Carnatic Music is a systematically structured form of classical music. Hence, if you want to master this art, you need rigorous training pattern. Purandara Dasa, Purandara Dasa, the god father of carnatic music, systematized the method of learning Carnatic music which is followed to the present day. He introduced the raga Mayamalavagowla as the basic scale for music instruction and fashioned series of graded lessons such as swaravalis, janta swaras, alankaras, lakshana geetas.
Is it necessary to learn carnatic music basics?
To start learning carnatic music, you should train yourself with the voice training sessions called varishas. Varishas are swara (notes) patterns that train you to handle a particular raga to equip you to learn carnatic music. It also initiates you to the concept of tala or rhythm.
There are mainly four types of basic varishas.
- Sarali varisha,
- Janta Varisha,
- Madhyastayi , Tarasthai Varisha
- Dattu varisa
Below is a summary from the book Perfecting Carnatic Music – Level 1, by Ravikiran, which details the specific goal of each exercise.
Sarali varisai – Basic exercises that promote shruti, melody, and tAla in a logical sequence focusing on successively higher notes – sa, ri, ga, ma, pa, da, ni.
Jantai varisai – sequences that enable you to gain felicity in a form of ornamentation called “sphuritam,” which is rendering a note twice, once plain and a second time with emphasis (force).
MelsthAyi or Tara sthayi or Upperstayi varisai – higher octave sequences to increase your vocal range.
Madhyasthayi or Mandhrasthayi varisai -lower octave sequences to improve your tone in lower octave
DAtu varisai – zigzag sequences to improve your command over singing notes.
AlankArams – exercises set to various tAlas
This section covers carnatic music basic lesson notations.