What is Ragatronics?

Ragatronics combines Ragas from Indian Classical music with elements from Rock, Jazz and Electronic music.

We synthesize the music of Ragatronics using a computer program which interprets a musical code. We compose the musical code and occasionally add samples or snippets using real instruments. Read on, if you want to learn more.

Or you can just head over to our YouTube channel or Bandcamp page to listen to the music.

Who are we?

The Ragatronics team consists of:

Background of Ragatronics

Ragatronics germinated from an idea to present Raga based music in a format which uses elements from Rock, Jazz and Electronic music. Since those genres are built using concepts of Harmony, that meant experimenting with the use of harmony in Ragas while still maintaining a consistent musical mood which characterizes a Raga.

To explain this idea further, it is necessary to understand where Indian musical scales and Ragas come from.

Musical scales are made up of musical notes. Musical notes form musical intervals with one another. If you take two notes and play them one after another or together, what you would hear is the sound of the musical interval formed by those two notes. This sound depends on how much higher or lower in pitch the first note is from the second. The way musical intervals are stacked to form an octave is called a tuning system.

Much of the music today uses the 12 tone equal tempered tuning system. But Indian Classical music has evolved from other tuning systems like the 22 tone harp based tuning system described by Bharat and Sarang Dev, the 12 tone fret based tuning system described by Ramamatya and Venkatamakhin and the overtone based tuning system resulting out of a Tanpura.

The PureTones project explores this in more detail including how each different Tanpura tuning results in a different envelope of overtones forming a distinct tuning system which may suggest or encourage certain Ragas or scales.

Ragatronics is built upon the idea that to explore Ragas and harmonies within Ragas, we should operate within the framework of a Tanpura tuning and a musical scale consonant with that tuning.

This ensures that we are true to a Raga and its scale at a microtonally accurate level. It also allows us to the explore harmonic relationships from within that consonant scale rather than by imposing any preconceived notion of harmony.

Ragatronics makes use of the PureTones App, specifically, the Drone and the Sequencer.

The drone is essentially a digital Tanpura with sophisticated and fine tuning controls which enable it to be tuned to the same level of exactitude as a physical Tanpura.

The sequencer is a parser and synthesizer which can parse musical code written in accordance with the syntax of a music description language. The music description language and the sequencer intended to enable the synthesis of musical notes and phrases in the style of Indian Classical music including precisely controlled bending and modulation of notes.

With the help of these tools, Ragatronics attempts to broaden the appeal of Raga based music by combining Ragas with repeating bass loops, harmonies and drums.

For any questions, comments, feedback or collaboration, write to us at bala.chander@sadharani.com or aravind.iyer@sadharani.com.

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