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

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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).

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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. ↩︎