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Home Music Center Notations of the Vaisnava Acaryas

How To Read Musical Notation:

 

In the KKSongs Notations to Vaisnava Songs, the songs will be in a special form called the Bhatkhande notation. This notation is considered to be the most accepted standard in North Indian classical music.

 

The Bhatkhande notation is made of four rows:

 

X

 

 

 

0

 

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

S

R

G

m

P

D

N

S

ha

re

kr

sna

ha

re

kr

sna

 

The first row is red: This row is the tala symbols. The tala symbols indicate special points in a cycle for emphasis or de-emphasis in rhythmic flow. Unless you are a mridanga player or tabla, this may not mean much to you. Keep in mind that the sam, shown by the X, indicates the first beat in any cycle. The 2, 3, 4 represent accents that are after the sam, X. The 0 represents points of de-emphasis.

 

The second row is black: This is the matra numbers. In Indian music, rhythm is measured through a cycle. The length of cycle depends on how many matras or beats there are. In the above example, the second row indicates that one cycle has eight beats or eight matras. The second row shows you where in the cycle you are at. This also helps identify at what points of the cycle a note should be struck.

 

Matra 7 is divided in half. This indicates that two notes will be played in the same matra.

 

The third row is inside the top boxes: These are the swar boxes. The swar boxes will indicate which notes will be played. There are special notations to watch for.

 

On matra 1 (sam), there is a N (mandra N). This means N below middle S, or madhya S.

 

On matra 8, there is a S (tar S). This means S above middle S.

 

On matra 6, an empty space or a dash (-) indicates the holding of a note. Matra 6 is just the holding of a note for one extra matra from matra 5.

 

If there are any questions about what the actual notes are or what they mean, please visit the page on the how to interpret melody on the main page of KKSongs Notations of Vaisnava Songs.

 

The fourth row is inside the bottom boxes: These are the where the words for the songs are. Sometimes, syllables will be extended. Either a trail of the letter (e.g. o, o, o, o if the syllable o had four matras) for each matra block existing, or a series of dashes (-) will appear for holding of a syllable or a vowel sound.

 

If there is a blank space, there is no word or syllable sung at that point.

 

UPDATED: June 16, 2009