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Note Repositioning Algorithm for Musical Instruments in Indian Classical Music

Anupam Biswas, Apoorv Singh, Sayandeep Roy


Abstract: Indian classical music has two broad aspects; the vocalists and the instrumentalists. The vocalists are often accompanied by the instrumentalists who follow the singing of the vocalists. To produce enriching and pleasant music, the instrumentalist has to match the tonal quality of vocalist. This can be achieved by the instrumentalist repositioning the notes played on his instrument. The instrumentalist has to play the same music on different notes, which are normally being used in times of practice. For instance, if the instrumentalist repositions the note Sadaj to Rishav that means the instrumentalist is using normally practiced Rishav note as Sadaj. Accordingly, other notes’ positions will also change as the normally practiced note position of Sadaj has changed to Rishav. It seems quite intuitive and logically appears valid that the other notes such as Rishav, Gandhar, Madhyam, Pancham and Nishad should be repositioned to Gandhar, Madhyam, Pancham, Nishad, and Sadaj of next Saptak, respectively. However, in reality that does not happen because except Sadaj and Pancham, other notes have two variants shuddha and komal or teevra. Not all the note or note variants are employed in the music, which is clear from the Aaroh-Avroh of different Raags. Thus, sometimes a shuddha note has to be repositioned to komal or teevra of another note instead of shuddha variant of that note. Therefore, the instrumentalists face difficultly while repositioning the note to match with tonal quality of the vocalist. In this paper, an algorithm has been developed which is to determine the notes that have to be employed if a normally practiced note (say Sadaj) has changed to another note (say Rishav, Gandhar or any other note). The Indian classical music (Hindustani) is broadly categorized by Pt. V. N. Bhatkhande into 10 Thaats. We have considered Thaat based repositioning of notes as most of the Raags are placed into the 10 Thaats. For a given Thaat, the proposed algorithm determines other note positions if the normally practiced note position of Sadaj is changed to any other note. There can be 32 Thaats if we perform permutations and combinations of note variants, while Pt. Bhatkhande considered only 10 Thaats of the 32 possible Thaats. The proposed algorithm is not only valid for Pt. Bhatkhande’s 10 Thaats but also valid for all remaining 22 of 32 possible Thaats. The algorithm also determines the notes to be omitted and the new notes to be included while repositioning of notes is done. The proposed work provides an interesting insight on note repositioning for instrumentalists as well as vocalist. This also introduces an avenue for music scholars' in music information retrieval (MIR) scenario, where it is often required to transcript notes from music segments. Without considering the repositioning of notes, correct transcription of notes is impossible especially for Indian classical music. Therefore, the proposed work sought an important add-on for the MIR community.

Keywords: Thaat, MATLAB, Taar, Saptak, Sadaj

Cite this Article: Anupam Biswas, Apoorv Singh, Sayandeep Roy. Note Repositioning Algorithm for Musical Instruments in Indian Classical Music. Journal of Software Engineering Tools & Technology Trends. 2019; 6(3): 22–27p.

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