to Read Notation
notations on this site have been prepared in Hindustani Classical
Music Notation system using english fonts. Some of these notations
have also been recorded in Midi format. Please click here for a
and sample Midi.
Here are some guidelines to sign conventions for reading these notations
Shuddha Swar (Pure Notes indicated without any bars):
Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni
(Octave) is a complete set of notes from one base note (Sa) to the
Saptak (Middle Octave): The octave achieved by normal frequency
of voice. These notes are indicated without any dots above or below.
Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni
Saptak (Lower Octave): The octave before Madhya Saptak. This has
lower notes. These Notes are indicated by placing a dot beneath
the corresponding note.
Saptak (Higher Octave): The octave after Madhya Saptak. This has
higher notes. These Notes are indicated by placing a dot above the
(Beat): Equally spaced strokes (pulsations), which are units of
measuring a Taal (Cyclic Rhythm).
- " (A Dash) : Employed for lengthening a Note by one beat.
- Pa -
S " Avagrah: It is used for lengthening the in words of lyrics.
S S S dha
(Half Moon): All Notes inside the half moon are rendered in one
( ) " Note within Brackets: The Note within brackets is sung
very fast to include notes after and before it, so that the notes
blend and sound as one Note. The order for these Notes is - one
Note after the Note in brackets, the Note in brackets, the Note
before and finally the Note in brackets.
Pa ) - Dha Pa Ma Pa
Swar (Grace Note): A note is written in small font on top left corner
of another note. This means the Note in small font needs to be touched
enroute to the next note. In the following example, Ma is the Kan
Indicated by a reverse moon on top of the corresponding notes. This
means the next note should be gradually reached rather than jumping
on to it. In the following example, the route from Sa to Pa will
comprise all the intermediate notes.
(Cyclic Rhythm): Taal can be defined as a cycle of beats (Matra).
Taal typically has Khands (Columns) divided by bars. The start of
a Khand may be either Taali (accentuated) or Khaali (non accentuated).
(Columns): As explained above, a Taal is divided by using bars.
Each interval between the bars is called a Khand.
(First Beat): First beat of Taal is called Sum and is indicated
by a cross below the corresponding beat.
Starting of an accentuated Khand is called a Taali. Typically, both
Left and Right drums of Tabla are played to accentuate the Taali.
Taali of Sum is taken as the first Taali and the following Taalis
are numbered and indicated with numbers 2 onwards.
3, 4 . . . .
The non accentuated start of a Khand is called a Khaali. Typically,
only treble or Right tabla is played on Taali. It is indicated by
placing a 0 below the corresponding beat.
Please see below an example of Notation composed in Teentaal (16
: It is also known as the Mool Swar (Base Note, which is Sa).
Illustrations below to get an idea of scale :
This Illustration lists the commonly used scales in Indian Classical
Music and their respective relevance to Male or Female voices
below, are two of the most commonly used scales in Indian Classical
Vocal Music, namely Kaali-1for male voices and Kaali-4 for female
voices. The notes should be adjusted accordingly for other scales
such as Kaali-2, Kaali-3 & Kaali-5.
This Illustration provides the scale of Kaali-1 (1st Black Key is
considered to be the Sa). This scale is mostly suitable for male
This Illustration provides the scale of Kaali-4 (4th Black Key is
considered to be the Sa). This scale is mostly suitable for female
the scales of Kaali-2, Kaali-3 & Kaali-5 can also be generated.
Each one of us has his or her own scale and should identify it before
starting to sing.
of Indian and Western scales :
This illustration demonstrates the equivalency of Indian and Western
scales when White-1 (Safed-1) key of Harmonium is taken as Sa of
is also very obvious from the illustration above, that :
scale of Kaali-1 is equivalent to scale of C# of Western scale
scale of Kaali-2 is equivalent to scale of D# of Western scale
scale of Kaali-3 is equivalent to scale of F# of Western scale
scale of Kaali-4 is equivalent to scale of G# of Western scale
scale of Kaali-5 is equivalent to scale of A# of Western scale