Music Handbook




Abhyasa Practise
Abhyasa Gana A musical form intended for practise.
Achala swara Also known as Prakruti swara, it means a fixed note without any variables or ornamentations. The two fixed notes in Carnatic music are Shadja (Sa) and Panchama (Pa).
Adhara shadja It is the Shadja (Sa) of the middle octave and is considered the fundamental note (tonic note) upon which melody is built. It remains fixed throughout the concert.
Adi tala One of the most popular talas in Carnatic music, it consists of eight beats (a laghu + 2 dhrutams). It is technically known as Chaturasra jati Triputa tala.
Ahobala The author of the treatise Sangita Parijata, who lived in the seventeenth century. He was the first one to calibrate the value of swaras in terms of the lengths of stretched strings.
Akara-Sadhakam Vocal practice, employing only the sound aaa. This is done as part of the voice-culture exercises and results in richness of tone, timbre, clarity and strength.
Akshara-kala Sanskrit term that denotes one time unit.
Alankara Literally, decoration. Embellishing features that adorn a Raga. The word is also used to denote the basic scale-exercises prescribed for the beginning student.
Alapana The development of a raga through improvisation to reveal the form of the raga within the set boundaries.
Anagata Refers to the take-off point (Eduppu), when the composition starts before the downbeat of a rhythmic cycle. Also see Atita.
Anahata Nada Sanskrit term for the sound (Nada) that is not heard except in the heart. It is the opposite of Ahata Nada, which is the heard sound.
Andolana Sanskrit word for one of the ten Gamakas (ornamentations) mentioned in the text, Sangeeta Makaranda. It consists of a long amplitude vibrato that bends the note in relatively quick succession but not at a speed that would make the sound feel like a vibrato. It produces a specific stress and emotional quality in the note.
Anga Literally, a limb or a part. In one context, it refers to the two tetrachords the lower or the Poorvanga and the upper or the Uttaranga. It could also denote one of the divisions of musical time (Tala). There are six Angas in Talas -Druta, Anudhruta, Guru, Laghu, Pluta, and Kakapada
Antara Gandhara The perfect third (in Western music, E counting from C), or the Mi interval of the solfage. This corresponds to the fifth harmonic note with a frequency ratio of 5/4. Also see Anunada. In the Hindustani system, this note is called Suddha Gandhara.
Anubandha The final and concluding section of an Alapana.
Anubhava Experience
Anudhrutam One of the Angas used in reckoning Tala. It is denoted by the symbol U. It consists of one beat, of unit measure.
Anumandra Sthayi The second octave range below the Shadja (tonic note). The word Anumandra also refers to the correspondingly tuned string, in instruments like Vina and Chitravina.
Anunada The name given to the hushed Gandhara that is heard when the Mandra string of a tambura is tuned to the bass tonic. This note arises from the fifth harmonic. It is also called Swayambhu Gandhara.
Anupallavi The second section of a Kriti or a Padam in Carnatic music. It can be regarded as the equivalent of the Antara in a Hindustani bandish. Its length is usually either the same as or twice that of the Pallavi.
Anusarani The second of the two middle strings of the Tambura, which are both tuned to the tonic note or the Shadja. When the Sarani, the main string (closest to the Panchama string of the Tambura), and the Anusarani are perfectly tuned, the vibration of one string sets the other into sympathetic vibration, and a resonant sound is heard.
Anuswara A subtle melodic nuance employed in Carnatic music.
Anuvadi A note that is neither the Vadi nor the Samvadi note of a Raga, but is still not in dissonance with either. Hence, it is not the Vivadi note either. All ragas have two pivotal Swaras, which are the Vadi and Samvadi notes, while the other Swaras are neither. Among these, the notes that are not dissonant are called the Anuvadi Swaras.
Apaswara A note with a pitch that is poorly focused (false note), or out of tune with respect to the ideal and true pitch (off-key note). It has a jarring effect on the ears.
Apoorva Ragas Uncommon, or rare Ragas.
Arangetram Literally, ascending the stage - The debut performance of a musician, dancer, or actor, before an invited audience.
Archika Recitation in one fixed note. This is indicated for some passages of the Rig-Veda, where the entire hymn is to be recited in one note.
Aroha (Arohana) A series of notes in the ascending order of pitch.
Arohana-Avarohana The term commonly used to describe the scale, or the ascending and descending order of notes of a Raga, the barest skeleton of its structure. See also Avaroha (Avarohana).
Ashtapadi Literally, eight feet. This is the name of the well-known poetic compositions of Jayadeva, in the Gita Govinda. There are twenty-six Ashtapadis in total.
Ata Tala One of the seven basic Talas, consisting of 2 Laghus and 2 drutams.
Ati Tara sthayi The second octave range above the Shadja. It is the octave higher than the Tara Sthayi.
Atita Refers to the take-off point (Eduppu), when the composition starts after the downbeat of a rhythmic cycle. See also Anagata.
Audava Literally, five used with respect to an Aroha or an Avaroha that uses only five notes.
Audava-Audava A Raga that has five notes each in ascent and descent. Examples - Hamsadhwani, Mohanam.
Audava-Sampoorna A Raga that has only five notes in the ascent but a complete set of seven notes in the descent. See also Sampoorna.
Audava-Sampoorna A Raga with five notes in the ascent and six in the descent. Also see Shadava.
Avanaddha Vadya Instruments covered with stretched skin, e.g. Mridangam.
Avaroha (Avarohana) The descending scale of notes of a Raga. Also see Aroha (Arohana).
Avartana Literally, one cycle. In Carnatic music, used with respect to one rhythmic cycle of the Tala.



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Raga Index

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