Alankaralu (Alamkarams)

Alankaralu has been one of my favorite topic to learn and teach ,because of the obvious fact that these are very important in understanding the swara singing,and helps us to get good grip of taala importantly.

When you are learning carnatic music ,there are different ways every teacher teaches you.The topics vary, pattern varies and ofcourse way of teaching.But it is our interest and responsibility to improvise what we learn in our regular classes.Now that we have internet and all the knowledge share on web,it is so easy that we take take our basic knowledge as reference to understand in and out.

If we just ignore topic wise studies of carnatic music,instead look into why they are organised into topics,we will have a clear understanding of the format.Prior to Alamkaralu, we have Sarali Swaralu,Janta swaralu followed by Dhatu swaralu which every music aspirant should understand.More the self study of dhatu swaralu , better the understanding will be.It has zig zag swaralu placement so we tend to focus on sthayi(note) of swaralu.Next ,one should practise Aakaram i.e., sing sapthaswaralu with 'Aaaaaaaa...' sound(aakaram) in 1st,2,d,3rd ... speeds.

Say, in adi talam, we lets 'sa' note in aakaram for 8 beats( 1 laghuvu+1 drutam,+1 drutam)

Similarly follow this for descending order of swaram too.This is the 1st speed.
Next sing in the same manner, but in 2nd speed 4 beats for aakaram of sa and go on.
Increase the kalamu(speed) 3rd speed, 2 beats for sa and go on.
While you are doing this, sit straight, back should be straight, and open you mouth ,do aaakaram,take deep inhale and exhale and have breath control ,for, the sound should come from deep within you through the vocal chords.

So before scrolling down the page,please make sure we already practiced these lessons.Lesson1 Lesson 2.

Notations :

I - Laghuvu (using fingers )
0 - Druthamu (two sides of palm - 2 beats)
U-anudrutham (one side of palm- 1 beat)

Jathi is implied on basis of LAGHUVU only.

Chathushra(4) jathi - I4 --> laghuvu 4
Thisra (3) jathi - I3 --> laghuvu 3
Khanda(5) jathi - I5 --> laghuvu 5
Mishra (7) jathi - I7 --> laghuvu 7

Now that we have basic understanding of what notations used in alankaralu, we will learn them.

  1. Alankaram 1 - Dhruva Talam
  2. Alankaram 2 - Matya Talam
  3. Alankaram 3 - Rupaka Talam
  4. Alankaram 4 - JhampaTalam
  5. Alankaram 5 - Triputa talam
  6. Alankaram 6 - Eka Talam ( Chathushra jathi)
  7. Alankaram 7 - Eka Talam ( Thishra jathi)
  8. Alankaram 8 - Ata Talam
Alankaralu is the first step to understand Talam or Rhythm.