Mastering Higher Notes

Mastering the higher notes (swaras)

Exercise 1


Before you go through this article, please note that this has not been taken from any literal source as it comes into existence as part of my teaching Indian Classical Music online experience. It’s been a few years that I ventured into teaching Indian music online and has therefore come up with many significant situational experiences that are bound to help the beginners and those professionals who wish to provide a cutting edge to their vocal repertoire and enhancing their range in my opinion. Though opinions may vary, and they should for the sake of growth of knowledge, I share with confidence that it is valuable enough to be taken into consideration.


Let us understand what we exactly mean by higher notes followed by grasping the term ‘mastering higher notes’.  To begin with, higher notes are relative. It means that if you opt for C as a base note, higher D is taken as ‘Re’ in accordance with the Indian Music scale. However if your scale is D#, F note is going to be in place of ‘Re’. The story changes with every displacement of the note/s involved. Nevertheless, a higher note and the subsequent set of further notes is the note from where you start a little bit of difficulty in rendering. Therefore, higher notes are relative and are always in accordance with one’s capacity to render them.


Let’s now come to ‘mastering the higher notes’.  Suppose you want to reach on a note and unable to do so as your vocal chords feel burdened, it is your duty to stay there at this particular note for a while. The other point to be noted is that you must relax your vocal chords consciously in order to strike this particular note. It is always necessary to understand the significance of it as more the relaxation, better the vocal result.


In fact, we need to build a perspective, which involves more psychology than physiology. We need to deal with it philosophically rather than technically at least at the beginning stage just to get hold of the intricacies involved in it. In fact, in my opinion this is what makes music teaching and learning experience more difficult as it is all about thinking in the right direction and understanding than going just by a methodology based on rote.


So, you need to be relaxed, utterly relaxed in your self-feeling before you hum your first note of the day. It always pays a lot. There should be a renunciation kind of feeling inside you so as to master the higher notes as you perform better with a more flexible pair of vocal chords. Relaxation delivers that without a tad of doubt. Remember the golden rule, more the relaxation, better the flexibility.


Having implemented the idea, just start moving through the notes gradually going towards the higher ones. You will certainly notice that at one point (at a particular note) you shall feel burdened and wish not to go further. Now this is your higher note and this challenging point is a milestone where things are bound to change for you and for better. Strike it, stay there, however it needs to be rendered subtly. It means that you should render it with ease. Remember the renunciation formula. Don’t panic; don’t get upset, but stay there peacefully. You will notice your voice not that melodious as it were on the preceding notes. Don’t worry, just keep on striking this very note, your higher note, repeatedly and you shall notice that after a while, it shall be rendered with ease just like the previous notes. Now, you are at a point to move on the other higher notes. Just keep on doing it and keeping in mind what we discussed earlier, the renunciation formula.


The next step would be grace your higher note with all ten types of aakaars. Now you must be wandering that what they are and how would they benefit. Ten types of aakaars are, Ae, Aa, e, E, A, Ayi, O, Ayu, Ang, Ya (ऐ, आ, इ, ई, ए, अइ, ओ, अऊ, अंग, या). The moment you start rendering these ten types of aakaars, you are exposing yourself to open your vocal repertoire significantly. Remember, this tip may seem to you to trival, however doing it would expose you to world of infinite possibilities in terms of command over the higher notes. You shall also be proficient with throwing many alphabets with ease and proper command. It’s not only about the higher notes; it is also about the proper throw of words on them.


Please practice it daily and see the result yourself. This is the first and foremost step towards building the better range and command over the notes (swaras). There are other exercises on which I shall be throwing light in the next articles. Enjoy this one as of now and your valuable feedback is eagerly awaited.


Thank You

Nishant Akshar