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Swara System Explained

The swaras in the ‘c scale’ from c to top C are c = sa, c# = ri1, d = ri2, d# = ga2, e = ga3, f = ma1, f # = ma2, g = pa, g# = dha1, a = dha2, a # = ni 2, b = ni 3 and SA = C. These 12 tones form an octave. The frequency difference between adjacent keys (c to c#, c # to d and so on) is a constant and is the twelfth root of 2 = 1.059446. To select a sruthi for singing/ playing an instrument , select any note as the low sa, take the  seventh note as pa and the thirteenth note as SA. This reference notes sa – pa – Sa defines the pitch/ scale selected.

The swara names are listed below

saShadjam
ri1Sudha Rishabham
ri2Chathusruthi Rishabham
ga2Sadharana Gandharam
ga3Andhara Gandharam
ma1Sudha Madhyamam
ma2Prathi Madhyamam
paPanchamam
dha1Sudha Dhaivatham
ni2Kaisiki Nishadham
ni3Kakali Nishadham

 

The swaras are marked in the keyboard below. The third white key from the left is sa, the next black key is ri1, next white key is ri2, next black key is ga2, next white key is ga3, next white key is ma1, the next black key is ma2, the next white key is pa, next black key is dha1, next white key is dha2, next black key is ni2, next white key is ni3 and the next white key is the top SA. These constitute one octave of the 12 tone system.

The sruthi mapping between Carnatic, Western and Hindusthani is given below:

 

CarnaticWesternHindustani
1kattaicsafed1
1.5 kattaic#kali1
2kattaidsafed2
2.5kattaid#kali2
3kattaiesafed3
4kattaifsafed4
4.5kattaif#kali3
5kattaigsafed5
5.5kattaig#kali4
6 kattaiasafed6
6.5kattaia#kali5
7kattaibsafed7
8kattaiCtopsafed8

 




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