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Carnatic Glossary G - listed here are terms beginning with G. If you find a Carnatic term that isn't listed, just send a note.


ga (1) - an abbreviation of gaandhaaram

ga (2) - abbreviation for shuddha gaandhaaram (G1)

gaandhaaram - the 3rd syllable, which is of 3 types, shuddha, saadhaaraNa, and antara. It corresponds to mi of the Western do re mi system.

gamaka - a shake or oscillation of a note, also known as bending the pitch. It is a deliberate decoration of wavering of a note to add grace and beauty. There are over 10 types of gamaka, listed here

gati - the gait, or the number of subdivisions or swaras per beat. There are 5 types: tishra, catushra, kanDa, mishra, and sankeerna. It may also take 11, 8, etc. and is formed by taking the beat and multiplying by the number (ex: aadi taaLa in catushra gati is 8 times 4 = 32 beats). Not to be confused with naDai or jaati

geetam - an abhyaasa musical form or "song" considered the simplest musical form, created by Purandara Daasa in order to introduce taaLas in combination with lyrics. Geetams have no absolutely defined divisions of pallavi, anupallavi or caraNam though these may be observed in many cases. Geetams last 10-12 aavartnams from beginning to end with no break. They often have no sangatis, with each swara taking one syllable. Some geetams have sancaarams in mandrastaayi poorvaangam and taara staayi uttaraangam. Topics are usually on God. There are 3 types of geetams: sancaari or samanya, lakshana, and suladi.

ghanakaala - raagas meant to be sung at a particular time of day. Each raaga is associated with at least one time of day (some are sarvakaalika - any time). The times are early morning (4-6am), morning after sunrise (6-9am), forenoon (9am-12pm), midday (noon-1pm), afternoon (1-4pm), evening (4-7pm), and night (7-10pm)

ghanam - another term for taanam

ghana pancaka raagas - one type of ghana raaga (as opposed to dwitiya pancaka raagas), which is heavy and elaborate. It has five members: naaTTai, gowLa, aarabi, shree, and varaaLi. These 5 raagas are often used in pancaratna kritis

ghana raaga - a heavy and important raaga, in which the swaroopam is brought out by taanam (ghanam) or madhyama kaalam. They can be ghana pancaka or dwitiya pancaka raagas

gharaana - literally "house," this is the house of the musician-teacher and his style of performing, in Hindustani music

gi - abbreviation for saadhaaraNa gaandhaaram (G2)

gO - part of the mela mnemonic, a word to represent the 3rd combination of danu (D1 and N3) in the 3rd melakarta in any cakra

gOpucca yati - a rhythmic pattern or swaras or words meaning cow's tail (go=cow), which has a broad beginning and narrows at the end. For example: pera bhayam, abhayam, bhayam

graha bEdam - the act of shifting the tonic note (sa) to another shruti (another note) in the middle of a song. It is usually done briefly to show the ability of one raaga to become another by this shift but is not done for long enough periods that the audience forgets the original raaga. Also, the gamakas of the new raaga must be taken on while preserving the steadiness of the original raaga's sa and pa. It is rare in concerts, but when done can be a treat

graham - same as eDuppu, it can be sama graham or vishama graham. One of the 13 lakshaNas of a raaga

graha swaras - these are swaras with which a kriti in a certain raaga may begin. For saavEri, for example, a song or section of a song may begin on sa, pa, or da (rarely, ga as well)

gu - abbreviation for antara gaandhaaram (G3)

guru (1) - this is a taaLa movement which has the symbol 8 and has eight beats. It is formed by a beat of four counts and a wave of the hand for 4 counts (or by a sarpini, making a looping eight with the hand horizontally)

guru (2) - a teacher of music or any other learning

gurukula vaasam - the system in which students of music (or any other learning) stayed with their guru to learn, rarely in wide practice today with the advent of music schools and easy transportation

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updated on 12/17/2008