Svara

Svara is a generative music system based on the traditional rules of Hindustani ragas. The project is open-source and actively undergoing development.

The web player is a proof of concept implementation of the generative system and can be found at svara.dev.

Role

Concept, Development, and Design

Details

Being truly generative, musical motifs are not predetermined. The system selects a raga based on the user’s local time and initializes parameters such as tempo, favored musical intervals, and random seeding to provide a unique and continuous ambient interpretation. All musical processes occur in real time.

The visualization section of the app shows the user frequency and amplitude feedback as well as relevant information about the raga. For example, one of the rules of a raga is the prahar or time of day in which it should be performed. The traditional system divides a day into eight equal parts beginning at 6 am and this application references the user’s local time to make the appropriate selection.

Ragas being rule based systems in which to improvise, they are a perfect source for encoded system knowledge and a great opportunity to execute a historical tradition in a modern medium. Additional rules implemented in generating the piece are the ascending scale, an altered descending scale, primary character note, supporting character note, common melodic themes, and suggested rhythmic structure.

Ongoing

In future iterations of the application, I plan to expand the raga API, make the resource publicly available, and add an additional dataset comprised of traditional rhythmic structures called taals. I will continue to evolve the app with more advanced synthesis techniques and refine the logic of the improvisation logic. It takes time to learn how to play music and this app just started.

svara-01.jpg