Chords for Malahari geetams using simple minor and major chords only

We have already discussed Mayamalavagowla with the G root, and about finding major and minor chords for the raga.

Below we use Mayamalavagowla with D root as an example of finding simple major and minor chords for ragas which do not naturally let us use such simple triads.

Then we use these chords to find progressions for the raga, using a phrase of Padumanabha geetam in Raga Malahari as an example.

Please note that Malahari is a janya raga derived from the parent melakarta raga Mayamalavagowla. Since Malahari uses the same notes as Mayamalavagowla, the chords found for D Mayamalavagowla will apply for phrases in D Malahari also.

The D mayamalavagowla scale

D Mayamalavagowla: D Eb F# G A Bb C# D

Triad chords for D mayamalavagowla

mmg simple chords for each swara
The above table shows chords found from each swara or note position of the scale.

The third row shows the chords we get naturally by picking alternate notes starting from each scale note.

The fourth row shows the chords after converting chords in the third column, which are other than major and minor also to major and minor chords, by adding notes outside the scale.

|Ri Sa Dha Sa, Sa,| Ma Ga Ri Ma Ma Pa , |

These are the notes of the first two bars of the Malahari Geetham Padumanabha Paramapurusha. Below we find chords for each part of the phrase. The song is in 7/8, therefore each bar has notes equivalent to 7 eighth notes.

Ri sa dha

Notes: Eb D Bb

Look at the table of chords above. See if any of the chords has at least two of the notes above.

Eb major chord has both Eb and Bb notes in it. Chord for the phrase: Eb major

Sa, sa,

Note: D

It is the root note. Obvious chord: D major

Ma ga ri

Notes: G F# Eb

G and Eb are found in the chord Eb.

Ma ma pa

Notes: G G A

We could play one chord each for the two parts:

  • Part 1: Ma ma.  Note: G. Chord: Gm
  • Part 2: Pa. Note: A. Chord: A major

Using the chords chosen above, the chord progression will be as follows:

|Eb     |D      |Eb      |Gm     A|

|R S D|S , S ,|M G R|M M  P ,|

Another chord option for M G R

M G R notes are: G F# Eb

Choose the notes G and Eb.

C Eb G is the C minor chord. The C note is not present in D Mayamalavagowla.

Try the C minor chord over phrases that have Ri and Ma, especially where Ri is prominent.

Using Cm for MGR, the chord progression will be as follows:

|Eb     |D      |Cm     |Gm     A|

|R S D|S , S ,|M G R|M M  P ,|

Similarly we can find chords for the whole song, and make Complete Chord sheets for all the 4 Malahari Geetams. Try using different chord possibilities for the same notes. Try using different chord progressions based on the note – chord relations, when repeating phrases, to bring variety to your arranging or playing.

Get the complete resource on Raga Chords

Posted in Chords for Indian Ragas

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