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How to play piano

Whether you take 10 days or ten weeks or ten years is up to you, of course -- but the piano chord course comes in 10 dynamite piano lessons that will take you from where you are to where you want to go. You'll start by learning what music is all about -- the 3 parts of music -- melody, rhythm, and harmony -- and then your learn to read a melody line (if you don't already know how). Then you'll learn how piano chords are formed, and how to get a grasp on all 12 major chords -- and then learn to change them to minor, diminished, and augmented.

Then after you know 48 piano chords (12 major chords, 12 minor chords, 12 diminished chords, and 12 augmented chords), you'll learn to invert them (turn them upside down) so you'll have 144 chords to work with. But then you'll learn to add extensions to the basic chords -- 6ths, 7ths, major 7ths, 9ths -- for those wonderful and exciting sounds that add so much to music. That will give you .oh, about 1000 piano chord possibilities. Piano lessons were never this much fun!

But that's when the fun just starts! Once you know piano chords, then you will learn how to create exciting rhythm patterns using those chords in a variety of ways -- from "swing bass" to "western bass" to "broken chord bass" to .and each style has many varieties, so there is really no end to the distinctive styles you can come up with to create your own sounds using piano chords!

Melody In Carnatic Music -Part 2

Kiranavali, the granddaughter of the late legendary Gotuvadyam Narayana Iyengar, was born on 2nd Jan. 1973. Her father, N Narasimhan, is a musician of great merit, and has nurtured the musical talents of Kiranavali and her illustrious brothers, Chitravina N Ravikiran and K N Shashikiran. When hardly three years old, Kiranavali was able to identify more than 200 RÓgas and the 175 TÓlas, besides answering numerous technical questions pertaining to Carnatic music. If Indian Express called her "astounding in her precocity" (14 June 1975), the music critic of The Hindu wrote, "More fantastic is the manner in which Kiranavali, the three-year old sister of Ravikiran and Shashikiran is able to tell the RÓga even at the commencement of its outline."

Kiranavali's performing career began at the age of eleven. Both her solo recitals and the duets with her brother, Shashikiran, won the hearts of the knowledgeable and laymen alike. In her quest for excellence, Kiranavali pursued advanced vocal music training under the late Sangita Kalanidhi T Brinda, the highest authority on the works of many a great composer. Under her guidance, Kiranavali has matured into a sensitive musician with a deep commitment to highly refined musical values. At the young age of twenty-eight, she brings a degree of maturity and involvement to Carnatic music that is commensurate with her professional experience of over two decades.

Kiranavali also plays the Chitravina, true to her family tradition. She has performed solo, and has also accompanied Ravikiran. Her concerts have been featured by many leading organisations like the Madras Music Academy, Krishna Gana Sabha, Narada Gana Sabha and Shanmukhananda Fine Arts (Mumbai). The first artiste to be graded high for both Vocal and the Chitravina by AIR and Doordarshan, her music is regularly featured in broadcasts.

In the earlier article, we talked about the different notes in Carnatic music - the basic seven notes, the twelve notes in an octave and why the twelve are called by sixteen different names. We now come to the next step, i.e., scales.

What is a scale? A scale is an outline that is arrived at with the permutation and combination of notes. In Carnatic music, we have 72 basic scales called the Melakarta. They are full scales in the sense that they use all the seven basic notes - Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha and Ni - both in the ascent and descent, which is the fundamental requirement to make the octave complete or sampoorna. In other words, there is no skipping of notes, although the variety of the variable notes ( Ri, Ga, Ma, Dha and Ni ) may differ.

Let us go into the details. This 72 Melakarta is not a very ancient concept. Although the need to classify similar sounding ragas or scales under a common group was felt a few centuries ago, this concept has finally taken shape in the hands of a great music scholar called Muddu Venkatamakhi. Today the 72 Melakarta scheme is considered one of the most scientific, comprehensive and beautiful schemes in the music systems of the world.

Now how do we get the figure 72? It is very simple and logical. The basic premise is that we need just one variety of each of the seven basic notes. We'll worry about other complex patterns later.

We start by first simplifying the octave into two parts - the Poorvanga and the Uttaranga. The Poorvanga comprises the first four notes, Sa to Ma and the Uttaranga the next 4, Pa to the higher Sa.

Since Sa and Pa are the fixed notes in an octave, we only have to consider the variable notes. The variable notes in the Poorvanga are Ri, Ga and Ma. Since there are only two varieties of Ma, the application of Ma is not difficult. But there are three varieties each of Ri and Ga.

The 16 notes of Carnatic music

Let us first see how many combinations of Ri and Ga are possible (also see the chart of the 16 notes):

  • Ri 1 can combine with Ga 1, Ga 2 and Ga 3.

  • Ri 2 can combine with only Ga 2 and Ga 3, as Ri 2 shares the same place value as Ga 1.

  • Ri 3 can combine only with Ga 3. This is because Ga 2 is the same as Ri 3; and Ga 1 which is actually equal to Ri 2, is lower than Ri 3.

The same principle applies to the Uttaranga where the variable notes are only Dha and Ni. Thus, we get six varieties of the Ri - Ga combination and six of Dha - Ni. The following table shows the six varieties of each:

Combinations of Ri and Ga

Combinations of Dha and Ni

Ri 1 - Ga 1

Dha 1 - Ni 1

Ri 1 - Ga 2

Dha 1 - Ni 2

Ri 1 - Ga 3

Dha 1 - Ni 3

Ri 2 - Ga 2

Dha 2 - Ni 2

Ri 2 - Ga 3

Dha 2 - Ni 3

Ri 3 - Ga 3

Dha 3 - Ni 3

The next step is to just combine each Ri - Ga combination with each of the six combinations of Dha - Ni. For example, Ri 1 - Ga 1 can combine with each of the Dha and Ni combinations and so on. In other words, we can just multiply them and get 36 different possibilities or 36 different scales. We must however recollect that so far we have left Ma untouched. But not to worry. Use Ma 1 once, and then sing the same scale with Ma 2 the next time! It will sound different. So we now have 36 scales with Ma 1 and the same 36 with Ma 2, giving us a total of 72 scales. The following table will show you the common notes Sa and Pa, the different varieties of Ri - Ga, Dha - Ni and with the two varieties of Ma.

Sa

Combinations of Ri and Ga

With

Ma 1

or

Ma 2

Pa

Combinations of Dha and Ni

Ri 1 - Ga 1

Dha 1 - Ni 1

Ri 1 - Ga 2

Dha 1 - Ni 2

Ri 1 - Ga 3

Dha 1 - Ni 3

Ri 2 - Ga 2

Dha 2 - Ni 2

Ri 2 - Ga 3

Dha 2 - Ni 3

Ri 3 - Ga 3

Dha 3 - Ni 3

More about Melakartas in my next article. Meantime, if you have any doubts, please feel free to ask me.

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