Significance of “Merukhand” abhyaasa in Indian Classical Music

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Merukhand Gayaki plays a vital role in the frequent practices and even in the Indian classical performances. Ustad Amir Khan Saheb’s Gayaki is always associated with merukhand style, because he often created the raga progressions through this technique, during his recitals, which is why his vocalization was unique and mesmerizing.

In merukhand, 3 or 4 notes patterns are selected and all the possible combinations and patterns are rendered while practices. Merukhand technique works well in enhancing creativity of a singer and in improving the vocalization of jumped notes as well.

 

To illustrate the merukhand style, let’s select 4-note swar pattern initially:

 Sa Re Ga Ma
Now we will create all the possible pattern, taking only these notes, without repeating any swaras:
 

Sa Re Ga Ma           Re Sa Ga Ma       Ga Re Sa Ma         Ma Ga Re Sa

Sa Re Ma Ga           Re Ga Sa Ma       Ga Re Ma Sa         Ma Ga Sa Re

Sa Ga Re Ma           Re Sa Ma Ga       Ga Sa Re Ma         Ma Re Ga Sa              

Sa Ga Ma Re           Re Ga Ma Sa       Ga Sa Ma Re         Ma Re Sa Ga

Sa Ma Re Ga           Re Ma  Ga Sa      Ga Ma Sa Re         Ma Sa Re Ga

Sa Ma Ga Re           Re Ma Sa Ga       Ga Ma Re Sa         Ma Sa Ga Re          =   24 patterns.

Furthermore, “Pa Dha Ni Sa”, “Re Ga Ma Pa” etc. note series also makes 24 possible improvisational patterns. We can see that numerous swar-patterns can be created twisting only four notes. 
 

Specific notes of the ragas can also be practiced for hours, as it keeps the brain engaged in creating phrases. Often, we come to miss some of the patterns. But this is beneficial exercise for amateurs and professionals too. We can take the same pattern to make the Bhairav notes, making Re Komal (flat): Sa Re Ga Ma   OR   Kafi notes: Sa Re Ga Ma (Ga Komal). , OR   Yaman notes:  Ni Re Ga Ma  (Ma teevra or sharp).

Now we will create the merukhand pattern taking five notes, of Bhoopali raga: S R G P Dh

 

Sa Re Ga Pa Dha Saa,      Saa Dha Pa Ga Re Sa

 SRGPD     SRGDP   SRPGD  SRPDG  SRDGP SRDPG  
 
SGRPD  SGRDP   SGPDR SGPRD  SGDPR   SGDRP
 
SPRGD   SPRDG  SPGRD   SPGDR   SGDRP   SGDPR
 

SDPGR    SDPRG    SDGRP    SDGPR    SDRPG  SDRGP

RSGPD   RSGDP    RSPGD   RSPDG    REDGP    RSDPG

GSRPD  GSRDP   GSPDR GSPRD  GSDPR   GSDRP

PSRGD   PSRDG  PSGRD   PSGDR   PSDRG   PSDGR……

 There may be more patterns which I have missed out.   The idea is that merukhand requires a lot of thinkable and creative brain. As the same time, it takes hours to vocalize each pattern separately with accuracy. For example: SPRDG  i.e., Sa-Pa-Re-Dh-Ga pattern looks simple 5 notes, but all these skipped notes might make one crazy during unfolding these tunes. 
 

Initially, merukhand  technique requires perseverance, patience and practice, but at last, one can easily be pertinent in improvising the ragas, even in the advanced level. One can attain unhesitating command on rendering taans with absolute variety and fluency, after working on this stylization.

 
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