Sangeet is a combining form of song, dance and instruments. In reality, these three trades singing, dancing and playing instruments are totally different from each other. Though these are different from one another, still are complementary to each other. During ancient time people were using these three trades mostly in concert.

Sangeet” is composed by adding a prefix “Sam” in the word “Geet”. The meaning of “Sam” is with and “Geet” is Song. “With Song” scilicet the work performed with dance and playing is called music/ Sangeet.

Under the song, there is playing instruments and under the play there is dance. Therefore, the songs have been given priority in all these three arts.


In sounds (Dhwani) we often have two distinctions. In which one is called Swar/ the voice and the other is called Kolahal/Babel. Some people also consider the sound of conversation as a distinction. Generally when a sound comes together with regular and periodic vibrations, then it is called swar. In contrast, when the vibration is irregular and intricate or mixed, then the sound is called kolahal. The sound of the colloquial language is kept in the middle of the swar (tone) and kolahal (the noise). In a nutshell understand that the regular movement numerical voice is called swar. The sound comes in the use of music, which is sweet and melodious to the ears and pleases the mind. In the language of music, this sound is called “Naad”. On this basis, the musical naad, is called swar.

Indian musicians have considered 22 such musical sounds within the range of one voice to its double, which are called as “Shrutis”. The initial state of “Dhwani” is called as “shruti” and its corresponding form is called as “Swar”.

Suddh Swar

When the sequence of the “Shruti” Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Pa, Dha, Ni are 4, 3, 4, 4, 3, 2, then those vowels are called “Suddh Swar”. The complete name of these “swar” are 1. Sadaj, 2. Rishav, 3. Gandhar, 4. Madhyam, 5. Pancham, 6. Dhaivat, 7. Nishad. For the convenience of singing, the first letter of each of these has been taken and thus their short name Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni has been retained.

Suddh, Tivra and Vikrut Swar

The seven Swar described earlier are called Suddh Swar. From these Swar Sa and Pa are considered as immovable, because they remain in their place always. The remaining 5 vowels have been made in two forms. Because it does not move away from its place, hence call them with “Komal”/soft and “Tivra”/ intense names. They are also called “Vikrut Swar”/distorted vowels.

When a swar is taken down from its regular position, it is called as “Komal Swar”/soft tone and when a swar is lifted up from its regular position, it is called as “Tivra Swar”/strong tone. “Re”, “Ga”, “Dha”, and “Ni”: When these four swar are removed from their places, they become komal and when they are then transported to their original place, then they are called Suddh. But when the “Ma” i.e. madhyam swar turns away from its original place, it does not go down because its original place is already low, so when “Ma” swar will move from its place/ become Vikrut, then it will go higher note and called as “Tivra swar”.

Thus there are 12 swar with two fixed (achal), five suddh and five vikrut:

Re, Ga, Ma, Dha, Ni (Suddh Swara) : There is no sign on these.

Re , Ga, Ma’, Dha, Ni (Vikrut Swara) : Among them Re, Ga, Dha, Ni are komal and Ma is Tivra.

In Vishnu Digambar Swaralipi Padhdhati, the 12 vowels are written in this way:

Sa, Pa – Steady/ Achal and Suddh swara.

Re, Ga, Ma, Dha, Ni – Suddh Swara.

Reˋ, Gaˋ, Maˋ, Dhaˋ, Niˋ: Vikrut Swara (Among them, RE, Ga, Dha, Ni are Komal and Ma is Tivra)

Apart from these, some other sign systems are also running in the Northern music system, but mainly the appropriate two icon systems are popular. In addition to Komal and Tivra swar, some other extracts and symbols are also applied, which are further detailed in this book in the Swaralipi Padhdhati.

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