Example 9b. Karaikudi S. Subramanian’s notational system
Excerpt from “Sarali Varisai” by Purandara Dasa, 15th century (Recording: Karaikudi S. Subramanian, private recording)

Here Subramanian notates a precursory exercise in the Sarali Varisai, a set of graded exercises in Mayamalavagowla raga learned by most students of Karnatak music (Subramanian, unpublished manuscript). At the slowest tempo (“Speed 1,” at top), the kampitas on ri, ga, dha, and ni are rendered with evocative swirls. In Subramanian’s recording, he repeats Speed 2 twice, Speed 3 four times, and Speed 4 eight times (so that each speed occupies exactly one tala cycle).