What Is Sargam?
Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa
Dha, Ni, and Sa'
Sargam is a way of
assigning syllables to names of the notes in a raga or a musical
scale. The sargam syllables are: Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa Dha, Ni, and Sa'
in the octave. It is also called a singing exercise with
notes. while pressing note of Sa, we sing Sa then Re and we say Re
and so on. Sargam is also a vocal exercise in which the
notes are used. It has the dual purpose of vocalization and
Natural notes (pure or major) are called
which are shown as S, R, G, m, P, D, N.
The notes, or
Rekhab, Gandhar, Madhyam, Pancham, Dhaivat and Nikhad.
When singing these become Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni, and sargam
stands for "Sa-Re-Ga-Ma". Only these syllables are sung, and further
designations are never vocalized. When writing these become, S, R,
G, m, P, D, N. A sign of apostrophe on the
right side of a letter (S')
indicates the octave higher, a sign of apostrophe on the
left side of a letter ('S)
indicates the octave lower. Re, Ga,
Dha, and Ni may be either shudh or komal; Ma may be either shudh or
tivar and is then called tiver Ma. Sa and Pa are immovable (once Sa
Don't think there is anything that you can practice that will have
as much an impact on your playing as sargam. Take the sargam
challenge. Play sargam every night for one month and then re-assess
your playing skills afterward.
In other words Sargam is the collection of music notes or the swar
of the scale. It has been mentioned earlier how notes of the
sargam relate to the western scale.
Practicing to play sargam in music is bit like weight training.
Basic rules of weight training are to start with simple exercises
with lightweights. As you get comfortable with lightweights, you
increase repetitions or increase the weight you are lifting. You
also focus on muscle group you work on. You go to heavier and more
complex exercises after you feel comfortable with the basic
exercises. When we say sargam, we don't just mean a scale of
notes but it means the act of playing the sargam. Playing the sargam
is the single most important thing you can do when you are learning
harmonium or keyboard. When beginning to learn harmonium, the
teachers should not stress the playing of the sargam too much or
enforce it. After all, there is nothing joyous about playing one
note after the other in succession, over and over again. Students
tend to hate sargam for this very reason. Getting students into
sargam is a challenge.
Sargam fixes everything. If your right hand is not strong enough,
sargam fixes that. If you are not confident in class, sargam fixes
that. If you don't know where the notes are at the beginning, or how
to sit properly for long periods of time or need discipline or you
are trying to increase your speed or clarity or timing or rhythm or
etc; sargam fixes all. Sargam needs great practice, but it doesn't
have to be boring. Nothing is more boring than playing the same
notes over and over again, so spice up your sargam with some of the
variations. This will sound like you are actually playing something.
There are various books written on harmonium or keyboard but no
suitable book is available on basics. These books were for advance
learning and lessons were difficult to follow. This lesson of sargam
is the first effort to produce sargam lessons in easy and with
simplified exercises. With these lessons you will be able to play
and sing-along with your harmonium or keyboard. All the
exercises are produced with simple diagrams and notations. Thanks to
great music composer Nisar Bazmi Sahib and all those colleagues who
cooperated with me in producing these fundamental lessons.
We can learn how to play music with keyboard or harmonium but
without practice of sargam we cannot sing-along while playing
harmonium or keyboard. Practice of sargam is very important for a
harmonium or keyboard singer.
Raga Kalyan Sargam
Every thaat is also a Raga and Raga Kalyan is derived from thaat
Kalyan. The derivative ragas out of this structure are grouped under
the broad head of Kalyan Thaat. Here its jaati is kept
sapooran-sampooran for sargam practice only.
Exercise 1 (Raga Kalyan)
In this exercise we will practice Raga Kalyan notes in madh saptak. Raga kalyan is derived from thaat kalyan.
In our notation system tiver notes are shown in capital letters and
with red dot. Achal (fixed) notes are also shown with capital
letters but with blue dot.
Tiver Achal Tiver Tiver
Sit beside harmonium/keyboard properly as explained earlier. First
you have to practice Arohi of raga kalyan sargam, which is ascending
order as (S, R, G, M, P, D, N,
arohi of sargam will be taught in ten stages. After completing ten
stages of arohi you will practice amrohi, which is descending order
of a sargam as ('S,
N, D, P, M, G, R, S). You have to spend five to ten minutes on each
stage for practice. Our practice of arohi and amrohi will be in madh
or middle saptak.
Below given diagram is showing raga kalyan notes in
all three saptak. Raga kalyan is the best raga to start with.
Raga kalyan notes are shown in all three saptak with finger
Thaat Kalyan notes shown in all three octaves
FINGER & ITS NUMBERS
Thumb 1, finger 2, middle finger 3, ring finger 4, little finger 5
First Stage – Sa ( finger 2)
We will begin our practice in middle saptak that is
best for beginners. Press note of Khraj, which is ‘Sa’ with right
hand finger number 2. With the voice of harmonium note try to
synchronize your voice with it by saying ‘Sa’ for at least five
seconds. Keep pressure on the note while pressing bellow of
harmonium with your left hand. You have to practice at least 5-10
minutes on this first note of Sargam. In the beginning you may feel
difficulty in synchronizing your voice with harmonium but gradually
you will overcome this difficulty. Khraj note that is ‘Sa’ is shown
in the diagram with a blue dot.
All our basic lessons in raga will begin from middle or madh saptak.
Second Stage - Re (middle finger
Press note of Rekhab, which is ‘Re’ with right hand middle finger
and do not displace your finger from Khraj note and only decrease
its pressure from the note. By pressing note of Rekhab say ‘Re’ and
try to synchronize your voice with the voice of harmonium as
explained in the first stage. Say ‘Re’ again and again until your
voice is fully synchronizes with harmonium. Your finger and middle
fingers must remain over the notes. In the picture below Rekhab note
is mentioned with red circle. You should keep in mind that all above
stages are linked and only one note is added in each stage.
Third Stage - Ga (thumb 1)
Raising your finger from Rekhab note press note of
with your thumb by twisting your thumb beneath your hand. Do not
raise your second finger much higher over Rekhab note and only
decrease its pressure while approaching Gandhar. Now again try to
synchronize your voice with Gandhar note and repeat this practice
again and again at least 10 minutes. In the picture below Gandhar
note is mentioned with red circle.
Fourth Stage – (Kalyan Arohi) Sa,
Re, Ga (fingers 2,3,1)
In this stage we will practice all three notes together, which we
have already practiced. Press Khraj note ‘Sa’ with finger and say
this note for about five seconds. Then by pressing note of Rekhab
say ‘Re’ for about five seconds and try to synchronize your voice
with the voice of harmonium. Raising your finger from Rekhab note
press note of Gandhar,
with your thumb and say ‘Ga’ for five seconds.
Fifth Stage - Sa, Re, Ga,
Ma (fingers 2,3,1,2)
Now we have to learn four swars together and fourth swar is ‘Ma’.
Saying note ‘Ga’ from previous stage bring your finger on Madhym
note and say ‘Ma’ for about five seconds. Now again bring your
finger back on Khraj note ‘Sa’ and after five seconds of vocal
synchronizing press note ‘Re’ and keep practicing these four notes
again and again with your particular fingers. This repeated exercise
from Sa to Ma should not be less than ten minutes of duration. It
should be remembered that we would stay on each note for about five
Sixth Stage – Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa
Keeping in view fifth stage add Pancham note ‘Pa’ in your exercise.
By raising your finger from Madhyam note press Pancham note ‘Pa’
with your middle finger and say ‘Pa’ for about five seconds. Keep on
practicing Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa again and again for about 10 minutes.
Do not forget to stay for five seconds on each note in each exercise
while synchronizing your voice with swars.
Seventh Stage – Sa, Re, Ga, Ma,
Pa, Dha (fingers 2,3,1,2,3,4)
link from sixth stage add note ‘Dha’ in your exercise. By pressing
‘Dha’ say this note by synchronizing your voice with it. Now you
have to practice Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha for about ten minutes.
Eighth Stage – Sa, Re, Ga, Ma,
Pa, Dha, Ni (fingers 2,3,1,2,3,4,1)
Press Note ‘Ni’
with your thumb by turning your thumb under your hand and say this
note for about five seconds. Soon after that position place your
finger No.2 again on the Khraj note ‘Sa’ and practice Sa, Re, Ga,
Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni for about ten minutes like previous exercises of
Ninth Stage - Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa,
Dha, Ni, Sa' (fingers 2,3,1,2,3,4,1,2)
Continuing your lessons from previous stage bring your finger on
Khraj note ‘Sa’ in the third octave and try to synchronize your
voice with the Khraj note while note is pressed. Duration of
pressing each note in all above stages is not less five seconds. You
should keep in mind that all above stages are linked and only one
note is added in each stage.
Tenth Stage - Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa,
Dha, Ni, Sa' (fingers 2,3,1,2,3,4,1,2)
Now you have to practice all these eight swars, which are given
Arohi: S, R, G, M, P, D, N, S'
left to right
Sargam is ascending order of Sargam notes. The above sargam
initiates from ‘Sa’ note of middle saptak and ends to ‘Sa’ note
of third saptak. You should practice arohi of sargam until your
fingers are not used to play notes without hesitation and
confidence. One should try to practice Arohi without time
limitation until perfection arises. Proper synchronizing of
voice with swar is very important.
Exercise 2 (Raga Kalyan Amrohi)
S', N, D, P, M, G, R, S
After getting proficiency in Arohi you have to practice Amrohi,
which is descending notes of a Sargam. You also have to practice
Amrohi in stages as you already did in Arohi of Sargam but now in
descending order from Taar (upper) Saptak towards Madh (middle)
N, D, P, M, G, R, S
right to left
Do not forget to stay for five seconds on each note in each exercise
while synchronizing your voice with swars. There is also no time
limitation for Amrohi practice but it should be continued until you
get acquainted with the voice of notes. Fingering will be same as
selected in Arohi practice but in reverse order. There must be a gap
of one and half second between swars to breath.
First Stage – S',
In all these six stages you will have to practice as explained in
earlier exercises of Sargam. You have to remain for five seconds on
each note while saying relevant swars and by synchronizing your
voice. The gap between each note must be one and half second in this
initial stage. Total time of practice must be between 5-10
Second Stage – S', N, D, P
By adding note ‘Pa’ practice all four notes all over again and again
for ten minutes and synchronize your voice with swars.
Third Stage -
S', N, D, P, M (fingers 2,1,4,3,2)
By adding note ‘Ma’ practice all four notes all over again and
again for five to ten minutes and synchronize your voice with
Fourth Stage –
S', N, D, P, M, G
S', N, D, P, M, G, R (fingers 2,1,4,3,2,1,3,)
Sixth Stage –
S', N, D, P, M, G, R,
Now it is the stage of Amrohi, add Khraj note ‘Sa’ in your practice.
In the sixth stage there is no fixed time period for practice of
swars. You may increase your time if you feel you are not perfect in
fingering or vocal.
Sargam Exercise 3 - Arohi Amrohi
It is the time when we will practice complete sargam in ascending
and descending order. This exercise is very important for harmonium
students for basic music learning. Proper synchronizing of voice
with swar is very important in this lesson. It is better to stay on
each swar for five seconds and gradually decrease your time to four
seconds and in the end half second. At least half an hour continuous
practice is important but you can increase your practice time
according to your capability. Now you got familiar with sargam notes
in ascending and descending order so, we are going to write arohi
and amrohi of sargam in normal style. Now notations of raga Kalyan
sargam will be written from left to right but will be played
according to direction of arrow.
Try to remain on each note for half a second, which is
the perfect speed for practice of Sargam. If you get bored then take
rest and divide your practice time in parts or play in front of
friends or family members.
Sargam of raga bilawal, bhairav, bhairavi and other ragas will be
provided with the sargam e.book. Order now for these
ebooks from the most comprehensive website of music teaching.
Our lessons for playing Indian and
Pakistani songs with harmonium. Bilawal sargam for singing practice
on harmonium. With Hindi Pakistani film songs now learn
keyboard harmonium indesi style. Practice raga sargam, sa re ga,
with harmonium keys.