Concept Of Swar (Indian Music Note)

What is Swar?

We often have two contrasts in sounds, one of which is called ‘Swar’ and the other is ‘noise’. Some people also consider the sound of conversation as a distinction.

 Generally, when a sound is produced by regular and periodic vibrations, it is called ‘Swar’. In contrast, when the vibration is irregular and complicated or mixed, that sound is called ‘noise’. The colloquial sound is placed in the category between ‘swar’ and ‘noise’.

In short, understand that regular movement-numbered sound is called ‘swar’. This sound is used in music, which sounds sweet to the ears and pleases the mind. This sound is called Naad in the language of music. On this basis, the musical sound is called ‘swar’.

In the field of Indian musicians, from one voice to double the sound, there is a musical group-like naad, which is called ‘Shruti’, there are 22 shruti.

Pure swar

When the order of the shrutis in the swar ‘Sa, Re, Ga, M, P, Dha, Ni’ is 4, 3, 4, 4, 3, 2, then those swars are called pure swars. Full names of these pure swars

  1. Shadaj (षड्ज)
  2. Rishabh (ऋषभ)
  3. Gandhar (गंधार)
  4. Madhyam (मध्यम)
  5. Pancham (पंचम)
  6. Dhaivat (धैवत)
  7. Nishad (निषाद )

For the convenience of pronunciation and singing, the first letter of each of them has been taken and thus their abbreviated names are ‘Sa, Re, Ga, M, P, Dha, Ni’.

Shuddha(Pure), Tivra(Sharp) And Vikrit(deformed) or Komal (mild) Swars

 The seven swars mentioned earlier are called pure swars. Sa and pa are considered immovable in them because they remain fixed in their places. The remaining five swars have been given two forms. Because they move from their place, hence they are called as komal(mild) or tivra(sharp) swars.

When the regular voice of a swar is lowered, it is called a komal swar and a swar is called a tivra swar when it goes above its regular voice. Re, Ga, Dha, Ni These four swars move down from their places and become komal. And when they are again delivered to their assigned places, they are called pure swars. But when the middle swar ‘M’ moves away from its intended place, it does not go down Because its location is already low, Therefore when the tone changes, it will go high and will be called Tivra(sharp) swar. In the common speaking of the singers, the komal swars are also called the utre(descending ) swars and the tivra swars are called chdhe(ascended) swars. In this way, two fixed and five pure and five deformed are all counted as twelve swars.

Five Pure swar:

रे, ग, म, ध, नि (Re, Ga, m, Dh, Ni)

Five Deformed swar:

रे, ग, मे, ध, नि (re, ga, M, dh, ni)

Here मे (M) is tivra(sharp) and rest are mild or minor

Two Immovable (अचल ) Swar :

सा, प (Sa, P)

Shruti or Microtone

What is Shruti (Microtone) in Indian Music?

Just like the tone and semitones, microtone is the basic frequencies described in the Indian classical music system as ‘Shruti’.

The sound which can be used in the song and can be identified from each other is called ‘Shruti’. To understand this more clearly, suppose we took a sound whose movement number is 100 vibrations per second, then we took another sound whose movement number is 101 per second. Scientifically, these two are different sounds, but there is so little difference in their number that even the ears of a skilled musician can hardly identify them separately or they can be heard separately. It is on this basis that scholars have defined Shruti that the “sound which can be identified separately and clearly from each other is called Shruti.”

As per Swarmel Kala Nidhi (स्वरमेलकलानिधि)

तस्य द्वाविंशतिर्भेद श्रवणात् श्रुतयो मताः।
हृदयाभ्यन्तरसंलग्ना नाड्यो द्वाविंशतिरमताह ।।

There are twenty-two naadis in the heart, all their sound can be heard clearly, so they are called Shruti.
Our musicians have been accepting twenty-two sounds since ancient times. These nads have progressively climbed higher than each other, these twenty-two sounds are called Shruti.
Because twenty-two shruties have difficulty in singing, so twelve of these twenty-two shruties have been selected and used as musical notes.

As per Indian classical music, there are 22 shruties in an octave and on that shruties, 7 musical notes are placed at certain distances described by the Indian music treaties (Sangeet Ratnakar)

चतुश्चतुश्चतुश्चैव षड्जमध्यमपञ्चमा।
द्विद्वि निषादगंधारौ त्रिस्त्रिऋषभधैवतौ।।

Above phrase is describing the rules of the placement of 7 musical notes on the 22 shruties

Musical notesShruti Differences
Sa4
Re3
Ga2
M4
Pa4
Dha3
Ni2

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