Aug 20, 2010

The 72 Melakartha Ragas

This is one of the most basic lessons taught to any Carnatic Music student, or is it? I am not sure, but, yes definitely any student of our system of music must get educated about this at least within a year or two after commencement of training. I mentioned that this is a basic lesson, but comprehending and internalizing these 72 ragas is not a joke by any means. A musician’s Swara Jnana will be put to test without any mercy. To theoretically grasp the significance is one thing but it’s an entirely different ball game when it comes to bringing out its nuances in practice. However, the first step is to understand the science in theory.

The 72 melakartha system, is simply unique, unparalleled and the most COMPREHENSIVE system there was, there is and there ever will be. These ragas contain the summum bonum of anything that can be called Music. Any permutation and combination of notes audible to the human ear will have its source traced back to the Melakartha.

Carnatic music has classified the swaras into:

Sa – Shadjam
Ri- Rishabham
Ga- Gandharam
Ma- Madhyamam
Pa- Panchamam
Da- Daivatham
Ni- Nishadam

This is of course popularly known as the Saptha Swras. The Saptha Swaras are further divided and I am listing it down here:

This is the adhara Shadjam or the Shruthi in which we sing

a. Shudha Rishabham

b. Chathushruthi Rishabham

c. Shatshruthi Rishabham

a. Shudha Gandharam

b. Sadharana Gandharam

c. Anthara Gandharam

a. Shudha Madhyamam

b. Prathi Madhyamam


a. Shudha Daivatham

b. Chathushruthi Daivatham

c. Shatshruthi Daivatham

a. Shudha Nishadham b Kaishiki Nishadham

c. Kakali Nishadham

It must be practically demonstrated for one to understand and appreciate the classification of the Swaras. However to start with, this represents the different notes within a particular octave (from Adhara Shadjam to Melsthayi Sa that is).

The Shadjam and Panchamam are eternal and unshakeable, so to say, they represent Godhead. The revered sage of Kanchi, Shri Paramacharya refers to this point while He explains the meaning of the charanam in the famous Thyagaraja krithi Nadathanumanisam. There is a line in the charanam which starts with “Sathyojyathadhi Pancha Vakthraja”, which means the swaras have originated from the five heads of Siva. However, the Sage noted that if we ascribe one swara to each head, then there could be only five and not seven swaras!!! The Sage further observed that this is because Sa and Pa were ever present or eternal and did not have to be created. The remaining five swaras came out of Parameswara’s five heads. This is also the reason why we start the music class with Sa Pa Sa , every other note is contained within this.

However, I am planning to write more about the Melakartha system in the near future. The system, once understood, can be of immense help to identify ragas , to attain proficiency in Swara Jnanam and Swara Singing, and it could open up endless space of creative brilliance for any musician, notwithstanding which genre of music he belongs to.

Warm Regards,
Srikrishna Mohan (Trichur Brothers)

Aug 4, 2010

Shri Thyagaraja Jayanthi Festival at Trichur


On behalf of our academy and on behalf of our dad, Shri Trichur R Mohan, i would like to inform and invite you for the Thyagaraja Jayanthi festival at Trichur that will be held from the 6th, 7th and 8th of August. The venue is Neeranjali Hall in the vicinity of the famous Trichur Round.

We have some popular artistes participating. The inaugaral concert is by the Rudrapatnam Brothers and we have Shri TN Seshagopalan, Shri Kadri Gopalnath, Ganesh Kumaresh and Sankaran Namboothiri for the rest of the days. Up and coming artistes will also grace the occassion. Students and devotees will also be given opportunities to express their devotion to Sadguru Thyagaraja Swami by rendering His immortal krithis.

A new venture we have attempted in this year's festival is to involve youngsters to participate, by inviting leading educational establishments to be part of the function. We have introduced a Quiz competition on the Life and Works of  Thyagaraja Swami, and students from leading schools in Trichur are participating in this. This will be held on Sunday.

On Sunday morning we will have an Unchavrutti that will begin at 6.30AM followed by Pancharathnam rendition at the Auditorium. The festival will conclude with Shri Anjaneya Uthsavam.

I once again invite all of you to be there and enjoy the bliss of Sathguruji's bhakthi that sprang out as the legendary musical compositions that we are accustomed to.  Lets all try and make it as spiritual and colorful as possible (Kriya Kalabha Bhakthi as they say).

Jai Sitaram.
Trichur Brothers

PS: Please mail me in case you want a brochure of the events.

Audio and Video now available @

Dear Rasikas and Well Wishers,

Check out our website. we have provided a free download of "Varugalamo" . This is a recording of our concert at Mumbai last year. Also, there is a sample audio provided from our maiden album, " Musically Yours".

Music is life
Trichur Brothers.