Dear All,

Let me touch upon the final output of the ICE. The music itself. And the maths behind it and some interesting facts.

Fundamental building block of music

Music is made of notes. Not just random notes but a melodious sequence of notes from a defined set of notes from the possible notes.

What is a note? It is a particular frequency.

How many notes are there ? Technically infinity but human ear finds it distinct and enjoyable only if one note is atleast 1.06 times the frequency of the previous note. Yes the relationship is Geometric because the human ears response is logarithmic .

Humans can hear between 20 Hz and 20 kHz. And one finds that 1.06 ^12 = 2. Hence every 13th note doubles in frequency. The notes from X to 2X frequency is called an Octave. So if we start at 20 Hz, the next Octave starts at 40.

Hence humans can hear around 10 octaves.

But since nth note in next octave is an integral multiple (2) or overtone of the nth note in current octave, we feel similar mood or don't differentiate much between tones in different octaves. Hence we distinctively recognise only the 12 notes in an Octave.

What is a scale/Raga? Raga is a finite set of notes from the 12 distinct notes that make up an octave .

But not just any random set of notes. For creating melodious sequences, we need notes which are fairly distributed across the 12 frequencies. Any song or musical composition will confine itself to the set of notes in a particular Raga.

What is a MelaKarta scale? MelaKarta scale is a mainstream scale which has 7 notes. The Notes are Sa,Re,Ga,Ma,Pa,Da,Ni or C,D,E,F,G,A,B or Do, Re,Mi,Fa,So,La,Ti. But it has a few more rules. How to select 7 notes from 12 notes. A simple combination of 12C7 would yield 792 ragas. But we have only 72. Remember we want fair distribution of frequencies.

Assume the 12 frequencies in an octave are called as F1,f2,f3,f,4,f5,f6,f7,f8,f9,f10,f11,f12.

Sa and Pa are reference points and will always take F1 and f8. Also note that f8 = 1.5 times F1. And the next octave 2 times F1. So Pa is the mid point.

Sa is the first note and it's frequency is fixed at f1. Now, Ri and Ga are floating notes. They can take up any 2 of the four frequencies : f2,f3f4,f5. The lower frequency will be called Ri and the higher frequency will be called Ga. For example if we select f3 and f5. Then f3 is called Ri and f5 is called Ga. But if we select f2 and f3. The same f3 is now called Ga and F2 is called Ri. So the frequency of a Ga in one Raga may be same or even less than the frequency of

a Ri in another Raga. So how many Ri and Ga are possible? Well select 2 notes from 4. So 4C2 = 6 combinations.

Next is simple. A Ma may be choosen from f6 or f7. 2 combos.

Pa is fixed at f8.

Next Da and Ni. Exact logic as Ri and Ga. 6 combos

Next is Sa^ which is the next octave so ignore it.

So how many Mela Karta (parent ) ragas are possible? 6*2*6 = 72. These 72 ragas segregate the music into 72 major chunks in terms of mood, feel etc.

Now let us see the specialities of some of these Ragas.

These Ragas are ordered just like numbers. First raga has the lowest possible frequency for all its notes namely

Sa-f1,Re-f2,Ga-f3,Ma-f6,Pa-f8,Da-f9,Ni-f10

You see that here. Re and Ga are bunched up and close to Sa. Then there is a huge gap till Ma. Then again Da and Ni are bunched up with Pa and again huge gap till next octave. You see that the middle notes are bunched up close to the reference note to it's left. Such Ragas usualy lend an unstability or floating feeling and also gives an eerie or disturbing but yet enjoyable and misterious feel.

Classic example is Moham Ennum (Thom Thom) from Sindhu Bhairavi where Ilayaraja uses the the above mentioned first Raga - Kanakangi to depict the disturbance in the hero's mind.

For easy nomenclature, we use the following nomenclature

F2= Ri1

F3= Ri2 / Ga1 (depends on the Raga)

F4= Ri3 / Ga2

F5= Ga3

F6= Ma1

F7= Ma2

F9= Da1

F10= Da2 /Ni1

F11= Da3 /Ni2

F12= Ni3

So Kanakangi will be:

Sa,Ri1,Ga1,Ma1,Pa,Da1,Ni1

All 1's.

The next Raga will change its least significant bit by one. So only Ni will change. Hence the 2nd Or raga Rathnangi will look like

Sa-f1,Re-f2,Ga-f3,Ma-f6,Pa-f8,Da-f9,Ni-f11 or

Sa,Ri1,Ga1,Ma1,Pa,Da1,Ni2

In the middle we come to Ragas which are very equally distributed. Like Kalyani / Yaman:

Sa Ri2 Ga3 Ma2 P Da2 Na3.

These feel very stable but do not convey extreme emotions. They are kind of happy or neutral. But Maestros prefer these Ragas because they r not easy to work with or to impress unless you are really good. It is like an Ariel Atom. You need skills.

A famous songs are : Inhi Logon ne le Liya Dupatta Mera, and Kalaivaaniye.

A combination of the disturbing unstable notes like Ri1,G1 coupled with stable notes like D2 etc gives melancholy Ragas like Shubhapanthuvarali which goes like:

S R1 G2 M2 P D1 N3 S

A famous example is the Malayalam movie Ore Kadal where all 6 songs were in this Raga. Music by Ousepacchan.

Next towards the end we have some ragas were the notes are bunched up towards the right most reference. For example.

SaRi3Ga3M1PaDa3Ni3

This gives rise to airy , western feeling Raga like the famous Chalanattai

Example would be Pani Vizhum Malar Vanam by IR

Replace the Ma1 with Ma2 in the above ragam and you get the last 72nd raga - Rasikapriya

SaRi3Ga3M2PaDa3Ni3

Again very modern and peppy

Ding Dong Kovil Mani

Or this mesmerizing fusion by Stephen Devassy and Rajesh Vaidhya

Tidbits: Sa to next Sat is 13 notes. Pa is the 8th frequency. And the 5th note. All these are Fibonacci numbers.

Pa divides the octave into the Golden ratio position wise (8/13). It also divides the octave in arithmetic progression frequency wise. Sa = x Hz. Pa = 1.5x Hz. Sa^= 2x

Disclaimer: Apologies if some of these concepts are too basic. Just wanted to give an intro into the basics of music.

There are a few more nuance concepts like Janya Raga, Vakra Raga, Graha Bheda etc which we shall see in another post. ]]>

My friends are planning for a audio setup. Budget is 1L.

They have the following:

1. Pioneer 80PRS

2. JL Audio 10TW1-2 10" shallow sub

3. Kenwood xr900 5 channel Amp

Looking for a pair of good components and coaxials? How are the Focals and Kappas? ]]>