Carnatic Music Lessons

#21-Analysis of Bhairavi Ata Tala Varnam

#20-Briga Exercises

#19-Notations of Sarali , Madhyasthayi & Vakra Janta Varishaikal

#18-Dwimadhyama Panchama Varja Ragas

#17-Study of Ata Tala Varnams

#16-The Importance of Sruthi or Drone – The Concept of Sruthi

————————————————————————————————————————-

#15 – Carnatic Music Basic Lessons Series

Here is a small attempt to guide the students/singers who are very passionate about  Carnatic Music. The work is split into small files and uploaded as PDF, enabling people to download or  view the notes.  The series will be continued.

Here is a Lecture Demonstration on the Salient features of Raga Mayamalavagowla done by me.  A student of Carnatic Music is supposed to know these basic facts of this particular Raga.

03-Salient Features of Mayamalavagowla Raga- Lec Dem-Click to Download

—————————————————————————————————————————

Just click to read the file and Right Click and Click “Save Target As” to save the file.

02-Practical Exercises-Why should you sing Varishais ?

01-Basic Lessons – Introduction

——————————————————————————————————————————

#14-GENERAL CHARACTERSTICS OF RAAGAS

Generally, when I write the Raga Review of a particular raga, I use the terms Jiva swara, Gruha Swara etc. Here is a small attempt to explain what are these terms.

1.Gruha Swaram is the note on which the Raga is commenced. There may be One, Two or even more Graha Swaras in a Ragam.

2.Hamsa/Jiva Swaram  is the note which reveals the melodic identity of the Raga; (Soul of the raga). This swara is repeated frequently in an Alapana as it brings out  the Raga Chaaya or Raga Swaroopam. It is considered as the main swara of the raga.  There can be one or more Hamsa swaras in a raga.

3.Nyasa Swaram is the note with which a raga concludes or it can be called as the ending note of the raga.

4.Bahuthwam the note that is used frequently in the raga.

5.Alpathvam the note that is used sparingly in the raga.

6.Mandram and Tharam are  the lowest and highest notes beyond which the Raga sancharas should not extend for a chosen raga. Mandram defines the notes that are singable in the Mandra Stayi for the particular Raga. The swaras lower than that should not be sung/performed. Similarly, Thara Swaram defines the notes in Thara Stayi which are allowed in the raga.

7.Sampoornam is a raga consisting of all 7 Swaras in both Arohanam and Avarohanam is called a Sampoorna Raga. All the seven notes are used while performing this raga.

——————————————————————————————————————————

#13-Art and Science of Singing Voice

Yesterday I attended a Seminar on Voice Training and here I am just reproducing what ever I heard in the Seminar presented Dr. Jayakumar Menon, a vocalogist at KIMS Hospital and Binu John Mathew  – Eminent Voice Trainer.

Role of Lips, Teeth  and Throat while Singing.

Certainly, for us to sing better, we not only need to know how to protect our voice we also need to understand the various common singing problems or habits that we may have, as well as how to avoid them!

  • The more the lips move the better the voice
  • If you open the mouth and teeth your voice is still better
  • Voice is the best when you sing with a smiling face
  • To improve the voice power, flicker a candle kept at a 5 feet distance by blowing
  • Produce bouncy and light ‘ssss’ sounds with our breath, that would be extremely useful to us whenever we need to sing fastsongs (like Breathless sung by Shankar Mahadevan)
  • Keep Our Neck, Jaw and Face Relaxed During Singing
  •  If you are singing in a standing position, bend one of your knees.
  •  Look into the mirror while you sing. Ensure you have a smiling face,You are not doing neck breathing or shoulder breathing.

Aging and Voice Production

Children - For kids the vocal ligament is incomplete. So their range is relatively narrow. You should never force a kid to improve/increase his/her pitch. Doing so may damage his/her vocal ligaments due to over strain. Kids should be left to sung at their own most comfortable level of pitch.

Adoloscence-The voice of girls are not much affected during adoloscence.But for boys,pitch drops by one octave as their vocal chords starts getting thicker during this age. Voice tend to become a base voice. This is a temperory phase. They can feel  the astonishing change in their voice after this phase.

Ladies During Menopause- Estrogen production goes down.  This influences their voice slightly. The pitch goes down.This was demonstrated by the great singer P.Leela’s voice during her young age and old age. Again this is different on a case to case basis. The great singer S.Janaki’s voice remains almost the same even at this age!

Generally the  voice is best during the middle of a menstrual cycle for a woman. It is always advised to choose this time  frame for professional recordings or to give public concerts, when the voice is more sweet and powerful. It is not advisable to sing or  give a concert just 3-4 days before your monthly menstrual cycle.  The voice gradually improves after the period.

For a Male the pitch drops slightly after 60 years. The breath control and the power of singing also falls down. In a very old age- say after 75, the pitch raises for both male and female.

Vocal Hygiene

  • One of the major “Good Food for Good Singing” is actually a liquid, and it is called WATER. The most essential ingredient for  a honey dipped voice is the intake of adequate water. Water should be neither too hot nor too cold. It should be lukewarm. There is not limit for drinking water as it improves the human system in other ways also. But make sure that your urine should be colourless.
  • Never steam or inhale for improving vocal cords.
  • Bathroom singing is very good as the air in the bathroom contains lot of humidity.
  • If possible stand in neck deep water adn do the Saadhakam.

————————————————————————————————————————————-

#12- Mythological origin of the swara

There is a fascinating mythological tale about the origin of the swaras, as follows:

It is believed that Lord Shiva once addressed a celestial congregation, for the welfare of mankind. While the subject of
His address became the Vedas, the differences in His tonal quality became the seven swaras. Shiva is known to have five faces or the ‘panchavaktra’, which are, Satyojata, Vamaka, Tathpurusha, Isana and Aghora. He first addressed the audience  at the centre, and then the immediate left and right. The centre tone became the basic note or the shadja (sa), while the  ones on the immediate left and right became the ‘ni’ of the lower octave and ‘ri’ respectively.  Shiva then addressed the  audience to the far left and right. Here, two notes emanated out of each face, to reach to the farthest sides. So there  emanated the notes ‘dha’ and ‘pa’ of the lower octave on the left side and ‘ga’ and ‘ma’ on the right. This totalled to  seven swaras, Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha and Ni.

Mother Nature’s contribution to the Indian swara system!

One interesting fact that the origin of swaras gives us is that they were derived from Mother Nature Herself! The tonal
quality of each note is associated with the call of a specific  animal or bird, as listed below:

NAME OF SWARA     NOTATION WRITTEN       NOTATION SOURCE

Shadja                              S                                   Cry of the peacock

Rishabha                           R                                  Lowing of the bull

Gaandhaara                      G                                   Bleating of a goat

Madhyama                         M                                  Call of the heron

Panchama                          P                                 Call of the cuckoo

Dhaivata                            D                                   Neighing of the horse

Nishaada                            N                                  Trumpeting of the elephant

———————————————————————————————————————————-

#11-Lord Anjaneya – The Master of All Arts- The Great Vainika

Hanuman is known as an immortal genius who had mastered all arts and sciences and other branches of knowledge. He is known as  the embodiment of all knowledge and the Vedas themselves.  He learned all the vedas and all the Vidya Sthanas from Surya, the Sun god.

As per His mother Anjana’s advice, Anjaneya approached Lord Surya and requsested for Lord Surya’s discipleship. But Lord Surya who is always on his celestial path said; “Being the creator of day and night, I could not stop at one place and teach  you”.

Anjaneya replied  that he would face his Guru Lord Surya and run along backwards in the same direction of the Sun and receive  the vedic knowledge from him and Lord Surya need not stop. Upon this agreement, Hanuman took the coaching for twelve years.

The Vidya Sthanas are eighteen in number. 4 vedas, 6 sastras, 4 upangas and 4 upavedas. One of the upavedas,is the Gandarva Veda – The Art and Science of Music.

Anjaneya the Sangeetha Exponent

In carnatic sangeetha tradition there are two classes of sakas (branches), one is known as Narada tradition and the other is  known as Hanumath tradition. It is said that Saint Tyagaraja was the follower of Narada tradition. He was gifted with the “swararnavam” palm leafs by Saint Narada.  Sri Muthuswamy Dhikshathar is follower of Hanumath tradition.

The celestrial sages, Sri Narada and Sri Tumburu, were great players of the fretted veenas. But there was clash of ego  between them leading to bitter rivalry. Both of them would participate in function and compete in all the competition. At the end of the duel nobody would be able to say who is superior. Their ego was seeking a final decision as to who is best. The matter was brought before Lord Narayana (Sri Vishnu), who with a mischievous smile hugging His face suggested seeking the remedy for this from Lord Anjaneya who is an exponent in Sangeetha Sastra.  Both agreeing that there could be no better judge  than Lord Anajaneya they approached HIM. A date was fixed for the contest at the convenience of Lord Anjaneya.

On the day fixed there was a big assembly of Devatas . Both Sri Narada and Sri Tumburu were seated on either side of the dais  with their fretted veena ready to play and Lord Anjaneya was seated in the center. Lord Anjaneya announced Sri Tumburu would  play first followed by Sri Narada. The congregations of Devatas were eager to listen to the sound of the most divine instrument Veena from the sages who had mastered the playing on the instrument.

Firstly Sri Tumburu started his veena vadhan and the Devatas forgot to wink their eyes, all their attention drawn by the  mystical tones emanating from the instrument. Slowly they could realise that world was coming to a standstill position devoid  of any activity. Even sea waves stopped, oceans started freezing, birds stopped flying and those flying stopped mid air. Such  were the effects of the music of Sri Tumburu. He was playing the raga Amirthavarshini which is normally played for bringing  rain when effected by drought.

Now Lord Anjaneya signaled Sri Narada to play the instrument. Sri Narada started playing his fretted veena and the  mesmerising tones emerging from the veena vadhan started moving around like a sweet fragrance enveloping the atmosphere. So sweet was the tone that it brought realisation in every thing. Bringing back dynamism, ocean started melting, waves started tiding, birds started flying with renewed verve. Sri Narada was playing the raga Punnagavarali. In the recent times Sri Thygaraja Swamigal had sung the kriti “Ghandamu paiyarul……” in the raga Punnagavarali. This kriti when sung, will make you feel the fragrance enveloping around you.

The final judgement by Lord Anjaneya

Now that the contesters had finished playing, the attention of the congregation turned towards the His Lordship – the Judge - 

Lord Anjaneya. Since this time also both had done their best, how Lord Anjaneya is going to judge as to who is better? 

Lord Anjaneya paused for some time and got up from the seat and took possession of both Sri Narada’s and Sri Tumburu’s veena  vadhan. Returned to his seat and patiently started removing each of the frets in the instruments. Everybody started wondering  as to what Lord Anjaneya is trying to do. Sri Narada lost his cool and asked Lord not to monkey around the instrument and to give the judgment. Lord Anjaneya replied that both of them had played well, but before the judgment could be given asked them to play the Veena in the present state (ie, veena instrument without fret). Both Sri Narada and Sri Tumburu said it is impossible to play the veena without fret.

Hanumath Veena

Lord Anjaneya with a smile in his face took a small bamboo piece (bamboo in wholesome is cylindrical in shape) and slides this bamboo piece over the melody strings and by using his nails as plectrums plucked the melody strings. The melody that flowed out was no compare to the one that was played by the sages. The melodious tone along with the drone with a soothing continuity had drowned the audience Devas in an immense pleasure and joy as that of having the nectar. Lord continued playing, making both Sri Narada and Sri Tumburu realise the power of pure music.

The audience were so immersed in the music, they had not noticed that Lord Narayana Himself had come to the scene to witness the music of Lord Anjaneya. When Lord Anjaneya concluded playing, both the sages accepted that their music is no match to that of Lord Anjaneya.

Sri Anjaneya saw Lord Narayana and he prostrated before Him and welcomed  Him. Lord Narayana told that He was drawn to theplace by the music produced by the Adi Veena, the one without fret and a forerunner to the present veena used by both Sri  Narada and Sri Tumburu. Lord explained to the sages that music however good it may be, with ego mixed it becomes lifeless and  music with devotion is life, pure, real, and divine. The music of Sri Anjaneya was enchanting since it was over brimming with devotion, but that of the sages were with ego hence devoid of purity. Lord Narayana declared since Lord Hanuman had reinvented the original form of fretless veena it will henceforth be called as Hanumath Veena.

In times the Hanumath veena was known by the name  Chitra veena.

Playing veena is yoga, leading to salvation as  Saint Thyagaraja sings in his krithi ” Mokshamugalada..”. Here the Saint brings out  with all lyrical beauty

“vINA vAdana loludau Sivamano
vidha merugaru, thyAgarAja vinutha”

(Meaning) Is salvation obtainable to those who are not able to perceive the mind of Shiva who derives indescribable pleasure from listening to the divine music of Vina !

So.. What is the lesson we have learnt here..Quoting the words of Lord Narayana once again..

“music however good it may be, with ego mixed, it becomes lifeless and music with devotion is life, pure, real, and divine.”

 So let us all practice Music without Ego..Music as such practised with wholesome devotion will bring all prosperity in our  life like name, fame, money, disciples etc. These are the by-products of divine music. Let us not lose focus and start concentrating on the by-products forgetting TRUE DIVINE MUSIC !

Not to forget the great Vainika – Ravana

As per Hindu mythology Raavan  was a great devotee of Lord Shiva and was very regular in his worship.  Being a devoted worshiper of Lord Shiva, Ravana use to play Rudra Veena to please him. It is said that to get the Aatma Lingam from Lord Shiva for his mother, he took out his nerves and used it as strings for playing Rudra Veena. He had to do this for getting the darshan of Shiva and thus obtaining Aatma Lingam from the Lord who was very much pleased with this act of Raavana.

Enjoy this clip from a Tamil Film – RAVANAN ,the musician!!

 

———————————————————————————————————————————-

#10-A to Z Singing Tips

A simple article found on singing tips by Vocal Coach Yvonne DeBandi reproduced below:

A = Airflow.
Never hold your breath while singing. The airflow is what creates and carries your vocal tone, so keep it flowing. Avoid Clavicular Breathing and Belly Breathing — instead, learn the proper way to breathe for singing, called diaphragmatic breathing. Fill the lower portion of your lungs as if you had an inner tube around your waist that you were evenly filling.

B = Breathing
properly for singing requires the shoulders to remain down and relaxed, not rise with the breath intake. A singer will gain  power to their voice by strengthening the muscles in their ribcage and back.

C =Communicate
the music’s message. During performance it is very important to communicate the message of the song. If you make a “mistake”  don’t point it out to your audience. It is most likely they did not even notice.

D = Diaphragmatic
Support. Develop the strength and coordination of the diaphragm and become a pro at controlling the speed of the airflow released, the quantity of the airflow released and the consistency of the airflow released.

E = Elasticity
of the Vocal Folds. The vocal tone is created as airflow bursts through the cleft of the vocal cords causing them to vibrate/oscillate. The vocal folds can lose elasticity due to misuse, lack of use and/or increase of age. Be sure to train your voice with vocal exercises on a regular basis to keep your voice in shape.

F = Free your natural voice.
Don’t be a slave to any music style — even your favorite one. Learn to sing with your full and natural voice by developing your vocal strength and coordination. Then add stylistic nuances to achieve any singing style you desire.

G = Guessing Games.
Never guess the pitch you are about to sing. Hear the note in your head before you open your mouth.

H = High notes
require consistent and steady airflow. Many students tend to hold their breath as they sing higher. Let the air flow. Try increasing your airflow and gauge your result.

I = Increase
your breathing capacity and control by doing breathing exercises every day. Be sure to avoid patterned breathing. Singers must negotiate phrase lengths of all different sizes, so it is important to be versatile.

J =Jumping Jacks.
If you are having trouble getting your body completely involved with singing, try doing some cardiovascular activities, like jumping jacks, for a few minutes before getting started again. Sometimes your instrument simply needs an airflow wake-up call.

K= Know your limits.
Don’t sing too high or too low. Don’t sing to the point of vocal fatigue. Never strain or push your voice. Doing so will not result in a higher or lower singing range, or a stronger voice, only a voice that has suffered undue stress.

L = Low notes
are often sung with too much airflow. Try decreasing your airflow to achieve a more natural, more relaxed tone.

M = Mirror.
Training in front of a mirror can help a singer discover many things about their instrument, as well as confirm that other actions are being done correctly. Be sure to rely on a mirror during vocal training, but be able to leave the mirror to face an audience.

N = Never
sing if it hurts to swallow.

O = Open
your mouth wider. Nine times out of ten this will help you achieve a stronger, more defined vocal tone.

P = Prepare
your instrument before singing. Singers are very much like athletes. Take care of your body/instrument by stretching out the  vocal muscles and relieving the body of unnecessary tension before singing.

Q = Quit
smoking. Quit talking too loudly. Quit talking too much.

R = Raise the Soft Palate.
Creating a larger space inside your mouth by raising the soft palate, or fleshy part of the back of our throat, helps achieve a deeper more well rounded singing tone.

S = Sing
through the vocal breaks. If you do not teach the muscles the necessary actions to sing through the trouble spots, success will never be achieved. Sing through it, sing through it again, and again….

T = Tone Placement.
Learning the facts about tone placement and resonance make a huge difference in the abilities of a singer. In simple terms, a singer has numerous body cavities (nasal cavity, chest cavity, etc.) and amplifiers (bones, ligaments, etc.) that act as resonators. Focusing the vocal tone through the proper resonating chamber with the proper support is important with regard to controlling and developing your personal sound.

U = Unique Voice
Under Construction. Remember that your voice has its own unique fingerprint and is constantly changing with our actions, environment, health habits, etc. With this in mind, listen to your own voice often and use vocal training tools to keep your voice on the right track.

V = Vibrato.
Vibrato is a natural or forced fluctuation of a singing tone. Do not concentrate on learning how to sing with vibrato. Instead, concentrate on the basic foundations of singing, breathing and support. When the proper coordination is achieved, vibrato will occur naturally.
W = Water. Water.
Water. Drink room temperature water as often as you can to keep your voice organ hydrated. If you only have cold or hot water available, swish it around in your mouth for a moment. This action will keep your voice organ from being startled or stressed  by different temperatures.

Y = You
Can Sing with Impact!  Exercise your voice daily with contemporary voice lesson products. Don’t Just Sing when You Can Sing with Impact!

Z = Zzzzzzzz.
Be sure to get your rest. If you are tired, your voice will show it. A tired body/instrument will not allow you to produce your best possible sound.

——————————————————————————————————————–

#9-The Art of Singing Ragaalapana

Introduction

What is a Raga ? To put it in simple terms, a combination of swara-s in certain order of ascent called arohana and descent called avarohana. Essentially it must have some aesthetically melodic content. AlApana is a means to communicate to the audience, the flavor or the bhAva of the rAga through the permitted notes and its phrases.An alapana, is the exposition of a raaga or tone – a slow improvisation with no rhythm. In presenting a phrase of Alapana, the swaras are not spell out as such, but spell out as certain syllables like tha dha ri na.

General Guidelines

Just as there are alphabets, the combination of which forms words, words into phrases and phrases into sentences and finally a paragraph, a raga can be developed by a combination of swaras(alphabets) to form short sangathis (phrases) and combination of these sangathis(sentences)and finally to present a paragraph(raga).

If we take example of Raga Mohana, it has the swaras SRGPDS and SDPGRS. When we form phrases GPDPGRG..DSDPGPGRSRG..etc, they are within the framework of raga and hence makes sense. In combining these swara, there is yet another crucial gene which contributes to the essence of melody in the alapana. This is called the anuswara or the hybrid note. The main function of this anuswara is to bridge one note with the other, either in ascending or descending order. Its a smooth glide from one note to other without any break. This is called gamaka. The purpose of the alapana is to bring the complete raga bhava or raga swarupa. Singing alapana is based entirely on common sense in that the raga alap should cover as many octaves as possible.

In principle, it starts at the lower octave in perfect alignment with the sruthi. The entire process of presentation of alapana consists in coining various sagathis. Within the set of swara, there are some swaras that take a major role and some less. The less important swaras make a passing show as it were; which is called alpathva as opposed to bahuthva(major role in alapana). There are also some swaras which dominate and stay persistently; they also form resting swaras (called nyasa-swaras) on the display of alapana.

Speed or kalapramanam is yet another important factor. The general procedure in practice is to start at a slow speed and gradually gain speed or combine different speeds in one expression. Since alapana is a creative exercise, the art is based on the ideas of the artist.

Graha swaras are those with which a phrase can begin. Musician should be aware of graha swaras of the raga presented. There are however some ragas which have special impact if they are initiated or started at certain specific swara. For instance raga Ataana generally commences at the higher octave with the combination of swaras s, s RS NS D… or a raga like Anandabhairavi in the middle octave with the swaras PDPM DPM PMGRG… or raga ritigowla with swaras N DM GRG.. or even the raga sankarabharanam at ehe lower octave with the swaras SRGMG.. GMPMG. Jiva swaras or which lends life as it wre for the raga should be highlighted. They are Dhaivatha for Atana, Anthara Gandhara in Kalyani, madhyama and gandharam in hindolam.. These swaras are illuminated while coining sangathis.

Which note should be always sung with full volume and strenth or which note should be always sung with less volume or with subdued tone or “Alpathwa or Bahuthwa”as they are called technically. For example in Hamsadwani, all the notes are to be sung in full volume which means that stamina is essential. In Hamsadwani the Swara NSR should be less and NR should be more as per T R S’s Lecture Demonstration. RSN must be less and RN must be more..NPG must be less and NG should be more.GPN must be less and GN must be more. These are the general guidelines for singing Hamsadwani.

Back to Top

Techniques of Alapana

True to a great extent, it is intuitive. Nevertheless, ideas in Alapna and sangathis in alapana are there for us to find out in the krithis themselves, because, krithis are based on raga bhava and raga bhava in turn gives rise to sangathis in alapana. Amongst the trinities, its Dikshithar who has installed maximum raga bhava in his compositions.

Careful observation reveals that the lyric(sahitya) in the song are directly substituted with akAra, it automatically reveals a sangathi of the concerned raga.The best example can be quoted are navavarana krithis that brings out the complete raga bhava or Chethasri in raga Dwijavanthi. A clear synopsis ofthe raga emerges. With such beginnings and later on adding with one’s own imagination, the technique o singing alapna can be built up. and clear sense of swar gnana and a good concept of raga structure will go a long way in developing this skill.

Back to Top

Structure

Alapana is divided into three parts:

Akshipthika, which is the introductory of the alapana. This will give a rough idea about the raaga which is going to be sung.

Ragavardhini, is the major part of the alapana where the singer or the performing artist will elaborate the raaga step-by-step touching every important note in the raaga.This part is longer than akshipthika and magarini.

Magarini, is last concluding section of the alapana. In this, the performer will sing a brisk passages of swara’s scaling across the entire range of the raaga

Akshipthika or Introduction

The raga alap should show initially the entire personality of the raga in a briefway, ie, the alapana will start with the adhara shadjam and brings out the raga lakshna in the lower and middle octaves. In this movement it should be possible for the listeners to identify the raga. The sancharas should contain specific phrases of the raga which brings out the raga lakshana. The same procedure is adopted if the commencement of the raga is at the Tara Shadja or Higher octave and later moves down to the middle or lower octave. This is called Akshiptika – introduction of the raga.

The next stage is the elaboration of the raga alapana. This stage is called RAgavardhini. This is the most vital or imoprtant section in ragalapana. The ragavardhini stage starts with the adhara shadja and moves on to the lower octave with attractive gamakas. It just touches the thara sthayi and combines with generous movements of vilamba kala (movement at slow pace)sancharas. The second stage employs usage of more ranjaka prayogas and brings out the hidden melodies of the raga. This stage also incorporates more of madhyamastayi sancharas. In the third stage, the development is confined to tara styai sancharas. The fourth and final stage has mainly the madhyamakala and druthakala ( speedy akAras or Briga) movements.

The final stage is to sing the alapana in three speeds and finally end up in Adhara Shadja. Though the above is a theoratical analysis of the structure of Alapana, much depends upon variable factors amongst which the most important is the timbre and its pliability. It varies from singer to singer and consequently , the fabric of alapana also changes accordingly.

References : Various Lecture Demonstrations/Raga Sudhaalu

Back to Top

—————————————————————————————————————————————-

#8-Importance of Thalam / Rhythm in Carnatic Music

There is no life without sound .Every movement in Nature is governed by Rhythm. The best example is the heart beat, which occurs exactly 72 times a minute. Daily events like the sound of a moving train, sound of waves etc all have in built rhythm in them. Saint Thyagaraja has used the term “sogasugaa mridanga thalamu” emphasising the importance of rhythm. Tala is the physical representation of rhythmic cycles in Carnatic Music.

Some students need more time and different types of exercises in achieving stability in rhythm or talam.  Others take more time to align themselves to the Sruthi.  Each composition is  set to a specific raga and with a specific rhythmic cycle. The student should be knowing that the initial set of exercises begin with the Raga Mayamalavagowla. 

Why Mayamalavagoula is chosen as the basic raga?

This raga invokes bhakthi and devotion and is apt to be sung in the mornings. This is classified as a morning raga and the  mood it generates is  just like  a few drops of refreshing morning dew outside the window to begin the day with a positive  note. The student should note that all the varisais and alankarams are set to this particular raga mainly for 3 reasons.

  1. Improves the tonal quality of the singer (helps to develop open throat singing).
  2. Helps to understand the concept of Sruthi
  3. It also initiates the students to the concept of tala or rhythm.

The student is required to practice all these initial set of exercises varisais in 3 or more speeds. These varisais are set  to Adi Talam (8 beats) – the most commonly used Tala in Carnatic Music

First speed – 1 note per beat
Second Speed -2 notes per beat
Third Speed – 4 notes per beat

Advanced students can practice in 4, 5 and 6 speeds also.

Fourth speed – 8 notes per beat
Fifth Speed – 16 notes per beat
Sixth Speed – 32 notes per beat

Regular practice in advanced speed maintaing the same kaalapramanam (increasing the vocal speed without increasing the speed of the thalam) will help the student to perfect the rhythmic exercise.

Advanced students can also practice varnams in three speeds. The ability to sing Varnams with precision and in good speed  equips the voice with all the necessary skills to render authentic Carnatic music. It should be remembered that the practice of any classical art requires a lifetime of dedicated application and saadhana. The early lessons and voice development techniques are very essential for a grasp of classical nuances in terms of swara sthana, sruthi alignment and concept of  rhythm.

The voice should be trained in such a way that the singer should be able to reach the ManthraSthyai(lower octave) and  TharaSthayi (Higher Octave) Panchamam without any strain. There is no short cut to achieve this except for dedicated Saadhana or practice. The TharaSthyai varisai improves the tonal quality and the range in upperoctave. The ManthraSthayi Varisai improve the tone and range in the lower octave.These two varisais should be practised in all the speeds to attain perfection in rhythm and swara/note.These exercises should be  practised in Akaram too to attain perfection in sruthi alignment, rhythm and notes. Carnatic voice demand a powerful, majestic voice. We have to develop open throat singing. Here we dont sing softly.If you sing softly, you will lose the colour or charm or shade that is required for the song.As in any athletic training, it is important for singers to achieve ‘good form’ through systematic  training and develop the knowledge and ability to use their unique GOD given instrument with the maximum freedom and facility.

Special Emphasis on Rhythmic Exercises or Alankara

Just like Saptha or Seven Swaras, there are seven thalas. Alankaaras increase your grasp of Talam when they are rendered by  doubling the speed in different tempos. Alankaras are set in 7 different Suladi Thalas known as Saptha Tala Alankaras.  The seven major groups are druva, matya, rupaka, jampa, triputa, ata and eka. There are five varieties in each of these group.  The 5 groups are tisra-3, Chathusra-4, Misra-7, Kanda-5 and Sankirna-9. Thus we have 35 talas. Alankaras can be practised 3 speeds in 5 note raagas too like Mohanam, Hamsadwani, Madhyamavathi etc and Six note ragas like SreeRanjani etc.

——————————————————————————————————————-

#7-Importance of Varnams

This article is again about the topic Varnams which is a a continuation of my previous article, Varnams – The Pillars of Abhyasa Ganams.Though Varnams belong to Abhyasa Ganam category, due to their high standards, they are suitable to be performed in the concert. We have the tradition of singing/playing a varnam at the very beginning of a concert.

The Sahityam part of a varnam is very minimal, and mostly of Bhakti or Sringara Rasam. A varnam has two parts. First part is known as Purvangam and it is follwed by Utharangam.

Purvangam consists of 

  •  Pallavi
  •  Anu Pallavi
  •  Mukthayi Swarams

Utharangam consists of

  •  Charanam
  •  Ethugada Swrams (also known as Charana Swarams or Chitta Swarams)

Understanding and practising ethugada/charana swarams is the first step in learning kalpana swarams.

Way of Singing Varnams

 First the Purvangam is performed, followed by Utharangam. In the Purvangam, each avartham is performed  twice in first speed (4 aksharams per kriya). Once the Mukthayi swaram is performed this way, the entire Purvangam is repeated at second degree of speed, in the same manner. Once second speed is over, the  entire purvangam is performed at the third speed, and concluded by the performing a portion of pallavi at the firstspeed.

Once the Purvangam is over, Utharangam can be performed either at a fixed speed (Madyama Kalam) or in 2  or 3 speeds.

In Utharangam, Charanam is performed first followed by First chitta swaram.  After each chitta swaram,

Charanam is repeated again before progressing to the next chitta swaram . Varnam is concluded by performing Charanam or a portion of it, after reciting all the charana swarams.

If you closely oberve a  varnam has all musical forms consisting all the elements of gitam, jatisvaram and svarajati. It  prepares the students with adequate skills to be able to learn a kriti. The first half of a varnam which has profuse vowel extensions resembles a kriti while the second half  beginning with ettugada pallavi and charanam swarams resembles a svarajati or a jatisvaram.

Advantages of Practicing Varnams in 3 speeds.

While getting trained in varnams, varnams are sung in two kaalams (or sometimes in 3). Kaalams refers to  the tempo with which the song is sung. The first speed is normal, the second speed is 2 swaras per beat and the 3rd speed is 4 swaras per beat. In effect 2nd speed is twice as fast and 3rd 4 times. It requires lot of practice to sing the varnam correctly in higher speeds while still sticking to the tune and the  sruthi (octave). Once you have mastered it, it gives your voice flexibility to effortlessly glide over the swaras even at breakneck or blistering speed.

Singing Varnams in three speeds helps in culturing the voice and training it to be able to perform  complex aspects of music. Akara singing ( of Janta and Dhattu Varisagal) in at least four speeds with  clarity with each notes rolling like “laddus”, with good kalapramanam (uniform style), has to be  practiced in many ragas on a regular basis.

Varnam highlights everything important about a raga, known as the sanchaaraas of a raga – this includes  which notes to stress, how to approach a certain note, classical and  characteristic phrases of a raga, the scale of the raga, and so on. Though there are a few different types of varnams, in essence, they all  have a pallavi, an anupallavi, muktayi swaras, a charanam, and chittaswaras. They are sung in multiple  speeds, and are very good for practice. In concerts, varnams are often sung at the beginning as they are fast and grab the audience’s attention.

By practising varnams  in slow tempo one can develop the raga alapana in each phrase.Great composers have  composed varnams giving the full fledged raga bhava, swara phrases ,range of the raga etc. Pallavi and Anupallavi in varnams help to develop gamakas or oscillations.Gamaka is an oscillation between previous and next note.Gamaka is defined as Graceful singing. Singing the Varnam in 3 speeds also help to develop Brigas.  Brigas are closely packed gamakas. They have more notes.There has to be a judicious mix of gamakas,brigas and flat notes while singing an alapana or krithi.

Speaking a little about voice culture, Sri. Thayagaraja has pointed out that the main resonating cavities are, Nabhi (stomach region), Hrid (chest), Kanda (neck), Rasana (tongue i.e. mouth) and Nasagrea (top of the nose i.e. head). These are classified in the Western classical music as, the chest register, middle register and the head register. Practice of Varnams help us to develop the voice in 3 octaves and  gain tremendous breath control.

——————————————————————————————————————–

#6-Tips to Develop Your Singing Voice

This is a continuation of what I wrote a few months back as to How to Develop the Singing Voice ? I  would like to say that I am not a Voice Guru. Whatever I pen here is my own way of experimenting to improve the quality of my voice. But i can assure you that these simple techniques works towards acheiving a very good voice quality.

In this article I would like to give special emphasis to Voice Care Techniques. For example, a singer with a wrong posture is not going to utilize his vocal organs and other parts to create the best possible voice. Your Vocal Chords are just like any other body part – If you use your limbs properly by moving around and being active – they will be okay. If you tiptoe around or hibernate in bed, your legs will be in trouble. Similarly your vocal chords needs to be active with regular vocal exercise. Are you a singer who finds immense strain when you sing higher notes? If your veins in the neck sticks out when you sing top notes, beware ; you are moulding an ideal situation for creating vocal trouble over a period of time.

If you have irritation or itching in your throat, it may be because of the following reasons. This was told to me by Dr.Jayakumar – A Trivandrum based Laryngologist, when I met him 6 months ago for a session.

  • Hoarseness
  •  Severe dryness of the throat or Throat Dehydration
  •  Excess or excessively thick mucus in the throat
  •  Voice fatigue after a period of voice use
  • Throat irritation or soreness
  •  Loss of vocal range (especially the higher notes)

You are doing Voice Abuse in the following cases.

  • Talking too loudly, for too long.
  • Avoid excessive speech in noisy environments
  • Don’t do all the talking!
  • Try not to raise your voice volume or pitch when you get excited.
  • Don’t shout across a room or talk over loud background noise. Move closer to your listener when   speaking.

Food Habits- Very Important Aspect of Voice Care

1. One of the major “Good Food for Good Singing” is actually a liquid, and it is called WATER.  A healthy  voice is VERY dependent on vocal cords that are kept continually moist with watery mucus. Thin, watery mucus in the throat is normal and necessary. Without adequate mucus, the vocal cords must work harder to produce sound which leads to inflammation or swelling of the vocal cord tissues. Generous amounts of water, fruit juice, and other decaffeinated beverages are preferred for optimal voice hygiene. Caffeinated and alcoholic beverages actually pull water out of the tissues in your voice box. Even though they are liquids, these substances can work in this manner to cause dehydration of the throat and voice box.

Keep a glass of lukewarm water beside you whenever you are singing or performing, or just drink some warm water before you sing! This helps to soothe our vocal cords and our throat, and also moistens the tissues and muscles involved, reducing the risk of vocal damage. This is what i always do whenever i have to perform, or whenever i have to take several singing classes consecutively.

Water is so very very important to  singers!

2. Foods containing Vitamin A helps cells regenerate normally, Vitamin C helps prevent the common cold and sore throat as well as improve immune functions of the body. These foods also help to keep the mucus membranes in our throats healthy, so that we avoid irritation in our throats when we sing.

3. My favourite  food  for voice care is Honey which has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial  properties, meaning that bacteria will find it hard to survive and reproduce in honey. This also means that when we have a sore throat or just feel some discomfort in our voice, we can just take one spoonful of pure  Honey, and let it drizzle down our throats. This will help to keep the bacteria away, and will also help our sore throats to heal faster!

4.The best way to treat vocal irritation is to prevent it. Avoid Tea, Coffee, Alcohol,Carbonated Soft  Drinks and Spicy food specially before singing . Generally, we should also try to avoid taking too many cold drinks, for health reasons as well as for overall voice care too. Cold drinks cause our throats and our voices to contract and stiffen, and this is not good for singing because we need our vocal cords and throats to be warmed up and flexible in order to be able to hit the various pitches that we sing!Substitute Fresh fruit juice instead of coffee and soft drinks. Many singers usually would also avoid dairy products before a performance, for example cheese, yogurt, milk, ice cream and so on, or even common fruits like bananas. These  foods create excessive mucus production and may cause singers to have too much phlegm or mucus when they are singing.

Another severe problem  that the singers face is frequent throat clearing. This bangs the vocal cords together and causes irritation. It was mainly for this reason, I had an appointment with Dr. Jayakumar.

The following remedies were suggested.

  • Take a drink of water and not to  speak for a few seconds
  • Swallow HARD
  • Sniff, then swallow hard
  • Yawn to relax your throat
  • If you have to clear throat, clear quietly and gently.

It may help to start small. Choose one hour each day and do not clear your throat during that hour. Each day, add some minutes to that hour. The more you clear your throat, the more you will feel the need to  clear your throat. The less you clear your throat, the less you will feel the need to clear your throat.

Another important cause for voice irritation is Acid Reflux.

Acid reflux (when our stomach acids flow back up towards our throat) it causes throat and voice  irritation, and it may be caused by taking too much spicy food, as well as eating a lot of food very late at night just before sleep. When the food is being digested at night and we are lying down on our bed, this increases the possibility of acid reflux, and in serious cases, it could cause damage to our vocal cords directly! Acidic fruit juices also increase the chances of acid reflux and should be avoided too, especially late at night before sleep.

To avoid Acid Reflux Doctor advised me with following tips.

  • Drink lots of water.
  • Eating food at the right time.
  • Dinner intake should be any food that is steamed.
  • There should be a 2 hour gap after dinner and before retiring to bed.

Above all Good breathing techniques (Pranayama) and Vocal Warm up exercise on a regular basis  will help us to maintain our voice in a healthy condition. We sing SA-PA-SA to warm up or vocal muscles. Generally I sing Tharasthayi and Manthrastayi Varishakal for Vocal Warm ups. We should do  proper vocal warmups each time before we sing, so that our voices are well supported and warmed up before each vocal performance or practice! This will go a long way towards preserving our wonderful singing voices! A person gifted with musical abilities has a naturally gifted voice apparatus and propensities that need to be unlocked, awakened and orchestrated.

Certainly, for us to sing better, we not only need to know how to protect our voice, we also need to understand the various common singing problems or habits that we may have, as well as how to avoid them!
———————————————————————————————————————

#5-Simhananda – The longest Thalam in the World

 Simhanandana is the longest talam in world music. It has 18 angas, 128 kriyas(or beats) and 512 aksharas. The talam, apart from commonly used angas Laghu and Drutha, also contains the rarely used angas Guru, Plutha and Kaakapaada.

On comaprision, 1 avartha of Simhanandana Tala is equivalent to 16 avarthas of Adi Tala. A lot has been discussed about this talam by musicians of yester years, who refer to it as a “Simha Swapnam”. The angas of this talam are Guru-Guru-Laghu-Plutha-Laghu-Guru-Dhruta-Dhruta-Guru-Guru-Laghu-Plutha-Laghu-Plutha-Guru-Laghu-Laghu-Kakapada. This talam is the 37th of the Ashtottarashatha(108) talas. It can also be seen as a sequence of 6 talas of the 108 tala scheme. They are Chanchatputa, Rati, Darpana, Kokilapriya, Abhanga and Mudrika talas, taken in the same order.

A brief history from time:  Simhanandana talam has been found quoted in association with well known musicians from past and present. The legendry musical battle between Sri Bobbili Keshavayya and Sri Syama Sastry(the eldest amongst the music trinity) is a well recorded one. It is said that Bobbili Keshavayya challenged Sri Syama Sastry by singing a Pallavi in the Simhanandana talam. In the recent history, Maha Vaidyanatha Iyer(1844 – 1892) is known to have sung a pallavi in Simhanandana talam, Kalyani ragam. He later made the same into a tillana in Kalyani ragam. This tillana is also sung in Kanada ragam.

In his work ‘Naa Kanda Kalaavidaru’, Mysore Vasudevacharya records Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar singing a pallavi in Simhanandana talam at Gayana Samaja, Bangalore. The Simhanandana demonstration at Madras Music Academy by Mudicondan Venkatarama Iyer is also well known. Another exponent of the Simhanandana tala was Pallavi Chandrappa.

In the present day, Vid. Suguna Purushottaman is known for giving concerts and presenting lec-dems in Simhanandana talam.

Vinay Sharva, a 19 year old Karnatik Classical Vocalist from Bangalore has set  a new personal record by singing a Pallavi in the Simhanandana Talam.

————————————————————————————————————————–

#4-Varnams – The Pillars of Abhyasa Ganams

  • Varnams are scholarly compositions belonging to Abhyasa-Ganam Category. They are like the pillars amongst Abhyasa Ganas.
  • In learning music, Varnams are the foundations of Ragams and Gamakams. Students should learn Varnams very carefully and thoroughly because they learn about gamakas from here only. If a student fails to properly understand and master gamakas, which are the essense of Ragas, it’ll set a very wrong foundation that’ll affect the student’s entire progress in music.
  • The composition of varnam is of very high standards. It has the Raga
    bhavam, Raga ranjaka prayogas, rare sancharas, Dhattu and Janta
    phrases in appropriate places. Analysing and understanding of these
    aspects are the first steps in Manodharma Sangeetham (Raga Alapana, Kalpana Swarams etc.)
  • All the students learning vocal and instrumental music should practise varnams in 3 speeds. This will help them establish their fingering (instrumental) and bring control to their voice (vocal). In the varnam’s composition, all sort of exercises are present. So the students will gain the ability to sing/perform all kind of prayogas.

 First understand what Varnam-s are…

For students, they are useful for learning the swaras of various raagas, singing in multiple speeds rapidly, as well as learning the appropriate gamakas. They introduce the proper combinations of swaras for each raaga and require great discipline for singing. The structure of the varnam includes pallavi, anupallavi, muktaayi swaram, caraNam and multiple ciTTa swarams that return to the caraNam . In Charanam, there are two or three Swaram-s of one avartanam, one Swaram of two avartanam-s and finally one Swaram of four avartanam-s. Varnams are usually the first pieces sung in concerts.

  The three Varnam categories are Daru Varnam,  Pada Varnam and Taana Varnam .

Daru Varnam: Daru varnams are special type of varnams in whose mukthAyi swarams, there are first the swarA passages, followed by the jatis which are then followed by the sAhitya. An example is the daru varnam “mAtE malayadvaja” in rAgA kamAsu (which when repeatedly spelt becomes sukama = sugama !!):

Pada VarnamThese are suitable for choreography in Bharatanatyam and mostly, only these are used. This has Saahityam for all Swaram-s. They are fairly slow paced.

Taana Varnam: This does not have Sahityam for Swara-s. Usually, the speed is such that it suits Duritha Kaalam and Tisra Gati. Students of Carnatic music learn at least fifteen Taana Varnam-s.

It is good if the students  listen them carefully and try to to sing long  with the singer for  a few times.

Track List

Varnams – Part 1

 01-Ninnu Kori-Mohanam-Adi
02- Jalajaksha-Hamsadwani-Adi
03- Evvari-Abhogi-Adi
04-Sarasuda-Saveri-Adi
05-Vanajakshi-Kalyani-Adi

 Track List 

Varnams – Part 2  

06- Karunimpa-Sahana-Adi
07- Intamodi-Saaranga-Adi
08-Ninnu Kori-Vasantha-Adi
09- Valachi-Navaragamalika-Adi
10- Sami Ninne-Panthuvarali

  Track List 

 Varnams – Part 3  

11-  Sri Rajamathangi-SuddhaDhanyasi
12- Samininne-Sreeragam-Adi
13- Inthachalamu-Begada-Adi
14- Samidayajooda-Kedaragowla-Adi
15- Eranapai-Thodi
 

Download Varnams Here

 —————————————————————————————–

 #3-Develop Your Singing Voice

The voice is the only living instrument of music. Every individual is unique, so is every voice. Though there are individual limitations differing from person to person, it is very important to note that this is the only instrument, which can be cultivated, improved and cultured, by variation of pitch, intensity and timbre (tonal quality) and all the above mentioned features.“Your throat is constructed exactly like the throat of the world-famous singers and speakers. There is just one difference. A little one, but all-important. They have a perfectly developed voice muscles—ours is weak, underdeveloped, and imperfectly controlled. If you build up these muscles until they are as strong and well controlled as theirs, our voice will become rich, pure and beautiful. But the regular, persistent, silent, physical exercise of the vocal organism is absolutely essential.The four basic steps of voice training include:
 

1. Hearing.
2. Control of Breath.
3. Practice.
4. Physical and Mental Fitness.

Hearing:
Imitation is the first step towards learning. This statement applies to voice training, too. Concentrated listening is the basic requirement. By listening more and more, the brain creates and stores a mental image of the music. The notes, the tunes, the rhythm, the speed, the words, the volume, the tonal quality of the voice or instrument, etc. are stored in the brain.When we try to sing, this mental image co-ordinates with the laryngeal muscles to produce the music required. Thus, it can be easily understood that, the more we hear, the more we listen, there will be a better ability of voice production. We should listen with all the aspects of the musical form in our minds – like, tonal quality, phonetic quality, time intervals, the microtones (shrutis), expressional effects of the voice, etc. The more deeply we listen, the better quality of music we will sing. Better the mental and physical co-ordination, better will be the voice production. Though this is the first, basic fundamental and unavoidable step towards learning, we should remember that this is not the only step. It is not enough by itself.

Control Of Breath:
This is also a very important step towards voice culture. If we can master our breath, we can easily master our voice for singing. Breath Control gives fine-ness, clarity, steadiness and confident phonation to the voice.The primary source of energy to produce the voice is the smooth flow of air provided by the breathing apparatus. All varieties of voice modulation and the voice leveling can be mastered only when we have enough breathing capacity. Incorrect breathing can cause disorders in voice production.

Practice
Everyone knows – ‘Practice makes a man perfect’. Practice should be divided into two types:
1. Trying that which we cannot sing but want to sing.
2. Repeating that which we already know and bring it closer to perfection.

By constantly practicing the system of muscles and the whole system of voice production are physically trained.  These exercises differ according to the genre of music which is sung. Voice aspects such as pitch control, articulation, and phonation also vary with the form of music.  With classical music there is plenty of improvisation which is integrated into the performance. For this reason a lot more time should be devoted. In such a case the Voice culture for singing practice sessions could even take up to three hour at a time.  By regular practice of singing, we give physical training to all the muscles and the voice production system on the whole.

Physical and Mental Fitness.

Last but not the least, physical and mental fitness is equally important in developing a singing voice.  If you possess a poor singing posture, it’s not only your physical health which is affected, but also your voice.  The negative effects of having a poor posture are causing a lot of difficulties in the major systems of your body.  Aside from physiological effect, the tone and quality of your voice as a vocalist can also be greatly affected. Drink lots of water.  Keep the moisture of your vocal chords intact to improve your singing voice.  Avoid vocal strain and do not sing, if you have a sore throat. Choose the songs that can fit within your range and comfort.

——————————————————————————————- 

#2-Carnatic Music Lessons – Basic

These are the basic lessons for students who are learning Carnatic Music. The files contain lesssons on Sarali Varisaigal,  Jantai Varisaigal, Saptha Thala Alankaarams, Dhattu Varisaigal and Geethams. It is good if the students  listen them carefully and try to to sing long  with the singer for  a few times.

Download Basic Lessons Here

 ——————————————————————————————-

#1-How to Develop Your Voice

Voice is God Gifted – this is a fact. Voice can also be trained. This is also a fact. Before starting with the Music Lessons, I wish to share a few tips on how to develop the voice. Singing demands a good voice. The voice in singing and the voice in speech are very different. When we speak we need not make any conscious effort to modulate our voice. But while we sing, we should see that the voice that comes out is in perfect  control. This is mainly dependent on three main aspects ; breath control , healthy body and a sound and  focused mind. The singer should know his/her limitations and talents in singing and and do all the needful to nourish and culture it in a way that it gets strengthened and enhanced to exhibit  its impressive traits . 

Do’s and Dont’s

  • Diet plays an important role in maintaining the voice health. Drinking warm water helps; hot tea, clove in honey, ginger kashayam, and pepper milk do wonders and soften the voice.                   
  • Stay away from very cold things, beverages, aerated waters, chocolates, pickles, chillies and anything very sour. Chocolates, Toffees and other paste like things form a layer on your tonsils, exposing it to infections.
  • Learn to modulate the voice. DO NOT sing with the maximum voice beyond upper sthayi rishabham. Soften the voice to reduce the stress on the vocal chord.  Using false voice may help in effortless singing but wouldn’t reach the audience in effect. Know the difference between singing with open voice and singing loudly and the difference between singing with a false voice and singing softly.
  • Proper physical posture is required for a good voice production. One should know his/her own competence to practice and NOT overdo! If the posture and the singing technique followed are acceptable, at the end of the practice session, the abdominal muscles should get strained and not the voice chords. This could be a self check. (Nabhi hruth khanta rasana-Origin of voice is from the abdomen) ” Om ” is one shabdh that makes use of the abdomen, chest and the head . “A(comes from abdomen) – U(chest) -UM(head)”.Practicing Om kara is itself a good voical exercise.
    Practice Om kara in three octaves…as you do with “sa-pa-sa”
  • Avoid overuse of the voice- don’t scream; talk softly; have limited talks.
  • Few drops of honey every morning helps. Regular practice is “the” way to culture the voice.

——————————————————————————————–

344 thoughts on “Carnatic Music Lessons

  1. namshkar mam…..i`m the student of m.a 2nd year`s student(indian classical music)..i have strong desire to know about carnatic music………i want to know about the basic lessons..etc…will u guide me mam………i`ll be verry thankful to u:-)

  2. Happy to know that you are a music student. Are you learning Hindustani Classical or Carnatic Classical Music? If you are a carnatic student, you can download the basic music lessons from my blog. Moreover try to know about all the aspect of a raga, rather than learning only a song. For a deep understanding of a particular raga you can visit the Carnatic Raga Appreciation Page in my blog.

    I would like to know your exact requirements Jaspreet. Only then i can give you a proper guidance.

    Anuradha Mahesh

    • Respected mam, i m suresh , a nursery student in carnatic music (4 days back i joined ). I m very happy for your internet support and very thanks 2 u.i have a doubt that what is the difference between hindustani and carnatic music..

  3. My name is Manikandan. I do not have a background in carnatic music but i love to hear carnatic music, both instrumental and vocal. This blog article is so beautifully wriiten and your tips are very nice..Especially I liked the way you said singing softly with false voice and singing with an open voice. I have a thick voice, so i always try to be soft while singing. I should correct this. But thank you very much and i am looking forward to more such articles from you.

  4. Hello Mankandan. Welcome to my blog, Thanks for the compliments you have posted.

    Learn Carnatic Music, Manikandan. If you can sing without any proper training of Classical Music, just think hou much more you can sing with a proper learning/training in Carnatic Music. One more thing, thickness of voice has nothing to do with singing. The idea is to sing with heartfelt involvement with the raga and sahityam(lyrics) soaked in bhakthi , bhaava / expression.

    • my name is Rohit Sharma, i have one desire in my life as i a m taking hindustani vocal lessons , that i want to sing in G or G sharp is it possible or acceptable for a male

    • You should develop the habit of listening to music as a daily ritual. Once this listening gets registered into your brain, the mind will start searching for songs that you already know ,with a similar tune or raga. The brain corelates the song that you already know with the one that you are hearing. Most often the brain pops out an answer or raga of the song that you are hearing or searching. Best Wishes to you.

  5. Madam, i am a great admirer of your blog and ur articles. pleae kindly let me know if any body is giveing music lessons in and around T- Nagar or alwarpet and madam do you take classes for students, Thanking you V. Rajalakshmi

    • Hello Rajalakshmi

      Welcome to my blog. Thank you very much for visitng my blog and posting your comments. Hope my articles are helping you to gain knowledge.

      When i was in Chennai I was learning under the able guidance of Sri. P.S.Tyagrajan who was residing at Mylapore. I am also a music teacher taking classes both Vocal and Veena for students. Right now I am located at Kochi, Kerala.

      Do you have any other email id? I have sent you two mails and both are rejected by the server.

  6. Gd Mg Mam,

    Thank you so much for giving us lot of ideas and new lessons thank u so much. Mam i need a help Mam, I am conducting Devotional Songs in Temple (Bhakthi Ganamela, Bhakthigaanasudha, Sangeetharchana) . But mam after singing 5, 6 songs my throat becomes dry and feel scratching. Then i cant sing a little if is sing i am struggling that time, anyway i want to finish my song sometimes there will be no sound only air. Really i m very sad mam. Please give me the complete remedy and if so any Ayurveda Medicines please inform me as soon as possible. Awaiting your valuable reply. Thanking you Mam

    Yours Loving

    Sunitha, Trivandrum

    • Hello Sunitha

      Welcome to my blog. Have a happy stay.

      The problem with your throat is you dont have sufficient moisture in your throat. The best remedy is you should drink atleast 1.5 lts to 2 ltrs of water daily. Secondly, if you have a one hour performance at one go, you should practice atleast two and half or 3 hours at home regularly without break, drinking luke warm water (add Jeera + a pinch Pepper powder while boiling the water) every now and then, will prevent your throat becoming dry. Everyday, regular practice will definitely bring changes to your voice Sunitha. Don’t lose heart. Another remedy is take a beetle leaf(vettila – in malayalam), add Irattimadhuram(an ayurvedic herb) + honey and chew well.

      Since i receive a lot mails on this topic as to how to develop the singing voice, I will prepare an article for the budding singers in this topic. Visit my blog frequently. I will be writing one soon in a week’s time.

  7. Gd afternoon Mam,

    Morning i opened your mail and read it quickly. Now only i got time to reply. Thank you Anuradha Mam for giving me valuable reply to develop my singing. Really i am very thankful to you and your blog. I am very poor in drinking water mam.today onwards i try my level best to drink water.. and will do regular practice to improve my voice Mam. Really, now i m confident mam. I am not much in RAGAS & CARNATIC music but i m collecting variety classical songs and first i hear it and then try to study. Mam i got so many songs by CHITRA CLASSICAL MOODS, oh God, I cant explain mam how much i m happy mam. I came to download these songs and now i m preparing to sing mam. Once again thank u Mam, Your blog is very much useful to upcomming music students and music lovers. I dont have words to explain it mam. Keep it up. All the very best and give all music lovers good informations. Thank u so much.
    Yours Only Loving Sunitha

  8. Hello mam vanakkam,

    My name is Shravan from USA. I have a very little knowledge of carnatic music. I was going for a carnatic music class but because of my work schedule I stopped the class after my 1st varnam(Ninnukori). I feel bad but I don’t have another option.So far I have learned Sarali, Janta, dhatu, alankarams and geethams. But I am still practicing everything that I have learned from my teacher. I am also a singer (light music) in the local band. I really like your blog and want to start learning carnatic music from your varnam class.

    My question is:

    I want to develop my vocal range when I sing higher notes. I really have problem in singing higher notes and want to practice to singer higher notes. Can you please give me some advice what should
    I do to develop my voice to sing higher notes. Also, please give me some tips in general what should I do to singer better.

    Thanks for your time :)

    • Hello Shravan

      Welcome to my blog. Feel at home. My soul intention is to spread Carnatic Music which is very much part of the Indian culture , acrosss the world. The positive on your side is you still practice whatever you have learnt, though you have stopped Music Lessons. Since your a singer in the local band, God has given you the singing apparatus which you should take care and develop. I have posted recently a topic Tips to develop your Singing Vocie in this blog. Follow it religiously avoiding the spicy and cold /carbonated drinks.

      There are two reasons for you not able to sing higher notes.
      Firstly, Your Sruthi should have gone down which means you are able to sing the base notes much lower. Try to lower your Sruthi so that you can sing higher notes without much strain and lower notes very easily. Secondly, to improve your pitch/sruthi, you have to practice rigourously the Tharasthaay Varisakal which will take you up to Tharastaayi Panchamam. Practice everyday religiously. Each day you will improve. Before lowering your pitch try to sing Tharastayi Varishakal continuosly for a month and see the difference. I still practice it everyday using AkAram.

      Best Wishes to you.

  9. hello mam,
    this is sindhuja.im 19 year old and an great lover of carnatic music.i started learning music last year and im doing varnams now.im not able to sing the third kaalam of the varnam and also im not understanding where to place the ghamakam exactly.please suggest me what i should do for this.i love your blog as im getting to learn a lot from it.
    Thank you very much!
    regards,
    Sindhuja

    • Hello Sindhuja

      Welcome to my blog. Practicing Varnams in 3 speeds helps in culturing the voice and training it to be able to perform complex aspects of music. It is good to know that you are trying to sing varnams in 3 speeds. I will be writing an article very shortly as to how to sing Varnams and their importance in highlighting the various sancharas of a raga etc. Keep Visiting. Best Wishes.

  10. namaste madam ..I am from Hyderabad,,I am very much interested in music.
    I usally sings for albums in light classic way.Now I started learning karnatic classical music, and started varnams..but could not go ahead in second speed..while my class mates easily sings in 3 speeds,,and feeding back to my master..I am stopped at ”era napai”thodi ragam..while countng four aksars per beat notes are out of raaga.or concentrating on notes deviating from tala..what is the solution? why it is happened? I daily practice atleast 3hors with sruti box.voice is improved,but varnam is not at all improved.guru is silent and ignored me and teaching to my co-students .I am very much disappointed.your blog again created a ray of hope.I am 45 years old.please kindly help me showing a solution.my teacher knows that iam excelent at raga m.but poor at at tala,thq.
    sincerely
    ramachandra

    • Hello Ramachandran

      Welcome to my blog. It requires lot of practice to sing the varnam correctly in higher speeds while still sticking to the tune and the sruthi (octave). Have you started directly from Varnams ? If you have not missed the basic lessons like Sarali, Jantai,Dhattu Varisakal etc and have practiced all those in four speeds, there shouldn’t be any slip in the raga or thalam. Start singing Sarali Varisakal or Alankarams in the raga in which you are stuck. In your case I think it is Thodi. Start with the first speed. Gradually in one week time proceed to second speed..and like that continue to 3rd speed in the 3rd week and the 4th speed in the fourth week. There should be some improvement.. As such Thodi itself is a tough raga. I think your guru has not ignored you. He is closely watching you as to what effort are you taking to improve in Thala. Do the above exercise and be confident that you can make it perfectly fine. ..The saying goes Practice makes perfect.. All the best to you…

      • hello mam,thanks fr ur valuable informations.u helped me a lot through your blog.can u help me how to improve singing sangathi in songs perfectly and what practices should i carry,,thanking you.by j.m pravin

  11. namaste madam thank you very much for your kind response.yes i have skipped the 1 year classes .due to my official schedules.now i shall practice sarali,janta,and alankaras with due care..once again heartful thanks
    ramachandra

  12. namasthe madam
    always we will be told by our teachers that we should practice for singing better
    But very few tell us what to practice and how to practice
    You told us how to practice and take care of our voice
    Thank you so much for sharing your views with us
    Priyanka

  13. As priyanka says… is right. I am the bread winner of the family and to go for a job is a must. However, much interested in carnatic music to know the something about that. Not finding the time to learn the music through teacher, as I have to work for 10 hours for a day. When i approched somebody during my early ages, they straight away rejected by plea of conducting class after office hours. Also, I was quite surprised of the people who know little bit in carnatic music show them as a person blessed by god.
    Now, I am aged more than 38 and thought no chance for understanding something about music ( of course I don’t want to practice and do saathagams since it is not possible now). But with your portal, I am quite happy to know something about the basics and also the varnams. Hope, if I read regularly, I will be able to enjoy the music in the rightway, in due coarse of time.

    Thanks a lot.
    Regards
    Lakshminarayanan

    • Hello Lakshminarayanan

      Welcome to my blog. Happy to note that you are able to catch up something related to music. Everyday listen to some sort of music. Even if you can hum, you can develop yourself to become a singer..also read my article in Sapthawaras and Sapthachakras..under the link Music Therapy. Even if you can’t sing enjoy music to the fullest and experience the bliss..

      Best Wishes to you

  14. chandragupthan
    hi medam
    i have one dbt madhysthayi, tharasthayi ,manthrasthayi one time practice no problum ? before one day practice my throught is shivering .hw to practice the three type of sthayis?

  15. hi medam
    madhysthayi,tharasthayi ,manthrasthyi this three type of sthayis which one first,second and third practice ?plz the order

  16. First I learnt Madhya Sthaayi, Then we learn Thaara Sthaayi and the third one is Manthra Sthaayi. I practice in the same order. You can choose as to which area you have to develop singing. Whether it is Lower Octave or Higher Octave

  17. When i was practicing madhysthayi and tharasthayi that time my throught is ok but when i was changing manthrasthayi it will effect some prblm my throught .(shivering,blocking)

  18. Mam,
    Nw iam wrkg in Dubai my duty time is around 11 hrs /day.thats why icant get enough time to practice saptha swaras regularly. But i would spending 1hour too for practicing the same , unfortunately i started to practice just 4days before. So iam humbly requesting u to get an advice frm u hw to practice sapthaswaras in the right way?

  19. Your blog is very informative. When I sing for about half hour, my voice sort of gets tired and shaky. I assume this happens because I give undue and unnecessary stress while I sing, much more than what is required. I have now started singing little light and that sort of helps.

  20. Hello Anuradha Mahesh,

    I was searching the internet, trying to find a guru for my daughter, who is almost 8 years old. She is into dancing, with a finesse for it. We notice that arty streak in her, which we want to channel into classical music training. Since we stay near edapally, can it be that she can meet you some day soon.

  21. Madam,
    I got to know about your blog just today while searching information about carnatic music. I am learning carnatic music. I have a strange problem. Along with Carnatic music I learn Annamacharya krithis also, and while singing them I can sing with thala for some songs, but for some songs like muddu gaare yashoda, veedu gade seshudu, narayanathe namo namo etc., I cannot sing with correct thala. My teacher says ” I am modifying the song according to my thala (which is wrong), and not keeping thalam according to the song. I don’t understand how to practice with correct thalam. I ma very disappointed.
    And one more thing is though I am learning music since 4 years, I feel I have not reached the required stage. I am a working person, married with two kids. I go to music class in the evening. please suggest me something to improve my music ability and thalam
    Aparna

    • Hello Aparna

      Welcome to my blog. I will soon write an artcle in a couple of days about the importance of rhythm in music and how to keep the thalam perfect while singing. Please subscribe to this blog and you will be notified as soon as i post this topic.

    • Dear Aparna

      The Annamacharya songs that you have mentioned are very simple with Adi Tala beats..Just search for videos for muddugare, narayanathe namo namo etc song and closely observe how they are putting the talam. The song begins after the beat..

  22. Thank You Very Much Madam, I’ll be eagerly awaiting your article, also please help me improve my singing ability with some tips.
    Thank You once again
    Aparna

  23. Gd evening madam, i m Sunitha Trivandrum, i m also facing same problem of Mrs. Aparna. Some times i can sing with Thala, sometimes it is too difficult mam i m also waiting for your valuable reply and remedy. Thanking you mam Really this blog is very useful for upcoming singers and also for Professional singers. Know body knows how to practice how to maintain voice,. U had given us so many tips to maintain voice and also how to practice. Really thank u mam for giving us valuable tips. Mam one more thing sometime i am singing with nose. nose singing is it right way if not i want to change or correct the way.
    awaiting your valuable reply
    Sunitha

  24. thank u Anuradhamahesh for ur quick response.but how to make her to aware of shruthi? i.e she is singing with the shruthi r not?
    Bhuvana.

    This cite is superb. im learning a lot frm this cite.good work.

    • She should be having a music teacher. The teacher has to train her to sing SA..PAA..SAA.. in alignment with the sruthi. If she is a beginner, she will take atleast 3-4 months time to perfectly get the concept of sruthi.

  25. Madam,
    Thank You very much for the information regarding thalam for annamacharya songs. I am trying my level best to practice them according to thalam. I know it is simple adi thalam and song starts after the beat, but still I am facing this problem. Hope I will overcome this problem soon.
    Regards
    Aparna

    • Hello Bhuvana,

      If your daughter is totally a newbie in learning Carnatic Music, you should have a teacher who sits straight in front of her to teach music. For beginners, i would say, online classes will not give 100% satisfaction to the kid. It will not allow the teacher to sit near her and hold her hand to put the Thalam correctly if she goes wrong. Online classes will be helpful only for those who have already plunged into music and has a very good concept of thalam,sruthi etc

  26. Hello Madam,

    Namaskarams. This is Alamelu from USA. My son is 10 years old and has been learning Carnatic for last 5 years. He is in Varnams/Krithis and the next focus is towards developing raga alapana singing. I am very crazy in carnatic music and also completed my Carnatic music lower an year back.Could not continue to senior due to work and family commitments. Still did not give up my learning; still listening and learning lot of info from the web. I need your guideline about how to help/guide my son in developing the raga alapana singing. He can listen and identify many ragas already. He is also able make lot of swara patterns for some of the ragas already. He also practices akarams for every varnam he sings. Now I need your advice about how to put these pieces together in way he can understand and help him to develop the alapana skills and how to make him understand the sancharas. Thanks a lot for your time. Excellant blog and lot of info. to learn.

  27. Hi Mam, I am 50Plus. want to sit for Senior Grade Exam in May in 2012. Raagaalapana and Manodharma swarams are the ones I have difficulty in. Please let me know isthere any site for learning raagalapana and Kalpanaswarams? My shruti is only F ( 4th kattai) . Can you help me learn some ragams? Am in Blore., learning music, but am asked to sing by myself. What is the proper way to learn and sing ragams? Can u please help me? Only few months to go, but want to make it.

    • Welcome to my blog, both Venkat and Alamelu Ramadurai. Since the query is almost the same, i give a common answer. Firstly you should start developing the habit of listening to Raagalapanas by various artists. If you want to improve your skills say.for example singing Mohana Raga, listen to Mohanan for the next 1 week whenver you get time and start following the artist while he/she sings. Each singer sings Mohanam in a different way . So you need to hear a variety of artists. Main sancharas and raga lakshana swaras you get from varnams. Do not learn by heart ragalapana.. Manodharma swara patterns, you have to keep on singing swaras. Do not wait for a time to sit and sing manodharma swara. You can sing manodharma swara while watering plants, cooking or washing your car etc.

      Pls. keep visiting my blog. I will be posting guidelines on how to sing Ragaalapana and Manodharma swara during the first week of Jan 2012. Visit the carnatic raga appreciation page to know more about a particular raga. Here i have listed 14 ragas with their characteristic features and excellent collection of songs in those ragas. To begin with start Melakartha ragas for ragalapana singing as they are like National Highways where you can have a pleasant and free drive. You can also choose Audava Ragas like Mohanam, Hamsadwani etc to begin with. Vakra ragas, you should be very careful as most of them do not allow certain sancharas. They are like driving in a sub road with lots of pocket roads, where you need to be very careful.

  28. dear madam
    i have a problem in identifying the ragas. could you please let me know how i can enhance my knowledge in this area and do better. i am currently pursuing my pre vidvat

  29. Mam

    I really like your blog. It gives a very good insight into various aspects of music and music practice. I have a question about Varnam practice. In Varnams we are thought Rendu kalai and thalam has 2 aksharams per beat. Is this 1st kalam for a varnam or 2nd? This is confusing.

    Thanks
    Sridevi

    • Hello Sreedevi

      You are welcome to this blog and thank you very much for the positive remarks posted.

      Varnams, generally we sing in 2 kalai with 4 Aksharams per beat. This is the first speed. After singing the first speed, we practice 2nd speed which will take 8 aksharams per beat.

  30. Mam,
    This Alamelu again.
    Wishing you the Happy New Year. Thank you so much for wonderful explanation of alapana techiques. We all like your blog so much.
    Based on your guidelines U provided in your reply for my post, I told my son to think about new edhugadai swara for Mohanam varnam for one avardhanam. I told him to pay close attention to how the current swara patterns are formed in the varanas (as U adviced), find the prayogas etc, But he was able to make it for two avardhanams. This is what he made:

    D,PPD,GR|G,GRSRG,||
    .
    GPGR G,G,| SDPGRG,G||

    PDPGPGR,|RGPDPGR,||

    GRSRSGR,|RPDPGPGR|| (Sannutha …)

    He made the calculations and the swaras. He also sang it correctly with thala. I Is this the right way for developing kalapana swaras skills. He makes many such patterns with prayogas shown clearly. Since he is not started with Manodharma yet in his class (he is waiting for that) he wants to know what he has done is correct or not to make this kind of exersice for other simple raga varnams. Thanks much for your time.

    Alamelu

  31. Hello Alamelu

    Thanks for the compliments. The swara pattern which you have given is correct. But let him not by-heart and ask him to just sing whatever swaras that comes to his mind and let him finish with the note R in this case. Let Mohanam start developing within him and flow out just as a waterfall without any restrictions. Let him not look into the Talam first. Let the swaras start flowing. Once there is an uninterrupted flow of swaras without learning by-heart, let him start Talam with manodharama swaram.

    Best wishes to your son

  32. dear mrs Anuradha mahesh,
    I can’t thank you enough and commend you on this beautiful venture of yours (your blog) and the service it does to people like us.
    Be assured that your time is well spent and very much
    appreciated by all of us readers. When I start reading , I lose track of time.
    I came upon your blog when I was researching about therapeutic effects of ragams. Since then I am hooked. My daughters are learning Carnatic music and sometimes I want to understand the theory behind it so I can appreciate it better. And you blog is a one stop place for a lot of information. As a musician, wife and mother and a teacher, I can imagine how busy your life can get . But do continue this blog for fans like myself.
    My best wishes and prayers that you will grow and thrive this year 2012 in this musical journey.

    Regards
    Lavanya veda

    • Hello Lavanya Veda

      Welcome to this blog. Your comment makes me so happy especially when you said my time is well spent for the readers of this blog. This blog is actually a very small effort that I am making with whatever little knowledge I have in relation to music and spirituality. Best wishes/blessings of the readers is the guding force behind the success of this blog. Thankyou very mcuh for all the best wishes and compliments

  33. This is really a one-stop for all music aspirants.

    mam, can you please give me links for downloading lakshana geetams for various ragaas?

  34. namaskaaram mam,
    i am dinesh from kerala and my age is 28. i was born at mumbai. i had gone through your blog. i am a singer and have sung in doordarshan once.after this incident my parents realised my talent and allowed me to learn music. till that time i didnt had any Guru in music. i joined a carnatic music centre in mumbai. unfortunately my carnatic music learning ended in 6 months from the day i began learning it due to some inconvinience. this happened 12 years back in mumbai. within this short period of 6 months i learned 50 keerthnams and 12 varnams including Navaragamalika. Now i am in kerala. i want to continue it. But will my age matter?
    most of the musicians says that we should start learning music in the childhood itself for good results. because of this i am a little bit tensed to take a right decision. so mam, i need your sincere and valuable opinion on this.
    expecting your reply..

    • Hello Dinesh

      Welcome to my blog. Just keep in mind, if you have the talent, nothing matters. Continue with your lessons. Age is not at all a crtieria for learning or to stop learning music. For your information, I have a student from Bangalore who is 53 years old and writing her Higher Grade Music Exam from Karnataka Board. You should have the burning desire to come up with the GOD GIVEN talent and do not restrain yourself because of your age. If you have that fire in you and determined to become a good singer,then JUST GO AHEAD!!!. Be 100% dedicated to music and start learning and practising..

      MAY GOD BLESS YOU

  35. hello mam,
    such words from a great artist like you have created a positive energy in me. i started following your instruction regarding the food habits and voice development. now i decided to continue my music. thank you very much mam for your reply and blessings.

  36. hello mam,
    i saw your reply. let me also make a small correction, I never judge a person only by the profession which he or she is related. of course you are a great artist, and also a “great person” too, by attitude and nature. being having all the responsibilities which a women have in their real life, the care you gives to your fans through your blog shakes my mind. the time you send me the reply also is a big proof for that, 12:37am. greatness is not what we feel. it is the job of others to decide it. you wish to remain a student for ever. now i am preparing myself to become a good student for a good start.
    thanks for your reply mam.!

  37. Namaskaram Anuradha garu,

    I’m 37 years old live in USA, past 3 months (weekly 1 hour class) I have been learning carnatic music and I’m in Janta varisagal lessons. I’m really glad and thankful to God and guru for giving me this opportunity to learn music. Congratulations on your wonderful work and thanks for your encouragement for new bees like me though I always regret for not learning in childhood …but it’s never late……

  38. Mam

    I am trying to practice 4th speed. I am able to sing upto 3rd speed without problems but at higher speed I have pain in my throat muscles. Is this normal? Am I doing something wrong? I read that pain in throat muscles while singing is indicative of incorrect singing practice. Can you please hel[p??

  39. hello mam!
    How are you doing?I am studying engineering.I have been taking training in carnatic music since one and half year.My scale is 5and half.I start singing at 5and half but end up singing at 6.I am not understanding where it is going wrong.Could you please tell me how to control my voice and give some tips for singing perfectly in pitch?thanks a lot mam!
    regards,
    Sindhuja.

  40. You are going wrong in understanding the concept of Sruthi. This you have to develop only by thorough practice of varnams and whenever you reach Panchamam or Shadjam see that you are perfectly in alignment with the sruthi. Or increase your pitch to 6 kattai if you can maintain 6 without any flaw. Practice makes perfect.

  41. madam, i have a son who is 6 years andi have put him for music under my own guru. but this boy is not really interested in it. he sings well, but going to the lower sthayis is a little dificult for him. could u pl let me know ways in enhance his interests in music. if i let him now i do not think he will again sit and learn. pl advice.

  42. My advice is not to force a kid to sit and learn music who doesn’t show interest in music. May be it is the age factor. 6 years is a very playful age. Give him 2 more years time and try again. Let him get slightly older. In the mean time play lot of music at home and make sure it is audible to him.

  43. Mam/Sir, I need carnatic music junior lessons full. Please can you arrange to download that portions. It is very useful for students practising at home.

  44. Dear Madam,

    Hope you are doing good? I wrote to you earlier regarding my problem with talam. Madam, I would like clarify few things with you. I am learning carnatic music since 4.5 yrs. I learnt it earlier in my childhood. But there’s a very long gap.And I would like to tell you that I have very great passion for Carnatic music. The mistake I have done while learning this time is ignored practicing basic exercises. I used to grasp very fast, what ever my teacher taught and used to be overconfident and did not know the value of practice. Now, since 3.5 yrs I am working in an engineering college and not able manage time to practice music. And I have two kids to take care. I face the real problem now. I go to music class in the evening after my college. There is no consistency in my singing ability. Even in music class one day I sing excellently and one day not even at normal level. I finished all the varnams and not able to move further because of this problem. Some times I make such silly mistakes that even swara sthanas go wrong. I feel very guilty and disappointed. Even my music teacher is disappointed with my performance. Now I feel that I go should go back to basic exercises, but again I feel disappointed.
    Also some times my voice doesn’t come out while singing and sometimes it becomes hoarse.
    Please suggest me some remedies for all these problems. I know practice is the only and best thing, but I request you to give me the methods of practicing at this stage and solutions for my circumstances (time and busy schedule). I want your advice to improve my singing ability on the whole.
    I’ll be very eagerly waiting for your early reply

    With Best Regards

    Aparna

    • Hello Aparna

      I am doing fine. Thank you.

      Your problem is very basic and the fundamental mistake. You have ignored practicing basic exercises. Lack of consistency in the quality of singing comes only due to lack of practice. The hoarseness in the voice can be overcome only due to regular and religious practice for a fixed time every day.

      There is no short cut. Go back to the basic lessons. Thorougly pratice in 3 speeds with thalam. Just bear in mind, nothing comes to your hand easily and effortlessly unless there is 100% dedication and hardwork to achieve a particluar level-whatever be the field.

      I have given lots of tips as how to practice, how to take care of the voice etc in the same page. Just go through it once again.

      Last bit of advice from my own experience. I am also a housewife like you with two kids and a lot of responsibilities. I take classes, do all the household chores, take care of the kids including their studies etc.etc.. But I am 100% determined and dedicated to practice everyday without fail – just because I want to excel in whatever I am doing and i am ready to put in all my effort for its achievement. NOTHING CAN STOP ME..( The secret is I get up very early in the morning :) )

      Wishing you all the best for becoming a talented singer

  45. Dear Madam,

    Thank You very much from the immediate reply. And Thank You so Much for your valuable advice and your hearty wishes for me to become a talented singer. I’ll start practicing basic lessons in the early morning. I have downloaded the basic exercises from your website. Can I practice by singing along with the exercises?
    I’ll go through your tips on how to practice and other things.
    Hope everything goes well

    Regards

    Aparna

  46. Dear Madam

    Thank you very much for your effort to develop carnatic music. Your contributions,response to queries are laudable.

    By the way my father is requesting me to get the Aarabi Manam vaithan -ragamalika song of our beloved Maharajapuram Santhanam and if you could provide me I shall be more thankful to you.

    Subramanian B

    • I have searched my database for this particular song sung by Sri.Santhanam. I couldn’t find it. I have asked a few of my friends. If i come across the song definitely i shall make it available to you. Tell your father not to lose hope. I am religiously searching for this song..believe me..

  47. Dear madam,
    I am learning Carnatic music since last 5years from in Bangalore.There was a gap of more than 10years before that where in I did not touch music due to my studies. Earlier my guru used to teach single student at a time and each one was taught according to his or her limitations. Now my guruji has become so busy that he takes group classes, around 30 students at a time. Alapane is taught to the best students who can catch up immediately, slow starters like me sometimes find it difficult to understand and sing the alapane. We are asked to record the sessions and practise at home. I am not sure what I practise is right or wrong, as my sangathis are not corrected in class. I am very confused as what to do and how exactly should I make my progress.
    Should voice culture, akara practise be done very early in the mornings?
    How many hours of practise is needed every day to keep my voice fit and be able to sing like the rest of my music classmates?
    Sometimes I feel aimless and feel there is no proper guide for my practise. Guruji hardly gives personal time to me. So there is very less corrections made for my practise everyday. Sometimes I loose interest which I really do not want to happen. I want my love for music to be alive always.
    When I read your blog I felt you might understand my problem and help me.
    Please give me some suggestions and help me mam.
    Thank you.

    • For developing the voice, I have already written the article. Kindly go through it. The number of hours for practice shall not be the same for all alike. I know people who practice almost 8 hours a day. But I cannot recommend this to everyone as it keeps changing from person to person depending on his or her capacity. Start practising atleast 1 hour a day and gradually improve to 2 or 3 hours.

      For RAga Alapana, start listening to a number of compositons in the same raga and try to learn atleast a minimum of 6 compositions in a particular raga. So you start knowing the jeeva swaras, signature phrases, gamaka and ranjaka prayogas and other minute details of that raga. The Carnatic RAga Appreciation page in this blog aims to bring out all the features of a particular raga and the songs in those ragas. Start with a single raga and download a few songs on that raga and start listening.

      Also read the Techniques of Singing Raga Alapana. Do a recording of your own and listen. Identify the mistakes- practise another session and again do the recording and fine tune your singing.

      Let us start putting our efforts to develop singing RAga. Start with simple Mayamalavagowla. The Guruji has already shown how to sing Raga Alapana. The rest is your job. Practise hard.

      In a school, the teacher teaches you the alphabets, grammer and other details. We practice to write short stories based on our imagination applying all that we have learnt. ARE YOU DOING THAT IN TERMS OF MUSIC ? Start doing from now on..

      BEST WISHES

  48. Dear mam,
    Thank you for the quick reply and the wise advise to practise regularly, by recording and correcting my own mistakes. The last sentence in bold letters is an eye opener for me. I will start at this moment with your blessings to correct myself through dedicated practise. After writing my problems to you, I really thought my Guruji is so busy to concentrate on each and every student and its my own responsibility to do my job by practising regularly, religiously.
    Thanks again,
    Mythili

  49. Anuradha Madam,
    You’re so blessed to have come up with such a beautiful, informative, helpful, carnatic music-enthusing and thought-provoking site. May God bless you always!

    I started learning carnatic music 2 yrs back and because of a trip abroad, i had to keep away from classes. I’m back at Trivandrum, kerala and have continued learning carnatic music since then. It was a great moment when I think back now…really a blessed moment for me…since I was already 29 yrs when I took that step. I had lot of self doubt in mind, about how ppl will think, will i be able to learn etc…since i dont have any brush with singing songs till that time…before an audience…but in a matter of few months, I got so interested that I used to keep humming and singing all throughout the day….and I really knew that I’d taken a great decision to learn this godly art…I was and I am in love with Carnatic music…

    Right now, I’m learning Thodi – finished my Ninnukori (Mohanam), Evaribodhana (Abhogi), Karunimpa (Sahana), Sarasijanabha (Kambhoji), Sami ninne (Sree ragam)…

    My problem aspects:
    a) Practice – Though I hum a lot everyday, it is only on a few days that I sit for practice..
    b) High-pitched notes – I can go only till gandharam and to the max madhyam…panchamam seems almost impossible…
    c) I want to practice manodharmam, i want to sing the varishagal in different ragas. Do you have any sort of help here? audio lessons etc on particular ragas?
    d) Varnams – i’m not able to do in the second and third speeds…When i do either I insert a lot of swaras or sangathis are flat…and they don’t come the way as my guru sings… :(

    Thanks a lot madam for having this forum. Your really doing a great service!!

    Regards,
    Deepu.

    • Hello Deepu

      a) Humming is not going to help. Sit and practice religiously atleast for one hour with a proper sruthi.

      b) You have not mentioned about your pitch. If you are singing with G# sruthi (5 and a half kattai) and if you find it difficult to sing the upper octave, reduce the pitch to 5.If you practice Thara stayi varishakal, your range will definitely go up.

      c) For Manodharma Sangeetham you have to keep on singing swaras first for a chosen raga. To begin with Mayamalavagowla is the best, as we have learnt all the varishas in this raga. Dont wait to sit and practice for manodharma. You can sing swara, while you are cooking, gardening or watering plants. Practice of Dhattu varishas will help you getting ideas on swara patterns.

      d)I have uploaded varnam lessons of Bombay Sisters. Try to download and sing along with the second speed. Gradually venture into 3rd speed.

      BEST WISHES TO YOU

  50. Hi Anuradha,
    Thanks for that quick response – and that too with all the answers for my queries. :)
    I sometimes sing in C but if i dont practice for a while it goes back to B…

    I’ve downloaded the varnams – have listened to Sami ninne and Eranapai – will try to sing along.

    Thanks Anuradha once again…:)

  51. its very good mam but my problem is that i always think negative and feel anxiety for reason or not pl help me

  52. Dear Anuradha Madam

    I introduce myself- Vijayalakshmi Subramanian and my Husband Mr Subramanian is a regular visitor to your blog and informed me that every thing is available in your blog. Very recently only I happen to see your blog and I feel your contribution to the music field is laudable. I take this opportunity to request you notes for the songs chinchirukiliye, kuriaondrum illai and kanda naal mudhalai. Pl keep it up.
    Regards

    Vijayalskshmi Subramanian

  53. Dear Anuradha Madam,
    I have been learning music for a while now and I do not have enough modulation in my singing. How can I fix that problem?

    • Listen to lots of music and closely observe how the professionals are singing in high pitch or low pitch. Also read #3-Develop Your Singing Voice in the Carnatic Music Lessons Page.

  54. Namaste Madam, thanks for your wonderful articles. I am 27 years old and started learning music only now!!! I am singing in G scale and I am able to reach Upper Sa with difficulty and almost impossible to reach Upper Ri and other notes. Any suggestions on how to improvise this part will be much helpful.

    • Hello Krishnan

      Welcome to this blog. A 27 year old male can sing easily at Scale C. Generally voice of the boys change when they are around the age 14 or 15. The pitch drops down as the larynx(Vocal muscles) grow bigger. G or G sharp will suit only for girls/women. With a change in the pitch from G to C, you will be easily reaching two and half octaves.

      Best Wishe

  55. hi
    i am vidhya .i am music student.i am searching for sastriya sangitha guru who is not commercial in their feild i have learned basic lesson and krithi .but i forgot the kriti how should i overcome to practise krithi myself which i already learned.and personaly plse guide me to whom should i go advance level that is manodharma sangitha& navagraha krithi.kamalamba krithi, vilamba kala krithi toget into professional.its really informatable , i desire ur talk straight forward,thank u.i am from chennai.near mylapore also its fine.

    • Hello Vidya

      How to practice, I have already written in this blog quite a few times now. So you can go through that.

      Regarding advanced learning, no guru will straight away take you to Navavarana krithis or Navagraha krithis unless they are very much satisfied by your way of singing. You should be very very confident about your rhythm sense, placement of notes etc etc when you come to vilamba kala krithis or any krithi that you render.

      It is for the guru to decide and choose the krithi for you according to your capacity. You prove that you are exceptionally good in singing major krithis in the first class itself and you can request the Guru in a very humble way to teach you major krithis. He/She will only be too happy to do this.

      Best Wishes

      Regarding Madnodharma Sangeetham, the Guru guides you, say 20%-what are the do’s and dont’s and 80% your own effort and hardwork. You can contact Sri.P.S.Thyagarajan Sir who is also residing at Mylapore. His school name is Sadguru Gana Nilayam. I do not have the address.

  56. hi mam

    i would like to thank u for replying me with in a short time and it also given me right solution wt should i do further.so i planed to thorough my krithi first. i realised fault . as you said i meet the sir immeadiately.

  57. hi mam,
    Interesting website with a lot of information. First let me admit I have no knowledge in carnatic music but have deep interest in the theory of carnatic music. I have written a software that will generate carnatic music lessons for all raaga (about 900), for all 35 thaalas and play them too. once can also use it to enter their swaras and play them. Can set shruthis, adjust duration, speeds, also minimum gamaka (sliding from one note to another or adding micro tones to swaras by a fraction) etc.
    But I am not convinced of my algorithm (though for alankara there is a decent match with known 7 alankaaras) does what is probably created by teachers.
    For example – when janya raagas with 6 or 7 swaras only – I use the sarali/jantai pattern (e.g. 12121234 12345678) – so I prolong notes that are missing – for mohanam 2nd sarali varisai generated by s/w will be as follows (Thisra jaathi / Eka thaaLaa)
    S R2- S || R2- S R2 || G3 P , ||

    S R2 G3 || P D2 S^ || , , , ||

    S^ D2- S^ || D2- S^ D2 || P G3 , ||

    S^ D2 P || G3 R2 S || , , , ||

    I am wondering there should be a better “algorithm” to translate – of if you can provide lessons for mohanam I can try to figure out whether there is a pattern in it and see whether it can be implemented into the s/w.

    Any help???

    • mr. paattukkaaran… could you please let me know details of your musical software. it could be of great help to me as i have a problem in identifying ragas and also in raagalapana… thanks sumathi

      • Ms. sumathi,
        My apologies – since I did not recv any response – I stopped checking into this website. While I was looking for some information for my next software (solkattu software – that will generate/play solkattu for thaalam/jaathi/nadai combination – of course it is still in preliminary stage) – I stumbled on this site again.
        The algorithm – I use for SaraLi to Keezhsthaayi – is simple “pattern mapping”. Let us give numbers to each notes of aarogana and avarogana.
        12345678 and 87654321. Then based on the speed/jaathi/thaala – you have to calculate how many aksharas/notes you need. As in the above example – the saraLi varisai lesson for thisra/eka (one laghu – 3 notes) – we need nine aksharas in first speed – but the saraLi pattern
        S R S R S R G M
        S R G M P D N S’
        has only 8 aksharas. Also mohanam aaroganam/avaroganam has only 6 notes ( S R G P D S’). So whatever is missing – I fill it with prolonging the last note.
        So it become in numbers
        1 2 1 || 2 1 2 || 3 4 , || – so this becomes S R S || R S R || G P , ||
        1 2 3 || 4 5 6 || , , , || – so this becomes S R G || P D S’ || , , , ||

        Similar pattern mapping is automatically by the software for any raaga based on its aargonam/avaroganam pattern mapped to the lesson pattern.

        For alankaaram – I generated – some “complex” algorithm – that simply provides – some kind of “…up/down/up/down…” patterns depending on aksharas required for a given speed/jaathi/thaala. But my daughters and others who know carnatic music (I DO NOT) – said it sounds ok – but not pleasing – or – does not pick up “raaga lakshana” – hence was earlier my question in the forum.

        Please let me know what more details would you like to see. I can even share the software – but it is massive in size – due to soundfonts that I had to create for indian instruments such as Veena, Sitar, Mridangam, Violin (and also vocal – my daughter’s voice).

  58. Hi mam, i am srinivas I got re energised to learn carnatic music. This blog helping me alot to practice my flute with carnatic muaic. I am very thankful to you mam.

  59. Amma , there may be many more proficient teachers but very few have given sincere tips like improving voice and other advice. I was so happy on reading about your music therapy as I intent to do more study in that area. Also , Could you kindly upload few more varnams in different talams like ata which are intended to teach students.

    Thank you so much for the service you are rendering. May God bless your family.

  60. the tips given are really good. The problem with us is
    there is no consistency
    no regular practice
    I am 56 yrs. old . Because of my passion for carnatic I started learning music now. Your suggestions have boosted my feel

    • If you have already learned quite a few varnams before the age of 20, you will very rarely forget it. I think you need to come up with some definite plan and determination to practice/listen to a particular varnam every day to memorise it. Another way is to teach the varnam which you are very confident in singing to somebody else.

  61. Hello Madam,

    It was nice reading some of the questions and answers. I’m a working professional and a mom of 2 very small kids. I have started learning music and feel that have wasted a lot of time till date .. but better late than never. I’m currently learning Vasantha Varnam and my problem is I sing only plain notes and I’m not able to put any gamakas and not even understanding for that matter,can you please let me know how to practise the gamakas so that raaga lakshana comes out really well.

    • Hello Pavani

      Actually the learning process is to be seen from 3 angles. We learn a lot from the teachers/gurus, when we are kids. On the growing stage, we start observing how others do the same thing and take the best lessons from them. The third one is we make our own efforts to sing it beautifully in our own style keeping in mind what our guru taught us, what we have learnt from keen and close observation of others’ singing. In one line, I can say that you should closely listen to lot of music. To sing with gamakas, we need to sing the notes adding anuswaras.

      You can talk to your teacher and tell her about your problem. She is the best person to guide and help you.

      Best Wishes

  62. Hi mam!!!! I am Sakthi.I dont have proper training in our Carnatic music but still i learn krithis of Dhikshidhar,ShyamaSasthri from recordings of our legends.Now my age is 22. I learnt Shruthi and Thala from my Grand Father, may i learn our music now? can you give me suggestion? People who heard me singing said my voice is nice. I am asking you because i am very impressed with your article. And give some advises to me more than this to improve me.

    • Hello Sakthi

      A Guru can guide you and help you to learn right from the basics. You need to have a thorough grip on the basic lessons, before you venture into advance ed lessons and krithis. So start learning systematically. A life time of dedication is required to master the skills of any art form. IF you are very passionate about music, just go ahead and practice very well. BEST WISHES

  63. Hello mam… this is sumathi here. well i am taking regular lessons from my guru for senior and im also practicing. im due for my exams coming april. but my only problem is ragalapana and swarakalpana. and this is a major problem. im also unable to recognise ragas or identify ragas. kindly help me in this regard with your valuable tips.

    • You need to ask your guruji to give you notes as small phrases that make up a ragalaapana, if you are unable to do it yourself. Same thing with swarakalpana too. Try creating your own swara patterns for the Tala of the song. A lot of trial and error will start showing the result.

      Best Wishes

  64. Hi,

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article on Hanumath veeNa. Even when you mentioned about hanumAn playing the unfretted veeNa, I was thinking about the chitRa veeNa! hanumAn is one of the most celebrated deities in tyAgarAjA’s compositions, and he literally figures in every instance when tyAgarAja mentions about rAma bhakti.
    Even dIkshithaR eulogizes hanumAn as an expert in sanskrit grammar (nava vyAkaraNa nipuNa) in his kRiti pavanAtmaja AgacHa.

  65. hi madam,iam from a music family but i haven’t get a chance to learn music.now iam at my 50s and i got time and interest to learn music.I got a good teacher and from her i learned sarali,janta,alankarangal,melsthayi varisakal,geetham and varnams.now it is my second year of music practice but my music teacher expired suddenly and iam now like Ekalavya,without a guru..iam keeping a photo of my beloved teacher in my music book and daily practicing music..now iam serching for a good teacher but not getting such a dedicated teacher as before..I just saw this and iam thanking u for giving good and helpful advices for people like me and others.My mom,and her sisters were good musicians and music teachers in schools.now iam regretting not to learn music before..thank u mam..nimmmy

    • Hello Nimmy

      Age is never a constraint as far as music is concerned. Start practising whatever you have learnt. The saying goes ” when the student is ready the Teacher Arrives” ..My Best Wishes to You

    • Hello Manu

      I have clearly mentioned about this under the heading Advantages of Practicing Varnams in 3 speeds. Start at a very slow speed, gradually improve to second speed and then try on 3rd speed(which is Tisra Gathi) after attaining a very high level proficiency in singing 2 nd speed. If you have a guru, you can always request him/her very politely to demonstrate it. Then you will get an idea. Certain lessons you have to closely watch and observe with your own eyes and ears as to how others are doing it. No verbal explanation will be equal to that type of a demonstration.

  66. Mam,Thank u very much for your loving reply.daily iam practicing varnnam and jandavarisakal in 3 speeds.mine is a base voice and my teacher told me u can sing..i like to practice swarams.now i have started practicing krithies,deva deva kalayamithe.more than that iam hearing and practicing keethanam sree mahaganapathim manassa smarami and enna thavam also..your loving advices to others also helping me to learn more.thank u for your encouragement dearest mam..

  67. I am Shanthi ,
    Working in a Pvt Concern as a Finance & Accounts Manager.
    Thank you very much for your whole effort on this.I am in my 45′s , Started learning Carnatic before one year, what ever problem I have, all are having the same. I will try, try to my best by practising. I will keep all your advice and guidance in my mind will practise the basic lessons every day, will try my best. Thank you once again for your whole effort on this blog.
    Cheers,
    Shanthi

  68. hello madam,

    Iam Prasanna meghala, working in Hexaware technologies, Chennaias a software enginner. pleae kindly let me know if any body is teaching varnam in Chennai. Iam very eager to learn it.. I have good knowledge in carnatic music.

    • Hello Sakthi

      Vedhavalli amma is not related to me to in way. I have great respect for her and learn a lot from her songs and lec dems. You should find out from herself whether she is taking classes etc…

  69. Hello Anuradha
    I have been searching for the swaras of Sriman Narayana (Bowli Raga) to play on the Veena. Is there any website where I can find it?
    Thanks Usha

  70. mam,do u know pitham theliya marundondririykkuthu chenchurutti ragam??now iam practicing that because in my childhood days my mom was singing it always..i think u have heard about cherthala Bhavani amma,she is my amma’s sister,was a harikadha prasangika,her son cherthala balachandran also is also famous for harikadha.she was a teacher in my school and she taught valachi vaachi in my class..but what to say,now only i got interest to learn music..

    • Hello Nimmy

      I do not know about this particular song and I have not heard this song so far. Let me search for this song and hear it. Its nice that you have started showing interest in learning music. Age is no bar..Keep practising. Since your relatives are very good singers, you can also shine..I think time has come for you to start practising music seriously..

      My Best Wishes

  71. How to make a perfect practice for alapana after learning swaras,varnam and krithi in a raga ….i just want a start to make it right… plz suggest me mam……

    • Varnams are the base for Alapana. Start pracitsing Alapana using Akara, Ikaram,Umkaram,Aekaram(syllables) etc in various speeds. Your throat muscles will become very flexible by doing this. Begin with lower notes(Manthra Sthayi). Make your own swara patterns and sing that in various syllables as mentioned above. Slowly proceed to MadhyaSthayi and then Upper Sthayi. Come down in the same order. Record your singing after lots of practice. Hear it and find out where you are going wrong and keep on improving.

      May Goddess Saraswathi Shower HER Blessings on You.

  72. hello mam. this is sumathi here. i have a son of six years and he seems to be interested in singing. but the problem is he is unable to touch the lower swaras sa, ri ga ma in shruthi G as this is the shruthi his music teacher uses. children in class make fun of his singing but he sings very well at higher pitches. what should i do to improve this. kindly suggest mam.

    • Hello Sumathi

      Kids can go up to 6 or six and a half kattai. Just try with pitch 6 and see whether he is touching lower notes comfortably. If still he is not able to do, try 6 and a half kattai. Let you not take it into heart about others making fun of your kid. Let them make fun..Train your kid to prove that HE CAN DO IT….Its sheer practice. My best wishes to your young son..

  73. Dear Anu, I am not a singer. But I can enjoy the essence of a Classical Music. Your article is very informative. Expecting more n more articles like this from you…. Thanks

  74. Hi mam, I love music alot and interested in learning it. Am residing at Hyderabad. Could you please suggest me a good learning centre

  75. hi Anu,

    I love classical music, I listen to classical songs a lot. i m learning it for past two yrs. I am 23 now.I have the problem of not being able to sing openly and starting to use my false voice from upper shadja. I start to feel weak and my throat pains when i try to open and I am unable to practise for more than an hour. My teacher says that I have a light music voice ,but for carnatic,I need to sing from nabhi ; but practically I cant hold my breath that long. If I try more, I am missing my shruti. Kindly guide me. I want to have a really strong and a bold voice. Also, am i too old to learn or train my voice? I dream to be a good singer. Please suggest some solution.

    Thanks in advance,
    dheepa

    • Hello Dheepa

      Experts say that light music singers use their head register while singing. For Carnatic krithis we need a bold voice which can be achievd only through open throat singing.

      Right alignment with sruthi, bold voice, breath control etc can be achieved only through dedicated practice without fail every day. Nothing is wrong with your age in attaining a perfect voice. You should be easily attaining upto Tharastaayi Panchamam in the pitch G#(G Sharp – 5 and Half kattai) at your age.

      1. Lots of mistakes can be corrected by dedicated practice of varnams in atleast two speeds.

      2. Do pranayama everyday to attain breath control.

      3. Voice culture exercises together with pranayama and regular practice will definitely improve your voice, sruthi and pitch.

  76. Hi mam, I have learnt carnatic music till pada varnam but I had lost touch of my practise for around 6 years and now when i try to sing i reach a nasal voice and cannot control my breath when singing higher G,M,P. please tell me how i can avoid this situation. I am currently studying B.E 4th year

    • Hello Rahul

      You have not mentioned your pitch. You have honestly admitted that you are not in touch for the past 6 years and that is the problem. A long gap of 6 years…Practice everyday and do pranayama..There is no shortcut..Start practising..Better late than never..

      Best Wishes

  77. Hi mam i am revathi na padrathuku rompa asapaduthan voice nalla erukum ana ellarum munnade enaku paderathuku saya erukum carnatic kathukanumnumnu asya eruku ana na oru disabled enaku poi padekara alavuku vasthium ela ana enoda voice tharamya valarthukanum en appa ammauku ethirparatha santhosatha kudukanum enaku eppad solrathunu thariyala madam ungala mudenthal enaku payatha pokanum na chennailathan work panran en oru kovilpatti nenga hyderabadla thanan erukenga ungala nerla ennala parka mudyathu ethavthu oru vagayila enaku help i m ungaludya advise dips entha mathiri kadcha enaku konjam helpfula erukumnu nankaran plze mam ennudya mail id tharan athula anupunga plze mam enundya lachiyam kanavu nanavakunga madam plze mam

  78. Hello Revathi

    My help is already there in this blog. I have uploaded music lessons from basics till varnams. Download it and start singing along. These are made available free. I am also posting simple bhajans under the tab carnatic singing lessons. Download it and learn.

    If your ambition is very true and genuine definitely you will find a Guru near your place whom you can reach. When the student is ready…the teacher arrives..Pray to GOD…Till then, learn from these basic lessons.

    I dont live in Hyderabad..I live in Kerala..

    Best Wishes to you

  79. I read this and it’s nice and also downloaded the lessons and listened, i am a beginner for Karnataka music and the basic lessons are very helpful for me..thank you very much and please continue with more and more lessons.

  80. Namaste mam! u r doing great …. i love ur blog so so much…. the notes very simple n clear…. am 23 old girl… my love on carnatic music takes me to learn it… i just started to learn before 3 months mam. am in jantai varishai… now music became my whole world, i spent atleast 8 hours / day for music mam…my problem is whenever i tried to sing a song, i cud’nt deliver it with the original feel of the song. i hate myself for thiz kind of singing… i need ur valuable suggestions for my problem mam. and also i wish to know what kind of practice i should take to sing with gamakas.thankz a lot..

  81. Hello Divya

    You have just started learning. Practice will make the art perfect. 3 months is just too short a time to deliver songs with intense bhava or emotion. Try to know the meaning of the song.It takes a kid to start walking atleast one year from the date of birth. It is the time factor. Give time and practice well. Best Wishes to you.

  82. hai mam… I am very much happy to see your site.this is very informative about music and became a fan of yours.
    I am a bank employee and I have started learning music and veena just one year before.Let me know where r u staying in Kochi.
    Leena

  83. Namaste mam, i m vishnu, ur blog is realy helpful to the beginers of carnatic music, i have age of 20, i wish i want to study carnatic music.., but i have no opertunities get for that, i think u can help me for that, plz sent mam simple notes to my email as consider me as a starter…..

    • Hello Vishnu

      Music has to be learnt face to face sitting in front of a Guru..especially a beginner like you. Before learning songs there are a few other things to be learnt like sruthi alignment, concept of talam etc. Moreover music cannot be learnt by reading notes like you learn social studies or science. You need to understand the subject.. Right now I am handling quite a few classes and do not have time to sent notes on your email account..Please find a Guru near your place and request him/her to take classes for you..

      Best Wishes to you

  84. Namaskaram

    Very nice blog with fantastic information for Carnatic music aspirants.

    I started my Carnatic music learning recently. I play the flute. I would like to know the practice method of talams in legs. Sometime I miss the count when accompanied by mirudangam.

    Sreeni

    • This is very difficult to achieve. Can be achieved only through constant saadhana/practice. Senior instrumentalists say that the you should start counting the talam in your mind while you play. Even i lose track of talam at times when i play manodharma swarams. For krithies you will be knowing exactly where the bear comes.

  85. hi mam, i am kanaka from kerala learning carnatic for the past 3 years.i am 51 now.i practise very regularly and i sing bhajans.i sing bhajans in different sruthi but my master says never keep changing sruthi.fix one sruthi and sing all bhajans but ia m not getting all the songs in 5 and a half kattai.is it not good to sing in different sruthi?pls reply and my thalam is not perfect.how to practise thalam please help me.thanks in advance mam.

    • Your master is right. It is quite natural for women to go down in their lower their pitch after middle age . But your master is absolutely right in saying that you should not keep on changing your pitch according to the songs.

      The ideal solution is to bring down your pitch to 5 from 5and half. You have to maintain this pitch with continuous practice so that you can sing all songs in the same pitch. Regarding Talam, it is nothing but sheer practice of basic lessons with Talam. Onc you have perfected with first speed, go to second speed and then try third speed.

      Best Wishes

  86. I always wonder how one can develop a Briga voice to render effortless brigas??? I mean does singing Varnams in 3 speeds help us getting there?? Or are there any other exercises apart from varnams to bring the voice into a state where one could sing brigas effortlessly without leaving the Shruthi behind..

    • Hello Rakshith

      My master used to tell me that singing jantai and other varisais in 3 or more speeds in akAram in perfect alignment with the Sruthi can help you in singing brigas. Some singers get it very easily without much practice. Some others will find it very difficult to achieve it..

  87. No words at all madam this is the first time I visited your blog … your aim of growing in music along with making all art lovers grow with you is worth infinity thanks :-) I bow to you and before singing guru brahma from this minute I will think of having you as one additional teacher for me in my life ………

  88. Hello Mam,
    Just came across this wonderful blog during a search.. :) it’s just amazing.. was learning long ago…deep down that search is still there.. want to re start again.. your blog is really informative n motivating.. :) In early 40′s now…. I’m sure can still learn… :)
    Thanks a ton & Wishing you n your family all the very best !!!

    Warm Regards,
    Chash [Chandra shekar]

  89. Hello Mam…Your blog is excellent with lots of information…i am actually from musical background…My grandma and my mom(along with their bajan group) are organizing a program called “SrinivasaKalyan”and they have completed 723 kalyans till now at free of cost…this is a 3 hours entertaining musical event which s fully of kannada songs…the problem s tat they don’t care about their voice…they dont experience any problem while singing but for the next two days they suffer with throat infection…i want this seva to be continued by them in a smooth manner…can u pls give me some tips for maintaining their sweet voices???

    • Hello Bharadwaj

      It is quite natural to get throat infection or the voice to get tired and hoarse after an exhaustive bhajan session.
      1. To reduce the level of infection or voice fatigue, first of all take complete voice rest for atleast two days- which means that they should be doing literally a MOUNA VRATHAM

      2. A healthy voice is VERY dependent on vocal cords that are kept continually moist with watery mucus. So they have to drink plenty of lukewarm water. THEY SHOULD NEVER STEAM OR INHALE.

      3. Honey has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, meaning that bacteria will find it hard to survive and reproduce in honey. This also means that when we have a sore throat or just feel some discomfort in our voice, we can just take one spoonful of pure Honey, and let it drizzle down our throats. This will help to keep the bacteria away, and will also help our sore throats to heal faster!

  90. hello mam
    i need to know about jayamanohari raga and sri ramya chitta (thyagaraja krithi)
    i was not able to find the audio file of that kriti……

    Archana

    • Hello Archana

      ‘Sri Ramya Chitta’ in Jayamanohari, a rarely heard kriti of Tyagaraja. This is a janya raga of Kharaharapriya and has the following Arohana and Avarohana

      Arohanam: srgmds;
      Avarohanam : sndmgrs.

      When we start with kharaharapriya and omit panchamam note alone, both in the ArOhaNam and avarOhaNam,the resulting rAgam is Sriranjani. Now, if we omit the nishadam note in the arohanam in Sriranjani, we get jayamanOhari. From jayamanOhari if we omit nishadam again from the avarohanam (if we omit the note nishadam from shriranjani ) the resulting Raga is Abhogi. Thus Jayamanohari, Sriranjani and Abhogi are three closely related janya ragas of Kharaharapriya.

      Here is the link for the above said song from my collections.

      http://www.mediafire.com/?hwm0cc1m9bnwps7- G.S.Mani
      http://www.mediafire.com/?0ricguyahcy3117-Balasaraswathi

  91. mam I am 20 year old

    my friend told me-”you should have started singing before the age 0f 13 then only your vocal chords will be tuned according to it.now you have bass voice and you cannot sing with correct sruti”

    guide me to change my voice and sing correctly

    • Hello Vijay

      Age is not at all a barrier to learn music. When people who are 56 and 62 are learning music at this age from the beginning, you have the advantage of age with you. Nobody can discourage you, if you have a strong will power to learn whatever you want to learn. Actually now your voice is set and has passed the stage of transition from the voice of a child to a male voice. So what is stopping you..?

      One more advice..Nobody can change your voice..it is God’s unique gift to you. Its upto you to decide what you are going to do with the voice you have.
      Secondly, Its sheer practice to change your voice into a honey dipped one.

      DO NOT LISTEN TO ANYBODY’S COMMENTS UNLESS THEY ARE VOICE EXPERTS OR VOCOLOGISTS AS FAR AS SINGING IS CONCERNED. So blindly follow what your heart and mind says. Try learning ..Keep Practising.. Definitely you will be able to sing well..So what are you waiting for? JUST START… :) Find out a very good GURU..and start learning. BEST WISHES TO YOU.

      LET GODDESS SARASWATHY BLESS YOU TO BECOME A GREAT SINGER…

  92. Dear Madam,
    Nice write up on music.
    I am a keen student of carnatic music and have learnt for some time.
    am looking for advanced classes.
    would you be able to help.
    Regards
    Rama

    • Hello Rama Ramesh

      Right now I am engaged in quite a few projects. So absolutely no time for classes for the time being. Here lot of music and start practising whatever you have learnt bringing it closer to perfection while you render the song. Search for a Guru near your place.

      Best Wishes to you

      Anuradha Mahesh

  93. helo mam dis is abhi :) hope ur dng gud ..

    i have sung in two albums till date and d reason i cant get more chances bcz of d smile which i cant shw in d singing .. while speaking i laugh a lot bt wen it to comes to singing ,.. i am singing serisly,i prctsd singing love sngs,enejy songs bt no use :( any tips mam ??

    • Hello Abhi

      Singing in albums should not be your only goal in life. So many factors goes into consideration if you have to be selected to sing a song in an album.There may be also be reasons other than the above ones that you have mentioned. And my honest opinion is do not go in search of chance. If you have the real talent, chances will pour in without you going for its search. You can take it or leave it..

      Record at home whatever you are singing and hear it again and again and thus closely watch the small mistakes you make. Keep on doing this until you feel that your rendering is quite fine.

  94. hello maam, i am kavitha. came across your blog while searching for info on kamboji and bilahari ragams. your blog is amazing and very interesting. goin thru it slowly.
    i am 35 and i have started learning carnatic music along with my daughter, from the same teacher.
    i have some doubts…if you can clarify i will be grateful. both of us have finished with geetham and started the first swarajathi rara venu.
    first doubt, my teacher does not encourage the use of shruthi box saying you will grow dependent on it. my qn is…is this ok for beginners?
    second for two ragas she has given a different araohana and when i asked she said that is how she learnt it..but the swarams in the geethams are correct….can you shed some light on this.
    lastly my problem when i sing the geethams i go wrong in the pitch…meaning in padumanabha geetham in the line DDP|P.,PM|| i go wrong in the second P , either i take it low or high…usually its low. can you guide me please, thank you

    • Hello Kavitha

      1. If you are a beginner or a performing artist or just a sinbger..SRUTHI IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL. NEVER EVER IMAGINE TO SING WITHOUT A SRUTHI.

      2. Second question is very vague. Certain ragas have two or more Arohanams.. If you search the net you can find out the scales of different ragas.

      3. Start practising and singing with SRUTHI..You will learn to sing in alignment with Sruthi…

      Best Wishes

    • Hello Ramya

      This is a difficult question to answer..It all depends on your efforts/hardwork, dedication / willingness to spent hours and hours of practice in the art form etc..etc.. and the lessons you learn from the mistakes you do every time when you are performing.. Quite a long way to go..But YOU CAN ALWAYS KEEP ON IMPROVING..

  95. Dear Madam,

    I have a doubt. I hve been learning carnatic music for 4 years and learnt about 20 tana,1 dharu,2 ata tala varnams and last month on vijayadasami day my teacher started to teach simple kritis. After 4 kritis, suddenly she asked me to try singing kalpana swaram for bantu reeti kolu in hamsanadham ragam. I could not sing even a single talam. I am very much worried and got tensed b’se I could not coordinate the talam with singing. My doubt is ..K.Swaram will it come after the 4 kritis? what stage it will come for me?Is there any seperate practice or techniques for kalpana swarams?How should I practice?My teacher is very strict. Please clear my doubts and I always need ur blessings to comeup further. Please reply me. Thanks.

    Regards,
    Saraswathi.

  96. Hello Saraswathi

    Welcome to this blog.

    As far as Kalpana Swarams are concerned, it requires rigorous practice to start singing kalpana swaram. Manodharma swara patterns, you have to keep on singing swaras. Do not wait for a time to sit and sing manodharma swara. You can sing manodharma swara while watering plants, cooking or washing your car etc. To begin, start with Melakartha ragas for singing swaras. You can also choose Audava Ragas like Mohanam, Hamsadwani etc to begin with.

    Do not worry about the talam initially. Let the swaras start flowing like waterfall. Then you can fix the talam. In your case..taking up hamsanada in the very first instance is tough as the song begins after 6 aksharas.(Desadi Talam).Try some song in Mayamalavagowla or Kalyani initially with a krithi that starts in Samam (in the beat).

    You can request your teacher that you would like to practice with a melakartha raga song which begins on the beat.

    Best Wishes to you..

  97. Hello Ms.Anu,

    Thanks a lot for all the info and upto date updates. I feel this blog is a very big treasure of carnatic music. My son (11 yrs) is already doing Manodhramam. He is doing only sarva lagu swaras for K.swaras and soon will learn about Kanakku. I am giving some intro. about that based on the details we got from web. He asked me about korrappu. I could not find it anywhere when I wanted to know about it. Could you tell us about Korrappu and some example if time permits or some pointers to that where we can get more details about that.

    Thanks a lot for your time, patience and support for carnatic music lovers like us.
    Regards,
    Radha

    • Hello Radha

      Your son has to listen to various concerts performed by great singers like KVN and Semmangudi. Koraippu is often performed as a grand finale to the kalpana swarams.

      Koraippu means to reduce the duration of avarthanams by ending the swara singing on a particular note. First, the artist will sing the swaram say for a duration of 4 avarthanams. Then he starts reducing(Koraippu) the duration of avarthanams from 4 to3, then 2 then one follwed by half and then one -fourth of the talam. Kuraippu is followed by korvai to finish the kalpana swaram singing.

      You can ask your son’s guru to give guidance in this aspect.

      Best Wishes

  98. mam, roy from srilanka,
    i’m 20 and learning carnatic music.
    how to get swara janam(knowledge of sruthi)
    i practiced so many time, but i don/t why is that

  99. mam roy here,
    do i have to listen to raga alaps or krithees,
    shall i listen to particular raga song for period of time or all type of raga song.

    • Hello Roy

      Its not just hearing. Whatever you hear, you have to internalise and try to bring it out in your own swara phrases. You have to keep on doing this.

      To begin with, start with Mayamalavagowla..Please read the answers to other visitor queries. I have replied to such questions earlier too.

  100. Carnatic Music Lessons 1,2 and 3 are very useful uploads indeed. All music lovers include beginners can utilise this rare opportunity. Anuradha madam, thanks a lot to you for these efforts.
    Regards

    Subramanian B

  101. Mam, I have visited your home page as I was searching for some basic online carnatic lessons. To begin with myself, I have passion about singing but don’t learn any lessons professionally, just to say literally “I am a bath room singer”.

    Can you say me in brief, how to start up, if some one wants to become an eminent singer from his/her Zero phase?

    • Hello Durai
      You have to search for a guru and start right from the basics with proper guidance. Then how much ever you practice is directly propotional to the improvement you achieve..

      Best wishes

  102. Dear Mam,
    I am Jasmine Wilson.
    i just went thru’ your lessons and found it so interesting.
    I am learning carnatic music.Presently I am learning kalyani varnam. Your tips are so enriching. You have briefed about lots of techniques, like increasing space in the throat region, but how to increase the space. could you please throw some light on this.
    Thank You.

  103. Dear Mam
    Thanks for your response. I would appreciate if you could suggest a voice expert. I am staying in Tambaram, Chennai

  104. Dear Anu madam, I am Srinivasan, your work is excellent and I really appreciate your priceless efforts to the music society and I am proudly taking advantage of your sharing. Just one silly question, dont laugh at me. why adi thala is not in the saptha tala alankarams and if you have time please elaborate all 35 thalams (7 major thalams with diff.nadai), Thanks and best regards.

  105. mam,
    your comments are superb,
    mam, music teachers tell me, “while singing you have to listen to your self ”
    while singing how can i listen to my self mam.
    because i may sing out of sruthi sometimes.
    is there any technique to achieve this level, help me mam

    • Hello Roy

      Nothing is impossible. You have to train your ears to listen while you sing. Initially you can record your singing and identify the mistakes. Once you note that you are going wrong in sruthi, you will be more conscious and when you are more conscious, you concentrate more and naturally your ears too start listening to what you sing. !!

  106. mam, i read some thing in an article, in western music, it contains perfect pitch and relative pitch .
    but, carnatic music has only relative pitch, is this true mam,
    then when some one is performing, how can we identify exact swaras and find out the raga mam.
    I’m confused mam.
    if you have time, please detail my doubt mam.

  107. Namaste Ms Anuradha Mahesh.

    Just happened to read your blog through Geetham websire. Very enriching. I have read all the messages. I seem to have a peculiar problem. I am 53 years old. Haven’t learnt carnatic music when I was young. Fortunately I was always interested in Carnatic Music and have listened all throughout my adulthood. I started learning from a female teacher when i was 45 years. Learnt for 5 years and she always said that I am not in Sruti when I sing alone. Apparently I sing in Sruti when i am in a group She sings in G# and all the kids were 12 and below. In the last year(about 3 years ago) I started singing in c and then she used to have throat problems. She said she couldn’t continue because of the difference in Sruti. Many male teachers are working full time and they don’t take any adult male student. I was in Melbourne and now I have moved to Sydney and it is the same problem.

    I want to know is it possible for a feamle teacher singing at G# to teach a amale student to sing in b or c? How is the sruti difference problem resolved?

    Also I seem to have a problem with he Sruti. I don’t seem to have a good grasp of Sruit knowledge.

    Any tips?

    Thanks again for your great informative blog.

    Regards,
    Prasad

    • Hello Prasad

      Choosing the correct sruti suitable for each voice is very important. If there is no real shruti in the music and singing, the songs just won’t appeal. Generally a female teacher cannot sing in C sruthi(this is 8 kattai). The best output is when they sing in G or G#. For males, due to their thick voice, their best pitch is C.

      But there is always a solution for any problem. Your teacher has rightly said that she finds it difficult to sing in C as this is too high for her. But at the same time you will find it difficult to sing in G#. There should be a compromise for the solution. She has to keep the sruthi(C) according to the student and all higher notes have to be sung at the lower octave by the teacher. This way both of you can teach and study respectively with a consesus.

      Musicians have had several years of intense training and practice in a particular shruti suitable to their voice. In your case, I suggest you to sing SA PA SA and see that you do it in perfect alignment with the sruthi.

      I will be writing an article regarding Sruthi at the earliest. Please visit again, read and sharpen your skills on singing in perfect alignment with the sruthi.

  108. Thanks for your prompt reply Ms Anuradha ji.

    I think that was what my teacher was doing. She was singing the higher notes at the lower octave. Being a slow learner I wasn’t able to grasp. May be that is why she was exasperated and gave up on me.

    Looking forward for your article about the Sruti.

    thanks once again and regards,
    Prasad

  109. Dear Madam,
    I am Murali 35 yrs living in Melbourne, I dont have proper Carnatic background, i do sing a lots of Bhajan songs, I am trying to improve my voice your advice is much appreciated.
    Regards
    Murali

  110. hello madam ,
    I am Chandana 23 years iam interested in music and want to become a good singer .i dnt even knw the basics if i start the practice from now onwards wil i get my goal pls suggest me some tips for improving my voice.

  111. mam roy here,
    i am practicing sarali varisaigal 1 to 5 for about 2 months as you suggested,
    now i can sing in sruthi as well as i can listen to my voice.
    mam what is the next step? can you please suggest me,
    i’m very thankful for your help

  112. Hey my name is Bharath,

    I just started taking carnatic lessons and I am 17 years old. I have a very good sense of musci as I can judge the slightest differences in pitch. The biggest problem I am having is singing high notes.

    I am singing in C sharp when I do my carnatic lessons. Until “Da” my voice is not strained but when i get to Ne and Sa I only feel less strained when I just let out the full voice meaning loud. But when I try to soften it…It feels soft but I feel strain. Once I get past Ne and Sa and the Re in the upper sthayi my strain goes away from Ga and onwards. The problem is I am not able to sustain Ne Sa and Re. I am able to do it If I don’t take any breaks and go Sa, re ga ma pa da ne sa. Will I eventually be able to soften my voice around those notes if i practice everyday?

    • Hello Bharath

      Try practising Tarastaayi varishakal continuously everyday. You will find the difference if you record what you sing today and what you sing a month later. You have to sing in akaram too. Never attempt soft singing. Carnatic music is meant to be sung in open throat voice. This will also enable you to get a very rich and rounded tone to your voice making it bold.

      Best Wishes

  113. Dear Anuradha Madam,
    I wish to continue my carnatic music lessons. Could you please let me know your contact details?

    Thanks and Regards,

    Meera Prakash

  114. actually mam, when I try to sing openly i find my self singing very loud and strained when i get to the top notes.. and the top notes become shaky and squeaky…What problem am I facing?

  115. hello mam…..! i am learning music. i live at bombay…! i would like to learn music under you. please wl u let me know if that is possible. if yes then plse let me know. eagerly waiting for your reply.

  116. helo mam!!! I am learning music on my own I would like to know how to improve your akarams and how to increase their perfectness while singing and whether it is good to learn by your own

    • You cannot learn on your own until you have learnt under the proper guidance of a Guru for a considerable amount of time and atleast learned quite a few varnams, capable of identifying ragas and swarastanas etc. Akarams can be improved only through dedicated practice and practising in atleast 3 speeds.

      • Thank you for your advice mam!!! so far I have learnt in varnams kalyani, natakurunji, shankarabaranam, mohanam, abhogi, saveri, hamsadwani, saranga, nava ragamalika, bhairavi so can I pracise now on my own. I have to ask you to do me 2 kind favors. Can u please post music lessons for ata tala varnams and can i ask you check if my voice is good I have not practised for a long time and my sruti is 1.5 please reply me soon. thank you very much for your precious time

      • Hello Ramanath

        I shall post Ata Tala Varnam lessons shortly.

        I am sorry I cannot find time for analysing your voice, as I am too much held up with my schedules and assignments. Start practising. After practising continuously for a month, you will definitely find that your voice have improved a lot.

        Best Wishes

  117. Namasthe mam, My son is 10 years old and is studying carnatic music. His master says he is the best student of him.. But monu cannot sing “manodharma swaras”.His master is not allowing him to study it byheart. What can he do?

    • Hello Sudha

      A 10 year old boy is too young to know the intricacies of singing manodharma swaras. A student will be able to sing Kalpana swaras only after learning quite a few varnams and krithis in the same raga to know the various sancharas or swara patterns. There is ample time for your son to sing kalpanaswaras as he is very young. The master is absolutely right in saying that manodharma swara should not be by-hearted. If he starts by-hearting, then he will be able to sing only those swaras that he has already by-hearted. His mind will not think of any other patterns other than the one by-hearted.

      Trust your son’s master. When the time comes, he will start singing swaras on his own. In the mean time let him start hearing lots of swara kalpanas sung by the great musicians. He can try some swaras in the raga mayamalavagaula or hamsadwani of mohanam which are quite simple. But see to it that he never by-hearts.

      Best Wishes

  118. hello sir/mam i am sathish from trichy…i love 1000% above music…i am intersting for music feild…but not know any basic music skill…what i do.so where can i learn music.. my age is 23..now doing job…but my carrier like music feild ….please guide me.

  119. roy here,
    i am learning a lot through you instruction mam, I’m welcoming you for such a superb work mam.

    mam,
    when I’m singing(most of the time), i encounter some voice strain problem(little hard to sing upper notes),
    and also voice dryness in my voice, so can you help me to get relief from that mam.

  120. mam i am 19 years old i startd to go music clases from last monthn… i am very much interested to sing … and in how many days can i improve my voice ? and can i achieve my goal .. to be a singer. please madam geive suggestion to success… i love to sing..

  121. dear lady, fantastic going thru yr msgs. I am 59yrs, male,singing bhajans for a long time.A friend suggested I learn music from a guru as my voice is good. living in Chennai. Pl advise.
    Rgds diwakar.

    • Hello Diwakar

      You have a good friend..Just blindly follow your friend’s advice. Start from the beginning varisais as this will improve your range, depth and richness in your voice..

      MAY GODDESS MOOKAMBIKA SHOWER HER BLESSINGS ON YOU.

      Best Wishes.

  122. gud afternoon madam ,

    mam i love to sing film song.. and in our class sir is saying that along with carntic music you should practice even other songs to improveur vioce and he gave us song to learn. madam is there we should learn film song seperatly to participate in other events.

  123. Madam. I am a student of Carnatic Music. I have practiced and am able to sing brigas in fast speeds. But I have a problem. Now and then, I lose my ability to sing fast brigas. I don’t know the reason. I am able to sing at my full potential at one particular day, or time. My voice flows freely only during a particular day, after which i wake up the next morning, i can’t sing such brigas and it continues so for weeks, which i’m frustrated about. I am able to sing brigas very freely, especially at times during competitions and kutcheris, when i am sometimes filled with nervousness. It’s like i cannot sing brigas often when i want to, that happens rarely. But when i’m forced to sing, my voice cooperates. Do you have any idea on what to do to control my voice to bring out the fullest potential ?

    • Hello Vishvak
      Some singers already have this talent of briga singing, while those who do not have such capability has to develop it with singing varnams and varisais in 3 speeds in akaram. Brigas as you know are brisk passages. Briga singing can be achieved only by thorough and regular practice everyday. Jantai varisais, dhattu varisais etc has to be sung religiously everyday without fail in akaram and in the 3rd and 4th degree of speed if possible. Gradually, this will be set and you may be able to sing whenver you want to do briga singing.

      • Yes. Ma’am, but i do hard work and do practice daily. Does that mean my practice should be more ? I practice very hard daily, sing everywhere i go like a mad person, which is what my friends call me.

      • That’s a difficult question to be answered. Earlier musicians used to practice for 6-7 hours it seems. Their only agenda was to teach music, practice music and perform kutcheris. Other than the time for sleep, they were singing. That’s why their music still remains immortal.

        But in this time we are all so busy we get very little time to practice. If your practice has reached the level of saturation, then the above mentioned problem will never happen again.. due to the efforts and hours put in practice.

        Best Wishes

  124. Madam, thanks for this wonder blog u have created which helping so many people round the world. mam, Im not able to appreciate/feel the difference(while hearing/singing) in vrikthi swarans..R1,2,3..G1,2,3… M1,2… D1,2,3… N1,2,3. could you pls send the me audio/vocal lesson links which contains how to sing suddha, chathusruthi , shutshruthi tones also , kaikili kaakili nishadam tones..!! so that i can proceed further in my learning. – Arun

    • Hello Arun

      The arohana avarohana of Mayamalavagowla raga has R1 or Suddha Rishabham.

      The arohana avarohana of Sankarabharanam/Kalyani etc has R2 or Chatusruthi Rishabham and Nattai scale has R3 or Shatsruthi Rishabham. Thoroughly learn these arohana avarohanas so that you can differentiate between the various Rishabhas.

      Just search Arohana Avarohanams of Ragas you will get so many audio samples.

  125. Hai mam
    I would like to know if there is a talam with just dhrutham in its angam. That is just “thatti thirupudal” without lagu or anudhrutham.

  126. Dear Anu i went through your blog. it is really wonderful and informative. you r doing a great job congrtas. i have a doubt. i usually sing in F sharp for the past two years but while taking classes i sing in g sharp but in whatever pitch i sing i am not able to sing above Tara sthayi Ri. i am not able to use my head voice. iam neither used to sing in false voice my voice reasonably powerful. nowdays i feel iam getting cracky voice . not very clear. but volume and sound is good.
    bhagyalekshmy

    • Respected Teacher

      Thank you very much for visiting my musical abode and posting your inspirational remarks.

      For ladies in middle age, Estrogen production goes down due to menopause. This influences their voice slightly. The pitch goes down. Again this is different on a case to case basis. For teachers, it’s a lesson worth learning. Teachers/Music Teachers who try to do the best possible job for their students, need to take care and preserve their most valuable teaching asset—their voice.Teachers are among those professionals who make great demands on their voices; they talk all day long in the classroom or singing sessions and have to project loud enough so that all their students can hear them clearly. Unfortunately, this stress on the voice also leads to strain in vocal chords. Singing in unsuited registers or scales and overusing voice may lead to voice problems.

      But after seeing many such cases, I strongly feel that the ladies in the middle age should not brood over their pitch reduction and should accept this very gracefully as this is a very natural phenomena for them. My humble suggestions would be to stick on to the pitch which is most comfortable to you. On this pitch

      You need to practice Tharastayi varisaigal without fail everyday morning and evening in akarams. If this is done religiously definitely you will be able to reach the next swara in Tharastayi in a couple of weeks. In your case, Tharastayi Gandharam.

      You can also practice this exercise..sr srg srgm srgmp srgmpd srgmpdn srgmpdn srgmpdnS srgmpdnSR srgmpdnSRG srgmpdnSRGM srgmpdnSRGMP.. up to the possible level. The swaras in capital letters denote Tharastayi notes. Slowly try for the Tharastayi Gandharam with this exercise too..Definitely it will open up. Always drink warm water. When boiling water add pepper and jeera too. After that you can mix it up with a 2-3 teaspoons of honey and drink this water hereafter. Make it a life style. In a matter of six months, definitely your voice will open up.

      Last and final do not over-strain your vocal chords. When you are not feeling good vocally, give a complete voice rest for one full day(not even phone calls).

  127. Dear Madam,I am Francis and i am at the age of 35 ,i am very much interested in the music,but i didnt get any opportunity to learn,now i want to learn music and i want to go up to composer level,is it possible to learn and reach that level and give me your valuable guidence.Thanks.

  128. Dear Madam, I am amazed going through your blog. Some of the basic tips you have given is valuable guidance to every aspirant of music. Hope you would give more good advise to the students of music and looking forward to read more from you.

  129. Dear Madam,
    I have joined my son 6 months back for learning carnatic classical. I have downloaded the basic lessons to help my practice at home..Your work is really commendable

  130. I always wanted to learn music. Due to studies and after that job etc., I could not learn music. Music is a language of nature and without the knowledge of music I think I am missing out on a good part of life. I would like to start the journey even though it is quite late. But it is better late than never. Hope your online lessons would help me.

  131. Dear Mam,
    I have joined my son 3 Years back for learning carnatic classical. I have downloaded the basic lessons to help my practice at home..Mam can you plz upload/suggest me about lakshana geetham hamsadwani raagam,triputa taalam.

  132. Hello Swetha

    I do not upload single mp3 songs as it is very laborious and I do not of so much of time at my disposal. .rar files have a collection of files. Download rar file and unzip it. This will give mp3 files..

  133. Dear Anuradha
    I simply want to congratulate you on a great blog! The information is practical and truly helpful, most especially the tips and techniques…it is always preferable to hear these from practicing and successful artists… I love to read on and look forward to your update. Many thanks for your efforts and time on this subject.

  134. Hi Madam,

    I have gone thru the blog and the information is very good.I am a 30yrs working person.I am passionate aboout music learning.Due to my fiancial reasons i could not able to learn in my childhood.Now i want to learn Carnatic Vocal & Voilin as chennai is having so many Learning institutes and some hopes are reagaining to learn.Will it be possible to learn Now.Please suggest.

    Regards
    Prasad,Chennai

  135. Hi mam,
    I am 26 years old i want to learn music but i am not able to attend the class as i am working and also have kid pls suggest me how can i go ahead with online..

    • Hello Sangeetha

      Your prime importance is definitely your job and equally important is the family and kids. For a beginner it is always better to have a face-to face class with your teacher mainly to understand the concept of Sruthi and Talam. I suggest that you have to find time on Sundays or Saturday evenings with a local teacher where you reside.

      Best Wishes

  136. I had seen many videos & articles,blogs,sites on Carnatic Music Lessons, most of these videos & articles depicts as Carnatic Music has give more prominence,guidance,tip n pointers only for vocals/singers.
    Is Carnatic Music not meant for Instrumentalist. What if someones interested in playing Instruments like Violin,Flute,Keyboard,Mrudangam etc (in Carnatic). Why does these posts/articles doesn’t mention that….
    Like what and how does an Instrumentalist should start and learn from (in Carnatic)….
    Or does he learn the same as a Carnatic Vocalist do learn or something different and what does Singers learn & Musicians learn in Carnatic…
    Plz do mention for Musicians (Instrumentalists) as well coz without their co-ordination a Vocalist cant express himself well… and all listener will experience monotonous whether its Carnatic or any Genre of Music…. Thank You….

    • Hello R

      The answer is quite simple. As far as I know both vocal and instrumental complements each other. Sufficient knowledge in vocal music and lessons will definitely add to the expertise of the instrumentalist. In my case, it was only after I learned 8 years vocal, I started learning the instrument Veena. Still I continue to learn vocals and each krithi has its own charm. I am able to play the sahityam in Veena rather than the swaras. There is a great difference in playing the sahityam and swara. Playing the sahityam is just like singing the song with lyrics.

      My Guru instructed me to do so to make me aware that an instrumentalist who also has sufficient knowledge in vocal music will be more involved in the music he/she plays. This is very true in my case. My guru has trained me to know more about the ragas, their intricacies/ nuances etc. Whatever that comes in throat can be produced in the instruments too. So one should experience oneself whether it is possible or not. Both vocalists and instrumentalists learn the same basic exercises as prescribed by the great Saint Purandaradasar. You experience pure bliss be it vocal or instrumental if you really understand the raga, sahitya, the bhava and the message the krithi conveys.Talam or rhythm is another important aspect while playing instrument. So vocal knowledge along with a pakka base on talam and sruthi is very very essential for an instrumentalist. I follow my Guru’s path by teaching atleast 3 years vocal before they start Veena classes with me.

      Regarding mentioning tips and lessons for instruments, I can do so only in Veena as I do not know to play Violin or Flute. I have not given exercises or lessons for Veena just because for want of time.

      Thank you for visiting my blog and I fully agree with you that concert is a success only with proper rhythmic accompaniment and violin support.

      Best Wishes

  137. Namaskaram Mam,
    Firstly, I want to appreciate for your prompt replies to each and every one and giving solutions to them. Secondly, I’m very much interested in learning music. I’m interested in playing Violin and veena and i also sing songs(Bathroom singing..Laughs). I never played any instruments though. I don’t have any one in my family or friends who are into music. BUT I LOVE MUSIC, i feel nothing to do in this world when i’m listening music. That much zeel i have. Just before, i got a chance to read your blogs and wanted to inform you my interest.
    I stay in Hyderabad, AP. And i want to start learning music. Can you please suggest me the Right person(Guru) who can teach me without ego and with whole heartedly, probably in Hyederabad.
    And i have no basics at all in Music. I pray GOD to show grace on me/ make me eligible to learn music. I need your suggestions Mam.
    I always admire all the people who are into music (Singing/playing instruments). I wish to be one of those members in this world.
    Waiting for your response…

    Best Regards

    • Hello Saritha

      Firstly, I do not know any music teacher in Hyderabad. Honestly, I did not understand the sentence ” Right person(Guru) who can teach me without ego and with wholeheartedly,”. As far as I know, most of the music teachers are down to earth without any ego. Most of the krithis teach us that every person should always keep a check on his ego in every successful stage/phase that he crosses in his life. He/She should not allow this ego to dominate his/her behavior as he encounters success and should thankfully remember and submit all the credits of success to the Supreme Power who has bestowed with all that he/she enjoys.

      Secondly, we should not approach a GURU with a prejudiced mind that he/she is an egocentric person. We have to see Guru as God personified. Please read my article on Guru Poornima. Lastly, If your desire for learning music is that much intense, make sure that your GURU is staying somewhere near you. Pray to GOD to show that GURU. He/She will appear in front of you. The saying goes ” When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

      Best Wishes

  138. Thank you so much mam for this prompt reply. Before commenting on this site, i read about Hanumath raaga, the quarrel between narada and the other muni, so i thought we need to look for such Guru. And as lot of commercialization is going on, my intention is to learn at the right person only, Sorry Maam if my intention is perceived in a wrong way or it hurts , which is not at all my idea.
    Sure Maam, your inputs are very much appreciated. Thank you for your wishes.

  139. Hello Mam

    My name is Lalitha and my daughter is learning music for past 10 years. I read your blog regarding the voice care. My daughter has gt vocal nodules and as a resultant of that, her voice has changed. Is there any possibility to retrieve the old voice thro any exercises. Waiting for your responses mam.

    Thanks in advance.

      • Good Day Ammani How are you? I was asked by my Guru to do some research on Gambheera Nattai, I saw your website and you elaborate on Naatai. Please can you assist by furnishing some information on Gambheera Nattai?

        Regards Kalay South Africa

  140. namaste mam………
    your suggestions in this page are really nice ….
    the way you responding to us is overwhelming….
    i have one doubt……….. in music notes s1 s2 m1m3 it’s wriitten so then what 1 2 and 3 indicates////??
    In school days everyone loves my singing… as i grown up no body intrested in listening to me… saying that my voice is worst…… but i have a great intrest in music…. so i started learning flute….. still i want to sing mam… so please help me in my next step… how can i proceed in future..?

    waiting for ur valuable reply…

    with regards
    santhoshakumara

    • Namasthe Santhoshakumara..

      First of all please note that there is no s1 and s2 . Mi, M2 etc are different variations of the note Madhyama. M1 is the Shuddha Madhyama or Madhyama that is lower in pitch. M2 is Prathi Madhyama which takes a higher frequency when compared to Shuddha Madhyama..

      Contact a local teacher nearby and start learning vocal music. You can learn music at any age. There should be 100% dedication in your side and of course paired with religious practice everyday without fail at least for one hour.

      Best Wishes

  141. Namaskaram Maam.

    Wonderful blog you have put up. Hats off to you.
    I just wanted to know, can you give some tips for raga alapana? Ive been learning music for 16 years now but im still struggling with alaapana. Right now I’m trying hindolam. I’m not able to do a lot of variations :(

    • Read this article – #9-The Art of Singing Ragaalapana in Carnatic Music Lessons Page..Listen to lot of Alapanai by Vidwans/Vidushis.. A lot of listening will help you to get some ideas as to how to sing a Raga..Make your own swara phrases and sing it as Alapana..Doing this regularly will take you forward towards the art of Singing Raga..

      Best Wishes

  142. namaskaram ma’am,
    my name is pragati, i am learning carnatic music. Your blog is awesome !!!! the tips to improve is singing has helped me a lot, thank you so much…… I still have problem in breathing, specially in 3rd speed sometimes i forget where to breathe and i end up in breathing in wrong point …also i can’t sing lower sthayi very well, i have problem in singing in low pitches :( shruti i know well but singing lower sthayi is a difficult task for me, my pitch is A. Please tell me how to sing lower sthayi properly.

    • Dear Pragathi

      Firstly, Welcome to my musical abode…

      Now coming to your problem in breathing. Don’t worry at all. This is not at all a problem, and know that there is a solution for everything problem. :) In this case, it is breath control. Start doing praanayaama exercise in yoga everyday without fail where you use your abdominal muscles to breathe in and breathe out. The result will be amazing. This will definitely help you to have a better control on your breath. MAY GOD BLESS YOU..

  143. Thank you maam for this wonderful info. I myself am a student of Carnatic music and I used to sing in G or g sharp before my voice started to change. I’m practicing regularly( one and half hour daily) but my shruti has dropped to f sharp. Is this normal?

  144. Dear Anuradha,

    Read all your blogs. very informative and useful. Thank you so much for all the tips .Can you pl let me know your mail id…and if you are still in Kochi as I live here and am into music seriously…

    regards
    Mrs. RM

  145. good morning mam,,,
    you gave great tips to improve the passion of music…i definitely follow your instructions from today onwards..my self pushpa, i learnt upto swarajathis. due to financial problms i am unable to continue…. but i searched many websites..and downloaded varnams and krithis including sarali,janta, dattu,alankaras, geethams…whether it is possible to learn the varnams myself with the help of video lectures and audio lectures… for correct place of position of swaras…can you plz tell me for further continuation of my interest im music….

  146. Mam,

    I’ve been going through your articles for quite sometime now. I don’t really have a formal training in singing. But, I am trying to find a Guru currently. My question to you is, I’ve been learning mirudangam for 8+yrs and Guitar for close to 5 yrs. Although I’ve been learing instruments, Singing has always been my passion. Of course, I don’t have any formal training in music but I am trying my best and with passion to sing every song that I come across. I take every note very seriously. But people around me tell that I’ve a bad voice and that I shouldn’t sing. Is it because I don’t have a formal training in singing that I’ve a bad voice or is it a natural thing to not have one, I mean I ain’t blessed by God with a decent voice? Please help me!

    • Vivek Bharadwaj

      Find a Guru near your place and start getting trained in a very proper way..Minor voice problems can be corrected with dedicated practice and guidance of your Guru.

      Best Wishes

  147. wonderful job. we live in Florida and my 9 year old daughter learns carnatic music.
    I must say she probably is at the point of getting started with raga Alapanai. Glad that I bumped into this and I’m going to go over some theory that I read today to her. Fantastic reading and some great tips on throat hygiene that every kid should know when they are young.

    • Very true…

      I think, this is the greatest service ever rendered, for the genuine cause and propagation of carnatic music.

      Jai ho….

      Musically Yours, ~Yagna

      • mam,
        this is jayanth. my voice is rough and low pitch. i want to learn singing and instrumental music .i am 16 now. i have never trained before in vocals and instrumental.is it possible for me to become a good singer if i start practicing in guidance of a teacher from now? To become a composer is it necessary to become a singer? Please suggest me

  148. Hello Jayanth

    There is always a first time..A child learns to walk only after he/she tries quite a few times over a period of time. The same logic applies here too. Take the first step. Approach a Guru. Tell him/her about your desire to learn music. Whether you can become a good singer or not wholly and only depends on your dedication and desire. A person becomes a good musician only if he/she spend a whole life time dedicating on the art..

    Best Wishes to you..

  149. Hello madam. Went thru the blog. The stories, the tips,theory everything is quite useful and interesting.if possible,Can you please provide the notes for the thillana in valachi?

  150. Hello mam this is hari mam I am 27 yrs old and now I want to learn singing since I am new to this I want to learn from the beginning, can you refer any teacher for me near to guindy or th.nagar.

  151. Thank you for your reply..,
    May I know the teacher who you chosen for learning and the details of that person..,

  152. hello ma’m. i am a carnatic music learner since my 6th standard but i got a huge gap of 3 yrs from my 11th std till now.i am still gud at singing but i have forgotten some ragas.could you please help me out by explaining about 16 swarasthanas and their audio in your next blog.i am sure i will be able to retain my lost memory if i get hold of all those again.please.

  153. Dear Madam,
    Your site is a gold mine that I came across. I am a 50 year old from Bangalore who has learnt music when young, but not able to continue for the last 35 years. I am impressed with your collection and look forward to getting reviving my interest in music. Bless you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s