Saptak is a group of 12 notes or swaras. In Indian classical Music, it is considered that the frequency between Sa(base) and Sa(Upper) is an Octave (Western name) or a saptak (Indian name). This tonic note Sa is the root of Indian Music. When we double the frequency of Sa (base), we get the Sa (upper) or Taar Sa (also known as). It is represented with 12 notes or swaras which is derived from the phrase Sapta means seven. These twelve notes can be divided into two groups - Shudh Swara & Vikrit Swara. In a saptak all 12 are included but we only use the swaras required according to the Raag or composition. Let us understand these 12 notes.
Swara – Any musical note can be considered a Sawara.
Shudh Sawara: Swara can be used in its natural form.
Sa - Shadaj
Re - Rikhab
Ga - Gandhar
Ma - Madhyam
Pa - Pancham
Dha - Dhaivat
Ni - Nishad
Vikrit Sawars – Swara which can be used in a lower or higher frequency than its natural level. It has two divisions - Komal Swara (lower) & Teevra Swara (higher)
Re - Komal Rikhab
Ga - Komal Gandhar
Dha - Komal Dhaivat
Ni - Komal Nishad
Ma - Teevra Madhyam
In this section, Sa and Pa are considered as Achal Swaras as we can’t change their frequencies to either Komal or teevra.
There are three types of Saptak or Octave In Indian Classical Music:
- Mandra Saptak(Lower Octave)
- Madhya Saptak(Middle Octave)
- Taar Saptak(Upper Octave)
The swaras used in these saptaks or octaves are the same but their frequencies are different. For example, Mandra Saptak Sa has a half frequency then Madhya Saptak Sa, and Taar Saptak Sa has a double frequency then Madhya Saptak Sa. It can be explained well with the following chart.
|Mandra / Lower||120 HZ||135 HZ||144 HZ||160 HZ||180 HZ||202.5 HZ||216 HZ|
|Madhya / Middle||240 HZ||270 HZ||288 HZ||320 HZ||360 HZ||405 HZ||432 HZ|
|Taar / Upper||480 HZ||540 HZ||576 HZ||640 HZ||720 HZ||810 HZ||864 HZ|
It is not necessary that a performer should choose a natural Sa note to sing. He/She can choose any not and mark it as Sa for their performance as per their comfort and requirements. For example, as compared to male voice female has a bit higher frequency in their tone. So they usually choose Pa (pancham or Fifth Note) as Sa and perform. Whereas Male sound can consider Sa or Re as their starting note easily.