What is a Swar?

A Swar is a distinct tone that is reproducible and pleasing to the ear. There are 7 main Swars (Shadaj or Sa, Rishabh or Re, Gandhar or Ga, Madhyam or Ma, Pancham or Pa, Dhaivat or Dha and Nishad or Ni) and 5 variants (Komal Re, Komal Ga, Tivra or Tivra Ma, Komal Dha and Komal Ni). The main Swars are also referred to as Shuddha Swars. Shadaj and...

What is a Scale?

A scale (or Saptak) contains the set of 12 notes starting from the Shadaj or the base note to the Shuddha Nishad corresponding to the Shadaj. For most of the performance, the Vocalist sings from the Madhya (Middle) Saptak. However the vocalist will also invariably use notes from the lower Saptak and the higher Saptak. A Saptak is comparable to a...

What is a Shruti?

“Shruti” is a Sanskrit word meaning “hear or heard”. As we noted earlier, Swars are distinctly separated from each other. Scientifically speaking, just as 12 Swars occupy the frequency spectrum of one Saptak, there are 22 Shrutis within one Saptak. So clearly the separation between two Shrutis is smaller than the separation...

What is a Sargam?

A Sargam is a combination of Swars sung in a way that is consistent with the Raag framework. Sargams are sung both in a slow tempo or fast tempo. Frequently the vocalist will sing the Sargam to enhance the beauty of the composition.

What is a Tan?

A Tan is normally sung in “Akar” form, i.e. with the A sound. But it can be sung in “E-kar” or “U-kar” form as well. Just like a Sargam, a Tan consists of multiple Swars sung rapidly but each swar has to be distinct and the overall combination has to be compliant with the rules defined by the Raag.