Graha bhedam

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Graha Bhedam in Carnatic music is the process (or result of the process) of shifting the Tonic note (śruti) to another note in the rāgam and arriving at a different rāgam.

Graha literally means position and Bhedam means change. Since the position of the śruti is changed (pitch of the drone), it is also sometimes called Swara Bhedam or Śruti Bhedam though Śruti Bhedam and Graha Bhedam have some technical differences.[1]

Definition[edit]

Modal shift of the Tonic note to higher notes of a rāgam, while retaining the note's positions (swara sthānas – sthāna means position/ pitch), results in different rāgams. This is called Graha Bhedam.

Practical demo[edit]

A simple practical demonstration of Graha Bhedam can be taken up by playing the structure of a rāgam with the drone set to Sa (Shadjamam). Then if we keep playing the same keys/ notes, while shifting the drone to another note in the rāgam, to form the new śruti/ tonic note, the result is a different rāgam.

Example Illustration[edit]

When Graha bhedam is applied on Shankarabharanam's notes, it yields 5 other major Melakarta rāgams, namely, Kalyani, Hanumatodi, Natabhairavi, Kharaharapriya and Harikambhoji.

Rāgam Mela # Śruti
Tonic
C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C
Shankarabharanam 29 C S R2 G3 M1 P D2 N3 S' R2' G3' M1' P' D2' N3' S' '
Karaharapriya 22 D S R2 G2 M1 P D2 N2 S'
Hanumatodi 08 E S R1 G2 M1 P D1 N2 S'
Kalyani 65 F S R2 G3 M2 P D2 N3 S'
Harikambhoji 28 G S R2 G3 M1 P D2 N2 S'
Natabhairavi 20 A S R2 G2 M1 P D1 N2 S'
Invalid Melakarta B S R1 G2 M1 M2 D1 N2 S'
Shankarabharanam 29 C S R2 G3 M1 P D2 N3 S' R2' G3' M1' P' D2' N3' S' '

Notes on above table

  • C as the base for Shankarabharanam is chosen for above illustration only for convenience, as Carnatic music does not enforce strict frequency/pitch structure. The Shadjamam (S) is fixed by the artist as per the vocal range or the instrument's tonic note. All the other swarams are relative to this Shadjamam, falling into a Geometric progression-like frequency pattern. This note is applicable to all tables that are illustrated further below in this page.
  • The 6th Graha Bhedam of Shankarabharanam has both Madhyamams (Ma) and no Panchamam (Pa) and hence will not be considered a valid Melakarta (ragam having all 7 swarams and only 1 of each). This is only a classification issue with respect to Melakarta, while this structure could be theoretically used well to create good music (probably needs an expert). Hindustani classical raga lalit has 2 Ma and no Pa, however it has different Ga and Ni than this structure
  • The gaps in the above table are for the missing swara positions in these ragams, which happens to be the Sharp / Flat notes in western music.

Melakarta Rāgams[edit]

Graha Bhedam can be applied on most Melakarta rāgams to yield other Melakarta rāgams (16 of the 72 do not yield any valid Melakarta scale). When applying such modal shift of tonic note, some results are not valid Melakarta rāgams (rules of the definition of Melakarta are violated). Example scenarios are missing Panchamam (Pa) or two of particular note (Rishabham (Ri), Gandharam (Ga), Madhyamam (Ma), Dhaivatam (Da) or Nishadam (Ni)).

Shankarabharanam[edit]

See Example Illustration in previous section.

Kanakangi[edit]

The Graha Bhedam derivative of Kanakangi is Kamavardhini and vice versa.

Rāgam Mela # C D E F G A B C D
Kanakangi 01 S R1 G1 M1 P D1 N1 S' R1' G1'
Kamavardhini 51 S R1 G3 M2 P D1 N3 S'

Mayamalavagowla[edit]

The Graha Bhedam derivatives of Mayamalavagowla are Rasikapriya and Simhendramadhyamam.

Rāgam Mela # C D E F G A B C D E F
Mayamalavagowla 15 S R1 G3 M1 P D1 N3 S' R1' G3' M1'
Rasikapriya 72 S R3 G3 M2 P D3 N3 S'
Simhendramadhyamam 57 S R2 G2 M2 P D1 N3 S'

Ragavardhini[edit]

The Graha Bhedam derivative of Ragavardhini is Varunapriya and vice versa.

Rāgam Mela # C D E F G A B C D E F
Ragavardhini 32 S R3 G3 M1 P D1 N2 S' R3' G3' M1'
Varunapriya 24 S R2 G2 M1 P D3 N3 S'

Vachaspati[edit]

The Graha Bhedam derivatives of Vachaspati are Charukesi, Gourimanohari and Natakapriya.

Rāgam Mela # C D E F G A B C D E F G A
Vachaspati 64 S R2 G3 M2 P D2 N2 S' R2' G3' M2' P' D2'
Charukesi 26 S R2 G3 M1 P D1 N2 S'
Gourimanohari 23 S R2 G2 M1 P D2 N3 S'
Natakapriya 10 S R1 G2 M1 P D2 N2 S'

Shanmukhapriya[edit]

The Graha Bhedam derivatives of Shanmukhapriya are Shoolini, Dhenuka and Chitrambari.

Rāgam Mela # C D E F G A B C D E F G A
Shanmukhapriya 56 S R2 G2 M2 P D1 N2 S' R2' G2' M2' P' D1'
Shoolini 35 S R3 G3 M1 P D2 N3 S'
Dhenuka 09 S R1 G2 M1 P D1 N3 S'
Chitrambari 66 S R2 G3 M2 P D3 N3 S'

Keeravani[edit]

The Graha Bhedam derivatives of Keeravani are Hemavati, Vakulabharanam and Kosalam.

Rāgam Mela # C D E F G A B C D E F G A
Keeravani 21 S R2 G2 M1 P D1 N3 S' R2' G2' M1' P' D1'
Hemavati 58 S R2 G2 M2 P D2 N2 S'
Vakulabharanam 14 S R1 G3 M1 P D1 N2 S'
Kosalam 71 S R3 G3 M2 P D2 N3 S'

Ratnangi[edit]

The Graha Bhedam derivatives of Ratnangi are Gamanashrama and Jhankaradhwani.

Rāgam Mela # C D E F G A B C D E F
Ratnangi 02 S R1 G1 M1 P D1 N2 S' R1' G1' M1'
Gamanashrama 53 S R1 G3 M2 P D2 N3 S'
Jhankaradhwani 19 S R2 G2 M1 P D1 N1 S'

Ganamurti[edit]

The Graha Bhedam derivatives of Ganamurti are Vishwambari and Shamalangi.

Rāgam Mela # C D E F G A B C D E F
Ganamurti 03 S R1 G1 M1 P D1 N3 S' R1' G1' M1'
Vishwambari 54 S R1 G3 M2 P D3 N3 S'
Shamalangi 55 S R2 G2 M2 P D1 N1 S'

Vanaspati[edit]

The Graha Bhedam derivative of Vanaspati is Mararanjani and vice versa.

Rāgam Mela # C D E F G A B C D E F
Vanaspati 04 S R1 G1 M1 P D2 N2 S' R1' G1' M1'
Mararanjani 25 S R2 G3 M1 P D1 N1 S'

Manavati[edit]

The Graha Bhedam derivative of Manavati is Kantamani and vice versa.

Rāgam Mela # C D E F G A B C D E F
Manavati 05 S R1 G1 M1 P D2 N3 S' R1' G1' M1'
Kantamani 61 S R2 G3 M2 P D1 N1 S'

Sooryakantam[edit]

The Graha Bhedam derivatives of Sooryakantam are Senavati and Latangi.

Rāgam Mela # C D E F G A B C D E F
Sooryakantam 17 S R1 G3 M1 P D2 N3 S' R1' G3' M1'
Senavati 07 S R1 G2 M1 P D1 N1 S'
Latangi 63 S R2 G3 M2 P D1 N3 S'

Kokilapriya[edit]

The Graha Bhedam derivative of Kokilapriya is Rishabhapriya and vice versa.

Rāgam Mela # C D E F G A B C D E F
Kokilapriya 11 S R1 G2 M1 P D2 N3 S' R1' G2' M1'
Rishabhapriya 62 S R2 G3 M2 P D1 N2 S'

Gayakapriya[edit]

The Graha Bhedam derivative of Gayakapriya is Dhatuvardani and vice versa.

Rāgam Mela # C D E F G A B C D
Gayakapriya 13 S R1 G3 M1 P D1 N1 S' R1'
Dhatuvardani 69 S R3 G3 M2 P D1 N3 S'

Dharmavati[edit]

The Graha Bhedam derivatives of Dharmavati are Chakravakam and Sarasangi.

Rāgam Mela # C D E F G A B C D E F G
Dharmavati 59 S R2 G2 M2 P D2 N3 S' R2' G2' M2' P'
Chakravakam 16 S R1 G3 M1 P D2 N2 S'
Sarasangi 27 S R2 G3 M1 P D1 N3 S'

Hatakambari[edit]

The Graha Bhedam derivative of Hatakambari is Gavambhodi and vice versa.

Rāgam Mela # C D E F G A B C D E F
Hatakambari 18 S R1 G3 M1 P D3 N3 S' R1' G3' M1'
Gavambhodi 43 S R1 G2 M2 P D1 N1 S'

Naganandini[edit]

The graha bhedam derivatives of Naganandini are Bhavapriya and Vagadheeshwari.

Rāgam Mela # C D E F G A B C D E F G
Naganandini 30 S R2 G3 M1 P D3 N3 S' R2' G3' M1' P'
Bhavapriya 44 S R1 G2 M2 P D1 N2 S'
Vagadheeshwari 34 S R3 G3 M1 P D2 N2 S'

Gangeyabhooshani[edit]

The graha bhedam derivative of Gangeyabhooshani is Neetimati and vice versa.

Rāgam Mela # C D E F G A B C D E F
Gangeyabhooshani 33 S R3 G3 M1 P D1 N3 S' R3' G3' M1'
Neetimati 60 S R2 G2 M2 P D3 N3 S'

Chalanata[edit]

The graha bhedam derivative of Chalanata is Shubhapantuvarali and vice versa.

Rāgam Mela # C D E F G A B C D E
Chalanata 36 S R3 G3 M1 P D3 N3 S' R3' G3'
Shubhapantuvarali 45 S R1 G2 M2 P D1 N3 S'

Shadvidamargini[edit]

The graha bhedam derivative of Shadvidamargini is Nasikabhooshani and vice versa.

Rāgam Mela # C D E F G A B C D E
Shadvidamargini 46 S R1 G2 M2 P D2 N2 S' R1' G2'
Nasikabhooshani 70 S R3 G3 M2 P D2 N2 S'

Janya rāgams[edit]

Graha bhedam can be applied to some of the janya rāgams to yield other janya rāgams. Unlike Melakarta rāgams, where strict rules are adhered to, in terms of which swaras can be chosen in a rāgam, janya rāgams do not have such rules. Hence, such modal shift of tonic note is valid on all swaras, but may not have been chosen as a rāgam, experimented, elaborated and composed. Hence they lead to theoretical rāgams, which have not yet been discovered (all combinations of notes exist, but no one has composed using a particular combination or experimented/ exposed to the world at large).

Mohanam[edit]

Mohanam rāgam and its graha bhedam derivatives are one of the key scales in use all over the world, especially East and South Asia. The other four derivatives are Hindolam, Shuddha Saveri, Udayaravichandrika (also known as Shuddha Dhanyasi) and Madhyamavathi.

Rāgam Śruti
Tonic
C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C
Mohanam C S R2 G3 P D2 S' R2' G3' P' D2' S' '
Madhyamavati D S R2 M1 P N2 S'
Hindolam E S G2 M1 D1 N2 S'
Shuddha Saveri G S R2 M1 P D2 S'
Udayaravichandrika A S G2 M1 P N2 S'
Mohanam C S R2 G3 P D2 S'

Notes on above table

  • C as the base for Mohanam is chosen for above illustration only for convenience, as Carnatic music does not enforce strict frequency/note structure. The Shadjam (S) is fixed by the artist as per the vocal range or the instrument's tonic note. All the other swarams are relative to this Shadjam, falling into a Geometric progression-like frequency pattern. This note is applicable to all tables that are illustrated further below.
  • The gaps in the above table are for the missing swara positions in these ragams, which happens to be the Sharp and Flat notes along with F and B notes, in western music.
  • If a Sharp / Flat key is chosen as tonic note and ONLY the black keys are played in a piano/ organ/ keyboard/ harmonium, then these 5 are the ragams played successively. That is if you have only black keys, with tonic note from C#, it is Shuddha Saveri. From D# it is Udayaravichandrika, from F# it is Mohanam, from A-flat it is Madhyamavathi and from B-Flat it is Hindolam.
  • This statement is true for simplified ragam structure only. Ragams though are more complex in that there are phrases to use and phrases to avoid, gamakas, elongation of notes, a specific mood/ bhava/ rasa to be evoked while singing/ playing, etc. These cannot be captured well in scientific notations.

Shivaranjani[edit]

Shivaranjani rāgam and its Graha Bhedam derivatives are Revati and Sunadavinodini.

Rāgam Śruti
Tonic
C D E F G A B C D
Shivaranjani C S R2 G2 P D2 S' R2' G2'
Revati D S R1 M1 P N2 S'
Sunadavinodini D# S G3 M2 D2 N3 S'

Notes on above table

  • The difference between this set and Mohanam set shown above it, is that the 3rd note differs between E and D# (reference note purpose only). Hence, Shivaranjani differs from Mohanam by one note – G2 in place of G3, Revati differs from Madhyamavati by one note – R1 in place of R2, while Sunadavinodini differs from Hindolam in all notes other than S (as that step is equivalent of shifting down tonic note, Sa, by one note while retaining all other notes of Hindolam).

Hamsadhwani[edit]

Hamsadhwani rāgam and its graha bhedam derivative is Nagasvaravali.

Rāgam Śruti
Tonic
C D E F G A B C D E F G
Hamsadhwani C S R2 G3 P N3 S' R2' G3' P'
Nagasvaravali G S G3 M1 P D2 S'

Abhogi[edit]

Abhogi rāgam and its graha bhedam derivative is Valaji.

Rāgam Śruti
Tonic
C D E F G A B C D E F
Abhogi C S R2 G2 M1 D2 S' R2' G2' M1'
Kalāsāveri D S R1 G2 P N2 S' R1' G2'
Valaji F S G3 P D2 N2 S'

Amritavarshini[edit]

Amritavarshini rāgam and its graha bhedam derivative is Karnataka Shuddha Saveri.

Rāgam Śruti
Tonic
C D E F G A B C D E F
Karnataka Shuddha Saveri C S R1 M1 P D1 S' R1' M1'
Amritavarshini C# S G3 M2 P N3 S' G3'

Gambhiranata[edit]

Gambhiranata rāgam and its graha bhedam derivative is Bhupalam.

Rāgam Śruti
Tonic
C D E F G A B C D E F
Gambhiranata C S G3 M1 P N3 S' G3' M1'
Bhupalam E S R1 G2 P D1 S1 R1'

See also[edit]

References[edit]