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Why practice swaras?

What are swaras?

Hindustani classical music has seven basic notes called swaras. These are Shadja, Rishabha, Gandhara, Madhyama, Panchama, Dhaivata and Nishada. We commonly come across them in their shortened forms as Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, and Ni. Sa is the root/base note and the reference point based on which an octave is defined. Together, they are known as the sargam.

The Shadja

The Shadja or Sa is the root/base note with respect to which remaining swaras of the raga (tune) are defined. Any raga in Hindustani classical music is a journey of notes that start from this home called Sa. The path that we decide to take for this journey from home is never the same for two different ragas. It is distinct in many ways. A musician performing Indian classical music can improvise in any way, as long as they stick to the predefined pathway of a raga [1].

The Shadja (Sa) or base note is so important to Hindustani classical music that one of the India’s  greatest vocalist, Bharat Ratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi once exclaimed …

Taal gaya toh baal gaya, lekin sur gaya toh sir gaya” 

which translates to “Going off beat is like losing your hair, but going off pitch is like losing your head”.

Why practice swaras?

The following video by Ms. Anuja Kamat [2] explains in depth why practicing swaras to perfection is so important for a singer.

Practice swaras!

Sources referred to in this article
[1] - This quora article on svaras is informative.
[2] - Anuja Kamat is a popular youtuber who explains concepts of Indian classical music

Also published on Medium.

9 Comments

  1. […] The beginner’s course comprises of a total of 6 modules each having a total of 5 lessons. We introduce you to the concept of Swaras which are the basic building blocks of Hindustani Classical Music. There are a total of 7 swaras which are Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni. The first module deals with the first 3 swaras which are Sa, Re and Ga. The subsequent modules introduces a new swaras as you progress in the course. With each module we also have handpicked songs which use the same swaras we have taught you, this gives you a practical application for what you learn. If you want to learn more about swaras check out this link. […]

  2. Sneha Raj Sneha Raj March 31, 2019

    Singing is my life if I will choose any another career then still I will not leave singing.

  3. Daisy koshy Daisy koshy July 2, 2019

    I like dis class. Very useful.. Bcoz i have lot of prblm.. I tried. But nt yet solved.. So pls advice or give me any lesson for practice.. Pls

  4. Noorjahan shaik Noorjahan shaik August 18, 2019

    Am vry happy to join ths app my childhood hobby I want learn music&singing now I got chance miracle happened I think I nvr think am learning thank u.am trying to understand what all.🙏

  5. Reg Reg August 20, 2019

    This is awesome, and easy way of learning. I have had a passion of music since my childhood, unfortunately, learnt a basic, a while ago, and didn’t get a proper guru,for music. I’ve always wanted to become a singer, back Those days there was no technology. I believe anyone who is serious abt any career can achieve.

  6. Reg Reg August 25, 2019

    Serious about learning music. Thanks appreciate your help. Reg

  7. Sanjay Deshpande Sanjay Deshpande November 7, 2019

    It is beautiful.
    I love listening to classical music.
    But I know not singing.
    I am 55.
    I am working.
    I think I may know music , if not singing from this app.
    I feel obliged.

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