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Swaralipi (notation) the written form of music/song represented through signs or symbols denoting sora (tune), tala (rhythm) and matra (beat). It has helped the spread and preservation of musical developments. kshetramohan goswami invented the first ever musical notation titled 'Dandamatrik' in 1868. dwijendranath tagore introduced 'Kasimatrik' notation in 1880. Pratibha Devi used 'Rekhamatrik' notation in 1885. jyotirindranath tagore first invented 'Sangkhyamatrik' and then 'Akarmatrik' notations in 1885. Later Pundit Bishnunarayan Bhatkhande (1860-1936) invented Hindustani style of notation. Besides, Pundit Bishnudigambar Paluskar also invented a new style of notation. Of the various systems mentioned above Akarmatrik and Bhatkhande notations are now widely used. In Bangladesh however Akarmatrk system is mostly in use.


Akarmatrik Swaralipi

(a) ‘+’ This sign indicates one matra (beat)

(b) ‘:’ This sign indicates a BD matra (beat)

(c) ‘0’ This sign indicates a BC matra (beat)

(d) ‘S’ = 1 matra (beat)

(e) ‘: S’ = BD matra (beat)

(f) ‘BAS’ = BC matra (beat)

(g) ‘S +’ = 2 matra (beat)

(h) ‘S :’ = 1BD matra (beat)

(i) ‘SBA’ = 1BC matra (beat)

(j) ‘ &’ This sign is used under the notes of Udara Saptaka. For example:

(k) The notes of Mudara Saptaka are recognised by having no sign. For example: S R G M P D N.

(l) ‘A9’ This sign is used at the head of the notes of Tara Saptaka. For example:

(m) ‘r’ indicates Komal Rekhab; ‘g’ indicates Komal Gandhar; ‘m’ indicates Kadi Madhyam; ‘d’ indicates Komal Dhaibat; ‘n’ indicates Komal Nikhad.

(n) ‘I’ This sign is used to divide the tala.

(o) ‘I’ This sign is used after the completion of one tala. This sign is used twice at the beginning of every stanza of a song and four times at the end of the song.

(p) ‘II’ This sign indicates a return to the Sthayi. If this sign is used singly after a stanza and is used twice at the end of the composition it indicates a beginning again from the Sthayi. Any part of a composition which is outside this sign, will be sung only once.

(q) Every tala is separated into divisions which are marked by the numbers ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’, ‘4’ and ‘0’. This ‘0’ is the sign of ‘Fank’ or Khali and ‘+’ is the sign of ‘Sama’.

(r) Sparxa swaras (grace notes) are noted with small letters at the right or left side by the head of the main note. For example: RS, RG or SP, GP etc.

(s) The sign of a ‘rest’ and of a ‘matra’ are the same. If no (-) hyphen is used in the body of a note it indicates a rest of that matra. A pause after a musical note is called REST.

(t) ‘II’ This sign above a note indicates the end of a stanza, ie, the stanza will finish here and another stanza will start.

(u) ‘{ } ‘ The second bracket indicates a repetition. ‘( )’ The first bracket indicates that the notes within should be dropped at the time of repetition. For example: { S R G (M) P D N }

(v) If any note is to be changed at the time of repetition, the note to be changed is placed inside ‘[ ]’ third bracket. For example:

(w) If no letters of the lyrics are noted under the musical notes then (-) hyphens are used in the body of the notes and noughts are used in place of the words. For example: S -R -G -M. Ke o no o Bhatkhande Swaralipi

(a) Seven Shuddha swaras (major notes) - S R G M P D N

(b) Five Vikrita swaras (displaced notes) - R G M D N

(c) Lower notes –

(d) Higher notes –

(e) ‘ ‘ This sign is used under the notes if 2 or more notes are to be produced in a beat.

(f) ‘ ‘ This is the sign of Meed.

(g) ‘—’ This sign indicates that the note should be repeated.

(h) ‘S’ This sign indicates the fractions of a beat. If this sign is used twice in a beat then the value of each note will be a half beat.

(i) If any note is placed within ‘( )’ first bracket then the note will be added in sequence to one higher and one lower note. For example: (S) = R S N S, (M) = P M G M, (P) = D P M P

(j) Sparsa swaras (grace notes) are marked with small letters at the left side by the head of the main note. For example: DP, PM etc.

(k) Talas are divided by ‘1’ this sign. For example:

(l) The signs of the talas are as follows:­ Sama - + Dwitiya tala (2nd) - 2 Tritiya tala (3rd) - 3 Chaturtha tala (4th) - 4 Fank or Khali - 0.

[Mobarak Hossain Khan]