Sunday, November 04, 2007

On Kannada

Yes, yet another post on Kannada. But this time, it's on the raga -- not the language.

Kannada is a vakra janya of Sankarabharanam. The ArOha-avarOha: SGMDNṠ ṠNṠDPMGMRS

The avarOhana indicates that we can descend to D only from NṠ. Therefore, ṘṠD is invalid. It should be ṘṠNṠD. Of course, the same applies when we have to descend to R — we have to pass through GM first.

Here is a transition diagram of the notes. (Click on the diagram for a bigger version.)

(The notes in green are the rAga-chAyA swaras.) This diagram immediately reveals the important cycles of this raga. GMG, MDPM and ṠNṠ. This is an advantage of this representation. The cycles may not be readily apparent from the mere mention of the aroha-avaroha. This can be helpful for improvisation. (E.g., MDPM-GMDNṠDPM-GMRS)

As we saw in the avaroha, there are two 2-note cycles present - MGM & ṠNṠ. In addition, the raga permits three more 2-note cycles, which are however not "compulsory" (it is not mandatory to traverse these cycles): SRS, MPM & PDP. Indeed, this raga is wickedly vakra:

I have used dotted transitions to indicate that they are "non-compulsory" and can only form a 2-note cycle. That is, they cannot be used for forming a longer non-cyclic path. For example, the sequence MPDNṠ is invalid. But MPMDPDNS is legal. It is difficult to indicate such features using just the aroha-avaroha.

Some Kannada pieces: