Seven notes (swara) & 12 Pitches (shruti)

In Hindustani (North Indian) classical music, an octave is called saptak and also has seven notes referred to as swara. This notes room sa, re, ga, ma, pa, dha, ni (similar come the Western carry out re mi fa for this reason la ti).

You are watching: Sa, ri ga ma pa dha ni sa

The an initial and fifth notes (sa and pa) have only one variant. The other five notes (re, ga, ma, dha, and ni) have two variants each. The notes re, ga, dha, and ni have actually natural and flat variants, while ma has actually a natural and also a spicy variant. Every together, therefore, there are 12 distinct pitches (shruti) in an octave when variants space included.

The video clip below displayed the 12 notes in one octave using a keyboard, while reflecting the difference in between the natural and also flat/sharp variants of every note. In each case, the organic variant is sung first followed by the level or sharp variant. I usage C as my beginning point (sa) and have color-coded the organic notes red, the flat notes pink, and also the sharp note maroon.


Table 1 below provides a an overview of the note in one octave. In the "Note Name" column, the adjective shuddha (natural), komal (flat), and tivra (sharp) are used to specify the variant of the keep in mind being ad to. The notes sa and pa are not modified since they have actually only one variant each.

To notate the 12 pitches ("Notation ID" column), I usage the first letter that the keep in mind name plus top or lower situation to represent the greater or reduced pitched variants, respectively: S(1), r(♭2), R(2), g(♭3), G(3), m(4), M(#4), P(5), d(♭6), D(6), n(♭7), and also N(7).

It is necessary to save in mind that in Hindustani timeless music, the notes have actually unique and also unchangeable identities in relation to sa. So, unequal in western music, where D♭ can likewise be C#, and E♭ can also be D#, etc., in Hindustani classic music, the pitch complying with S(1) is constantly r(♭2), never ever #1, and the pitch adhering to R(2) is constantly g(♭3), never ever (#2), and also so on.


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Table 1. The note in an octave in Hindustani music

The 3rd column gives the Indian solfa syllables because that the notes. Keep in mind that the very same solfa syllable is offered for both variants that a note, due to the fact that they are simply thought about to be variants of the very same note. The full names of these seven notes (swara) room shadja, rishabha, gandhara, madhyama, panchama, dhaivata, and nishada.

We contact solfa "sargam," one acronym produced by combining the first four valuation (sa re ga ma). Singing in sargam is not simply for voice cultivate in Indian classic music – the is likewise used as part of music performance, as among the tools for improvisation.

In the power below, Venkatesh Kumar sings in sargam between 9:10 come 11:15 or so.


The last sa in Table 1 belongs come the next octave and is notated S", v a quotation mark after it. I notate notes in octaves below or above my main octave v quotation marks prior to or after them to display which octave they belong to. Here is an illustration utilizing C as sa.


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Entire keyboard notated utilizing C together sa

Movable Do

Indian timeless music offers a movable octave, which way you can begin your octave at every little thing pitch you like, and also the other notes are identified in relation to your starting point (sa).


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Octave notated making use of C as sa
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Octave notated utilizing B♭ as sa

Ten parental Scales

So, there are a complete of twelve pitches in an octave. Yet for developing music, you typically choose specific pitches from among those twelve pitches to give yourself a theme. Since melody is so main to Indian music, we are always on the lookout because that pitch combine (scales) the offer far-ranging melodic potential. These are referred to as ragas, and also we recognize of about 500 ragas in the Indian classic tradition.

Ragas room classified in various ways. One system is to classify lock under ten parent scales, well-known as "thaat." these are similar to modes in ancient Greek music. Uneven ragas, which are more flexible in the variety of notes they have the right to include, parental scales are always heptatonic and also must include one each of the seven notes (swara) - sa, re, ga, ma, pa, dha and also ni. Sport arise as result of the different variants (natural, flat, or sharp) used. The video below displayed the ten parent scales. As soon as again, C is the tonic (sa) and I have actually color-coded the organic notes red, the level notes pink, and the sharp keep in mind maroon. For the benefits of efficiency, the video clip has been set at a fast pace, however feel free to readjust its speed by click the setups button.


All new students of Hindustani classic music start by discovering the Bilawal scale consisting of all the herbal notes, S R G m ns D N.


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The organic Origin that Notes

Musical notes correspond to particular frequencies (pitches) relative to the tonic (sa). These space frequencies at which the sound developed is clear and pleasing because it is consonant (i.e., in agreement) with the tonic. At various other frequencies, the sound is dissonant (clashes through the tonic). The tonic is play constantly in the background in musical societies that use a drone (or something like the tanpura in Indian music), however even when it is no physically played, it is current in ours minds together we listen to music. The way our mental make sense of music is through being mindful of the tonic and understanding the various other notes in relation to it. Therefore, the pitches that are pleasing come hear space those that room consonant, and it is these pitches that are traditionally offered for music by all cultures.

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The video below needs to do through vibrations, frequencies, and also resonance. That will assist you visualize what happens as soon as you uncover a frequency the is consonant v the tonic, and also why over there are only some pitches that are pleasing if others are not.