Mayamalavagowla the Raaga

Mayamalavagowla has the following notes (in Indian solfege / notation) :

  • ārohaṇa (ascend) : S R1 G3 M1 P D1 N3 S
  • avarohaṇa (descend) : S N3 D1 P M1 G3 R1 S

Using interval names, the raga can be written as  :

Sa = the root

ri = minor 2nd

Ga = major 3rd

ma = perfect 4th

Pa = 5th

dha = 6th

Ni = major 7th

Using 'm' for minor and 'M' for major :

Raga Mayamalavagowla : Root m2 M3 4 5 m6 M7 Root

C Mayamalavagowla

Let us take Mayamalavagowla starting from C – C as the root (Sa).

In the previous section, we found that the raga mayamalavagowla when spelled in terms of the interval names looks like this :

Root m2 M3 4 5 m6 M7

When C is the root, let us find out the remaining notes :

C Mayamalavagowla : C Db E F G Ab B C

Writing the scale using all the different alphabets : We could have written the scale as C C# E F G G # B C, but when C# is written as Db and G# is written as Ab, we get to write the scale using all the different alphabets without repeating C and G.

Understanding by Comparison

Mayamalavagowla Raaga & Major Scale – 2 notes difference

C Major Scale : C D E F G A B C (Root M2 M3 4 5 M6 M7 Root)

C Mayamalavagowla : C Db E F G Ab B C (Root m2 M3 4 5 m6 M7 Root)

The second note (D – Db) and sixth note (A – Ab) are the two notes that are different.

To get a Mayamalavagowla from the Major Scale (Ionian) :

  1. Change the Major 2nd note to a minor 2nd. Minor 2nd will be notated as b9 (flat ninth) when used in a chord name.
  2. Change the Major 6th note to a minor 6th. Minor 6th can be called a #5 (sharp 5) or b13 (flat 13th) when naming a chord.

Mayamalavagowla Raga & Phrygian (minor) – 2 notes difference

C Phrygian Scale : C Db Eb F G Ab Bb C (Root m2 m3 4 5 m6 m7 Root) – the All minor Scale (not a formal name)

C Mayamalavagowla : C Db E F G Ab B C (Root m2 M3 4 5 m6 M7 Root)

The third note and seventh note are the two notes that are different.

To get a Mayamalavagowla from the Phrygian scale :

  1. Change the minor 3rd note to a Major 3rd. Changing the quality of the 3rd note makes the scale to change from a minor to Major. Mayamalavagowla is a major scale because its third is a major while phyrigian is a minor scale because its 3rd is a minor.
  2. Change the minor 7th note to a Major 7th. 

The minor 2nd is a common factor for both the scales which can be used in Suspended flat ninth chords. But be aware of the minor 3rd – major 3rd differences.

The 7th chords change

Due to the minor 3rd and minor 7th notes, the Phrygian scale has the minor 7th chord Root, minor 3rd, 5th, minor 7th

Due to the major 3rd and major 7th notes, Mayamalavagowla has the Major 7th chord – Root, major 3rd, 5th, major 7th.

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What do you get?

  1. A thorough understanding of the scale Mayamalavagowla, through the different modes
  2. Going through the different modes and finding chords for each mode gives you the understanding to extend this sort of analysis and understanding to more scales and ragas
  3. A good number of possible chords to work with – 7ths, 9ths, simple triads, suspended, sus flat ninths… and more.
  4. Plus the understanding of forming chords from scales. Going through this article gives you a good idea on how to find chords by picking notes from the scale. Chords as a choice of notes from the scale opens up world of improvisation for you.
  5. Connects your understanding of Indian Raga with Western Music Theory and Analysis.

Updates : If I make any updates I will send them to you as they are made, of course free of any further charges. One update I already have in mind is Using only Minor and Major chords over Mayamalavagowla. This will mean approximations of chords natural to MayaMalawaGowla, and addition of notes which are outside the scale, while still sounding fine.

Click to learn more, see samples and decide if it suits you