It is important to note
that the basic principles are natural and thus the theory of music is only
an attempt by man to rationally explain what is already beautiful. As
a fringe benefit, this rationalization helps in understanding the inherent
beauty of music and creates increasingly higher levels of appreciation in the listener.
The most basic unit of music is the
swara (or note) which simply indicates the position in the audible spectrum occupied by a particular
sound or the pitch of the sound. Actually, the spectral position is better described as swarasthana.
Inherently, certain sounds 'go together' and certain others do not. This property was realized by man
thousands of years ago and is indicated by the term harmony; lack of harmony is called disharmony.
Before going any further, let me introduce, as a practical tool, a keyboard, that will help us
immensely as we go along deeper into the fundamentals of Carnatic music. Purists may frown at this,
but as long as we realize the limitations of the keyboard and why the purists
frown, we are committing no sin.