Intonation in Carnatic music

This is to discuss all things pertaining to the south Indian system of music

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Intonation in Carnatic music

Postby Diego » Wed Feb 18, 2009 3:48 pm

Hi all again,

I've heard from some that intonation for carnatic music is different to the western intonation. However, others, including the learned Jon Higgins, have said that the two are similar.

My teacher's regularly been correcting my Ni2, as it's usually not close enough to upper Sa (it ends up sounding a microtone higher than the major 7th, in western thinking). I'm also considering Ri3, for Nattai Raagam, whether it's a minor third, or a microtone above a major second.

Any thoughts?

jaan e kharabat
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Re: Intonation in Carnatic music

Postby jaan e kharabat » Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:44 am

From what I understand, for example R3 and G1 are enharmonic equivalents, a komal Ga (minor third) of Hindustani music, the same way that a D# is also an Eb in Western notation. From what I understand of Nattai raagam, it has a similar contour to the Hindustani raga Jog in that it uses both the minor and major thirds. When this occurs in Carnatic music, the notation will render the minor third as R3 and the major as G2 in order to facilitate the singing of the sargam passages (don't know what the correct term is in Carnatic), as opposed to what would normally happen in Hindustani music where both will be rendered as Ga.

As to precise intonation, Indian music uses mostly the natural scale, as opposed to the western equally tempered scale, as its base.

hope this helps
If there are just ''six tones'' in an octave [sic] then why have frets for tones that don't exist?

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Re: Intonation in Carnatic music

Postby Diego » Fri Feb 20, 2009 6:58 pm

Hi, thanks,

it does help – makes it a tad problematic as my reference instruments, aside from my teacher's singing, are all equal-tempered: piano, guitar, but I guess i should just listen extra hard to recordings from class!

sargam: Um... I should know the term – it's just swara, as far as I remember, as opposed to swara & sahityam, when you put lyrics to the swara. I'll check on this and confirm.

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Re: Intonation in Carnatic music

Postby holikarang » Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:44 am

in my experience it's not always been good to think in terms of comparaison between Western and Indian... you have to develop an ear to the scale, that's all... stop thinking of what you are singing and just try and be as close as possible to what your teacher sings. Try to separate the two things, Western and Indian, in your mind. A comparaison is helpful for research purpouse, but not for the practice in my experience...


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