Vikrutha Panchama scales in carnatic music (containing both perfect fourth and diminished fifth)


  • Rama Bhat Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Concordia University, Montreal, QC, Canada


Codes (symbols), Computer music, Musical instruments, Derived scales, Fundamental melody scale, Western classical music


The Carnatic classical music system which is prevalent in South India uses 12 semitones within an octave, as in Western classical music. There are seven syllables in the solfa system named S, R, G, M, P, D, and N (pronounced Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Da, and Ni, respectively). The first note S, and the perfect fifth P, are fixed in frequency in a melody scale according to convention. In any fundamental melody scale (parent raga), either the perfect fourth M1 or the augmented fourth M2 will be present exclusively. The second, third, sixth and the seventh notes can have three variations, some of which overlap as follows: R1 (minor second), R2 = G2 (major second), R3 = G2 (minor third), G3 (major third), D1 (minor sixth), D2 = N1 (major sixth), D3 = N2 (minor seventh), N3 (major seventh). With the above notation and using each solfa symbol S, R, G, M, P, D, N only once in the ascending order, traditionally 72 fundamental melody scales have been formed. Each one of them can have many derived scales excluding some notes, or using the notes in a convoluted fashion. This paper presents 36 new fundamental melody scales for the first time, by using both perfect fourth (M1) and the augmented fourth (M2) in the same fundamental melody scale. Since the augmented fourth (M2) is also the diminished fifth, the perfect fifth is discarded and the unused solfa syllable P is attached to the diminished fifth. By varying the solfa syllables R, G, D, N as before will give 36 new fundamental melody scales. This will bring the total fundamental melody scales to 108.




How to Cite

Bhat R. Vikrutha Panchama scales in carnatic music (containing both perfect fourth and diminished fifth). Canadian Acoustics [Internet]. 2007 Dec. 1 [cited 2022 Sep. 28];35(4):42-3. Available from:



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