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Piano / Keyboard Notations Guide in Classical Indian System

This article describes the keyboard / piano notations used in the music sheets of this website in classical Indian Notations format. If you are looking for western notations format , please visit the HitXP Western Notations Guide.

Indian Notations Labels of an Octave

Carnatic / Hindustani Indian Music Notations Guide

As seen above, each key of an octave is represented by a letter. All 7 white keys are represented by upper case letter S,R,G,M,P,D,N. All 5 black keys are represented by lower case letters r,g,m,d and n.

So in the song notations, in every place you see a S you need to press the first key of the octave. If you see g, you need to press the second black key of the octave and so on.

Octave Number Recognition using Note Color

Now that we know which letter represents which note in an octave, we need a mechanism to understand which octave the note should be played in. As we can see in the above image, an octave has 12 keys (7 white keys and 5 black keys).

An electronic keyboard (synthesizer) will usually have anywhere between three to seven octaves. A piano will usually have 88 keys (7 octaves + 4 additional keys).

In HitXP.com we use color coded notations to represent octave numbers. In other words, the color of the notation text tells us which octave to play that note in.

Usually for most songs, 3 octaves are more than enough to play them. So we call them, the lower octave, the middle octave and the upper octave. Very rarely, two more octaves might be required. One below the lower octave, and one above the upper octave.

As you can see above, in the notations of HitXP.com, each octave is represented by a color as follows:

  • S r R g G M m P d D n N for Lower Octave
  • S r R g G M m P d D n N for Middle Octave
  • S r R g G M m P d D n N for Upper Octave
  • S r R g G M m P d D n N for Lower Lower Octave ie one octave below lower octave
  • S r R g G M m P d D n N for Upper Upper Octave ie one octave above upper octave

Below is an alternate method to represent the notes that was used earlier in this site, but is not used anymore. So you can as well ignore the below notation format as far as this site is concerned.

Alternative Carnatic Music Notations

In the carnatic music system we distribute the 12 keys of an octave among the 7 swaras of a raga. The seven swaras are sa,re,ga,ma,pa,dha,ni.

Sa and Pa have one key associated with them each ie the first and fifth white key respectively, Ma can take any of the two keys i.e either third black key or fourth white key. Ri and Ga can share any two of the four keys between Sa (First white key) and Ma (Fourth white key). Similarly Dha and Ni can share any two of the four keys after Pa (Fifth white key).

HitXP Music Notations Guide for Classical Carnatic / Hindustani Music Sheets

Middle Octave – Keyboard / Piano Notation Symbols in Indian Carnatic System

Below are the middle octave notations in classical Indian system. The corresponding Western Notations are also given. See below table.

SwaraSwara NameOctave Position Carnatic NotationWestern Notation
SaShadjama1st white keysC
RiShuddha Rishaba1st black keyr1C#
Chatushruthi Rishaba2nd white keyr2D
Satsruthi Rishaba2nd black keyr3D#
GaShuddha Gaandhaara2nd white keyg1D
Saadhaarana Gaandhaara2nd black keyg2D#
Anthara Gaandhaara3rd white keyg3E
MaShuddha Madhyama4th white keym1F
Prathi Madhyama3rd black keym2F#
PaPanchama5th white keypG
DaSudhdha Dhaivatha4th black keyd1G#
Chatusruthi Dhaivatha6th white keyd2A
Shatsruthi Dhaivatha5th black keyd3A#
NiSudhdha Nishaadha6th white keyn1A
Kaisiki Nishaadha5th black keyn2A#
Kaakali Nishaadha7th white keyn3B

Higher Octave – Keyboard / Piano Notation Symbols in Indian Carnatic System

Higher octave (octave immediately above the middle octave) notations will also be the same as above except that they will be in upper case. Corresponding Western Notations will have a + after the note to indicate upper octave. See below table.

SwaraSwara NameOctave Position Carnatic NotationWestern Notation
SaShadjama1st white keySC+
RiShuddha Rishaba1st black keyR1C#+
Chatushruthi Rishaba2nd white keyR2D+
Satsruthi Rishaba2nd black keyR3D#+
GaShuddha Gaandhaara2nd white keyG1D+
Saadhaarana Gaandhaara2nd black keyG2D#+
Anthara Gaandhaara3rd white keyG3E+
MaShuddha Madhyama4th white keyM1F+
Prathi Madhyama3rd black keyM2F#+
PaPanchama5th white keyPG+
DaSudhdha Dhaivatha4th black keyD1G#+
Chatusruthi Dhaivatha6th white keyD2A+
Shatsruthi Dhaivatha5th black keyD3A#+
NiSudhdha Nishaadha6th white keyN1A+
Kaisiki Nishaadha5th black keyN2A#+
Kaakali Nishaadha7th white keyN3B+

Lower Octave – Keyboard / Piano Notation Symbols in Indian Carnatic System

Lower octave (octave immediately below the middle octave) notations will also be same as above except that they will be underlined. Corresponding Western Notations will have a – after the note to indicate lower octave. See below table.

SwaraSwara NameOctave Position Carnatic NotationWestern Notation
SaShadjama1st white keysC-
RiShuddha Rishaba1st black keyr1C#-
Chatushruthi Rishaba2nd white keyr2D-
Satsruthi Rishaba2nd black keyr3D#-
GaShuddha Gaandhaara2nd white keyg1D-
Saadhaarana Gaandhaara2nd black keyg2D#-
Anthara Gaandhaara3rd white keyg3E-
MaShuddha Madhyama4th white keym1F-
Prathi Madhyama3rd black keym2F#-
PaPanchama5th white keypG-
DaSudhdha Dhaivatha4th black keyd1G#-
Chatusruthi Dhaivatha6th white keyd2A-
Shatsruthi Dhaivatha5th black keyd3A#-
NiSudhdha Nishaadha6th white keyn1A-
Kaisiki Nishaadha5th black keyn2A#-
Kaakali Nishaadha7th white keyn3B-

NOTE: The above descriptions are with respect to the base key being set to the first white key in the middle octave. You can transpose the scale accordingly once you understand the notations written here.

Transposing the scale is moving the scale a few notes higher or lower. For instance, consider the third white key in the middle octave as sa and reposition all other notes accordingly.

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Gurudevhttps://www.hitxp.com
Gurudev is the developer of Gurunudi AI Platform. This is his official website where he pens his thoughts on a wide range of topics, answers queries, shares resources and tools developed by him.

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