CARNATIC RAGAS AND WESTERN SCALE
Music is like a milky way. There cannot be real comparison between Classical including Hindustani, Western and light at all. It’s like PARKINSON’S LAW viz every one according to its level. At the same time it’s not too difficult to understand and appreciate it too. When there is no mind to grasp and relishes plain patterns, with the self-proclaimed, music errors, well, light is in lighter vein. When mainly vocal chords or chords alone is criteria, and can go from particle to particle, ignoring in between, yet in harmonic, well western wealds the veneration and formulations of rules in harmonic is Jazz. However, governed by strict principles laid down and performing within the bounded-concepts, melodic is, well its Classical.
It’s misnomer to use the word “scale” here. Scale is for western whereas the similar for classical is “Ragam.” “Chords” for western is “sruthi” in classical or carnatic or Hindustani. Of course, “Taal” and “Beats” sound synonym, yet has a difference between classical and Western, since Harmonic is based in western only on the built up of chords and the beats.
In carnatic as well as others, there are 7 basic “swaras” or “notes”, however D major scale in western, and Sankarabaranam Ragam under aurohanam, have similar notes or swarams, when played ,never appear to be similar; it is the same case with the watered down light or cine music, where there is a near appearance but not the true version at all.
In Carnatic swaras “Ri, Ga, Da, Ni” will invariably shall sink with the preceding swaras, as continuous by a concept called “Ghamakas”. All swaras are linked by Ghamakas. In other words, there cannot be a jump, between 2 swaras. Where there are Jumps, permissible, in between 2 swaras, in the same octave, there can be succinct expanded swaras ,in between notes like Ri, Ri 1, Ri 2 ,Ri 3 etc to ga, which is extinct in western. So carnatic is knitted with the 72 Ragas MELAKARTHA grouped as 6*6*2.
A raga group in melakartha, is formed ,by extending ,in between two swaras, half or quarter or less than, MATRAS (not scale to be precise).Ghamakas are these matras played syncing one to another More than the vocal chords, one can hear clearly in Veena, violin ,mandolin etc. Any swaraprastharams rendered as per the wishes of the singer cannot cross the limitations prescribed. In western there can be jumps in notes, even two or three scales, without losing the beats and the chords. Hence western are’ cut” notes while the classic is linked swaras.
Carnatic or classical has more “sangathis”, than the western “sharp and flat notes. Ventures and Shadows made a dent with electric Guitars in the delivery modes in western and became popular. However, these variations cannot have one to think that the singing of the western or light music is easier than the carnatic or classical. GOOD MUSIC IS A SKILFUL COMPOSITION OUT OF THE HEART AND BRAIN AND THAT WHICH WOULD MELLOW THE HEART, STAY FOR GENERATIONS TO COME.
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