11 Exotic guitar scales to instantly spice up your solos (video + tabs) electricity flow chart

A raga is something between a scale and a composition: it is richer than a scale, but not as fixed as a composition. A raga is like a tonal framework for improvisation and composition, just as chord changes and standards are for a jazz musician.

Besides a particular scale, ragas also have a specific melodic movement, a hierarchy of tones, a specific intonation, ornamentation, and duration. I’m not going into all the specifics of this raga, I’ll only tell you that it is played differently ascending and descending.

A good way to practice these exotic guitar scales is playing over a drone. In this section, you’ll learn 6 exercises over a meditative drone with an E5 chord voicing. There are only two notes in the drone (e and b) so you can use different scales and chord types more freely.

A good way of practicing this is playing over a backing track with a drone, note or chord that is continuously sounded. Playing with a drone leaves room for finding out how notes and harmonies work in constant chord harmony. That way you can concentrate on finding the best sounding tones or experiment with different colors or style elements within the chosen key.

Mikko Karhula (born in 1981) is a Finnish guitarist and teacher who is mainly focused on acoustic guitar. His primary style is ethnic music like Balkan and gypsy jazz. Mikko works as a solo artist and is part of several bands and projects. He has composed music for Finnish artists in many different styles and composes for solo guitar from jazz to classical. Make sure you visit his YouTube channel for more videos and lessons!

Though Hindustani and Carnatic Music share a lot of common aspects (phrasing techniques, similar ragas, etc.), each one has a distinct structure of its own. These systems have continued to live over the centuries and are still performed with traditional expertise, and at times also incorporating modern music elements into them.

Ragas and scales are quite common at the top level. In effect, both ragas and scales are merely a specific collection of musical notes played in a specific order, in ascent and descent. However the grammar of the Gamakas and its phrasing brings a completely different identity/texture to a raga and it cannot be musically compared to its equivalent scale, played as a collection of plain notes.

Before reading the table, you need to understand that Indian music notes are not absolute values like their western counterparts. They are all relative to the tonic note ( Shadjam), which is fixed to a reference value (for example C or D or any other semitonal value).

In Western music, scales are built with a strong foundation in harmony. Carnatic music focuses on permutation of all available semitonal values (swaras). This gives rise to the foundation of the family of ragas, called the Melakartha System (in Carnatic Music).

The Melakartha system is a set of 72 parent ragas. Each of these ragas contain all seven notes (swaras) of the octave in both ascending and descending order. These 72 ragas (parent) along with their derived ragas (child) exhaust all possible melodic combinations available to us through all music forms across the world.

That brings to light the depth of the melodic structure in Carnatic Music. Hence it is important to understand that melody and phrasing of Carnatic music is very complex compared to the Western music system, which in turn shows its complexity in harmony of musical notes.

The video lesson below shows you how to play the runs in the ascent and descent, and some basic phrasing and improvisation for Suddha Dhanyasi and Mohanam. Try the phrase improvisation demonstrated in the lesson, after playing the notated ascent-descent run.