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Sthayis in Carnatic Music

11:17 PM Posted by Vijayasri


A sthayi is an octave, one range of sa, ri, ga, ma, pa, dha, ni, and the upper Sa, which becomes the lower sa for the next higher octave. The term 'octave' is self-explanatory : octa=eight, as it contains eight individual notes.

There are five sthayis (Octaves) namely
#1. Anumandra sthayi - Two dots below the swara
#2. Mandra sthayi - One dot below the swara
#3. Madhya sthayi - Swara without dots
#4. Thara sthayi - One dot above the swara
#5. Athi Thara sthayi - Two dots above the swara

In Carnatic music, a range of three octaves is generally used. They are the Mandra, Madhya and Tara Sthayi, referring to the lower, middle and higher octaves respectively. The normal human sthayi is the madhyama (central) sthayi.
Anumandra sthayi and Athi thara sthayi cannot be achieved with vocal pitch and is possible with instruments.

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