Wednesday, April 29, 2009


What are ‘MURCHANAS’ ?

       (Please read this ‘Blog’ in conjunction with ‘Presentation Slides’given  at the following link, wherein the details are illustrated with the help of diagrams, to enable better comprehension):
A brief preamble pertaining to the ancient doctrines of Indian musicology is called for at this stage, in order to orientate the viewers while appreciating the concept of ‘Murchanas’.
 Among the oldest sacred Scriptures of the Hindus, Holy Sama Veda occupies a pre-eminent place because its verses are chanted in seven different tones (covering the entire range of an octave). These seven sacred tones of Sama Veda were archetypal for ancient music of India, under the terminology ‘Sadja-grama’.
‘Madhyama-grama’ was another similar grouping of seven Notes, derived from Sadja-grama.
Our ancestors must have realized that by merely grouping the tones, one can not deliver adequate music power that is needed to suffuse the human souls with Lord’s Grace! Therefore, a technique was found wherein these tones were cyclically rearranged to form certain basic melodic sequences, known as ‘Murchanas’.
‘Murchanas’ differed from one another in terms of interval-sizes between successive Notes. It was felt that melodic sequences having different interval-sizes were capable of stirring the ‘moods’ (such as joy, pathos, love etc) of the audience, for some inexplicable reasons. This thematic approach towards murchanas was somewhat similar to the ancient Greek approach towards early ‘modal music’. The technique developed for the innovation of melodic sequences by the ancient musicologists of India, yielded 14 murchanas (seven cyclic sequences from each grama). These murchanas served as the fountainhead for the further refinement of ‘Raga’ concept which enjoys wide prevalence in contemporary Indian classical music. The viewers are, once again, requested to refer to my ‘Presentation slides’ ( ) for comprehending the ‘traditional’ principle behind the derivation of these basic melodic sequences.
In my earlier blogs, I have endeavoured to convey that the intervals between successive Notes as quantified by ‘ancient Indian traditions’ pertaining to ‘Sadja grama’ and ‘Madhyama grama’, were “rounded off values” of the corresponding Sumerian ‘god-fractions’. Please see the following ‘Blogs’ and ‘Presentation Slides’ for details:
As a minor deviation from ‘established traditions’, I attempted to formulate a new ‘Construct’ for the two gramas, by substituting the actual mathematical values for the intervals between ‘Notes’ (instead of the traditional manner of using only the “rounded off values”).  With these two modified gramas as the basis, I attempted to reconstruct all the 14 murchanas, after duly complying with every other condition as stipulated by ‘established traditions’. This led me towards a total paradigm shift! I observed that these 14 new murchanas actually contained the entire family of 22 Sumerian ‘god-fractions’, subtly embedded within; very amazing indeed!
As I started mulling over the outcome of my experiments, I could gradually figure out a sort of a grand design exercise innovated by some ‘master hand’ during a pre-historic past! This master designer had meticulously ‘encoded’ and ‘seeded’ these 22 ‘god-fractions’ of Sumeria, in a very distributed manner in the two ‘gramas’ and 14 ‘murchanas’ of the ancient Indian traditions. They had also given out the ‘keys’ (i.e. formulae) as to how these ‘god-fractions’ could be retrieved from their ‘quiescent profiles’! I became suddenly aware that I was getting confronted with some kind of ‘super-knowledge’, not encountered till now!
I could now rationalize somewhat better: -
·         The ‘master hand’ that conceived the design of our ancient music ‘intended’ that the ‘22 god-fractions’ of Sumeria (also derivable from the Numbers between ‘1’ and ‘12’) should form the true tones of our music culture.
·          The ‘rounded-off’ values of Notes, as contained in ancient musicological literature of India, should be, therefore, treated only as ‘keys’ meant for the retrieval of ‘22 true swaras’ and should not, therefore, be taken verbatim for the vertical development of music! In this regard, our ‘established traditions’ have certainly faltered and we need the courage of conviction to say so loudly!
What do we do with these newly discovered ‘Family of 22 tones’? I have deliberated on this issue in my blog given at link:
For more details, contact me on Teles: 91 20 26729256, 9890266845, 98501 21834. E-mail: Please visit my Web-site:  I would also recommend that for better comprehension of the concept of ‘Ancient Music of 22 Srutis, the viewers should peruse my Book: “The Mystic Citadel of 22 Srutis Music” (available at my postal address: Srinivasan Nambirajan, A-7/ 103, Florida Estate, Keshav Nagar, Mundhwa, Pune-411036).