Karnatic Rhythmical Devices

Karnatic Practice

Part 1 of the detour takes as example the following étude I wrote for the first year assignment 1 in the Applications of Karnatic Rhythm to Western Music by using only devices taught during the first year. The following composition is entirely based on one eight note melodic cell (F D A Bb G D Eb C) in the violin lead voice and the rhythmic cells of the drone voice (cf. bar 1 for both) with melodic and rhythmic transformations applied throughout.

1. Karnatic Étude

alt alt alt alt alt

2. Cell Based Melodic and Rhythmic Patterns

One striking characteristic of South Indian Music is the development possibilities offered when applied to a basic pattern, cell, phrase or melodic idea, “basic” in the sense of forming an essential foundation or a starting point. Here is my example of a rhythmic development2 based on 3 sextuplet cells (a b c).


This cell based or pattern TK link thesis and video of software next …

  1. classes taught by Rafael Reina and Jonás Bisquert at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam↩︎

  2. for an authentic example cf. p. 67 in Reina, R. (2017). Applying Karnatic Rhythmical Techniques to Western Music. Routledge with audio example 38 on the author’s website. ↩︎