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Would you like to know how to find and play chords for any song, any melody?
Or do you wish to play chords for Indian ragas or classical compositions?
Here is what you have been looking for. This resource will teach you how.
Learning how to
“There is no point in learning to play chords for one song or any number of songs, for that matter. The aim should be to learn how to play chords for songs, ragas or scales so that I have my independence; so that I have actually had growth in my skill level; and have accomplished something that will stay with me for life.“ – one good student told me once.
Internet is a very good source of chords. It probably has chords and other material for any Western song you would want to work with.
But what if we want to find chords for an Indian song of your choice (or for any song for which you can’t find chords online)? What if you don’t want to anymore depend on chord sheets to play chords for songs you love? What if you want to understand those easy ways of remembering what chords to play? What if you want to make your own songs, play chords for your own songs? What if you knew that you could learn to be able to find and play chords for any melody or phrase or song or raga you wish?
What are the family of chords? How come some chords always seem to come together? How do some of us guess the chords of a song even without listening to the whole song?
Each of us have our own reasons to why we want to learn how to play chords for melodies, songs, phrases, ragas, scales…
But one thing in common is the independence that comes from learning a skill. Learn it once and you have gained freedom for your life time.
What are the principles that connect the different chord progressions? Is there any similarity between the chord progressions used in different songs?
There is probably not enough easily available and reliable guidance for us when it comes to being able to find chords, harmonize melodies, songs, phrases, ragas.
There is probably not enough time either for most of us to dedicate time to trying to solve the mystery by collecting and analyzing available evidence. And in my experiece, without the help of a reliable musician guide, it is almost impossible for us to be sure of what we are doing.
Also, if we don’t have a background in music theory, it maybe not an easy task to make sense of the different chords used.
Useful for you, if…
If your aim is to know ‘How to’ find and play chords for phrases, songs, melody, then this resource will help you.
Material is given to clearly show you what I think when finding chords – the method by which anyone gets good with finding and playing chords.
Have a look at the videos on this page, to see how chords are used for a few Raga based songs. If you think being able to find chords like that is useful, then the explanation in the resource will help you in that direction.
Importance is given to the logic behind ‘how’ instead of just chord sheets. Our basic idea is using “how” parts of the resource to find the chords for ragas and any scale. ‘chords for major scale’ and therefore minor scale, gives in detail the basics of how to find chords from scales. Later, the examples of flat 9 scale and melodic minor gives the logic behind finding chords for any scale, using the scale notes.
Don’t know much about scales and other terms used? Nothing to worry: major, minor, flat 9, everything is explained in an easy to understand language.
The ‘How to’ way of doing it gives us all the possible options, from which we can choose what we ‘feel’ good for our situation. Naturally, this gives us wider freedom than learning from just a chord sheet. Even when we have chord sheets and examples, the ‘how to’ part let us know what the maker of the chord sheet was thinking.
Chord sheets for raga based compositions are given. Popular songs and compositions have their chords derivable from our knowledge of major scale chords and derivatives there of.
Based on your need
Let me know if you have something specific in mind. I include material based on user needs too, in addition to the core topics. Which means that you may please mail me your specific needs, based on which I can add material to help you with what is important for you at the moment.
When you get this resource today for $67, you get access to a complete, growing resource that will help you play chords for any raga, scale, song or melodic phrase.
What is included:
This site already has free posts with a lot of information to get you started with playing Ragas and Chords for Ragas. In this Raga Chord resource, we will get into more details, more resources to help you learn ragas and chords for ragas, more chord sheets, a deeper and complete understanding of the logic behind being able to play chords for any Raga, Scale, Song, Phrase or Melody. This is THE resource I will be updating with all possible information and guide towards Ragas and Chord playing.
Raga phrases – Video of Indian raga phrases on guitar and vocals, Notation, Swaras and Tab – gives you a clear idea of the Raga phrase, what are the notes involved, how to play it.
Arohana Avarohana (ascend and descend scales with characteristic Indian music movements) of each Raga, comparison with associated Western scale – lets you understand the Raga on a western instrument and based on western theory, thus helping you understand the relation between Indian melody and Western harmony.
Chords for Raga phrases and Complete compositions – Geetams, Varnams, Krithis etc. Examples of all different possible note combinations – makes you prepared to find chords for any melody or phrase you may come across. And, also the reverse, where you will find it comfortable to find melodies for chords and chord progressions.
Pdf downloads explaining each raga, associated scale, chords, applications in detail which will help you understand the logic behind finding chords for any melody based on the phrase or scale notes. The notes of the ragas are mentioned as ‘A A# B C etc’ (western note naming), ‘major 3rd minor 3rd etc…’ (western interval naming) along with the swaras. Chord names are explained, the chords are explained while mentioning the notes played in each chord.
Get access to it once, and you will have gained access to all the resources and guides that will be updated over time, about Ragas and playing Chords. This resource is the one place where I will be updating all that I know about finding and applying chords.
Don’t listen to me…
The above video shows an example of an original composition/improvisation based on Ragas/scale on vocals with Chords on the guitar (recorded in ordinary life environment with birds, people and roads around). Don’t listen to me, listen to what one can do with information of ragas/scales and chords.
Not sure about the ragas?
Ragas are explained – arohana avarohana, phrases. Raga phrases are explained from basics. So you don’t have to worry even if you don’t know Indian ragas. First the ragas are given in detail and then the chords are looked at.
Downloadable PDF documents are used mainly to explain the content. As mentioned before, the notes of the ragas are mentioned as ‘A A# B C etc’ (western note naming), ‘major 3rd minor 3rd etc…’ (western interval naming) along with the swaras. Chord names are explained, the chords are explained while mentioning the notes played in each chord.
Videos explaining the ragas are given – I will be using guitar and vocals in the videos, to explain the notes and the ragas. Below is an example video:
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Notation and tab are used when needed to explain in detail each phrase and chords. When useful, Tuxguitar, a free notation and tab software is used to play the melody along with chords. The notes, swaras, chord name, chord diagramn, chord notes etc are also given. It has a keyboard view also, suitable for piano or keyboard players to watch the melody or chords played.
Numerous phrases of Indian Ragas ready for use
Detailed phrases are presented in videos, tab and notation, images. These are discussed for the melody and possible chords and the chord logic.
So, you get to know, learn and play a good number phrases in different ragas. Needless to say, you can use them in your music context, especially with the understanding you gain about the chords they are associated with.
The examples are shown on guitar fretboard where I play them real time. So if you are a guitarist, you can use the videos to learn to play carnatic phrases on the guitar.
Raga to scale relationships
Arohana avarohanas for a number of ragas are listed, along with how they connect with the corresponding western scale.
So if you want to understand Indian ragas in terms of western notes, scales and western instruments, these scale to raga connection will make things clear for you.
How will all this help you get good with chords?
For example, understanding chords of the melodic minor scale (Raga gowrimanohari), one understands the logic behind finding chords based on the scale, from each note position, how those chords can be used with the scale from different note positions etc. This gives us a clear idea of how the notes in the song or scale or raga can be used to find the corresponding chords of the scale.
Ragas gives us a good opportunity to go beyond major and minor scales and to use chord finding methods on scales that have flat nines, flat 6ths, sharp 4ths etc. This lets us become really good with chords based on the melody notes. Then we have essentially covered a wide range of possibilities, situations, cases, so that we will be able to extend this understanding to any song, scale, phrase or raga that we will come across.
After all, any song or phrase is made of ragas or scales. And once we have seen different kinds of possibilities using ragas and scales, in finding chords, naturally we will find it easy to find chords for songs and phrases in real life, however different or complex they may be.
Below is an example video on improvising over a song using basic concepts of chord finding. Note that most of the chords used are simple major and minor triads (3 note chords).
What is useful for you
It is good if you have a resource or guide that would help you understand chords for songs or ragas and scales, in easy steps.
Not a bunch of content that would overwhelm you and make you feel there is a lot, but something that is straightforward, clear about what is really the path to take, what you have to do or think that is absolutely useful.
Once you start understanding the basic principles of finding chords for songs, scales or ragas, you will be able to build the whole skill from the basics. The field of arranging or chord playing is not random – it is based and built on solid principles.
Since major and minor triads are the most basic of chords and since the sound is easy for us to relate to and play, you may want to learn to play any song in any scale using just major and minor. Especially if you are a singer/performer.
Includes a method to play exact and simple triad chords for any phrase, without having to find out the root or knowing much theory, just by finding the notes of the phrase.
The very beginning of the course is about using major and minor chords, and shows you the list of possible chords you could use for most popular songs. So you have practical, useful information which can immediately change the way you view chord playing and will bring noticeable difference to your skill.
‘How to play chords for songs ragas scale and phrases’ or ‘How to play chords for songs’ are step by step guides starting from the very basics, linking the steps in an easy to understand manner. No fluff, straightforward instruction that the human mind can easily absorb and integrate.
This is a digital download. You can gain access to it now, without any delivery time delays or charges. Instantly downloadable course material – pdfs, videos, notation
Here is an example video of playing chords for songs. In this case, the song is also an example of playing chords for Indian raga based ghazal.
Who is it for and not for?
How to play chords for any song, scale or Raga teaches you how to play chords for any phrase, scale, song or Indian raga.
We look at it from different perspectives.
- Knowing the scales to play its chords
- Playing chords by the phrase, without having to know the scale or raga
- Finding exact chords from the scale notes
- Approximating all chords to major and minor, regardless of how different the real notes of the scale are from major or minor scales or modes.
Also explains to you
- In detail, the method to find chords for most songs we come across, starting from the basics.
- Then you are introduced to finding chords for songs in scales other than what is usually used in western music. This covers how to play chords for any song.
- Includes an universally useful method to find simple major and minor chords to fit for any phrase regardless of the scale, or its origin.
Want to play carnatic geetams with instrument backing? Arrange carnatic based compositions, phrases and melody? Get better with arranging, finding chords for any raga scale or song? Understand ragas in chord perspective to get better with improvizing?
Here is how to play chords of your choice for any song, scale, phrase or raga for $67. Gain access and use the information at your own pace.
Screenshot of the resource page – Table of contents
Below is a screenshot of the resource page. Have a look at the topics we start with. The page continues further. (Click to see larger image)
Chord sheets for all the Geetams and other compositions
Chords for the ragas are explained using chords for Geetams and other compositions. Each of the chord sheet has a drop down to choose the root of your preference, when the chords change to match your selection.
e.g.Chords for the Geetams (short introductory compositions)
Complete chord sheet for the Geetams (pdf). The chords are based on the same logic or method discussed in the minor major chord section. Therefore, you will have a clear understanding of why you are playing the chords, and also make your own choices and variations if you feel the need for.
Variations of chord progressions are given for the same phrases, so that you can mix and match, and choose different combinations for variety.
You can choose your pitch (chord sheets in any of the 12 keys)
The chord sheets have drop downs where you can choose your pitch. If you are comfortable with singing in the key of G (pitch 5), then choose G from the drop down, and all the chords displayed above the lyrics and swaras will be for the pitch of G. (Included are pdfs in the Key of D, in case you find them useful.)
The Chords for 4 Malahari Geetams part has the following:
- Sree Gananatha chords using simple minor and major chords (an occasional simple 7th chord to spice up the situation)
- Padmanabha Geetam chords using just minor and major chords
- Kereya Neeranu Geetam using minor and major chords
- Kunda Gowra Geetam using minor and major chords
- Analekara (Suddha Saveri)
- Varaveena (Mohanam)
- Kamalajathala (Kalyani)
Chords for ragas based on most used western harmony
In the section ‘How to play chords for most songs’ we noted how the seven major scale chords are enough to play songs for most popular songs we come across.
The same seven chords of the major scale can be used to find chords for Raga Shankarabharanam, Raga Natabhairavi, Raga Keeravani, and… all the janya ragas of any of these three ragas. (In fact you can play Raga Kharaharapriya, Raga Kalyani, and a few other ragas and its janyas too).
The janyas of these ragas are the basis of many very popular Indian classical compositions.
This resource will cover how simple chords can be used to play numerous songs and ragas.
Using simple major and minor chords to play ANY raga, scale or song
A simple method that works to use simple major and minor chords for any phrase.
This technique alone will be enough for you to have your freedom and independence when it comes to finding and playing chords.
The method is based on a basic observation of the structure of major and minor chords. Take any phrase, know the notes, then you don’t need any other skill or information. You can take two notes of the phrase and find the third and be sure that the chord is a simple major or minor and that it will fit over the two notes.
These methods of approximation are satisfying while at the same time, making chord playing easy.
Finding chords of any raga or scale starting from chords of the major scale
We can understand any raga or scale by comparing it with the major scale. Major scale is something we come across a lot, which one is familiar with among scales. Find the relation of any raga with the major scale. Then we can include those differences to the chords of the major scale to get chords that can be used for the new raga.
Here is an example of using simple chords for playing a minor scale based raga
Finding exact chords for any raga or scale
This is a fairly simple thing to do. You get chords with only those notes which are in the scale or raga. Depending on the scale or raga, you may get chords with names more than seventh or 9th etc. But once you get familiar with how to find these chords, that skill remains with you for life.
Raga Mayamalavagowla and Malahari geetams can be played using the exact scale notes. (included in the resource).
Another way is to use simple minor and major chords to play Ragas like Mayamalavagowla and Geetams of ragas which do not directly let us play minor and major over all its notes. How do we make these approximations to be able to use minor and major chords instead of more complicated chords, on ANY raga?
Relations between scales, chords and ragas
The major 7th chord and Mayamalavagowla
Mayamalavagowla has a major 3rd note. Big Ri. It has a major 7th note – Big Ni.
To find chord for a scale, one tries to find the chord with Root-fifth-third-seventh.
In the case of Mayamalavagowla, we would get a chord with the following intervals: Root – major 3rd – fifth – major 7th. This is a major 7th note.
Now, the major 7th chord does not represent the flat ninth and flat sixth notes and hence the characteristic sound of Raga Mayamalavagowla. How do you find a chord or change the major 7th chord to have the feel of the Raga?
Hamsadhwani as the major 9th chord
Once you start getting familiar with how to find chords from scales, you will notice that it is easy to choose the scale notes to form chords you can play for the particular phrase or the raga in general.
Raga Hamsadhwani is a 5 note scale derived from the major scale. Understanding basic chord formation principles lets us see that the notes of the whole raga can be expressed as a single chord – the Major 9th chord.
Understanding chords as chosen scale notes suddenly makes the connections much more obvious and brings you freedom and confidence about finding and playing chords for any raga, scale, phrase or song.
Hamsadhwani using simple triads
What are the composers or musicians thinking when finding and deciding chords for melodies?
Once you know the basics behind playing chords for melodies, you won’t have to look for chords on the internet. You will know what to play. And you will play them with grace, your own style, your own decision. That makes you a creative instrument player, performer or arranger; a master of the craft.
Most of the songs we come across, that are popular, are based on the major and minor scale.
Chords based on the major scale are called ‘diatonic chords’ which simply means ‘within the scale’.
The major scale chords
For any pitch there are only 7 chords you have to know to play chords based on the major scale. For example C Em Dm F G Am Bdim (or G7) are the only chords you will need to play a large number of songs, if you sing at the C pitch.
Once you know how to use the chords for the C pitch, transposing or changing the pitch to some other key is just addition and subtraction – basic arithmetic.
The minor scale chords
Interestingly, the same chords used for the major scale can be used to play minor scale songs. You will just start from a different note.
Guess, by now, you get the hint on how knowing to use just a few number of chords can actually make you able to play chords for a very large number of songs.
C2, sus chords, major 7th etc are found in popular genres of music. Just additions.
These ‘other chords’ are just variations that you get by changing a finger or two from the basic chords you master.
A very good grip on playing chords
“I don’t know how i can remember the chords. i have to always look them up on the internet”
This is true only because you don’t understand the relation between chords. Why are some group of chords present? How can you guess the most probable chords?
Understand chords as part of the families they come from, the group they belong to. Understand the logic behind finding chords for popular songs, phrases.
Know what the composer, musician, performer or arranger is thinking while making beauty with chords.
Let us understand the pricing
‘Chords for any Song, Scale, Raga or Phrase’ is priced at $67. Students usually pay for at least 20 hours of skype class to get a grip on this material. This is again for you who is keen about the topic and knows that $67 is worth the money, in return for a complete, authoritative guide to specific instruction that you have been looking for.
The material will remain on the server for you to access any time. You can download the material or come back to the page each time you want to check something. Since you will have unlimited access to the material, you can revisit it any number of times to master the material or reference the material according to your need. I have spent much of my life, time, energy and other resources trying to understand chords and harmony, linking Indian and western music. I will be happy when you find my work useful for you.
Being digital downloads, there is no delivery time delay or charges 🙂 Click below to gain immediate access to downloadable pdfs which you can start using right now.
No questions asked refund. Just let me know any time in 60 days if you want a refund for some reason, and i will be happy to return your money.
When you make the payment with paypal, you will be redirected to the resource page. You can access the study material at your own pace, any time from anywhere as you wish. They are in the form of easily downloadable pdfs.
The prices will go up with time. This kind of chord playing instruction is what many consider unique to me, and what I am asked the most to teach.
Chords for Raga Nattai
Example video of playing chords over Indian Raga Nattai