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Thaats, Raags & Alankars

classical music

10 Thaats of Hindustani Classical Music

  • In a layman’s language to define, a Thaat is like a category under which there could be number of Raags.
  • A Thaat is a sequential set of seven out of 12 notes.
  • A Thaat will always have only seven different notes – either in their shuddh (natural) form or in their vikrit (moulded) form.
  • In Indian classical music, there are 32 Thaats, but following 10 Thaats are more prevalent.
  • Vikrit Swars are shown below in Red colour.
  • Notes written in Capitals are ‘Shuddh Swars’ and those written in Smalls are ‘Komal Swars’. # sign is for Tivr Madhyam.
  • Watch this video on how to memorize these 10 Thaats easily, which is slowly getting very popular.

Hindi English Bengali Songs

Bilawal

S R G M P D N

Kalyan

S R G M# P D N

Khamaj

S R G M P D n

Bhairav

S r G M P d N

Marwa

S r G M# P D N

Kafi

S R g M P D n

Poorvi

S r G M# P d N

Asavari

S R g M P d n

Bhairavi

S r g M P d n

Todi

S r g  M# P d N

Some popular Raags

Alankars (Palta Sargam) for practice

  • Practising Alankars everyday is the best way to become proficient in playing Bansuri or for that matter, any other instrument. 
  • Alankars are the logical patterns of Swars which should be played along with Taal (beats). 
  • You can take help of a Tabla player to assist you, or a Tanpura (actual, electronic or App based) or a Metronome which can be downloaded from the internet. 
  • There is no hard and fast rule to play Alankars. Only thing, you have to practice the notes in both Aaroh and Avroh. 
  • Now, the question is what are Aaroh and Avroh? So, playing notes in ascending order (from left to right or from bottom to top) is Aaroh and in descending order (from right to left or from top to bottom) is Avroh. 
  • With basic understanding, you can create a number of alankars on your own. The thumb-rule is, you have to finish the Avroh at the Swar from which you started its Aaroh.


By looking at the following notes chart, you can try out as many combinations of Alankars as you can, vertically, horizontally, diagonally, up – down, left – right, etc. :

SRGMPDNS
RGMPDNSR
GMPDNSRG
MPDNSRGM
PDNSRGMP
DNSRGMPD
NSRGMPDN
SRGMPDNS

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How to read SARGAM notations

  • CAPITAL LETTERS = Shuddh Swars (Pure Notes)
  • small letters = Komal Swars (Flat Notes)
  • A Note with # [hash] = Tivra Swar 
  • Letter/Alphabet ONLY = Medium Pitch/Normal blow on flute
  • Letter/Alphabet PRECEDED BY a ” . ” [full stop] or  a ” , ” [comma] = Low Pitch/Softer blow on flute
  • Letter/Alphabet FOLLOWED BY a ‘ [single quote] = High Pitch/harder blow on flute
  • Notes in { } = “murki” or “khatka” which have to be played very fast without any pause
  • A Note in ( ) = “kann swar” has to be just touched before moving on to the next note
  • A “~” between two Notes = “Meend”. That is, you have to glide from one note to another slowly to produce that wavy effect.
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