Mr. L.S. Ramesh, a Post Graduate from the reputed Indian Institute of Technology-I.I.T. Madras has designed an innovative Carnatic Music chakra (Sri Saraswathi 72 Melakarta chakra) after more than six years of effort, to help anyone, children to elderly, without any music knowledge to very easily see, learn and play the Melakarta Ragas of Carnatic music, Western as well as Hindustani by using this unique chakra.
Most people feel Carnatic music and music in general, is beyond their grasp. I wanted to simplify the entire concept and show all the main ragas as a visual tool seeing which it becomes easy to identify with the entire genre of music. Carnatic music is the mother of all world music
Design of the Music Chakra
The 72 Melakarta (Main Ragas) have been neatly depicted in the form of a chakra (Wheel) wherein the ragas are clearly shown as ‘dots on an Octave of the keyboard’. Playing the dots on your keyboard will bring out the melody of the raga. Each dot represents a swara stana (Position of a note).
For Example, Mayamalavagaula-Melakarta Number 15 is depicted below:
Side one contains 36 Suddha Madhyama Ragas which are categorized under respective Chakra heads. For example Indu Chakra has 6 Melakarta Ragas Namely Kanakangi, Ratnangi ,Ganamurthi, Vanaspathi, Manavathi and Danarupi. Similarly other Chakras Netra, Agni ,Veda, Bana and Ruthu chakras with their respective Melakarta ragas are depicted with swara stanas as Dots.
This pattern of dots can be seen and played even by a novice to reveal the particular raga.
Side 2 has the remaining 36 Prathimadhyama Ragas depicted with chakra names Rishi, Vasu Brahma, Disi, Rudhra and Adithya with each chakra comprising 6 Melakarta Ragas each. For example Rishi chakra has the Melakartas from 37 to 42.
It is interesting to observe the following in the Music chakra:
1) As an example if we take Melakarta 29 (Dheerashankarabharanam) and add 36 to this, we get the corresponding Prathimadyama Melakarta raga (29+36=65) Mechakalyani which is very similar to Dheerashankarabharanam except for the MA note.
This helps students to quickly grasp the swara stanas and visualize the raga patterns.
2) The below table shows a comparative list of Carnatic, Hindustani and western scales
Use Of The Music Chakra To Help Children With Special Needs –Autism , Down’s Syndrome
Children with autism or Downs’s Syndrome are very good at identifying patterns and Music is a language they understand best.
Parents and teachers of special children can learn from this chakra and teach.
Research has shown how playing an instrument helps in brain development .When a person plays an instrument the left and right hemispheres of the brain get activated and the motor neurons become more active to help send or receive signals.
Mr. Ramesh conducts Lecture-demo and workshops for Schools, Colleges and corporates on “Music – What, How and Why To Play Music.”
For details website http://www.faces108.com. Mobile Mrs. Sridevi 09445360139
Note: Part of the sale proceeds of this music chakra is used to support orphans through our FACES (Food , Aid, Clothing, Education, Shelter) initiative.
Author: L.S. Ramesh
L.S. Ramesh is a post-graduate from Indian institute of Technology-IIT Madras.