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Carnatic Music

The Raga Search Engine Applet

There are plenty of excellent web sites on carnatic music, but I have never seen one thats interactive. This page is one of my humble attempts to do some interactive web page dedicated to Indian music. This is intended mainly for beginners and not for pundits, who are well versed in the intricacies of different ragas.


If you test these questions positive, well you can bookmark this page. You may find the answer here.

The Applet is a Carnatic Raga Search Engine, which runs from within Netscape/IE browser. The footprint is quite small, it takes just 5-7 seconds to load on a 28.8Kbps.

How to use

There are several checkboxes under three categories:
1. Exact - Looks for exact match of each swara in the raga
2. Any Of - Looks for any given combination of swara in the raga. This works very well in combination with Exact options. In the above example we are looking for a raga which contains r2, m1, p exactly and any n (n1, n2 or n3). Thats why we find both hindusthani kapi and madhyamavathi. Further restriction is applied using the Specified Only option. This will look for ragas with only those swaras specified and has nothing else.
3. None Of has the highest precedence in searching. The search is first performed on 'None of'. For e.g. if you specify p and click on Search, you will get all the panchama varja ragas.
4. There are 3 options in Look in: Arohana, Avarohana and Both. If you select Arohana, the search will be performed only on Arohana of the ragas. Thats why in the above example, all the arohanas have only r,m,p,n.
5. You can further restrict raga by typing in the name of the raga in the Name text field. If you type be it will list behag and begada. Typing *varali it will list jhalavarali. Multiple wild-cards or '?' are not provided yet. Some raga names are not in standard format when I first compiled the original list. So it may happen that some ragas which would logically satisfy this condition not appear.

I will stop details here and let you explore it. I hope it is easy to use. And I also hope the display format of swaras is legible enough. I am also planning to add the ragas as a tree-hierarchy instead of a plain list.

I have also not tested it exhaustively, so there is a possibility of some errors. The applet was developed over the weekend. I may fix these as time goes by.

There is always a scope of improvement, like searching for vakra, sanchara and of course, Hindustani music. I may include them in further versions.

I have tested only on Win9x and WinNT machines. Though I believe since it is a Java Applet, it can run on Unix machines too. I have tested this only on Netscape 4.5x and IE 5. It may run on Netscape 4.0x and/or IE4 but I am not really sure.

When the Raga Search Engine window is displayed, you may also notice a bar at the bottom of the window displaying Unsigned Java Applet Window. This is nothing to worry about as this applet is not attempting to access any of your local resources like hard disk or printer etc.

    In relative terms, I am a complete novice to carnatic music and I have been interested in it, in particular, only for the past few months. I never used to listen to it though my father, who plays Kanjira, tried to put some sense into me. Thanks to many web sites which helped me understand the basics of Indian music.

    Most of the ragas were taken from Dr.S.Bhagyalakshmi's book Ragas In Carnatic Music which I found accidentally when I accidentally visited the Meenakshi temple, Houston, TX. There may be typos when I converted all the 486 ragas into an Access database.

Any sort of criticism is almost welcome. Whether you like it or not, you can write me.

Document last updated: 20 Apr 99