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Kan - swars

In order to expound the shrutis in Indian music, the swars applied in raga sangeet are never static and rarely in staccato form except in the case of some instruments. Each note has some link with its preceding and succeeding note. These linking notes are called grace notes or Kan-swars. The Kan-swar is never fully pronounced and is sung or played in a very subtle manner. Kan-swars are very important for the proper rendition of a raga. In fact, two or more ragas sharing a common note or phrase differ vastly from each other primarily due to the application of their Kan-swars. Also, a Kan-swar is very often the starting point of a meend.

  1. Ajoy Chakrabarty sings kan-swars woven around the common note pancham in 7 different ragas: He begins with raga Shree, where the pancham is r P or r P m P. In Gauri the same pancham is S P and P d N P. In Deshkar it is D G P, P G P, P D D P etc., while in Kedar it is P m P, or M G P m P and so on. The unique Kanhada ang pancham is n n P M P or n P M P. Multani that follows has an entirely different colour altogether in P d P m P and g m P d P m P. He concludes with pancham in mandra saptak in Megh: , R , R and S . Kan- Track 20 Kan Ac

Meend with Kan-Swars

In the meends illustrated so far (see Types of Meend), the starting point has always been a full note. But in practice, a meend usually originates from a note that is only fleetingly touched. This is the grace note or Kan-swar that enhances the beauty of the succeeding notes (of the meend). Kan-swars are very important for the proper rendition of a raga and are inexorably linked with the Meend family. An incorrect Kan-swar (within a meend) would bring in shades of some other related raga into the performance. Kan-swars are used for both vocal and instrumental renditions.

  1. The scholars sing meends in Kanhada-ang (P g m), where P is the kan to the meend g m, followed by M R P in Malhar-ang, where M is the kan to the meend, R P
  2. The Kan-swar meend is further illustrated by Shruti Sadolikar in m P, m P R and R G M G M P m P R in Nat-ang.
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