Rounding off the classical ragas

Rounding off the classical ragas

Meaningful music

It was during her MA that Sukanya Vijay Kumar realised that she had only learnt about the great masters and not women in the field of music. With a yearning to bring about a change in the old ragas, Sukanya delved into research and today she has composed music, using 72 melakartha ragas instead of the usual 15 to 20.

 “Why is it that there is not a single female music composer/master in the history of Indian classical and Western music? Why are there only ‘great masters’ and not ‘great ladies’.

These are some of the questions that have bothered me from my student days and inspired me to go ahead with the experiment,” says Sukanya and adds, “In Carnatic music, there are only 72 melakartha ragas of which only 15 to 20 are presently used. The rest of the 52 ragas are also in need of fame. I sensed the necessity of development of this and brought out CDs where I have composed music using all of them.” 

Keeping pace with technology, Sukanya has also started her own website,, where she has translated 72 melakartha ragas to Western notations. “Western music has only three scales, with these translations even Western classical musicians can easily incorporate them to bring in variations to their music,” says Sukanya.

The task of getting her work recognised was not easy as many people weren’t ready to accept her work but it was her persistence that has helped her release five albums of her compositions including the Ravindranath Tagore’s Geetanjali. “For the survival of a human being, a heart beat and a pulse rate of 72 is necessary. In the same manner I believe that for music to be realised holistically, the use of 72 ragas is essential,” she concludes.