Raga Chalanaatai and Raga Nattai

Chalanattai is the 36th Melarkarta raga which is played using the swaras: S R3 G3 M1 P D3 N3 S both when ascending and descending. (The different spellings used for the names of Ragas in this article are all found to be used to transliterate the Indian name to English)

Raga Chalanattai

ārohaṇa    : S R3 G3 M1 P D3 N3 S
avarohaṇa : S N3 D3 P M1 G3 R3 S

The video given below shows Chalanaattai ascend and descend played on the guitar (standard tuning) with C as the root (Sa).


Raga Naattai

ārohaṇa    : S R3 G3 M1 P D3 N3 S
avarohaṇa : S N3 P M1 R3 S or S N3 P M1 G3 M1 R3 S

Raga Nattai is a derivative (janya) raga of Chalanattai which has a few notes omitted in the Avarohana (descend – coming back from a top note to the lower notes).

Most often the avarohana or descend is also sung or played as: S N3 P M1 G3 M1 R3 S.

Ascend and descend of Raga Naattai on the Guitar (C as root or Sa):


More arohanavarohanas of Indian Ragas on guitar

Raga Nattai and Chalanaatai – Intervals from swaras

Below is the full table of 12 intervals mapped to the corresponding Swaras. Use the swaras given in the ascend and descend sequence to find the intervals for Raga Naatta and Chalanaatai

Position Swara Notation Interval Name
1 Shadja S Root
2 Shuddha Rishabha R1 minor 2nd
3 Chathusruthi Rishabha R2 Major 2nd
3 Shuddha Gandhara G1 major 2nd
4 Shatsruthi Rishabha R3 minor 3rd
4 Sadharana Gandhara G2 minor 3rd
5 Anthara Gandhara G3 major 3rd
6 Shuddha Madhyama M1 perfect 4th
7 Prati Madhyama M2 sharp 4th /flat fifth
8 Panchama P fifth
9 Shuddha Dhaivatha D1 minor 6th
10 Chathusruthi Dhaivatha D2 major 6th
10 Shuddha Nishadha N1 major 6th
11 Shatsruthi Dhaivatha D3 minor 7th
11 Kaisiki Nishadha N2 minor 7th
12 Kakali Nishadha N3 major 7th

Using the above table, we write the intervals and the scale notes starting from C as the root.

Raga Chalanattai

ārohaṇa   : S R3 G3 M1 P D3 N3 S : Root – minor 3rd – major 3rd – perfect 4th – 5th – minor 7th – major 7th – octave
avarohaṇa: S N3 D3 P M1 G3 R3 S : Octave – major 7th – minor 7th – 5th – perfect 4th – major 3rd – minor 3rd – Root

Raga nattai

ārohaṇa   : S R3 G3 M1 P D3 N3 S : Root – minor 3rd – major 3rd – perfect 4th – 5th – minor 7th – major 7th – octave
avarohaṇa: S N3 P M1 R3 S : Octave – major 7th – 5th – perfect 4th – minor 3rd – Root

Raga Nattai when C note is the root

Use the interval sequence in the section above to find the notes of the ragas when C is the root.

Chalanattai scale

Ascend   : C D# E F G A# B C

Descend : C B A# G F E D# C

Naatta scale

Ascend   : C D# E F G A# B C

Descend : C B G F D# C

Notation, tab and swara of Chalanaata and Naata

We will be using tux guitar, a free notation and guitar tab software that allows us to show and playback notation, chords, along with the lyrics or swaras. We can listen to how the chords sound along with the melody, while noting the chord notes used, the melody notes etc in notation and tab format. Get Tux guitarSee a few usage instructions.

Below image shows the ascend and descend of the raga scales with C as the root. 

notation tab ascend and descend raga chalanatai raga natai

Click to download Raga Chalanattai and Nattai Ascend and Descend (tuxguitar file)  (Get Tux guitar – free)

Chord example with S R3 S M1 G3 P M1 N3 …

raga natai phrase chords notation guitar tab indian swaras

Raga Nattai Phrase 01 with chords(Tux guitar file with chord names, melody notation, swaras and a chord track. You can listen to how the chords sound along with the melody, while noting the chord notes used, the melody notes etc in notation and tab format.) 

Raga Naata on guitar – Swaminatha Paripalaya – Vamadeva

Video below shows a part of the song Swaminatha Paripalaya based on Raga Naatai, played on acoustic guitar, with standard tuning.


Interested in playing Indian classical lead on guitar? Get started with detailed instruction.

Chord example with the Vamadeva Phrase

Raga Nattai Phrase 02 with chords (tux guitar) Listen to the chords along with 8 bars of melody. 2 bars of it are shown below along with chord diagramn, melody notation and tab, chord notation and tab, lyrics and swaras.

raga natai phrase chords notation guitar tab indian swaras

Explanation of Chords for Raga phrase: Sammohithakara (m7b5, M7, sus4)

Sam (mohi) (thaka) ra : Pa (Sa Pa) (Ma Ga Ma) Ri : G (C G) (F E F) D#

mohi : Sa Pa : C G

The most obvious chords that include the two notes C and G are C major (chord notes: C E G) and C minor (chord notes: C D# G) chords. Both C major and C minor have chord notes within the Nattai scale – D# and E both notes are present in the raga. 

To find a variation, one could add G# note to the C minor chord (chord notes: C D# G) to get G# major 7th chord (chord notes: G# C D# G). G# is not a note from the Nattai scale, but if it sounds alright for the situation, one may use it.

Instead of G#, if we use A, along with the C minor chord, we get the C minor 6th chord (chord notes: C D# G A).

When the C minor 6th chord is used in a different inversion with A as the root, we have the A minor 7 flat 5th chord (chord notes: A C G D# – same notes as C minor 6th, used in a different order.)

The note A is not present in the Nattai scale. Use the Am7b5 chord if the chord sounds fine for the situation. (This chord is used in the example.)

Of course, pushing the A note one more note up gives us the A# note which when used with the C minor chord gives us the C minor 7th chord, which has all the notes within the scale of Chalanattai or Nattai. 

thaka : Ma Ga Ma : F E F

E and F are the major 3rd and perfect 4th notes when C is the root.

C F and G notes will give us the C sus 4 chord, but the E is omitted then. (Though nowadays, many musicians agree to the usage of 3rd note in a sus4th chord and do not strictly believe that suspended chords are got by replacing the 3rd note with a 2nd 4th or 6th. ref:Jazz theory book, Mark Levine.)

To include the perfect 4th and the major 3rd note in a chord, a robust option is the C11th chord (root – major 3rd – 5th – minor 7th – 11th /perfect 4th = C E G A# F). All the notes in the chord are part of the Nattai scale. 

A simpler option based on the C scale would be to use F major 7th chord (chord notes: F A C E) which has both the F and E notes and the root C. The note A is not present in the Nattai scale, but the chord can still be used if it sounds right for the phrase.

ra : Ri : D#

Other than the obvious option of the C minor chord, one could try finding chords within the Nattai scale which includes the note Ri.

F7sus4 (chord notes: F A# C D#) are made of notes from the C nattai scale and has the Ri note.

If we omit the C note from F7sus4, we get a simpler chord: A#sus4 (A# D# F) which is entirely made of Nattai scale notes and emphasizes the Ri well as the suspended note. This chord is used in the example. 

A movement in 5s

If you use the chords Cm7b5, FM7 and A#sus4 for the phrase, note that the roots of the three chords move in circle of 5ths. C is 5th of F, F is 5th of A#. For a perfect cadence feel, we may need the dominant or dominant 7th version of the 5th chords moving to the root, but even without that, the movement could be one that naturally feels right in music. 

Chords in action – Vocal + guitar of Swaminatha Paripalaya (Raga Nattai)

The melody and chords shown in the previous sections can be found in the following video of the song.


You may try to find chords for the remaining melody parts or find the logic behind the suggested chords. Get familiar with the notes in the raga, identify how the phrase notes can be used along with other scale and non scale notes to find suitable chords for Ragas. Need more guidance or details about finding chords for Ragas? Have a look at the Raga Chord Resources.

Indian guitar, carnatic, rhythm and chords, finding chords, playing by ear etc(Click to see)
Free resources at musicianself.com/rlo