Sample Music Essays on Melakarta System

Melakarta system, Raga, Rasas, Svara, and Raga-mala

Melakarta system is a collection of elemental musical scales known as ragas in South Indian classical music (Pesch and Pesch 8). A raga is a melodic mode that is usually utilized under the Indian classical music. A raga is composed of about eight musical notes that are crucial in the construction of the melody. According to the history of melakarta system that comprises seventy-two ragas was formed through a combination of six Svaras obtained from the semitones. Svaras also known as swaras as a Sanskrit term that means tones that are used in singing and chanting. In other words, that means notes in the octave (Shankar and Craske 56). The Melakarta scale consists seven basic swaras named by, Shadja, madhyam, dhaivat, nishad, rishabh, pancham, and gandhar (“MUKUND MELAKARTA RAGA CHART”). The notes are collectively used as a technique in teaching sight-singing. This technique is known as Sargam. Over a long period, musical activity is mostly carried out in such a way that they create a rasa because of the integration of such a variety of notes. Rasas is another Sanskrit word that describes the emotional crafted by musicians into their musical work that brings out a positive mind or taste. It is the raga that handles the creation of rasa to the performer and the listener. There are nine categories of rasas namely; love, pathos, heroism, disgust, humour, anger, and wonder. These musical activities are carried out in raga-mala. A Raga-mala refers to musical melodies. It usually contains twelve verses that run for sixty lines that name a variety of ragas that in most cases appears in the Guru Granth Sahib. It should not be read as an index of ragas as it is a collection of a variety of ragas sung on various occasions (Pesch and Pesch 12).


Works Cited

“MUKUND MELAKARTA RAGA CHART.” Carnatic Corner – Your. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Oct. 2015.

Pesch, Ludwig, and Ludwig Pesch. The Oxford Illustrated Companion to South Indian Classical Music. New Delhi: Oxford UP, 2009. Print.

Shankar, Ravi, and Oliver Craske. Raga Mala. Roma: Arcana, 2011. Print.