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Notation for Indian and Western Music - Similarities and Differences
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Music is not bound by any language. Throughout the world the same seven notes rule the heart of music lovers. Each language might have its own way of representing these notes, and sometimes the differences and similarities can be very interesting. We'll take the Indian and Western style of notations and check out the interesting similarities and differences.
The seven natural notes are Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La and Ti. They are often expressed also as C, D, E, F, G, A and B. In India, the same notes are called "Shudh Swar" which literally means pure sounds - indicating the natural notes. They are expressed as Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha and Ni.
So we can establish a one to one correspondence between -
Do, C and Sa
Re, D and Re
Mi, E and Ga
Fa, F and Ma
So, G and Pa
La, A and Dha
Ti*, B and Ni
* We would only use C, D etc. now onwards for western style of notation for the sake of compactness.
Next comes the five notes which are called accidental notes, unnatural notes or sharp notes. All these sharp notes are just one note higher than related natural note. Some people suggest that it is fine to say and a higher note from note 'X' can be termed as X sharp note, and lower note than 'X' can be termed as X flat note.These are represented as X#, Xb respectively.
So the Sharp Notes are - C#, D#, F#, G# and A#.
However, in Indian notation Sa (C), and Pa (G) are always "Shudh" or pure notes - No sharp or flat notes for these. There are four "Komal Swar", literally meaning soft notes, which can correspond to the flat notes - they are one note lower than the natural note. They are Komal Re, Komal Ga, Komal Dha and Komal Ni. They are represented with a dash below them, as Re, Ga, Dha, Ni.
There is one Teevra Swar (Literally Meaning Hyper Note indicating the Sharp Note) - Teewra Ma. It is represented with a vertical line at the top.
So, Five not natural Notes in Indian Notation are, Re, Ma|, Ga, Dha, Ni
(There seem to be a bug which is not letting me save above notes with underlines.)
Now let's have a look at the twelve notes in the Western and Indian Notation.
Western Notation: C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B
Indian Notation: Sa, Re, Re, Ga, Ga, Ma, Ma|, Pa, Dha, Dha, Ni, Ni
(Note: The vertical line is not at the side top as shown here but right at the top of the note, couldn't display it here in text. Check the image, the green symbol is teewra ma in devnagri script)
Notice that how amongst the pure/natural 7 notes, there is one to one correspondence, although the in between notes are quite different. Indian style of notation is strict in a sense that the notes will be represented as is. In Western Notation however, A# may sometimes be seen represented as Bb.
There are many other interesting correlations and differences in playing styles also, which will be discussed in another hub. If you've also learnt both the notations of representing Music, or may be another representation, please share your experience in the comments section.