Thodi ni ni Sa daa
Gamakams in Carnatic Music

Gamakam - Some Links

Gamakam symbols in Sangeetha Sampradaya Pradarsinni

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Computer Analysis of Gamakams of Mayamalavagowla

Computer Analysis of Gamakams of Thodi

Carnatic Music Software (including Gaayaka) - using Gamakams

Arun Kumar's Java applet for Carnatic Gamakam (Midi format)

Automatic Computer synthesis of Gamakams from bare notation in Carnatic Music

M.Subramanian (author of carnatic music software Rasika)

Synthesizing Carnartic Music (South Indian Classical Music) with a computer requires software which enables smooth transition between notes with controllable transit durations. One such program is Gaayaka (part of Rasika software) which uses the traditional 'sa ri ga ma pa da ni' notation as input and generates the music in the tones of Veena or Flute with desired aadhara sruthi (tonic/key) and tempo. Carnatic music uses movement between and around notes (Gamakams) extensively. Gamakams are required to portray the ragam correctly. Often identical notation can generate different ragams due to the difference in the nuances. The existing commonly used notation system gives only the basic outline of notes sung and does not incorporate the nuances which are in practice filled in by the artist based on his knowledge of the ragam.

As the Gaayaka program will play only what is entered, it becomes necessary for the user to enter the notation for nuances in detail. An example is the (carnatic) suddha rishabham which is often played by oscillation from the lower note shadjam. For the notation written as 'sa ri ga' the note 'ri' is sung as 'saa ri saa ri saa' with sa taking most of the time and ri being touched quickly. The note kaisiki nishadham when prolonged in ragams having chatusruthi dhaivatham is often oscillated upto the shadjam from the dhaivatham. The gamakam used in a note not only depends upon the individual ragam but also its context and duration.

A program has been written by me to convert the bare notation (in Gaayaka format) into one having the natural nuances of the ragam. My paper describing the issues involved in such a conversion has been published in 'Sangeet Natak'.Volume XLIII, No.3,2009 pp.28-36. and can be downloaded here . Some examples of the music generated from bare notation and the music generated from the converted notation are put up here.

The subject was presented in the 2nd Computer Music Workshop held at Istanbul in July, 2012. A video of the presentation may be seen here.

A lecture demonstration was also presented at the Music Academy, Chennai on 17th Dec., 2012. A slide set of the lecture with audio can be seen here.

You can download the 'AddGamakam' conversion program and the newer version of Gaayaka (Gka7.exe) and try it. The newer version of Gaayaka is part of the next version of Rasika package. It has the facility to easily exchange alternative gamakam notations generated by the AddGamakam program. Click here to go to the download and instructions page

The experience in using the program (at its presents state of development) shows that where the notation accurately describes the basic outline of the music (as in the case of Varnams) the result of the music from the computer converted notation is quite close to the sung music. The following clips were generated from Gaayaka which enables any notation to be saved as a .wav file. The .wav files were then converrted to .mp3 files. Examples below include Varnam and Krithis. Click here to see samples of plain notation and the computer converted notations are given at the end of this page

1. Adi thala Varnam in ragam Sankarabharanam (upto Anupallavi)

Gaayaka playing bare notation - mp3 file (700 kB)
Gaayaka playing the notation with gamakams inserted by computer - mp3 file (700 kB)

2. Pallavi of Syama Sasthri's Krithi Sarojadhalanethri in Sankarabharanam

Gaayaka playing bare notation - mp3 file (600 kB)
Gaayaka playing the same notation with gamakams inserted by computer - mp3 file (600 kB)

3. Bhairavi Swarajati of Syama Sasthri - (upto 4 charanams)

Gaayaka playing bare notation - mp3 file (1.4 Mb)
Gaayaka playing the same notation with gamakams inserted by computer - mp3 file (1.4 Mb)

4. Pallavi and Anupallavi of Papanasam Sivan's Krithi Kanthimathi in Kanada

Gaayaka playing bare notation - mp3 file (700 kB)
Gaayaka playing the same notation with gamakams inserted by computer - mp3 file (700 kB)


Samples of plain notation and notation with notes inserted by the computer for gamakams are given below. For a simple explanation of the Gaayaka notation format click here. The main changes are use of brackets "(" and ")" for showing higher kaalams (instead lines above the notes), use of upper case and lower case for showing the 3 sthaayis (ex. 'pA' lower octave, 'pa' middle octave and 'Pa' upper octave) and use of "<" and ">" symbols for small increase or decrease of pitch. A dot "." is used for half a note duration (half of a comma ","). For a full description of the Gaayaka notation format click here

[Sankarabharana Varnam - Pallavi]

[Normal Notation - with "-" for phrase separation]

[Same notation converted by Computer inserting detailed notes for gamakams ]

[Kamakshi - Bhairavi Swarajathi - with '-' for phrase separation] [Normal Notation]

[Same notation coverted by the program inserting gamakams]