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A Crash Course in Identifying Ragas

A few people asked me to give them the fu in identify ragas and I thought this is reason enough to write this 'mini howto'!

This write-up is not aimed at the Music Student. Music students have a natural course and more 'systematic' way of gaining the ability to start identifying ragas. This is only for the longing 'rasika' who wants to know the underlying 'raga' that comprises a song (now, this isn't only about Carnatic. You are most likely to 'enjoy' applying this over non-pure-carnatic music like light-music or even your favourite Rock song!).

Being able to identify ragas could be a plus in many ways:
1. It just gives you a 'kick' to find what 'raga' a given song is in.
2. It gives you brownie points if you are in a carnatic-speaking audience to say "ah, this is a pure Agmark kapi raga"
3. The Sex-Appeal: TamBram women are hot*. Almost all of them know Carnatic and it gives you an amazing ability to date and mate. (This may not be very appealing to the women population reading this (atleast not to the non-Fire women, I suppose). But hey, some TamBram guys get turned on by Carnatic as well, so there!)

Alright! Before proceeding to read, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Do I enjoy listening to Carnatic or Carnatic-like Music? (hint: Most of south indian filmi music - Ilayaraaja and some of Rahman types music is based on Carnatic too!)
2. Can I reproduce a piece of tune I heard? (by singing, humming, whistling)
3. Do I often tend to say "'this' song sounds like 'that' song"?

If you answered 'yes' for all of the above, you would probably benefit by this text (or so I genuinely hope).

I'm going to hypnotize myself and continue to write the rest of this text. Heh. No, but what I would do is look into myself and find out 'why' and 'how' whatever raga identification I do works the way it does and then come up with a 'rule' to it.

Firstly, It is easier to start identifying ragas than identifying a 'western scale'. Why? Ragas are more than just scales. They have set 'patterns' that are characteristics (think of how a Ballad or a 'Kural' has a 'pattern' in its layout. The grammar). A pattern is very 'hummable' and memorisable. We are not even going to be dealing with swaras (notes) in this text. Yay! Alright, let's me do the the 'hypnotising' trick...

Experiment: When I imagine the song "Puthu Vellai Mazhai" from "Roja" (Its Yeh Haseen Vadiyan from Roja), the flow of "Vellai Mazhai" the song brings memories of the opening verses of the classical/filmi song "Alaipayuthey" (or even the lines "Pookkal Illaye" from the song "Poomalai Vaangi Vanthaan" (Sindhu Bhairavi)). (of course, this is besides the obvious 'ga ma ri' standing out and hitting my head with a large hammer, saying "hey, I'm a kanada")

Same Experiment-part 2: Think of "Azhagana Ratchasiye" from the movie "Mudhalvan" (or mudhalvudu in telugu? or mudhalvaru in Kannada? ;) ). What does it 'remind' you? The lines "adimanasa aruvamanayil narukkuriye" reminds me of the way the lines "kathai kelungal" goes in the song "raman kathai kelungal" from Chippikkul Muthu (Tamil) (the telugu equivalent being the song Rama Kanavemira from Swathi Muthyam, I suppose).

Observation: How I "associated" one song to another, I haven't been able to objectively observe. But there is one thing to be noted here. The ability to see 'connections' between multiple songs is important. Where 'connections' here is where I said "this line sounds like the part of that line". The ability to make 'connections' is quite dependant on the number of songs you know. To me, When I listen, more than just being a passive listener, I also keep singing the song. So we have our first 'rule' being formed here:

Rule#1: Listen to as many carnatic-like songs as possible. Try and find out what raga it is based on. Several sites on the net list the ragas of your favourite film songs. It is not necessary that you need to 'rote' song-raga associations within N hours. But as you listen, find out the name of the raga if possible. What is important is the ability to associate or 'feel' the phrases of a raga. Tagging it is just a matter of giving a 'name' to a concept. The raga is the concept here. And the concept keeps getting refined over time.

Enhancement to Rule#1: Like they say about studying for exams, the typical south-indian approach: "writing once is worth reading 10 times". I remember writing the formulae for volumes of sphere and cone and what not several times :) Singing a song once is much better than passively listening to a song (no matter how 'bad' you sing, try and hum/sing/whistle. It not only improves your ability to 'sing' over time but also instills the habit of 'correcting' your voice in real-time when you go off-pitch. This very function enables you to see differences between two different 'notes' even if you don't end up learning what notes make up a given raga the very event of a 'note' sounding different will help you say "ah, this is some other raga").

Experiment: I go past into the subsequent lines of the first 'example' in the above experiment -- 'Puthu Vellai Mazhai'. The lines beginning with 'Nathiye Neeyaanal Karai Naanaaven' in the next 'paragraph' don't seem to fit with _any_ 'patterns' in any of the other 'kanada's that I know of! Of course, they won't because that paragraph is no longer a kanada!

Observation: Film Music tends to be less adhering to rules of a classical music form. In the above example, The second paragraph is a cute mathematical play. What is called a 'tonic shift' or a 'bedham' in Carnatic terms. What that means in plain english is that Rahman has just done a 'traversing' from Kanada to its parent raga - Karaharapriya and started playing karaharapriya from such a calculated 'note' that it neither brings in too many notes other than what existed in the first paragraph but at the same time it brings in a 'mood change' (the psychological effect of a 'tonic shift' is usually a 'mood change').

Rule#2: Filmi songs (the pop/non-carnatic types) are more free-form. If you really want to master the art of identifying ragas, listen to more real carnatic than filmi songs to progress at atleast some rate at which you won't get 'frustrated' and 'give up' half way through the exercise. Believe me, listening to Carnatic is like listening to the 'roots'. It is quite easy to make 'associations' to filmi songs from Carnatic songs than between equivalent 'filmi songs'. More likely is the fact that people disagree upon which raga a given filmi song is in simply due to the presence of such 'tonic shifts' and 'foreign notes' that makes it difficult to pin down a given filmi song to a single raga. If you have listened to Jazz (no, not the 'simple' old 40s/50s classic vocal Jazz (a la Ellah Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, etc.,.). I'm talking about 'real' Jazz whose roots exist even today in modern Jazz -- Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis and thereby Pat Metheny, John Scofield and the likes) you will notice that this 'mood change' happens quite 'dramatically' and quite often within a single song and it ends up sounding almost like 'chaos'. This very 'chaos' factor exists in subtle quantities in Filmi music too (especially those written by Rahman and Ilayaraaja!). 'Foreign Notes' and 'Tonic Shifts' are Bad for the Health of a Young Raga Identifier(TM).

Note that, I'm not asking you to 'stay away' from Filmi songs. I'm just telling you to not try too hard in trying to figure out the 'raga' of a filmi song. Do attempt. Enter in a nice debate with your fellow 'raga identifier'. It is only easy to identify when you are trying out Carnatic. For the carnatically uninitiated, It is only natural to think carnatic is too 'complex' or to say "this is not my cup of tea". But really, there are very sweet 'entry level' songs one can listen and get 'started'.

Here are some things I would recommend to get 'started' on:

  • Try and get some sweet sounding vocalist's rendition of simple Carnatic songs. Don't go in for the 'hardcore' artists like D K Pattammal / D K Jayaraman. I for one, didn't like D K Pattammal's voice when I began with. I used to listen to a lot of M.S.Subbulakshmi when I was a child so I was 'tolerant' already. If you are totally new, probably a Bombay Jayashree or a Sudha Raghunathan will do. If you are a female, I really don't know what kind of 'male voices' women dig ;/ I would anyway blindly risk recommending Sanjay Subramanyam.
  • If you understand/appreciate Tamil/Tamil Poetry, Bharathiar songs will be perfect. I was totally in love with the way the dude thinks -- Chinnanchiru Kiliye was my 'first love' (just because I loved the way he wrote "marbil anivatharkae, unnaippol vairamanigal undo?").
  • If you just like Music for the sake of Music and not really for the lyrics, then Mandolin Shrinivas is an excellent start. There are several Bharathiyar Songs rendered by Mandolin Shrinivas but they may become too 'bland' after a while. That would then be a good indication that you should 'move on' to other kind of songs in Carnatic music!
  • When beginning with, I for one, found the 'serious' numbers made up of ragas like Varali and Thodi and such 'scary' and had an aversion towards them. If you belong here, Jumpy numbers might be a turn on for you to begin with. Listen to 'Raghuvamsa Sudha' or 'English Note' or 'Toli Janma'. There are a set of 'sweet' and mellowful ragas -- Rithigowla, Madhyamavathi, brindhavanasaranga (Ranga Puravihara sung by M.S.S is an apparent 'Super Hit', so to speak), Mohanam, Shankarabharanam, Bilahari, Abhogi, Shriranjani , Kapi (TONS of filmi songs you can relate to!), Kanada, Sahana and so on.
  • You might just have 'one' specific favourite film song. Find out its raga, hunt for Carnatic songs in that raga. This will not only get you hooked onto Carnatic but will also help collect more 'patterns'. Maybe "idhazhil kathai yezhuthum" from the movie "Unnal Mudiyum Thambi" is your favourite? Listen to 'Natanalabhramayaku rendered by M.S.Subbulakshmi!

    To sum it all up, listen, listen and listen as much as you can (without forcing yourself to do it!). Correlating songs is the key. The 'Eureka!' moment involved in identifying a raga can be quite rewarding and will set you sailing on a wonderful journey to appreciate Music at a deeper level. Listening to your favourite filmi songs is good. But listening to "light" Carnatic music will help you get there easily. Remember, saying the 'name' of a raga is trivial. Don't even worry if you keep saying 'mohanam' instead of 'karaharapriya' by mistake. What is important is that you must 'see' the connection between two songs of the same raga.

    Let me know if you think there are more 'experiments' and 'rules' that you think must figure in here. I hope you will find this piece of text useful. If not, i hope it was atleast entertaining ;)

    * Subject to the 'genes' of the families/relatives involved in the said wedding. The weddings I've sampled stand a good evidence for that. So you can take my word, really. ;)


( 84 comments — Comment on this )
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Jan. 26th, 2006 10:00 pm (UTC)
The Sex-Appeal: TamBram women are hot

Oh Yeah! Nuff Said!
Jan. 26th, 2006 10:05 pm (UTC)
Tambram? -______________- Hot is not a word I would describe them. More like... chaste. But the pointy nose could appeal to some people... some...

This really irks me. I don't know if this is true with music, but it is with bharatanatyam. I don't think I can fully appriciate the current *form* knowing that it lacks the eroticism that the dasi-attam possessed. For certain, sadir would have been dead if it werent for Rukmani Devi, but what is better? a *cleansed* form of dance which appeals to brahmins or the authentic original tainted with 'immorality'?x
Jan. 27th, 2006 11:41 am (UTC)
I'm not talking about Chaste at all. Yeah, the pointy nose turns me on :D
(no subject) - sweetjannette - Dec. 29th, 2006 10:57 am (UTC) - Expand
good one! - (Anonymous) - Jul. 15th, 2010 09:35 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: good one! - sunson - Jul. 16th, 2010 03:43 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sunson - Jan. 27th, 2006 12:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gerani1248 - Jan. 27th, 2006 04:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sunson - Jan. 30th, 2006 05:29 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sunson - Jan. 30th, 2006 05:54 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - karthikeyanr - Jan. 30th, 2006 11:03 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gerani1248 - Jan. 30th, 2006 11:50 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - karthikeyanr - Jan. 31st, 2006 03:14 am (UTC) - Expand
need some help with a raga identification - (Anonymous) - Aug. 14th, 2009 12:03 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: need some help with a raga identification - sunson - Aug. 14th, 2009 02:13 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 26th, 2006 11:39 pm (UTC)
Being a newbie to Carnatic myself, let me share my raga identifying algorithm.

Step 1) Like you said, see if the song resembles some other song, whose raga you know. If it sounds like Alaipayuthey, its Kanada, if it sounds like Enna Thavam, its Kapi. Bingo. So simple.

But what if it doesn't sound like any other song? :) Considering a newbie's limited vocabulary of songs, this is going to happen very often. Thats when I shift to Step 2.

Step 2) Take the help of your keyboard. Play the song on your keyboard and figure out the scale of the song. So now you know the arohanam/avarohanam of the song. If its a sampoorna ragam, life's easy, you can figure out the Raga number (from 1 to 72) directly, and just find the name of that scale from a chart (which you should keep handy). I'm told even the names of melakarta ragams have patterns, but I never got anywhere close to understanding the pattern. (This is like studying medicine is very easy if you can speak Greek. All the names of diseases and medicines have patterns which you can supposedly easily figure out. But alas, most of us don't speak Greek!) If its not a sampoorna ragam, still no hassles. Whats Google there for? :) So if the scale is "S R2 G3 M1 P S", just enter it in quotes in google, and Bingo! you can feel lucky :)

But what if I dont have a keyboard handy. Unfortunately my vocal chords are not the least bit cooperative in helping me in finding out the scale of a song. And what if theres no Google, or no net!

Step 3) I just ask my grandmother (or which ever relative is accessible at that moment), and bingo, I have the answer in 10 seconds.

What if I'm in US, and grandmoms are back in India.

Step 4) Email/newsgroups/forums and the like :)
Jan. 27th, 2006 05:57 am (UTC)
Precisely! Step 2 is a much easier route but Step 2 is what some of my friends _don't_ want to do :) They don't want to use an instrument or get 'technical' (in finding out swaras). Or simply, they want to take the path of some of your/my/all-tamBram relatives. Those that don't know anything about ragas per-se but can identify ragas within a few seconds _Because_ they have been listening to Carnatic for such a long time that they get the 'knack' of finding out ragas. Of course, this path is a bit cumbersome but there are living examples who do this, I'm sure you are witness to some as well. :)

Thanks for suggesting Steps 3 and 4. I first mentioned that but I left it out because I've already mentioned the thing -- "Several sites on the net list the ragas of your favourite film songs."
(no subject) - rfc9000 - Jan. 27th, 2006 08:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 26th, 2006 11:52 pm (UTC)
Again, being a newbie to Carnatic, let me share my songlist that I think will appeal most to newbies.

- Most ragamalikas tend to be appealing to hear to a newbie. Eg. Kurai ondrum illai, Dikku theriyatha katril, Sri chakra raja, Theeratha vilaiyatu pillai.

- Like you said, jazzy songs like Raghuvamsa sudha, English note.

- Raga alapanais tend to be boring to a newbie, but I remember I used to totally love swarams when I first started hearing Carnatic. I would religiously forward the song until the Swaram part started. I would totally love that part. I'm guessing probably other newbies will like Swarams too.

- Great voices. No better way for a newbie to start liking Carnatic than to hear renditions of the greatest voices. A newbie may find the voice of Ariyakudi or Semmangudi or MDR slow and boring, but noone can not like an MSS. My favourite male voice BTW is Maharajapuram Santhanam. His voice takes me to instant bliss.

- Last but not the least, U Srinivas. Man. He's IMVVVHO the greatest thing to happen to Carnatic music in the last 20 years. I started listening to U Srinivas some 3-4 years back, and he was the single biggest factor which got me into Carnatic music.
Jan. 27th, 2006 05:59 am (UTC)
- Last but not the least, U Srinivas. Man. He's IMVVVHO the greatest thing to happen to Carnatic music in the last 20 years. I started listening to U Srinivas some 3-4 years back, and he was the single biggest factor which got me into Carnatic music.

:) I know some _western_ folks who happened to come across U.Srinivas by _accident_ and they decided to learn Carnatic :) (fieldsong is one such amazing example :) )
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Jan. 27th, 2006 04:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rfc9000 - Jan. 27th, 2006 08:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 27th, 2006 06:58 am (UTC)
Wow man. Nice informative post. In more than one way.
Jan. 27th, 2006 07:05 am (UTC)
More than one way? :) How?
Jan. 27th, 2006 09:05 am (UTC)
Very, very well written post. I'll have to re-read when I'm not in a hurry...totally rushing now. It went straight into my memories.

Couldn't help picking up on the TamBram girls bit ;) I used to think the same about TamBram guys... :))
Jan. 27th, 2006 10:46 am (UTC)
Couldn't help picking up on the TamBram girls bit ;) I used to think the same about TamBram guys... :))

Jan. 27th, 2006 09:19 am (UTC)
nicely written da ! BTW unnal muduyum thambi song SPB rocks !
K.Shyam (http://shyamk.blogspot.com)
PS:ok i give it to you.a valid observation about tam-bram ;-)
Jan. 27th, 2006 10:45 am (UTC)
Thanks! heh, yeah. That entire 'K A Malam' thing rocks ;)
(no subject) - knutties - Jan. 27th, 2006 01:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sunson - Jan. 30th, 2006 05:55 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 27th, 2006 10:30 am (UTC)
Nicely written post, it makes a lot of sense. One thing I got to learn to do is sing. Singing and I are miles apart, I mean I don't even practice 'bathroom-singing' :(

I really don't know what kind of 'male voices' women dig ;/
:)) I prefer female voices as I feel their variations are more perceivable

TamBram women are hot
TamBram guys that I have met are hot too! Wonder what it is about TamBrams?
Jan. 27th, 2006 10:44 am (UTC)
Singing and I are miles apart, I mean I don't even practice 'bathroom-singing' :(

:) The point I'm trying to make is singing 'well' with a great voice and all that is not what you need. I have a _bad_ range of about roughly 1.5 octaves. Which means I end up 'folding' a song into the appropriate lower-octave equivalent when I sing. What is important is that I do sing, no matter how irritating it is to my parents ;) (no, I don't sing at work -- I'm a humanitarian O:)).

TamBram guys that I have met are hot too! Wonder what it is about TamBrams?

I think its the 'selective breeding' they have been practicing all along. They make sure their gene-pool continues to remain as stagnant as possible. All tamBrams are so predictable -- they are into music, usually good at 'roting' books, caffeine addicts and of course, the appearance thing. Even Iyers look distinctly different from Iyengars. Thankfully Iyengar women are hotter than Iyers, IMO. :)) The Selfish Gene has manifested so beautifully in the TamBrams ;/
(no subject) - fiveonehalf - Jan. 27th, 2006 11:41 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sunson - Jan. 27th, 2006 11:43 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - seemaxin - Jan. 28th, 2006 04:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sunson - Jan. 30th, 2006 06:14 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - seemaxin - Feb. 3rd, 2006 05:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shyamji99 - Sep. 26th, 2013 10:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 27th, 2006 07:43 pm (UTC)
Nice post, thanks :)
In one of your earlier posts you mentioned something about visualizing the seven swaras as points in space. I wonder if you could elaborate on that?

Jan. 28th, 2006 01:01 am (UTC)
Saw a Prasanna concert !!! :D
Yaay!!! Finally saw him perform a kutcheri... after 3-4 years of listening to only audio!!!

Had woken up in the morning around 5:30 changing channels on the TV... got hooked to Prasanna's concert... I am not sure what he was playing when I came to the channel... I think it was some song in Ranjani with a Thani avarthanam... After that it was "Radha Samedha" in yamuna kalyani...

Luck favored me!!! I usually get up at odd hours to check all this on TV! Have seen some U Srinivas, Ayan Ali Bangash, Vikku, L Subramaniam recorded concerts as well like this... Saw this one today on Zee Marathi channel and the program was called jALad... I think it was Zee private presentation only since jALad was written in Marathi ahead of the stage where artiste(s) performing... and not any regular kutcheri (no audience was shown even once)
There were Ghatam and Mridangam as accompaniements! Guess it was ghatam Karthick (default)... and on Mridangam... I don't know... That fellow had a beard...

And yea... Nice pickup points for Carnatic music raga identification and the Tambram stuff written is true too...
Jan. 28th, 2006 01:17 am (UTC)
Re: Saw a Prasanna concert !!! :D
Do you have this album?
Re: Saw a Prasanna concert !!! :D - sunson - Jan. 30th, 2006 05:57 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Saw a Prasanna concert !!! :D - spacejunkk - Jan. 30th, 2006 06:46 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Saw a Prasanna concert !!! :D - sunson - Jan. 30th, 2006 07:55 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Saw a Prasanna concert !!! :D - spacejunkk - Jan. 30th, 2006 12:38 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Saw a Prasanna concert !!! :D - spacejunkk - Jan. 30th, 2006 12:42 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Saw a Prasanna concert !!! :D - sunson - Jan. 30th, 2006 06:05 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 28th, 2006 03:23 am (UTC)
Suraj, I think one must mention a movie like Morning Raga in this regard. Useful for carnatic newbies. Thodi is very elaborate in it :-) I think Thaaye Yasodha is a nice template for Thodi...hearing it I immediately thought about Jesinadhella (Thyagaraja).

Nice take on the tambram thing. Encouraging to know that Iyengars are hott. All I need to do is to play my cards carefully :D

Jan. 30th, 2006 06:07 am (UTC)
Suraj, I think one must mention a movie like Morning Raga in this regard.

Sure, thanks for mentioning. I have only watched the last 30 minutes or so of the movie. I didn't like the movie and during that period I was already much into Carnatic that I found the 'light music' in it not _that_ great. But I'm sure it will get lots of people hooked on.

Thanks for suggesting.

Nice take on the tambram thing. Encouraging to know that Iyengars are hott. All I need to do is to play my cards carefully :D

haha... good luck ;)
Jan. 28th, 2006 04:56 am (UTC)
Tambram women are hot? may be.
chaste? no longer. they are turning out to be promiscuous and even femiNazis these days.
The desirable Tamil brahmin women is dead. stop the illusions.
Jan. 28th, 2006 11:12 am (UTC)
Man, that was excellent!

(no subject) - sunson - Jan. 30th, 2006 06:00 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 31st, 2006 11:25 am (UTC)
LOL!!! good one
Jan. 31st, 2006 11:27 am (UTC)
*1. It just gives you a 'kick' to find what 'raga' a given song is in.*
Kick is the word!

A very informative post infact (TamBrams stuff apart :) )!
Jan. 31st, 2006 11:31 am (UTC)
A very informative post infact (TamBrams stuff apart :) )!

Thanks. But I thought the TamBrams stuff was informative too ;)
Feb. 1st, 2006 02:34 pm (UTC)
Firstly, It is easier to start identifying ragas than identifying a 'western scale'.

IMO, western scales are so much easier to identify than carnatic. Mostly because there is no character to a Raga. It is just outright math. Infact, there is hardly anything to identify. All you need to know is the absolute pitch of one tone ( Say E) and you almost done. You could apply the usual "Tone-tone-semitone-tone-tone-tone-semitone" kinda math to say whether it is a major, minor, 7th (major-minor-7th etc have vanished into thin air in Rock,Pop these days )

hmm..after I write that blob.....Shit, maybe it is no so easy :D

Feb. 1st, 2006 02:42 pm (UTC)
Oh, forgot to mention, beautifully written.

Also, I cant resist saying this...

I think palakad tam-bram( a.k.a Fraud Mallus ) women are hot as well. Maybe it is just the "Get up early morning, bathe in the common pool, wear a sandal coloured pavaadai-davani, smear forehead with more sandal and veeboodhi, sit on the parapet wall and play daayapaas" thing that makes me talk this way.
(no subject) - sunson - Feb. 1st, 2006 04:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 19th, 2006 08:36 pm (UTC)
Very cool post dude ! - as you rightly pointed out, building a library of ragas that you relate to/identify with is critical in acquiring the ability to find ragas !

Mar. 27th, 2006 09:23 am (UTC)
Better listening option:
Anyway, we are going to listen more songs. Then I'ld prefer a particular kind of carnatic music. It is nothing but dakshina sampradaya bhajans. I prefer this only because the simplicity in the sangathis. When the singer changes, each song are sung in different types. So, the listener will get various flavours of the same raga. Not only that, the listener gets a capability of converting the same lyric into various ragas. eg: "Enna punniyam seytheno..." by oothukkadu venkatakavi is sung in both REETHIGOWLA and KAAPI. It trmendously increases the curiosity, how the singer transforms it into such a different raga.!!! And also, if the listener wants to get a flair of hindustani sangeeth, he can opt for Abhang sankeerthans. Raagas like hindol (it is in it's hieght when Aruna Sairam sings "saavle sundara roopa manohara" in hindol!!!), sindhu bhairavi, maand etc... I expect your thoughts back...

santhosh janardhanan
98846 22948
Mar. 27th, 2006 03:32 pm (UTC)
Re: Better listening option:
I totally agree with you on listening to 'light music' types number (bhajans, etc.,.) to begin with. But some people may not find it interesting enough and therefore drop their plan right away.

I don't see why it surprises you to find that the same song can be rendered in two different ragas. Why?
Re: Better listening option: - (Anonymous) - Jul. 14th, 2009 06:20 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Better listening option: - sunson - Jul. 15th, 2009 03:22 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 2nd, 2008 10:46 am (UTC)
Your posting was something we read with the whole family present in front of the computer (In indonesia). We had 3 generations listening to your post with keen interest. Thank you very very much.

Jan. 3rd, 2008 04:50 am (UTC)
That makes me feel good to have written this article. On second thoughts, I think, I could have made my language a little bit more 'U' rated ;)
Apr. 23rd, 2008 04:00 am (UTC)
Remba naana ezhuthirkkingal :) I am mallu and have my own set of songs to add to the list :).. But, I think you have put the technique into words very nicely... I have had friends ask me how they can identify Raagams and I have told them that there is no easy shortcut aside from listening.. that it is easy to do once they grow into it... but they seem to get thrown off by the amount work that seems to be involved before they can get to the fun part :) so the next time they ask, i can point them to this page :)... and btw I also agree with your observation on TamBram women ;)..
Oct. 5th, 2008 06:01 am (UTC)
Absolutely fantastic...I totally agree with you when you say that it gives the kicks to identify a raagam :-)
I want to learn that :-)
Dec. 21st, 2008 10:51 am (UTC)
If you are a female!
Nice post. Landed up here as I wanted to learn identifying ragas. I will revisit here to read it slowly.

"If you are a female, I really don't know what kind of 'male voices' women dig ;/ I would anyway blindly risk recommending Sanjay Subramanyam."

I think Sanjay is a favorite amongst female music lovers. Visit http://aparna-a.com and you will see the number of posts there.

Feb. 25th, 2009 01:37 pm (UTC)
just amazing
your writing are amazing keep up your enlightenig
ones on the ragas
Sep. 1st, 2009 11:58 am (UTC)
Another dimension to raga identification
Thats a neatly written piece of work!! This method is certainly the best way for a general rasika to improve his/her raga quotient.
We are also working on similar grounds - towards breaking the barricade existing between the elite carnatic rasika and a general listener, by simplifying the process of identifying ragas. Would you take time to visit our site www.ragasurabhi.com and see if you find it useful? Please dont forget to register yoour comments in the site.
Oct. 4th, 2009 12:46 pm (UTC)
Please Help
Please help me in identifying the raga in the song "Mukunda Mukunda" from Dasavatharam.
Dec. 7th, 2009 05:40 am (UTC)
You just spoke my mind dude!
Really unfortunate that I came across this article as late as today, but I'm not leaving without any comments. You just spoke my mind mister! How you say listening to carnatic songs is so true, I listened to Kanakanaruchira by Nithyashree and then it reminded me of the song, Partha Vizhi from Guna, I rabidly searched the net and learned that the song shifts from Varali and Kalyani, so my guess that it was Varali, was nearly correct. I beamed with pride! I am learning new ragas gradually by listening to a particular raga based carnatic songs, and then bringing to mind filmy songs that are close to that. Just gives me pure ecstacy when I can relate it rightly! Also, a nice excercise can be listening to thiruppavai and 'guessing' the ragas.
Thankyou for the article
PS: I too dint like DKP or MLV but loved MSS when I began, but now I;m beginning to realize they are the most technically right singers of carnatic music. Talk about what music can do to ears!
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