Thursday, January 19, 2012

First there were 7 notes and then the Panns, Carnatic, Western, Hindustani came.......

While discussing on raga choices, we should also keep in mind how there could a western music persective on top of all these raga layers. That makes all our analysis even more inadequate to be able to pass judgements since we are only seeing half the picture. We are not seeing the complete picture at all ! Below are some western scales and their equivalent tamil pann and  carnatic ragas: (info courtsey Violin Vicky, Tn Arunagiri, Gopi, Sripathy Ramesh, one Mr. Idiappam from ForumHub.  )

First about the names, notations

pAlai = scale = raga

Kural = C = sa
Thutham = D = ri
Kaikilai = E = ga
Uzhai = F = ma
ILi = G = pa
ViLari = A = da
Tharam = B = ni

Ilango adigal in silapadhigaram gives the names of the 7 Major Scales and explains how they are derived - pan peryathal or palai thiripu. Below is how they are derived by tonic shifts.  

CempAlai   = C to C = Ionian - Diatonic Major Dheerasankaaabharanam - All White Keys

PadumalaippAlai  = D to D = Dorian  = Kharaharapriya - All White keys

SevvazhippAlai  = E to E = Phrygian  = Hanumathodi - All White Keys

ArumpAlai   = F to F = Lydian  = Mechakalyaani - All White Keys

KOdippAlai   = G to G = Mixo-Lydian  = Harikaambhoji - All White keys

VilarippAlai  = A to A = Aeolian - Diatonic Minor = Natabhairavi - All White Keys

MercempAlai   = B to B = Locrian  = (non existent in carnatic) - All White Keys -Thodi with Ma2 instead of Pa

Other scale - ragas equivalents

Harmonic Major = Sarasaangi

Harmonic Minor = Keeravani

Melodic Major = Chaarukesi

Melodic minor = Ascending is Gowrimanohari and Descending is Natabhairavi.

Double Harmonic Major = Mayamalawagowlai

Double Harmonic Minor = Simmendhramadhyamam

Major Pentatonic Scale: = Mohanam

Minor Pentatonic Scale: = Sudha Dhanyasi

Blues scale -- Minor Pentatonic with Ma2 --ex: if Sudha dhanyasi is Sa Ga ma Pa Ni Sa. Blues is Sa ga Ma1 Ma2 Pa Ni Sa. Ga and Ni are Eb and Bb in C for example.

Whole Tone Scale is like C D E F# G# A# C in a C shruthi thing for example. The interval between one note and the next note is always a tone(2 semitones).

Chromatic Scale is C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B and C. All 12 notes in a scale from C to C for example.

I am not equipped to comment on these western aspects. I am zapped to even know such details exist. Seen in this context, how many more dimensions there are to IR's music ? And how ill-equipped and incomplete would it sound if someone knowing just carnatic or vice versa someone (knowing only western) make reviews on a song !!

While i could a brush aside a natabhairavi song as being cliched, that song may talk a different language to a person knowing western music -- Aeolian - A to A - All White Keys - Natabhairavi !!!

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