“Unveiling the Musical Puzzle: Mastering SwaraSthanas in Mayamalavagowla Ragam”


Title: Mastering the Basics: Exploring SwaraSthanas in Mayamalavagowla Ragam


For aspiring music learners, understanding the fundamentals is crucial. One of the fundamental aspects of Indian classical music is the concept of SwaraSthanas, which refers to the placement of notes within an octave. In this blog, we will delve into the world of SwaraSthanas and explore their arrangement in the Mayamalavagowla ragam, a popular choice for beginners. Whether you’re a vocalist or an instrumentalist, this knowledge will set a strong foundation for your musical journey.

Getting Started with SwaraSthanas: Before we proceed, let’s familiarize ourselves with the names and positions of the SwaraSthanas on the veena. In this exercise, we will pluck the veena without placing our fingers on any frets, focusing on the basic notes.

  1. Shadjam (Sa): The base note, representing the tonic of the ragam.

  2. Adhara Shadjam: The lower octave of the tonic note.

  3. Madya Sthayi Shadjam: The middle octave of the tonic note.

Understanding the SwaraSthanas in Mayamalavagowla Ragam: In Mayamalavagowla ragam, the swaras are arranged in a manner that facilitates easy learning for beginners. Let’s explore the placement of these notes on the frets of the veena:

  1. Shuddha Rishabam (Ri): Two frets to the right of Shadjam.

  2. Gandharam (Ga): The next fret to the right of Shuddha Rishabam. Note that this is the Anthara Gandharam.

  3. Shuddha Madhyamam (Ma): The following fret to the right of Gandharam.

  4. Panchamam (Pa): The next fret after Madhyamam.

  5. Shuddha Daivatham (Da): Two frets away from Panchamam.

  6. Kakali Nishadam (Ni): The second fret to the left of Shuddha Daivatham.

  7. Shadjam (Sa): Returning to the top swaram, corresponding to the higher octave of the tonic note.

Mayamalavagowla Ragam and Its Advantages for Beginners: Mayamalavagowla Ragam is specially chosen for beginners due to the proximity of the frets. The notes Sa and Ri are close to each other, and Ga is adjacent to Ma. Similarly, Pa is adjacent to Da, and Ni is adjacent to Sa. Whether you’re learning vocals or an instrument, having notes close to each other makes the learning process easier and more accessible.

Playing the Swaras: Now, let’s practice playing the Swaras in Mayamalavagowla Ragam. Please note the finger placements for each note:

  1. Sa-Ri-Ga: When playing adjacent notes like Ga and Ma, use your index finger for the left side of the note (Ga) and your middle finger for the right side of the note (Ma).

  2. Pa: Play using your index finger.

  3. Da: Simultaneously use your middle finger (for Da) and keep your index finger on the Pa fret.

  4. Ni: Play using your index finger.

  5. Sa: Use your middle finger.

Understanding Aarohana (Ascending) and Avarohana (Descending): Now, let’s discuss the aarohana (ascending) and avarohana (descending) sequences of the Swaras in Mayamalavagowla Ragam:

  1. Aarohana: Start from the top Sa, which is played with your middle finger. Then, lift your middle finger to play Ni, Da, and Pa successively. For Ma and Ga, use your middle finger for Ma and your index finger for Ga. You can play Ri with both fingers, but be cautious as the wire-fret distance is minimal. Avoid pressing or pulling the Ri excessively.

  2. Avarohana: To play the descending sequence, start from the top Sa and play it with your middle finger. For Ni, lift your middle finger and maintain the same finger position for Da and Pa. Similarly, lift your middle finger for Ma and use your index finger for Ga. Keep in mind that apart from gamakas (ornamentations), you should avoid excessive finger movements along the Y-axis.


Mastering SwaraSthanas is an essential step in your musical journey. The Mayamalavagowla Ragam offers a beginner-friendly arrangement of swaras, making it ideal for those starting their musical exploration. By understanding the finger placements and following the aarohana and avarohana sequences, you’ll gradually develop fluency and accuracy in playing the notes. Remember to practice consistently and seek guidance from a music teacher to refine your skills further. Embrace the beauty of music and enjoy your journey of learning!


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