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Swar - The Notes


The two aspects of music throughout the world, whether Indian, Western, Chinese, or African, are tunes or melody and beats or rhythm. Swara, also known as SUR, is a Sanskrit word derived from SVR, which means sound. Samaveda makes use of swara. Sur is a musical notation collection. There are 12 surs, seven of which are known to music lovers as saptha shudd swaras. Sargam is used when a group of swaras are played continuously to define a rhythm. In general, award refers to tone and is applicable to singing and chanting. We have swaras for music, just as we have alphabets for languages.

In Indian music, the seven musical notes are as follows:

Shadja – Sa

Rishabh: Re/Ri:

Gandha – Ga:

Madhyam – Ma

Pancham – Pa

Dha – Dhaivat:

Nishad – Nishad:

Singers perform these at ascending and descending pitches.

We need to find out where they came from. These are associated with animals or birds in nature. Let’s try to figure out what these numbers mean. swaras

Saptaswara Names.      Meaning

Shadja.               Peacock

Rishabha.       Ox

Gandhara.          Goat

Madhyama      kruchabird

Panchama.            Cuckoo

Dhaivata.             Horse

Nishida.               Elephant

The interesting facts to note here are:

Bird Sounds – “Sa, Ma & Pa”

“Re, Ga, Dha & Ni” – Animal Sounds.

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