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#1 Anthara Gandharam (Ga3) vs Musical Keyboards

Posted: 03 Nov 2016, 14:16
by raguanu
In carnatic music, Anthara Gandharam (Ga3) has a peculiar characteristic. It can be heard clearly even when we play just Sa on tambura. It is a Swayambu Swaram, comes alive automatically due to the wonderful acoustics of tambura. This phenomenon is fundamentally important for carnatic music.

On a keyboard*, Major 3rd is used to approximate Ga3. However, Major 3rd (western music) is 400 cents** whereas proper carnatic Ga3 is at 386.31 cents above Sa (5/4 ratio).


*Equal Temperament is the tuning system used for keyboards. This is a western tuning system.
**Cent is a logarithmic unit of measure used for musical intervals.

cross posted from:


This is one of the reasons a regular music keyboard is not quite suitable for carnatic music. Carnatic teachers habitually recommend practicing with keyboard to vocal students in the hope that it might improve their swara gnanam. On the contrary, this leads to serious inaccuracies and impairs the students' sense of swara sthanas permanently.

Thank you,
Ananth Pattabi
Shruti Carnatic Tuner (Android app)
Tune your instruments or voice. Automatic swaram detection!
© Kuyil | Apps Crafted for Carnatic

#2 Re: Anthara Gandharam (Ga3) vs Musical Keyboards

Posted: 06 Nov 2016, 07:37
by msakella
Hello dear brother-member,

As this Anthara-gandhara is a Svayambhoo-svara and the Mandra-shadja string always produces this Anthara-gandhara this becomes a menace to the Ragas consisting of Sadharana-gandhara and thus such Tambura can be used to the Ragas consisting of Anthara-gandhara only. But, the Hindusthani-tamburas are manufactured avoiding this Svayambhoo-svara. In our Karnataka-music while singing the Ragas consisting of Sadharana-gandhara it is better to avoid the Mandra-shadja-string as Madhya-shadja-strings do not emanate this Anthara-gandhara.

Even while singing Suddha-madhyama-important ragas this must be avoided as Suddha-madhya also has a discordant relation with Anthara-gandhara.

Except this in so many ways the key-board is very highly useful to the aspirants learning Karnataka-music. In my extensive experiments on the easy methods in learning our music this has undoubtedly been proved many a time beyond any doubt. In this modern learning system of music while this has very strictly been made ‘time-bound and result-oriented’ the aspirant relies upon the key-board for more than 95% and less than 5% on the teacher-guide. amsharma

#3 Re: Anthara Gandharam (Ga3) vs Musical Keyboards

Posted: 07 Nov 2016, 23:01
by vvssaraswathi
Dear everyone

I am not from musical background and do not have any technical knowledge on the nuances of swaras.

But, I can share my observation, after looking into this post.

I had lot of interest in Karnataka Music and have put my Children in msakella school of music.

My elder one is learning from Guru Sri Akella garu directly on phone for last 2 years and my younger one who is 11 years old now is learning from disciple of Sri Akella garu , who is running msakella school of music in Bangalore.

Since my children do not come from musical background and they do not know what is Sa Pa Sa, when they started, identifying swaras was very tough. Sa Pa Sa can be heard from Sruti box, but other notes - they had challenges since they cannot be seen. Casio helped them a lot since this is a visual aid.

What Ananth garu told about Antargandharam may be correct ,but for the base of all the swaras may be obtained from casio. Only for this note, they may have to develop sense to identify in future course.

But, Instead of waiting for teacher to correct a student , student can rely upon an instrument which may serve as a guide. I have seen my children along with 12 other children here who are efficiently using casio as a guide with very less dependency from the teacher. Teacher does not need to exert her / him self during this process.

I am also seeing all children learning Melakarta Ragas after Geetas (Before starting Varnas) using Casio and they are able to identify the difference between notes and able to sing without Casio, without help from teacher.

I have seen Sri Akella garu did not even sing Sa Pa Sa while guiding my elder daughter while he guided her to use Casio and she was able to perform Varnas, Keertanas , swarakalpana also in multiple programs, by learning using Casio.It is surprising for us to see the progress in 2 years.

With many things automated in current life style, to reduce manual effort thus minimizing mistakes, the casio can be considered as automatic visual aid to reduce manual dependencies. While I do not know the real technicalities of Antargandharam, if it is an exception, we may have to find alternate ways for the same

When we are able to enjoy the benefits for every other note in many other ways, if some one can come up with a solution to innovate a Casio with antargandharm also perfectly, yes, we can use. Otherwise, children will definitely be benefited by using the existing casio with an exception.

Thank you

#4 Re: Anthara Gandharam (Ga3) vs Musical Keyboards

Posted: 20 Nov 2016, 13:32
by raguanu
The key point of the discussion is that Carnatic Ga3 is totally different from Keyboard Major 3rd. Let's first actually hear the difference before debating on the use of keyboard for carnatic.

Please listen to Ga3 played together with Major 3rd. You can clearly hear the beating due to frequency difference: ... g-together

Now, let us hear Ga3 and Major 3rd in the context of Sa: ... -major-3rd

From these recordings, we can understand how vastly different our carnatic Ga3 is from the Major 3rd found on keyboard.


What bad could happen if we continue to train students using keyboard for carnatic?

We can learn from what happened to Hindustani music. The use of harmonium, which is also a Western Equal Tempered keyboard, has caused permanent changes in shruti ratios of Hindustani music for worse. A study, by J. Serrà et al, concludes Hindustani ratios are skewed towards western equal temperament over the years due to extensive use of Harmonium. Fortunately, Harmomium is limited to devotional music in the south. Thus Carnatic music still retains its pure ratios.

Take a look at this study for details: "Assessing the Tuning of Sung Indian Classical Music." by J. Serrà, G. K. Koduri, M. Miron, and X. Serra. International Society of Music Information Retrieval Conference (ISMIR), Oct. 24-28, 2011, Miami (USA).


Sri. Akella Mallikarjuna Sharma, We know you as a modernist who is open to technological innovations for the improvement of carnatic music and its teaching. It is impressive to hear about your innovative, highly configurable, custom made shruti box, modifications you have brought to violin tuning peg to ease gamakam playing, etc. We understand even you had to resort to suggesting western keyboard because there were no better alternatives until recently. We need not bet on western, made-in-china keyboards for the betterment of our music as they are created without any consideration for carnatic music.

We are at a stage where we can make our own technology to match our specific needs. We, at Kuyil, are dedicated to bring mobile apps designed for carnatic music to assist students, teachers and professionals. With your blessings, support and suggestions we can build great apps that carnatic music deserves.

vvssaraswathi wrote:What Ananth garu told about Antargandharam may be correct, but for the base of all the swaras may be obtained from casio
Ga3 is just one example. Most carnatic swara sthanas are considerably different from what is found on keyboards. For example, Ri1 (16/15 ratio) is 11.73 cents higher than on keyboards, Dha2 (5/3 ratio) is 15.64 cents lower, etc. Please refer to Akella garu's posts detailing ratios for each swara sthana in these forums.
vvssaraswathi wrote:student can rely upon an instrument which may serve as a guide
Indeed, there is a need for a tool for students to practice independently. Only concern is that a keyboard is not reliable guide for carnatic music. The above study proves that it even damages the sense of swaram gyanam. A better technology, designed exclusively for carnatic music, is what is required. Our own Shruti Carnatic Tuner (android app) is one such effort to provide reliable reference swarams in any kattai / shruti.

Thank you,
Ananth Pattabi
Shruti Carnatic Tuner (Android app)
Tune your instruments or voice. Automatic swaram detection!
© Kuyil | Apps Crafted for Carnatic

#5 Re: Anthara Gandharam (Ga3) vs Musical Keyboards

Posted: 20 Nov 2016, 17:43
by msakella
I have very regularly been in rapport with thousands of different kinds of aspirants, music-teachers and experiments in the methods of learning our music all along since last more than 50 years. I, at this old age of 78 and with this long back-ground as a professional performer and true-teacher, very sincerely feel that the meagre harm the poor aspirants face through the key-board in the beginning of the learning process for few months, is very far lesser than being perennially depend upon the so called Guru/teacher and his/her inefficiencies in Shruti or Laya or teaching. I can prove this at any time and place beyond any doubt. Till now, I did never come across a fully consonant Shruti instrument in Karnataka music. That is why almost 40 years back I have designed my own Shruti instrument about which I have demonstrated and posted the details in the sub-thread ‘Aesthetics in Shruti alignment’ under the main- thread ‘General Discussions’.

Let anybody think of me in his/her own way, but I absolutely oppose and condemn the suicidal action of leaving the poor aspirant to the whims and fancies of the so called Guru/teacher perennially. amsharma