Free melakarta course

Tips for using the slideshow

Depending on your browser or device – using a mouse or touch screen – navigation requires different ways to navigate and listen:

  • To listen to music examples, click on the piano keyboard images
  • Wherever you see a piano keyboard, first read and sing the four notes as indicated (sa, ri, ga, ma, pa / pa dha ni sa)
  • Please be patient: the music examples start playing with a small delay to allow for reading and singing along
  • 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
  • Music examples match the red dots on the keyboard
  • Alternative (pc keyboard): use the space key to move forward
  • Your tablet / smartphones may also allow navigation by thumb-nail: click / tap the left margin

Note: The key patterns shown, and also the sounds provided, do not represent pitches/interval; they merely provide a general idea to learners familiar with western keyboards. As for musical nuances, see below.

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 >>