This is the first look at improvising within a Carnatic context. We’re revisiting Raga Keeravani, the harmonic minor raga. These lines were sung by Sreyas Narayanun in one of our lessons during our performance of the composition Devi Neeye Thunai.
The improvisation section comes at the end of the composition and uses a compositional motif as inspiration for the improvised melodies. The motif always concludes an improvised line, ending on beat 1. Also, the phrases are filled with augmentative rhythmic structures. These two elements, the use of the compositional motif to conclude an improvised line and the rhythmic content, are key characteristics of Carnatic improvisation. Play through these examples then apply this approach to improvising in other settings. A downloadable pdf of the lesson is available at the bottom of the page.