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Article: Harmonium Lesson 6: Scales continued...

 
By Haresh Bakshi
 
  As mentioned in earlier lessons, we have assumed the first white key to be the Sa (S), for convenience and convention, simplicity and uniformity.

"The first white key" explained: You will find that there are sets of 5 black keys on the keyboard. Each set of those 5 black keys is made up of 2 + 3 black keys. The first white key is that white key which lies immediately to the left of the first black key. Since there are several sets of 5 black keys, there will also be several "first white" keys. You may select the first white key lying in the middle of the keyboard. You are going to use only your right hand to play the harmonium. The right hand fingers are numbered as follows:

The thumb is numbered 1
The index finger is 2
The middle finger is 3
The ring finger is 4
The little finger is 5.

In Lesson 4, we have dealt with our first scale: Bilawal. The scale is called "thaat" in Indian music.

In lesson 5, we took up two more scales (thaat-s), called Khamaj and Kafi.

In this lesson, let us cover four more scales (thaat-s), namely Bhairava, Asavari, Bhairavi, and Kalyan.

First, Bhairava thaat. Which fingers play which notes of the Bhairava thaat? The arrangement is:- [The finger numbers under the notes of the scale]

S  r  G  m  P  d  N  S' [Ascending] 
1  2  3  1  2  3  4  5  [Finger numbers] 

S' N  d  P  m  G  r  S  [Descending] 
5  4  3  2  1  3  2  1  [Finger numbers] 
Here, the second finger (the INDEX finger) will play the First black key (instead of the 2nd white key). The third finger (the MIDDLE finger) will play the fourth black key instead of the sixth white key.

Second, Asavari thaat. Which fingers play which notes of the Asavari thaat? The arrangement is:- [The finger numbers under the notes of the scale]

S  R  g  m  P  d  n  S' [Ascending] 
1  2  3  1  2  3  4  5  [Finger numbers] 

S' n  d  P  m  g  R  S  [Descending] 
5  4  3  2  1  3  2  1  [Finger numbers] 
The third, Bhairavi thaat. Which fingers play which notes of the Bhairavi thaat? The arrangement is:
[The finger numbers under the notes of the scale]

S  r  g  m  P  d  n  S' [Ascending] 
1  2  3  1  2  3  4  5  [Finger numbers] 

S' n  d  P  m  g  r  S  [Descending] 
5  4  3  2  1  3  2  1  [Finger numbers] 
The fourth, Kalyan thaat. Which fingers play which notes of the Kalyan thaat? The arrangement is:- [The finger numbers under the notes of the scale]

S  R  G  M  P  D  N  S' [Ascending] 
1  2  3  4  1  2  3  4  [Finger numbers] 

S' N  D  P  M  G  R  S  [Descending] 
4  3  2  1  4  3  2  1  [Finger numbers] 

The Kalyan thaat differs from Bilawal thaat in only one respect: Kalyan thaat uses teevra Ma, denoted by the symbol 'M'; while the Bilawal thaat uses shuddha Ma, denoted by the symbol 'm'. But look at the finger numbers: Here, for the first time, the finger number order (ascending) changes to 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4, in place of all the previous 1-2-3-1-2-3-4-5. The fourth (the RING) finger plays the third black key. The descending order changes to 4-3-2-1-4-3-2-1, in place of all the previous 5-4-3-2-1-3-2-1.

Play one thaat at a time, repeatedly. Practise all seven scales (thaat-s) till you are very comfortable playing each of them correctly, without having to look at the keyboard.

In the 7th lesson onwards, we will start playing the first lines of well-known Hindi movie songs and bhajan-s.

[continued to Lesson 7]

 

 

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