Raga identification made easy!

Surabhi Post Myriad Hues Of Ragas

So far, as rasikas are aware, we have covered more than 60 ragas in our 'identifying ragas' section.  From the feedback mails and quiz answers, I am happy to note that rasikas have got a hang of almost all these ragas and should have no  difficulty in identifying them in any format.  However, there lies much more in the understanding of a raga than just knowing the arohanam-avorohanam and signature patterns.  We have just covered, so to say, 'the tip of the iceberg' and there are many more subtleties and nuances that one probably begins to understand and appreciate with only years of continuous listening.  In a small attempt to widen the horizon of appreciating ragas, I thought of dedicating a few episodes of Surabhi Post to discuss some of the important and commonly handled ragas in more detail.

Before we take up specific ragas for discussion, we need to know the concept of 'jeeva' and 'nyasa' swaras , so lets first take a look at them.

Jeeva Swaras - The quintessential swaras which lend life (jeeva) to a particular raga.  The knowledge of the jeeva swaras is very much important for the rendition of raga alapana.  The elaboration of a raga is done by building phrases around the jeeva swaras. For e.g., in Mohanam the swaras, Ga, Da are jeeva swaras.

Nyasa Swaras - 'Nyasa' means 'settling down', therefore, swaras which can be used as the ending notes while rendering an alapana or a composition are called 'nyasa swaras'.  Sometimes most of the swaras in the arohanam-avarohanam can be nyasa swaras.  For e.g., in Kalyani, all the swaras except 'Ma' are nyasa swaras.

In order to help rasikas understand the discussion about ragas with clarity, I am providing the audio files of various swara sthanas.  On repeated listening of these, I hope one should be able to get a hang of the swara sthanas to some extent.  What I have demonstrated here is just the swara with out gamakams.  The swaras on incorporation of gamakam may sound different, depending on the raga swaroopa, therefore, this is just a guideline.  Here are the demonstrations:

Sa Pa Sa, Ri family, Ga family, Ma family, Da family, Ni family

We will get started with the most grand and majestic raga which enjoys universal appeal and forms an integral part of all systems of music.  But, that will be in my next post…..until then its happy guessing!

Musically yours,

A step by step initiation in to Carnatic music theory addressing raga classification, common music terminologies, various swara sthanas, raga lakshanas and more...Do take time to go through our blogs where all concepts are described with appropriate audio demonstrations. (Explanations in English)