For the first post under my musical musings, I want to write about a thought I had about the ragas sankarAbharanam and sarasAngi. I was doing some review for my next post that I am writing about the raga nalinakAnthi when I started to think about its parent, sankarAbharanam. The scale of sankarAbharanam is as follows.
S R2 G3 M1 P D2 N3 S’ —- C D E F G A B C’
S N3 D2 P M1 G3 R2 S —– C’ B A G F E D C
It is a major scale raga and well….generally major scale is associated with a happy feel to it. When you think about this, in western music, the mood is created by the chords and harmonies more than the actual tune which is like the backbone of Indian classical music. I mean, western music is harmony based while Indian music is melody based. So a mood in a western ensemble performance could be created by chord progressions, while for Indian music, the tune does the job.
Now listening to the following sketch of sankarAbharanam, one do tends to get a happy feel, that the world is a nice place to live in . Next consider sarasAngi.
The scale of sarasAngi is as follows,
S R2 G3 M1 P D1 N3 S’ —- C D E F G G# B C’
S N3 D1 P M1 G3 R2 S —– C’ B G# G F E D C
Listen to this brief sketch of sarasAngi.
True to its name, which means surrendered, sarasAngi evokes that mood*. One can feel that plea for mercy present inherently in this raga.
Now we see that the two raga scales differ only in the Da. So, the difference in mood between two ragas can be attributed to the difference in the Da and the changes it brings forth to the handling of the neighbouring swaras. Stripping the scale off the Da and playing only within the realm of scope offered by the remaining 6 notes namely, N3 S R2 G3 M1 P which is common for both the ragas, (though not a correct way of analyzing as a swara tends to influence on the nature of the adjacent swaras because of gamakA and sometimes even on swaras that are further apart, I feel it does make sense here as the scale of the two ragas played as it is without gamakA also tends to create the feeling of happiness in sankarabharanam and surrender in sarasangi respectively), the feeling of hope is created. A hope that something good happens. To make this point clearer I will play the same tune first in sankarAbharanam and then in sarasAngi and you will notice the stark contrast of how hope can turn to happiness or hope can become a plea for mercy.
Same in Sarasangi
Well the tune has the swara pattern as follows.
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – | – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – ||
S , , , , , NS R, N, S , , , | S , , , , , NS R, N, S , SN|| — hope is created
D , , , , , MP D, M, P, G, | M , , R , , , , –GMPDNR || — The Da is introduced in this line
I have played it with ‘E’ as the tonic note Sa.
Well, what is my point here? Ha!! You see that the swara ‘Da’ which is called Daivata (which also incidentally means God) is the decider on whether hope turns into happiness or a surrender. No wonder they say, Man proposes and God disposes. Seems to be true in case of SankarAbharanam and sarasAngi too!!!
* : Thanks to @hamsanandi, i came to know sarasAngi does not mean Surrendered;