Carnatic Melakarta Ragas: Structure and Illustration with a New Matrix Notation (Paperback)
This book is primarily intended for beginners and practitioners of Carnatic music, which is the type of classical music common to Southern India. In this book we will look at the underlying structure of Carnatic music, which defines a methodology for Melakarta ("janya" or "parent") ragas and from which other janya ("derived" or "child") ragas are derived. In the Carnatic system, there are 72 Melakarta ragas, which are all derived from a 12 note-based system. All Melakarta ragas utilize a distinct set of seven notes ("sapta swara"), in both the arohanam (ascending) sequence and in the avarohanam (descending) sequence. Janya ragas are derived from these Melakarta ragas and have variations such as fewer notes and pattern variations. Where the notes of a janya raga zig and zag, it is called a vakra ("crooked") raga. This variability and flexibility produce the potential to create thousands of ragas. We will focus primarily on Melakarta ragas, and show a new "matrix method" to understand these ragas in an intuitive and visual manner. This will help cement the underlying structure of each Melakarta raga, and also show their pattern difference when compared to other Melakarta ragas. As janya ragas depend on the architecture of the corresponding Melakarta raga, this method will help fix the connectivity between the Melakarta and janya ragas.