Is there a way to find the notes of a raga once we know the number? The Katapayadi system page on wiki has an explanation. Here I have explained it in the way I use it and where we used it to make something useful.

The pattern identification logic behind finding swaras of a Melakarta Raaga, given the melakarta number :

  1. ma
    • 1 to 36 : M1 (suddha madhyamam / small ma/ perfect 4th)
    • 37 to 72 : M2 ( (prathimadhyamam/big ma/ sharp 4th)
    • This means, the first half of the list has Suddha madhyamam (perfect 4th) and the second half has Prathimadhyamam (sharp 4th, the note just after perfect 4th) in the raga.
  2. ri
    • R1 : 1 to 18, 37 to 54
    • R2 : 19 to 36, 55 to 66
    • R3 : 67 to 72
  3. ga
    Divide the whole melakarta into groups each containing 6. From 1 to 36 we have 6 groups of 6 ragas each. Similarly 37 to 72 will have 6 groups of 6 ragas each. Now

    • Groups 1,2,3,4,5,6 (1 to 36)  will have G1 G2 G3 G2 G3 G3 respectively
    • Groups 7,8,9,10,11,12 (37 to 72) will also have G1 G2 G3 G2 G3 G3 respectively
    • e.g. raga number 63 : 63/6 = 10 remainder 3. falls in the group 11, hence has a G3
    • e.g. raga number 29 : 29/6 = 4 remainder 5. belongs to the group 5 since it gives a quotient of 4 and then some remainder. hence has G3
    • e.g. raga number 7 : 7/6 = 1 remainder 1. belongs to the group 2 , hence has G2
  4. dha
    • D1 D1 D1 D2 D2 D3 – in each of the group that contains 6 ragas, (groups got by dividing 72 melakarta into 12 groups each having 6 ragas) the Dha swara will keep rolling in the above pattern.
  5. ni
    • N1 N2 N3 N2 N3 N3 – in each of the group that contains 6 ragas, (groups got by dividing 72 melakarta into 12 groups each having 6 ragas) the Ni swara will keep rolling in the above pattern.

Notice the pattern of dha and ni notes in the the image below:

Wikipedia Melakarta ragas

Dha and ni in the melakarta list

Let us take the Raga Divyamani (nice name!) with the Melakarta number = 48

What do we get when we divide the number by 6. 48/6 = 8, no reminders.

Now let us take Raga Dhavalambari (one who wears white?) with Melakarta number = 49

Dividing 49 by 6 : 49/6 = 8 with remainder 1

The Raga Divyamani finishes a 6 raga group. Raga Dhavalambari is the first raga in the next group of 6 Ragas.

Dividing by 6 and noting the reminder, is hence a good way to know where the particular raga lies within a 6 raga group.

Once we know this, we can easily associate it with which Dha or Ni will be found in the Raga.

There, you have the complete method to know the swaras in a melakarta raga based on its position in the list, which is found from the number of the raga.

The logic behind the Raga to Guitar App

We used the above logic when building the Melakarta part of the Raga on Guitar App which helps map Raga note positions on to the guitar fretboard.

Since the Melakarta list follows an observable pattern, we could use the logic to make an algorithm that would naturally make the calculations and find which swaras or notes come in a Melakarta raga.

Then we built a few functions that mapped the Raga note positions on to the guitar fretboard.

Have a look at the Melakarta listing given in the App – it is given below the fretboard diagramn in the Raga listing section.

Knowing which swaras a raga has, makes harmonizing it easier and helps us pick ragas to suit underlying chords while improvising. Application of the same knowledge from the two different directions.

Any questions about the App? Contact Prasanth.

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