Art changes with time. Indian music has changed too. No one should expect today’s music to comply with the Vedic rules. However, we must also keep in mind that the change in Indian music was not natural and gradual. We had lost our old ways for a while. Now we have found the old treasures again. We can understand them and learn from them. We don’t have to change our music, but we can definitely benefit from it.
The Vedic music is music of thought and logic. It cannot be learned without knowing the theory of music. In the last few centuries, the Indian music has become a practical art. Many artists who are the torch bearer of Hindustani music have no formal training of music theory. That has limited the scope of our music. Art of music is an aural display of math and physics.
According to Muslim Ustads, one can only be real musician when one has acquired three qualities:
Same things have been said in the scriptures. One without the true knowledge of music, cannot do anything for the advancement of the art. To invent something new, one must know what already has been invented. Thus, although we may not go back to a system with Moorshanas and Grams, but we need to know them to take our current music to the next level.
Vedic music has given us tools and theories about every aspect of music. We have to find ways to see how that can apply to our contemporary styles. It is the most elaborate system of "Suwar and Suptak". We will keep talking about these aspects of music in the future posts. Here I would like to talk a little about Moorshanas and Thaats.
Today, the original Grams have been gone. The Grams are now known as ‘scale tuning’. Their power to change the Raags has been diminished. The introduction of 12 notes has also merged all Moorshanas into one octave. The Thaat theory is the only theory that can properly describe the Indian music today. Although the Moorshana theory is still essential to describe the scales on a flute and it also comes in handy when transposing a Thaat. This theory will live on in the form of Modal music.
The Thaat system is here to stay. But is it working as it is?
The answer is no, the 10 Thaats of Indian music are not enough to describe all the existing Raags. This theory was the brain child of a handful of musicologists of the 20th century. Not everyone in the field has accepted it. Moreover, the ones who have, are struggling with describing the hundreds of Raags in the limited number of parent scales.
The real number of Thaats of Indian music should be 32. The Southern music has 72 Thaats. That theory is not practical for a natural “Natural” scale either. In that theory, any note can be a pure (Shudh) note, where in reality there should be only seven pure (Shudh) notes.
Most musicologists today agree that just like the western scale, the 12 notes of Indian music are made of 7 natural and 5 Vikrat or ‘moved’ notes.
Modern Hindustani notes are:
And, modern Hindustani scale is:
2. Re Komal
4. Ga Komal
7. Ma Tivar
9. Dha Komal
11. Ni Komal and
According to the Thaat theory, a Thaat must have all seven notes. Therefore, there are 32 Thaats in the Hindustani music. Use the “next” button to see the all 32 scales. The ten popular Thaats have been listed as they appear:
The flash movie above lists the Thaats in the following order:
1. Thaats with only one Vikrat note
2. Thaats with two Vikrat notes
3. Thaats with three Vikrat notes
4. Thaats with four Vikrat notes and
5. Thaat with all five Vikrat notes
And the count starts from the top and goes downwards.
Among many popular theories to categorize the 32 Thaats, one is known as ‘Thaat Flipping’. We will talk about that theory next.