Lellapalli Seshachala Ramesh, a Chennai-based IT professional, has designed a music chakra for anyone who wants to learn Carnatic or Hindustani music.
To learn music, first you must play by the rules, then you must forget and play by the heart. To do the latter, you must first learn the rulebook, which can be a tiring process, more so if you want to learn Carnatic or Hindustani music. But what if you could refer to a chart in the shape of a disc (chakra) and learn to play musical notes on the guitar, piano or the veena?
Lellapalli Seshachala Ramesh (48), a Chennai-based IT professional, has designed a music chakra for anyone who wants to learn Carnatic or Hindustani music. A self-taught musician, Ramesh has created the chakra so that even those who do not have knowledge of music can easily learn to play the ragas themselves.
“The idea of the music chakra (Sri Saraswathi 72 Melakarta Chakra) came to me when I was trying to grasp the fundamentals of Carnatic, western music. I do not have a guru (teacher). I studied many books on music and listened to the recordings of great masters.”
“The fact that Carnatic music, which can be called as mother of all music, has 72 Melakartas (main ragas or parent ragas) got me thinking on how to present these 72 ragas in a visual format so that anyone can learn them,” says Ramesh.
Ramesh, who is an alumni of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, works as the head of training for a software firm during the day and as a musicologist during the night. He has devised the music chakra over the period of ten years.
Carnatic music has various scales that are classified into 72 categories. These categories are further divided into different wheels (chakras) totalling up to 12 chakras.
Explaining about the chakra, he says,
The music chakra can be used for keyboard/piano and for fret instruments like the guitar\ and veena. Notes for these instruments are given in the Chakra along with the dots. The chakra has all the Swara stanas (note positions) depicted visually.
Thus, just by looking at the chakra, it becomes easy for anyone to memorise the ragas. Artists and famous musicians such as Prince Rama Varma, Balamuralikrishna, and actor Kamal Hassan have praised the invention of the music chakra.
At a cost of Rs 1,000, the music chakra can be bought online on Ramesh’s website called Faces108. Proceeds from the sale are used for charitable purposes. Ramesh and his wife Sridevi, support 1,000 orphans through their initiative called Faces (Food, Aid, Clothing, Education and Shelter).
According to the UNICEF, more than 5,000 children are thrown on the roads every day in India and these children might become victims of crimes. Fortunately, there are orphanages to take them in and provide necessary support.
"I am supporting 1,000 orphans in four different orphanages, two in Warangal, one in Chennai and another one in Bangalore. I use part of the sale proceeds of my music Chakra and the fee generated from my various workshops, lecture -demos to corporate entities, etc. to support these orphans in a continuous and sustained manner every month,” Ramesh adds.