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

Follow On Twitter