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Definition & Distinction

Melharmony can be defined as “harmony and vertical layers of music with an emphasis on the rules and principles of highly evolved 12-tone melodic systems”.


The raga system of Indian music, Chinese music systems and Makam system of Persia are examples of evolved melodic systems. But the first two, which use 12-tones per octave like Western Classical would be amenable to melharmony while Persian systems which use several other types of micro tonal intervals will not be so. 


Since melharmony not only creates new melodies but also explores new harmonic possibilities in a structured and aesthetic manner, it offers tremendous scope for composers and creative musicians of various geners across the world. 


The video endeavours to give a glimpse of the ABCD (Approach, Basis, Context and Definition) of melharmony.


Typical 'raga-harmony' attempts by classical, contemporary or Hollywood-Bollywood composers have tended towards harmonizing ragas - usually with simple structures and straight sequences - either along the lines of its scale and notes or creating melody-centric passages with a flavour of harmony.  Melharmony, takes this to the next logical step of adopting a holistic and sensitive approach to vital melodic factors that are often not accounted for in such cross-cultural forays.  

Indian film music was initially more melody-centric, often drawing from ragas or folk melodies with occasional attempts at harmonization using Western principles. In recent times, composers have explored not only Western Classical but also jazz, rock, pop and other contemporary trends. However even today an occasional piece suggestive of raga is attempted by several noted composers. However, since the primary aim in film music is not so much to create an entire melody based on a single raga but only suggest it, one can often see shades of other ragas within a single piece either melodically or harmonically or several rules of ornamentation loosely followed or not taken into consideration. (See also the FAQ page.)


Melharmony is more about finding inventive ways to show fidelity to the melodic rules in a harmonically acceptable manner, making it a strong in theory and exciting and attractive in practice.