Carnatic Swarasthana Challenge No. 1

How good are you in identifying swarasthanas when you hear a musical sequence? Try this challenge:

Importance of this exercise

There are six valid combinations of Ri and Ga in Carnatic music (and very similarly there are six combinations of Dha and Ni). Cycles of Ri-Ga combinations and Dha-Ni combinations are the basis of the 72 Melakartha scheme, which is one of the backbones of our raga system.

So, it is critical that every student masters these combinations.


If you are fuzzy about Carnatic swarasthana numbering, read this post before checking the answer.

The sequence you heard is Sa Ri3 Ga3. That is, Shadjam - Shatshruti Rishabam - Anthara Gandharam.

This combination popularly occurs in Nata Ragam.

How to develop this skill?

I wrote a detailed post on this topic. Please read Learning to Identify Swarasthanas.

To help students aquire this essential skill, we built Sadhakam app. In fact, the above challenge is just one of the many challenges from the app. The exercise having this challenge, works out all the combinations of Ri and Ga thoroughly. This way sadhakam provides a rigorous yet easy way to master swarasthanas.


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.