A Unique Chakra brings out the musician in you

Venkat Raman

Indian Newslink, Auckland, May 15, 2018

A qualified engineer based in Chennai (Tamil Nadu) has created an innovative formula, which he claims would enable almost everyone to understand and appreciate two major forms of Indian classical music, namely Carnatic and Hindustani with easy adaption to the Western format as well.

Ramesh Sarma, who prefers to be called L S Ramesh, has designed a unique Chakra that allows people to identify various Ragas and sing them or play on Keyboard and Piano.

Music for all

“Everyone, from a child to an aged person without any previous knowledge in music can very easily see, learn and play the ‘Melakarta Ragas of Carnatic and Hindustani Music. It would be possible to extend the knowledge to Western Music,” he said.

“Children with Autism or Downs syndrome are very good at identifying patterns and Music is a language they understand best. Parents of such children can learn from this Chakra and teach,” Ramesh said.

“Research has shown how playing an instrument helps in brain development. When a person plays an instrument, the left and right hemispheres of the brain get activated and the motor neurons become more active to help in sending or receiving signals,” he said.

Academic Achiever

A postgraduate (MTech) from the reputed Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Chennai, Ramesh was urged by a desire to make even the uninitiated to become proficient in music.

His Carnatic Music Wheel, titled, ‘Sri Saraswathi 72 Melakarta Chakra,’ is the result of more than six years of research, trial and perfection.

“Most people feel that Carnatic Music is beyond their grasp. I wanted to simplify the concept and show the main Ragas as a visual tool to easily identify with the entire genre of music. Carnatic Music is the mother of all music in the world and hence it is the focal point of my innovation,” he said.

From Dots to Melody

Although there are more than 39,000 Ragas in Carnatic Music, 72 have been identified as ‘Melakarta (Main or Parent) Ragas.’

Ramesh has depicted these 72 Ragas in the form of a Chakra (Wheel) on which the Ragas are clearly shown as ‘dots on the Keyboard.’

“Playing the dots on your Keyboard will bring out the melody of the Raga,” he said.

Side One contains 36 ‘Suddha Madhyama Ragas,’ which have been categorised under respective Chakra Heads. For example, ‘Indu Chakra’ has six Melakarta Ragas, namely Kanakangi, Ratnangi, Ganamurthi, Vanaspathi, Manavathi and Danarupi.

“Similarly, other Chakras including Netra, Agni, Veda, Bana and Ruthu, with their respective Melakarta Ragas are depicted with Swara Stanas as Dots. This pattern of dots can be seen and played even by a novice to reveal a particular Raga,” Ramesh said.

Side Two carries the remaining 36 Prathimadhyama Ragas, depicted with Chakra names Rishi, Vasu Brahma, Disi, Rudhra and Adithya, each comprising six Melakarta Ragas.

For instance, ‘Rishi Chakra’ has the Melakartas from 37 to 42.

Some interesting facts

Ramesh demonstrates some interesting results of combinations.

“As an example, if we take Melakarta 29 (Dheerashankarabharanam) and add 36 to this, we get the corresponding Prathimadhyama Melakarta Raga (29+36=65). Mechakalyani is similar to Dheerashankarabharanam except for the MA note. This helps people to quickly grasp the
Swara Stanas and visualise the Raga patterns,” he said.

The following table shows a comparative list of Carnatic, Hindustani and Western):

Carnatic Hindustani Western
Shankarabharanam

Melakarta -29

Bilawal C-Major
Natabhairavi

Melakarta-20

Asavari C-Natural Minor
Keeravani

Melakarta-21

Kirwani C-Harmonic Minor
Gowrimanohari

Melakarta-23

Patdeep C-Melodic Minor

Ramesh has dedicated the Chakra to the late Dr M Balamurali Krishna, who lauded his efforts and was among the first to certify its efficacy.

Among others who have evinced interest on the Chakra include Prince Rama Varma, Dr S P Balasubrahmanyam, Balakrishna Prasad and other music legends.

FACES Initiative

Ramesh and his wife Sridevi have established a charitable institution called ‘FACES,’ an acronym for Food, Aid, Clothing, Education and Shelter in aid of orphans.

They have adopted 1000 orphans in four orphanages located in Chennai, Bengaluru and Warangal and donate a part of the proceeds from the sale of the Sri Saraswathi 72 Melakarta Chakra to them.

“The Charity was honoured with the ‘REX Karmaveer Gold Medal’ from United Nations on March 23, 2015 at Delhi,” Ramesh said.

Lectures and Workshops

Ramesh regularly conducts Lectures, Demonstrations and Workshops on Music and its effects for corporates, teachers, parents and students using his Music Chakra.

“Those attending the Lectures and Workshops understand ‘How playing music improves IQ and reduces stress.’ My sessions on ‘Music Literacy for All,’ and ‘Music and Brain’ have been well received by the public. My mission is to make Music to be easily understood and learnt by all,” Ramesh said.

Email: faces108; Website http://www.faces108.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch’v=jo2-4bKQ8Yw

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Photo Caption:

  1. Ramesh Sarma with his ‘Sri Saraswathi 72 Melakarta Chakra’
  2. Ramesh Sarma using the Chakra on Keyboard

(Images Supplied)

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