I plan to use this video to further learn "Tum Hi Ho" on Bansuri

However, the notes sequences are entirely different

Ascending is Sa Re2 Ga2 Ma1 Pa Da1 Ni2 Sa

Descending is

Sa' Ni2 Da1 Pa Ma1 Ga2 Re2 Sa

Where do I even find information on how to convert these notes?

And what is 1 or 2 after the note? What does it signify?

Please help. The svara sounds so beautiful, I wish to replicate on Bansuri (as well as play "Tum Hi Ho" properly)

  • 1
    Why do I have a feeling you are overly complicating this. The ascending and descending pitches you described is the major scale (or Raga Shankarabharanam if you really want to be pedantic, but this song is simple enough that you can interpret it as purely major scale). And since humans do not differentiate octave intervals as different : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octave#Octave_equivalence, its functionally same to play a note in one octave compared to the other. Also what exactly are you trying to convert here? Your question is ambiguous.
    – Khalian
    Oct 13, 2019 at 20:55
  • I want to know how to play this on regular 6-hole bansuri
    – Marium
    Oct 14, 2019 at 1:35

2 Answers 2


The other answer by @SoulEater asserts that the numbers refer to the octave of the note. This is incorrect, so I am adding my own answer here to address the OP's question.

The sapta swarās, namely Sa, Ri (or Re), Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha and Ni, are employed in a 12-note system in Hindustani music and in a 16-note system in Carnatic system.

In Hindustani music, what this means is the following: Sa and Pa are "fixed" notes, and there are two positions for each of Re, Ga, Ma, Dha and Ni. These give rise to the 2 + 2x5 = 12 notes in the Hindustani system.

In Carnatic music, what this means is the following: Sa and Pa are "fixed" notes, and there are three positions for each of Ri, Ga, Dha and Ni, and two positions for Ma. These give rise to the 2 + 3x4 + 2 = 16 notes in the Carnatic system.

Now, the 12 notes in the Hindustani system are given the following names (listed in increasing order of the pitch):

  1. Sa
  2. Komal Re
  3. Shuddha Re
  4. Komal Ga
  5. Shuddha Ga
  6. Shuddha Ma
  7. Tivra Ma
  8. Pa
  9. Komal Dha
  10. Shuddha Dha
  11. Komal Ni
  12. Shuddha Ni

(It might help to "visualise" the positions of these swarās if you note that they correspond to the movable Do Re Mi in Western music, as mentioned in @AlbrechtHügli's answer to this question of yours: Equivalency between Indian Classical Saptak and Western Notes.)

An alternative way to notate these 12 positions is to simply number the different positions of Re, Ga, Ma, Dha and Ni, as follows:

  1. S
  2. R1
  3. R2
  4. G1
  5. G2
  6. M1
  7. M2
  8. P
  9. D1
  10. D2
  11. N1
  12. N2

So, for example, Bilawal Thaat (corresponding to the rāgam Sankarābharanam in Carnatic music, or to the major scale in Western classical music), uses the swarās

S, R2, G2, M1, P, D2 and N2

Similarly, in Carnatic music, we give names to each of the 16 notes, and we also refer to them in short by adding numbers to the swarās as before. In increasing order of pitch, they are as follows (I am not mentioning their names here):

  1. S
  2. R1
  3. R2 = G1
  4. R3 = G2
  5. G3
  6. M1
  7. M2
  8. P
  9. D1
  10. D2 = N1
  11. D3 = N2
  12. N3

As you can see, the 16 notes do not have distinct positions. In terms of their pitch, R2 is the same as G1, D2 is the same as N1, etc.

Aside: note that some restrictions clearly have to be placed. Since a ragam must not have a rishabham and a gāndharam both of the same pitch, if R2 occurs in the rāgam, then G1 will not occur, and vice-versa. Similarly for the other overlaps. Moreover, the gāndharam cannot have a lower pitch than the rishabham, so if R3 occurs in a rāgam, then G1 cannot occur. Again, similar restrictions apply to the dhaivatam and nishādam.

Now, to answer the main question, the equivalence between the two systems of notation shows that the notes

S, R2, G2, M1, P, D1 and N2

correspond to

Sa, Shuddha Re, Komal Ga, Shuddha Ma, Pa, Komal Dha and Komal Ni

Warning: if you see someone notating the swarās using subscripts, as in the linked video, then know that a priori they could be using either the 12-note system or the 16-note system. So, things can get confusing because, for instance, G2 means two different things in the two systems! Also know that the 12-note system is sometimes used in Carnatic music as well, so just knowing that a piece in Carnatic music is being notated is not enough to be sure which of the two notation systems is being used.

A good place to start if you want to know more about the notations used for swarās in Indian classical music is the Wikipedia article on swarās.

  • Very nice answer! There is a bounty coming your way. Dec 28, 2019 at 11:42

Hindustani musicians name pitches using a system called Sargam, the equivalent of the Western movable do solfege:

  • Sa (ṣaḍja षड्ज) = Do
  • Re (Rishabh ऋषभ) = Re
  • Ga (Gandhār गान्धार) = Mi
  • Ma (Madhyam मध्यम) = Fa
  • Pa (Pancham पञ्चम) = So
  • Dha (Dhaivat धैवत) = La
  • Ni (Nishād निषाद) = Ti
  • Sa (ṣaḍja षड्ज) = Do

Both systems repeat at the octave. The difference between sargam and solfege is that re, ga, ma, dha, and ni can refer to either "Natural" (shuddha) or altered "Flat" (komal) or "Sharp" (teevra) versions of their respective scale degrees.

Source, info: Hindustani classical music - Wikipedia.

About the numbers: There are three main octaves: low (mandra), medium (madhya) and high (tāra). It is about the pitch notation of the flute, as the flute can be in any of these voices, see about pitch here. Also see this fingering chart, where you can better see the pitches.

Hope this helps you, because indeed is a beautiful sound the one this instrument makes.

Here's a video explaining difference between Bansuri and Venu:

  • This is beautiful and your information is helpful, but I was asking for conversion between Carnatic system and Hindustani System. Carnatic Venu has 7 to 8 holes whereas Hindustani Bansuri has 6 holes.
    – Marium
    Oct 14, 2019 at 2:00
  • I think once knowing the notes you can translate them to any instrument regardless the number of holes. Check again my answer I added a youtube video which explains more about these two types of flute Oct 14, 2019 at 20:23

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