Swarsamvaad (Shadaj-Pancham or Shadaj-Madhyam)

Samvaad (conversation) means speaking and understanding. Melody or sweetness is an important element of musical conversation. Samvaad is created by playing a combination of the Shadaj-Pancham or Shadaj-Madhyam swars. Their complete blending or merging with each other, making it difficult to identify their individual existence, is called Swarsamvaad.  In Hindustani music, the Shadaj-Pancham bhava is the most primary and powerful element of a samvaad. 


It can be said that the Shadaj-Pancham bhava has the power to create swarsamvaad in a raga. The melody created by the amalgamation or mixing of two swars is the foundation of the concept of a raga in Hindustani classical music. Expert musician, Shri Srinivas Pandit is the creator of the concept of the Shadaj-Pancham bhava. Shadaj and Pancham complement and complete each other. The Sa-Ma swarsamvaad is a trifle less sweet sounding / pleasing to the ear, as compared to the Sa-Pa swarsamvaad.


The melodious combination of playing both the swars simultaneously is called Sahasamvaad. This process is only used in instrumental music. The sahasamvaad of two or more swars cannot be rendered vocally. In Indian music, swarsamvaad is more expected than sahasamvaad.


The definition of Shadaj is ‘the creator of the other six swars’. The main or first swar is always Shadaj. A Saptak can be created by deeming any swar from the saptak as Shadaj and the other swars will follow at their fixed intervals. This is known as ‘Murchhana’. Shadaj has one more uniqueness – the characteristics of gramini swar are applicable only to it and no other swar. The gramini swar is Chatuhshrutik. Two of the swars in any saptak are samvadi .The other following swar  in the aroha is Trishrutik. It is therefore known as the Shadaj-Madhyam bhava. Given below are the swar combinations of such melodious swarsamvaads:


1) Shadaj-Pancham bhava  -  (Sa - Pa)

2) Shadaj – Madhyam bhava  -  (Sa - Ma)

3) Shadaj – Taarshadaj (Sa - Sȧ)


In shrutis, these samvaads are spaced at intervals of 9 and 13. In the Shadaj-Pancham bhava, the space/interval is of 13 shrutis, and in Shadaj-Madhyam, it is of 9 shrutis. When the interval between two swars is of  9 or 13 shrutis, the swars are of Shadaj - Pancham or Shadaj - Madhyam swarsamvaadi bhava. These variations are based on the principles of samvaadatatva.


Bhava (expression of emotion) is based on mutual relationship.The melodious relationship of Shadaj-Pancham generates good vrutti (nature / behaviour) and good vichaar(thoughts). Shadaj and Pancham relationship is considered shreshta (supreme) and they are parasparpurvak samvaadswar (mutually complementary). Shri Srinivas Pandit has named this supreme bhava as Shadaj-Pancham bhava .It is the most melodious of all samvaadas. Shadaj is the first swar to be sung, so the distance between Shadaj and the next swar to be sung must be the same distance between Shadaj and Pancham (ie 13 Shrutis), only then is the Shadaj - Pancham bhava is created. The Shadaj- Madhyam bhava is also as deep or profound like the Shadaj-Pancham bhava. The pairs of swars which have a 9 shruti interval are known as the Shadaj-Madhyam bhavas.


There is a samvaad in Sa- Sȧ swars too, but it is merely based on swayambhava.


We get the following pairs of samvaad by assuming the first swar as Shadaj;

Shadaj - Pancham Bhava:

Sȧ - Pa, Re -Dha , Ga - Ni, Ma- Sȧ

Shadaj - Madhyam Bhava:

Sa - Ma, Re - Pa, Ga - Dha, Ma - Ni, Pa - Sȧ