Carnatic Gamakas can be written accurately using Western Notation
by ‘harcoding’ the swaras within the gamaka.
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See the image below where the first few lines of Alaipayuthe has been transcribed and written using
- Western notation, along with
- Guitar Tabs,
- Swaras and
- Syllable by Syllable Lyrics.
🙂 Of course it’s high information density.
4 Layers to make sure that the music is represented as clearly as possible.
So that the message gets across and is viewed, understood and learnt by the viewer or student without doubt, by using the 4 different layers of information which will act as learning input and anti-mistake checklists.
How to write gamakas as notes or swaras?
Below is a simple example. The first two bars of Varaveena Mridupani, Mohanam Geetham. (see Varaveena on guitar to listen to the part)
The swaras for Varaveena Mridupani
| g g p p | d p s s | goes the first two bars swaras.
When transcribed and written as notes, the jhanta slide for the second ga, and the long slide for the dha are both invisible and lost.
In the notation given above, I have included the r-g slide for the second ga, written clearly as the notes within the gamaka.
Similarly the p-s-d slide which is the real movement behind the dha, has been written using the notes within the slide. A slide between the 3-8-5 frets on the first string of the guitar, when C note is the Sa.
This is what I mean by ‘hardcoding’ it. Not leaving the user to wonder about what is missing, nor leading to ambiguity.
This is how we play it. Write it as it is played. Practical musicians understand this.
Varaveena played on the guitar with slides
See this post for more on Raga Mohanam, Varaveena, C Major scale to Raga Slides etc