The Music


Each raga is a melodic mode with specified musical tones Swara, ornamentation of techniques, and ways progressing from tone to tone. Melody produced while maintaining such conditions fits the definitions of raga. Some two hundred to three different ragas are popular and more than 2000 are listed in Raga dictionaries.


In Indian rhythm Tala, the cycle (avartanas) is the basic unit in the structure of a composition. The first beat ( sam or samam) of a tala is normally given emphasis as a credential point.


Like the etude in Western music, varnam is a practice piece, designed to impart the proper melodic motion of the raga it is set in. through varying the tempo ( kaalapramanam) of the piece, such as performing it in doubles are quadruple speed or otherwise dividing the beats, it also functions as training in tala and technique. Varnam includes no improvisation section.


Krithi (literally ‘song’ ) is considered the most refined and musical form, much as sonata in Western music. Pre composed in a raga and tala selected by the composer, the kriti composition is, however, usually preceded and followed by improvisation.


Also known as raga alapana, this is the most important means of expressing the essence of a raga. It is performed in free rhythm, without drum accompaniment. Alapana comprises the first improvisation section preceding the krithi composition, and is performed in the same raga as a krithi is set in.


An improvised section following the alapana, tanam is included only in the piece which is the main item of a concert. It strings together sharp phrases of two or three tones to express rhythmic pulse but is not performed in tala or with the accompaniment of a drum.


Functioning as the main theme in a performance item, pallavi is the first line of the song, also presented in variations, and is repeated as a sort of punctuations in the course of an item.


The seven pitch of swara used in raga are SA RI GA MA PA DA NI SA equivalent to DO RE MI FA SO LA TI DO.

Swara Kalpana

Improvised following the krithi composition, it is with the swara pitch names sung instead to text.


Ascending scale form in a raga.


Descending scale form in a raga.

Tani Avaratanam:

Sections for solos and percussion instruments, performed at the end of a main item in a concert.



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