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Carnatic Glossary C - listed here are terms beginning with C. If you find a Carnatic term that isn't listed, just send a note.


caapu - a group of taaLas which traditionally consisted of a beat and a wave. It can be in counts of 3, 5, 7, or 9. The most common is mishra caapu (3+4=7 beats, takiTa takadimi), and khanDa caapu (2+3=5, taka takiTa) is also used occasionally. When no number is specified it is mishra caapu

cakra - a grouping of the melakarta raagas into groups of six raagas. They are grouped according to which combination of ri and ga they have. Within a cakra, the first raaga has D1 and N1, the second has D1 and N2, the third has D1 and N3, the fourth has D2 and N2, the fifth has D2 and N3, and the last has D3 and N3. There are 12 cakras, 6 with M1 and 6 with M2, giving (6 * 12) 72 melakartas. The cakras are indu, nEtra, agni, vEda, bana, rutu, rishi, vaasu, brahma, disi, rudra, and aaditya. For details, go here

caraNam - literally meaning "foot," it is the root of the song (which is like a tree). This is the end section of a song, sung after the pallavi and anupallavi. A song may have multiple caraNas. In songs which have no anupallavi, there is often a samaashTi caraNa, which combines the two

caraNam swaras - another name for citta swaras in a varnam

Carnatic - pronounced kar-naa-tik, it is the South Indian form of classical music

catshruti - meaning the little shruti, this is lower than satshruti but higher than shudda types of ri and da.

catshruti dhaivatam - this is D2, the second of the 3 types of da. It corresponds to A natural of the Western key of C.

catshruti rishabam - this is R2, the second of the 3 types of ri. It corresponds to D natural of the Western key of C.

catush kalai - kalai of 4, where there are 4 swaras per kriyaa or movement

catusra - refers to the number 4. catusra jaati is 4 beats in the laghu

cents - a unit of relative frequency, used to show relative pitches of notes

chaaya - another name for the swaroopam of a raaga, but which describes the general sound or look of a raaga (its character)

chaayaalaga - raagas in which you can find the chaaya of another (one other) raaga at times, such as sowraashTram which may have the chaaya of cakravaakam, or saaranga, which may have the chaaya of kalyaaNi

chromatic scale - a Western musical scale, which uses ALL the swarastaanas. It usually begins at C and has the following note sequence: C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B C (backwards in the descending), and would be equivalent to a scale in Carnatic that was: s r1 r2 g2 g3 m1 m2 p d1 d2 n2 n3 S

citra maargam - a taaLa path which uses 8 swaras or 2 maattirais

citratama maargam - a taaLa path which uses 2 swaras or 1/2 maattirai

citratara maargam - a taaLa path which uses 4 swaras or 1 maattirai

citta pallavi - another name for the caraNam in a varnam

citta swara - a section of swaras set in taaLa sung after the anupallavi before singing the pallavi and again after the caraNam. In a varnam, many citta swaras are sung only after the caraNam, usually with the form that the 1st and 2nd take 1 aavartanam, the 3rd and 4th take 2, and the 5th take 4 (also called ettukaaDi swaras or caraNa swaras)

comma - a comma indicated 1/4 eDuppu or one aksharakaala. Thus if srgm becomes s,rg then sa is extended from one to two counts

cowka kaala - a slow speed or kaala

cowka varnam - another name for a pada varnam

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updated on 06/10/2005