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


ra - abbreviation for shuddha rishabam (R1)

raaga (1) - a particular type of Indian scale, containing a defined combination of swaras (especially which is pleasant to hear). It is very similar to the Western concept of mode (see mode) - a set of notes with defined relationships with one another. For example, the Western major scale is equivalent to (but not exactly because of gamakas) the shankaraabharaNam raaga, while the minor scale is equivalent to the keeravaaNi raaga. Scales such as harmonic and melodic minor, as well as scales that omit some notes or vary the order of notes are also raagas. One characteristic of all raagas is that they are not dependent on the starting note. Just as C major and G major are still both major scales, shankaraabharaNam is also shankaraabharaNam whether one starts at C or D. No two raagas have the same structure, but there are potentially hundreds of thousands of possible raagas, of which over 5000 have been used

raaga (2) - this is an exposition of the scales (raaga 1) that are being performed. A performer will explore the raaga first by singing lower octaves then moving up to higher ones and touching various aspects of the raaga while giving a hint of the song to be performed. This is usually done in aakaaram (saying aaa.. instead of words or swaras). This is also the first section in raagam taanam pallavi. also known as raaga aalaapanai or simply aalaapanai

raagaanga raaga lakshaNa geetam - a previous name for the janaka raaga lakshaNa geetam, which had 3 parts, a sutra kanDam in which the letters of the swarastaanas are placed in order in the saahitya, an upaanga kanDam in which the names of upaanga janya raagas of the melakarta are given, and a bhaashaanga kanDam in which the names of bhaashaanga janya raagas of the melakarta are given in the saahitya

raaga gnaanam - (pronounced raaga nyaanam) an aim of music, to know a raaga fully so that one can play or sing it and distinguish it from other raagas

raagamaalika - literally "garland of raagas," this is a composition in which different sections are performed in different raagas. Improvisations such as neraval, taanam, and kalpana swaram may also be done in multiple raagas. It may have pallavi, anupallavi, caraNam, citta swara in the same raaga as the pallavi, viloma citta swara, maguda swara, maguda saahitya. Raagamaalikas are found in geetams, swarajatis, varnams, keertanais, used in raagam-taanam-pallavi, aalaapanai, slOkas, virutams, and at the end of pallavi

raagamaalika varnam - a varnam in which each section (pallavi, anupallavi, muktaayi swaram, caraNam, and each of the citta swaras) is in a different raaga. They can be taana varnams or pada varnams

raagam taanam pallavi - abbreviated RTP, this is a piece in which raaga (2) is sung, followed by taanam, then singing of the pallavi or a song, followed by neraval and karpanai swaras. RTP is the only form that uses all 5 types of manOdharma sangeetam

raagamudra - the signature name or other name of a raaga, which may be given in the saahitya of a song or section of a song in that raaga

raagataaLamaalika - a sabhaa gaanam musical form in which each part is in a different raaga AND a different taaLa. The saahitya gives both the raagamudra and the taaLamudra. It is a difficult composition, and the most well known is Raamaswaamy Dikshitar's 108 raagataaLamaalika

rakti - rakti raagas are core raagas that are often performed and important in Carnatic music. Some rakti raagas are sahaanaa, yadukula kaambhOji, mOhanam, aananda bhairavi, shuruTTi, and reeti gowLa

range - the number of swaras or octaves a singer or instrument can cover. A singer should be able to reach easily from the mandra staayi pa to the taara staayi pa, while instruments like the violin can easily be performed for 2 1/2 octaves (mandra staayi sa to taara staayi pa)

ranjaka prayOgas - prayOgas or phrases that bring out the melody and beauty of a raaga

rasa - a feeling or emotion portrayed by a raaga or song. Bhakti rasa (devotion), karuNaa rasa (kindness), veera rasa (braveness), and shringaara rasa (love) are the most common. Some raagas and songs have more than one rasa

rasika - someone who appreciates (music), an audience member

re - in the Western do re mi system, the 2nd note or swara, equivalent to ri

ri (1) - an abbreviation for rishabam

ri (2) - abbreviation for catshruti rishabam (R2)

rishabam - ri, the second swara, which has 3 types, shuddha, catshruti, and shatshruti. It corresponds to re of the Western do re mi system

rishi - the 7th cakra, containing melakartas with M1, R1, and G1, numbered 37-42

roopaka - one of the sapta taaLas, which has the form drutam, laghu. With the 7 types of laghu, it has 7 forms. When no laghu is specified, it is catushra jaati roopaka taaLa, which is laghu(4), drutam(2) for six beats and often abbreviated by 2 beats of the palm of 2 beats each and a wave of the hand for 2 beats

rowdra - a rasa, or feeling, of anger portrayed in a song or raaga. Raagas such as aThaaNaa and aarabi can show anger

ru - abbreviation for shatshruti rishabam (R3)

rudra - the 11th cakra, containing melakartas with M2, R2, and G3, numbered 61-66

rutu - the 6th cakra, containing melakartas with M1, R3, and G3, numbered 31-36

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updated on 03/20/2009