow this free course (slideshow), click on the above image or here:

Bookmark the present URL:

  1. To start your practice session, tap or click on the above image
  2. In each music example, red dots correspond to four notes
  3. First read, then try and sing the four notes as indicated:
    sa, ri, ga, ma
    followed by
    pa dha ni sa
    Note: the first group (seen on the left) is always articulated by using the syllables “sa, ri, ga, ma”; and the second group (seen on the right) correspondingly by “pa dha ni sa”
  4. Tap or click again in order to listen
  5. Repeat by singing the same pattern as indicated above
  6. To proceed to the next group, tap and click again
  7. If your browser / smartphone offers navigation by thumb-nail: tap or click the left margin
    Note: this is useful if you wish to resume practice at a particular melakarta (rather than starting each practice sessions at the beginning)

Please be patient
Music examples may start playing with a short delay.

Using different devices

Depending on your browser or device – using a mouse or touch screen – navigate and listen as follows:

  • On a touch screen (tablet computer or smartphone), swipe left / right to navigate forward / backward
  • Regular computer (pc) keyboard: use the right and left arrow keys (> <) to navigate forward / backward
  • Alternative (pc keyboard): use the space key to move forward

The key patterns seen here convey a general idea, which is useful for learners familiar with western keyboards. (This is why Sangita Vidvan S. Rajam included keyboards in his lecture-demonstrations, namely for the sake of understanding this topic without further ado.)
So keep in mind that the keyboard patterns you are going to see and hear are not meant to indicate any specific pitch or “micro interval” associated with any particular raga.

In other words, musical nuances call for years of careful listening and practice to be expressed properly. Today just as in the distant past when Carnatic music acquired the status of a “classical” (refined and dignified) art in its own right, be it for personal fulfilment or public performance as part of concerts, dance recitals and on festive occasions.

About mela ragas and their arrangement

  • Mēḷakartā raga is abbreviated as mela – for our purposes this merely denotes a “musical scale” (i.e. not a raga)
  • At a later stage, also try and remember the mēḷakartā raga names and their numbers in the manner indicated
  • All ragas associated with these melas are brought alive with subtle nuances (e.g. raga Kalyāṇi, derived from mela 65. (written Mēcakalyāṇi to facilitate pronunciation)
  • You’ll notice that there is a relationship between the first two syllables of each mela name and the two numbers that indicate its position
  • The mela-number method involves a reversal of numbers, as indicated in each slide: e.g. 65. Mēcakalyāṇi M-C=56><65
  • For this reason, the first nine melas are numbered “01.” to “09.” (not merely “1.” to “9.”)
  • A few melas are shown with a tilde symbol (“~“) to highlight an exception: 66. Citrāmbari C~Tr=66><66
    This exception relates to a general rule for Sanskrit mnemonics (kaṭapayādi sūtra): in our course, the combination of “~” and capitalized letter overrides the regular conjunct consonant (seen in lower-case instead)
  • In Sanskrit all consonants contain an “a” until modified (ka, kha etc.); this “a” is pronounced as “u” in but
  • The short “a” is substituted by the long “ā” or any other vowel in the names of some mēḷakartā ragas like Kīravāṇi and Kōkilapriya
  • A dot as in “ṭ” ट distinguishes the cerebral letter “ṭ” (e.g. Nāṭakapriya, mela 10) from its dental counterpart “t” (e.g. Latāṅgi, mela 63)
  • To ensure the kaṭapayādi sūtra works as intended do pronounce the “h” clearly: for instance, kha ख and gha घ are distinct aspirated consonants and pronounced as in inkhorn and log house
  • Three consonants corresponding to numbers 5, 6 and 7 – “ś”, “” and “s” – represent three distinct sounds (palatal ś, retroflex ṣ and dental s); these are pronounced as in she, partial and sit; in Śyāmaḷāṅgi (mēḷa 55), aṇmukhapriya (mēḷa 56) and Simhēndramadhyamam (mēḷa 57) respectively

Enjoy your learning experience!
Ludwig Pesch

PS To bring errors to my attention and for comments, feel free to contact me >>

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