Indian Customers can now use PayU to purchase Raga App Pro

Indian customers looking to upgrade to the Raga App Pro version can now use the payment option (via PayUMoney) that solves the long pending issue about Paypal not supporting transactions between Indian users. With the new option, you can now directly make the payment in Indian Rupees using a choice of popular credit/debit, net-banking and wallet options. PayU is a leading payment portal which is widely used in a variety of Indian e-commerce sites like SnapDeal, BookMyShow, BigBasket etc and offers a secure payment channel for end customers. Feel free to contact us in case you have any questions regarding the purchase/payment options or about using the extra features in the pro version.

Indian Customers can now use PayU to purchase Raga App Pro Read More »

Raga Master Android – Basic Usage

Here’s a quick tutorial to get you familiar with the basic usage of the Raga Master Android app. (Note: You can also check out the screen cast tutorial in YouTube that covers the same)

Changing Ragas

Just click on the Raga Name on the left-top corner (see the first image below) and you will see the list of ragas sliding out from the left (see the second image below). You can scroll up or down along the same raga list to select the raga you need, or swipe horizontally to select a different raga list.




Selecting a a progression

You can select between the arohana (ascending progression) or avarohana (descending progression) in two ways.

If you are using large screen device (like a tablet), you will see the arohana and avarohana notes displayed simultaneously above the instrument view (see first image below) and you can click on any button to select the notes/swaras/intervals to be displayed. In case the arohana and avarohana structures are the same, you will just see one set of buttons and a message indicating the same (see second image below)





If you are using a smaller screen device (like a phone), then you would see only a single progression displayed on the top of the instrument view. But, you will see a arohana/avarohana select option that appears just below the instrument view (see the first image below). Note: In case the raga is symmetric, the progression select buttons would not appear at all.


Changing the root note

Clicking the root select button (see the first image below) would display all the available note positions in the instrument (see the second and third image below). You can then click on any one of them to set it as the root. This would automatically create a new pattern starting at a root note that you have just selected.




Changing the playing patterns

The available playing patterns appear just below the instrument view and can be used to choose a playing pattern that you like. For guitar the options let you create patterns that let you play with a fixed wrist position or play while moving up or down the fretboard. You can also select the “all notes” options to display all matching raga notes over the entire fretboard. For piano, you get the options to display a single octave or all the notes that match the raga.


Hope this section helped you understand all the basic features of the app and how to use them. You can always drop a note, if you find something missing or have further questions. And if you haven’t gotten the app yet, just use the link below to get it from the Google play store.


Get it on Google Play

Note: Please join the Raga Master Android Google+ group for any feedback/questions about the app

Raga Master Android – Basic Usage Read More »

Raga app for android is out!

Raga Master, the android version of the raga app is now available. You can join our Google+ community to leave feedback and also ask any questions about the beta version from google – check out more details here. To start with, the beta version contains the basic functionality along with the popular raga lists. The first complete release would contain the remaining raga lists, playback of raga notes and the scale comparison tool. Hoping to add more features once I start getting feedback on the usage, will keep you posted on how things go with the app.

So don’t forget to check out and start using the beta version! It would be really helpful to get your feedback and thoughts on the android app.

Edit: The latest version now includes sound support, western scales tool and extra ragas (72 melakartas & 10 thaats)

Raga app for android is out! Read More »

Comparison of Carnatic or Indian Classical Ragas to Western scales

Comparing the notes of a given Carnatic or Hindustani (Indian classical) raga to a western scale, (something that you are most likely familiar with), is always a good way to understand their structures better. For eg, comparing Dheera sankarabharanam to the Major (Ionian) scale will show you that they are completely equivalent in terms of the notes involved! Keep in mind that, this does not imply the way they sound will be exactly the same. The various slides, gamakas, bends etc that go into the playing of a raga will definitely give it a whole different texture. Still, the usefulness of this approach arises due to the fact that, just making that relation lets you connect the raga to known interval structures, chord possibilities, familiar comping patterns, voicings and a lot more!

To help you make this comparison and connection easily, the raga-app comes with a built-in tool that lets you compare the notes of a selected raga with a given western scale. In addition to the ubiquitous Major, Minor and pentatonic scales, it also features the complete set of modes so that you can identify scales that are related to almost all of the ragas! In addition to exact matches, the tool also shows you which notes differ – ie, what notes are additional in the raga or what notes are additional in the scale. This aspect is also important since the addition or omission of particular intervals are a strong indicator of potential chord matches or the possibility altered notes while comping on a fusion theme.


kalyani-comparison-keyboardkalyani-comparison-guitar-2 kalyani-comparison-keyboard-2

Just to get you started, why don’t you try finding matching scales for the following ragas (hint: you can search the ragas by name from within the app) – Kalyani, Mohanam, Bilawal, Kafi and Or you could try to find the simple differences that some of the ragas like Kamboji and Khamaj have from the western scales. Once you get your hands dirty exploring the ragas using the app, then you can dive right in to the topic with more detailed analysis like this. Either ways, I am sure this will take you down an exciting path of building a better understanding of the Indian ragas.

And as always, feel free to drop me a note if you have any suggestions or feedback about the app or this site!

Comparison of Carnatic or Indian Classical Ragas to Western scales Read More »

Carnatic or Indian classical guitar : Alternate tunings

Have you been curious about how the raga patterns will change if you tune your guitar to something other than the standard tuning? Then there is good news! Now, the pro version of the raga-app features alternate tunings that you can use to explore Carnatic or Hindustani raga structures from a different perspective. Apart from the standard tuning (E A D G B E), the app now lets you try out two other tunings (C G C G C G & D A D G A D) which spreads out the notes in a whole different fashion. If you are interested in seeing any other tunings that you have found useful while playing carnatic or hindustani music, do drop me a note and I will try to get them added to the app as well!

These new tunings can be accessed by clicking on the open string notes displayed to the left of the fretboard. This opens up a dialog that shows the available tunings and you can select the one you want from the list (See the screen shot below). Also, note that the chord functionality is available only when using the standard tuning.




Carnatic or Indian classical guitar : Alternate tunings Read More »

Active guitar and keyboard views + better playback loops

The raga app now comes with a fully playable active keyboard and guitar views. What this means is that you can just click on any note/fret and hear the notes as if you are sitting in front of a MIDI instrument! The cursor changes and the click-able areas are highlighted slightly so that its easier for you play the instrument. Now you are free to explore ragas and experiment with sounds right on the app, without having to pick up your instrument at all!

To make the raga sounds even better to use, you can now select between looping over just a single progression or let the app automatically switch between arohana and avarohana notes. In the second mode, you get the complete experience of how the raga sounds without having to fiddle with any buttons. The notes displayed on the guitar or keyboard also changes automatically in sync with the sound being played.

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Find ragas that have similar notes using the enhanced search functionality

The note/interval filters have been given a make over to so that they are simpler and more intuitive to use.  They now work across all the raga’s present in the app and you can utilize the new descriptive drop down list to pick the results. There are options available to view the note filter in both carnatic as well as Hindustani mode, so that picking the notes becomes more natural. I have also added options to limit results to a single raga family or do exact/loose matches so that you can zero in on specific relationships between ragas much faster. Check out the help text (Click the “?” icon that appears to the right on selecting the third tab) for an inline explanation of the same.

How to find the Hindustani equivalent of a Carnatic raga or the Carnatic equivalent of a Hindustani Raga

The Pro version of Raga App now comes with a “similar ragas” link (next to the Raga name that is displayed above the instrument view) that helps you look for equivalent ragas easily. Clicking the link loads the note-filter, pre-loaded with the notes of the current raga. The drop down you get will show you any other raga that share the same notes. For eg, selecting a carnatic raga and loading the search filter with an option to see hindustani ragas with an exact match will directly give you the equivalent Hindustani raga (if any).

Keep in mind that there is no one-to-one correlation between the raga families and there may not be a exact raga that fits your search. But given the option to do a loose match by including ragas that also contain some additional notes, you will be able to figure out at least some ragas that contain the basic structure or feel of the given raga to some extent. You can then go a step further and fine tune your search by modifying particular notes/intervals to further isolate ragas that capture just a given gamaka sequence or some interesting chord possibilities.

Note: There has also been a bit of a UI rejig that I did today – I have moved all the different exploration options (lists, search by name & search by notes) under a common tabbed section. This felt more natural rather than leaving the sections scattered all around. If something seems amiss or confusing feel free to ping me

And thanks to Hassan (from astrotrends) for his queries/suggestions, which kind of nudged me in the direction of these changes.

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Listen to how Carnatic and Hindustani Ragas sound – Introducing MIDI support in Raga App

In case it didn’t catch your attention, lookout for the small audio icon that has cropped up next to the raga title in our app. Clicking that will now play the notes of the displayed raga via MIDI, making it even more easy to explore carnatic or hindustani ragas and get familiar with their sound. Now you can start with ragas that you know, find others that are similar to them (hint: use the note/interval filter) and then start listening to how they sound, all without even picking up your instrument!

Its just an acoustic grand piano sound for now (even for guitar), turns out I am a bit lazy when it comes to hunting down a good sound font file for guitar and then getting it converted to a midi.js compatible format and then using it. If you stumble across something available on the web, please drop me a note and I will get it added to the guitar app.

The idea to add sound to the raga app came up when I stumbled upon the awesome MIDI.js. This nifty JS plugin lets you manipulate anything from simple midi notes to complex tracks and even supports plugged-in visualizations. Check out mudcube’s page for a more psychedelic experience of midi. And talking about midi in the world of indian classical music, I also came across ragam roll, which uses MIDI.js and lets you generate and play back midi files starting from carnatic notation!

So why not dive right into the midi-fied raga app and start listening to the sound of ragas that you were too lazy to try out with your instrument!

Edit: As an after thought, I went ahead and added MIDI playback for chords also (just click the speaker icon to the left of the note dragging pin). Seems like a neat idea to play the raga notes and also superimpose the chord sound on it. Makes it simpler to experiment instead of shuttling between the mouse and your instrument. Thinking in that direction, I also modified the raga notes to keep playing in a loop. So just let the notes play while you try out chords over it either via MIDI or using your instrument

Listen to how Carnatic and Hindustani Ragas sound – Introducing MIDI support in Raga App Read More »

Getting started with Indian classical ragas

For those of you who are new to the world of Indian classical music, here’s a couple of things to get you started on your journey into indian classical music.

Listen to some songs!

Duh! I know you wouldn’t be here without having done that, but for those of you who might’ve just stumbled upon this post and wondering what this is all about, pick something up from the widget below and hear some sample music, courtesy amazon

For those of you looking for more, here’s a nice post that I stumbled across sometime back which covers some popular hindustani ragas. There are no sound clips, but you do have quite a few youtube clips sprinkled around. And here’s a giant post that covers lots of carnatic ragas and lists quite a few songs and music clips.

Get to know some history

In a nutshell, there are two major styles of indian classical music which branched out sometime during the medieval period – carnatic which is commonly associated with south india and hindustani which is commonly associated with north india. The geographical distinctions don’t matter any more in this digital age, but its the feel and nuances of these styles that would make you fall head over heels for either of them. Here’s what wikipedia says about the two major styles in indian classical music – Hindustani and Carnatic, hopefully that gives you some context on what you are dealing with.

Learn to read the music

Learning to read the carnatic and hindustani notations will open up your world into the transcriptions available online and more importantly 😉 will let you use our app to explore ragas. The systems are based on the eight note swara structure (S, R, G, M, P, D, N, S’) and the variations for each one of them. Here’s a link from musicianself that explains the notation systems in a bit more detail. If you want a more practical way to figure out what the notations mean, just hit our app and try out a few ragas. In the app, you get to see the swara notation, the equivalent western notes and the corresponding intervals side by side. You might want to pick up ragas like Dheerashankarabharanam (which is equivalent to the major scale) or Kalyani (which is equivalent to the lydian mode) so that you start with scale structures that you are familiar with.

Popular ragas in Carnatic and Hindustani

These are a few common ragas that you can use to begin your exploration. I stumbled upon most of these when hunting for ragas to include in Raga App, so all of them are available in it. You can pick the ones you like and use our app to learn the notes and how to play them in guitar or keyboard.


  • Bageshri
  • Bhairavi
  • Bhimpalasi
  • Bhupali
  • Chandrakauns
  • Darbari
  • Durga
  • Kafi
  • Kirwani
  • Lalit
  • Malkauns
  • Pahadi
  • Piloo/Pilu
  • Todi
  • Yaman


  • Abhogi
  • Anandabhairavi
  • Chakravakam
  • Charukesi
  • Dheerasankarabharanam
  • Hamsadhvani
  • Hindolam
  • Kalyani
  • Kamboji
  • Kharaharapriya
  • Madhyamavati
  • Malahari
  • Mayamalavagowla
  • Mohanam
  • Nattai
  • Pantuvarali (Kamavardhini)
  • Reethigowla
  • Sahana
  • Todi
  • Vasantha

Hope that helps!

Getting started with Indian classical ragas Read More »