Shruti – Swar Division

There are 22 shrutis in the 7 swars. ‘Shruyate  Iti  Shruti’.  All the shrutis and naads (Naad is a musical sound. It is a series of regular vibrations in a medium like air) are not necessarily always used in a music composition. In Indian Classical Music the naad which can be heard/ identified in the frequency range of moola Shadaj to the higher Shadaj is shruti and is applicable for shruti sangeet. There are 22 such naads in existence. When a naad is clearly identifiable from another naad, it is called a Shruti. All experts unanimously agree that there are 22 Shrutis.


 The 22 shrutis are in an ascending order. The 12 swars have been ascertained at the defined shrutis at regulated intervals. The genesis of the 12 swars lies in the 22 shrutis. Swars are the shrutis which are sung. The following Sanskrit shloka explains how the 22 shrutis are fitted into 12 swars.


“Chatushratuchatuschaiva Shadajamadhyamapanchama Dwai Dwai Nishaada Gandharau, Tisti Rishabha Dhaiwatau”


4-3-2-4-4-3-2, - means the swars have been based on four shrutis each of  Sa Ma Pa , three shrutis each of  Re Dha and two shrutis each of  Ga Ni. The ancient and contemporary/modern schools of thought have varying opinions on basing the swars on different shrutis.


Ancient school of thought:


According to the experts of the ancient school, as per the shloka mentioned above, at the end of the shrutisthaan of every shruti, the swaras are taken as shudha.  If we allot 4 shrutis to Shadaj (Sa), it is fixedat the fourth shruti.  Rishabh (Re) is given three shrutis, so Rishabh is at 7th shruti (4+3 i.e. 7). Similarly, the twelve swars are fixed at their position.


0  1  2  3   4   5  6   7   8   9  10  11 12   13   14  15  16   17   18  19   20   21   22

                Sa           Re     Ga                   Ma                     Pa                Dha       Ni                         


1)    4th shruti   -  Sa (Shadaj)

2)    7th shruti  -   Re (Rishabh)

3)    9th  shruti  -  Ga (Gandhar)

4)    13th shruti  -  Ma (Madhyam) 

5)    17th shruti  -  Pa (Pancham) 

6)    20th shruti  -  Dha (Dhaivat)  

7)    22nd shruti  -  Ni (Nishad)


Modernschool of thought:


Modern musicians find it appropriate to base the swarasthapana (swar placement) at the first shruti instead of the last.  Therefore, the pattern is:


 1  2  3  4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11  12  13  14  15   16   17   18  19  20  21 22    1

Sa             Re          Ga       Ma                    Pa                       Dha           Ni       Sa


1) 1st shruti – Sa (Shadaj)

2) 5th shruti – Re (Rishabh)

3) 8th shruti – Ga (Gandhar)

4)10th shruti – Ma (Madhyam)

5)14th shruti -- Pa (Pancham)

6)18th shruti – Dha (Dhaivat)

7) 21st shruti – Ni (Nishad)