Benefit from effective Indian style and chord - rhythm Guidance from Shyam

Playing Raga chord Fingerstyle or raga based chord melody by changing usual fingerpicking patterns to suit rhythm and changing chords notes to suit the raga scale.

The below video has an example of changing C major and related chords using b9, b6 and #4 notes. Also, the rhythm is adapted from 4/4 to 7/8 by changing the fingering pattern.

Raga chord fingertyle exercise -Purpose

As discussed in the video, Dr. Benjamin Bloom’s work with learning goals have been very useful in understanding lesson design and how we learn. 

It was revised in 2001 giving even more clarity to psychomotor realms etc. 

Being able to understand and adapt is important to learning. Beyond just remembering, one knows what is going on, enough to be able to customize it to ones own needs.

That is how we progress with the learning. Beyond memorization, when we learn enough to adapt to our needs, further to compose, synthesize, infer, verify, compare and judge our work…

Starting with the C major chord 4/4 rhythm, notes are changed in the second bar to include raga notes we want. Third bar shows the rhythm changed to 7/8 by shortening one of the longer notes. (right click open in new tab to see bigger)

Customize the major scale chords to raga notes

We have chosen the b9 based scales for the exercise since they give an obvious contrast to the sound, when compared to the usually western major or minor scales.

Watch the video to listen to the pattern I use to play the C major chord.

In the next step, we add the G# note instead of the G and F# note on the 4th string, bringing in Kamavardhini. 

We can also include C#, the Ri1 swara when C is he Sa, played on the 2nd string or on the 5th string. 

This changes the flavor of the chord picking, making it more towards the raga style we want

Changing 4/4 rhythm to 7/8 rhythm

Padumanabha Paramapurusha in Raga Malahari, the derivative of Raga Mayamalavagowla (double harmonic major) is an example Geetham (SImple carnatic composition) with 7/8 rhythm.

7/8 rhythm occurs more in Indian music than we usually observe in western music. 

Changing the 4/4 (0r 8/8 so that we can see the 1/8 units) then has to lose a 1/8 to become the 7/8 we want.

Watch the video on how the change has been made.

Free resources at