Prince Rama Varma on Swara Gnanam

Prince Rama Varma, an eminent carnatic musician and teacher, points out a shortcoming in swara gnanam that’s common even among advanced carnatic musicians. He also explains why it is common in our traditional raga-by-raga learning process:

Excerpts from his talk:

10:06 “We (Carnatic musicians) are always trained to identify swarams of one raga only.”

11:45 “Many carnatic musicians I myself know, they would be qualified to give a Ragam-Tanam-Pallavi in Todi correctly. But if we just ask them to sing Prati Madhyamam, immediately, they have to think a little bit. If someone asks you your name, you don’t have to hesitate, you’ll tell immediately. Like that we have to know all the 12 notes, not just the notes of one raga.”

12:37 “Like a keyboard, in our throat, in our ear, in our brain, all 12 notes have to be fixed.”

This is exactly why we built Sadhakam: Carnatic Swara Gnanam Practice (Android app). It has direct swaram centric exercises that will help you fix all the swarasthanas in your throat, ear and brain as Prince Rama Varma advices.

Sadhakam app in action: In a swaram quiz, the app has played a sequence and the user should guess the swarasthanams. Then the app shows whether he/she guessed it right or wrong. It also shows the correct answer to help the user learn the correct swarasthanams.

Ananth Pattabiraman is a musician and co-founder of Kuyil Carnatic Apps, a startup dedicated to crafting apps for carnatic. You can checkout the apps below.