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.
Raga Keeravani is a melakartha or parent raga found in Carnatic music, and is equivalent to the western harmonic minor scale. This lesson includes lines sung by Sreyas Narayanun that outline the raga keeravani. The melodic development of the raga is systematic, starting with melodies in the lower register, then moving to the middle register, reaching the higher register, then concluding back at the starting tonic pitch. This approach to developing the raga can easily be applied to western settings of improvisation, composition, and even as introductions to compositions. Sreyas’ melodies also include rhythmic groupings of four, five and six 16th notes, creating lines that break out of typical four note phrase structure. The end of the lesson includes exercises that encourage this tiered exploration of scales or modes and also examines ways to create new 16th note rhythmic phrases using cells of four, five and six 16th notes. A downloadable pdf of this lesson can be found at the bottom of the page. Continue reading