Example 9a. Karaikudi S. Subramanian’s notational system
Excerpt from varnam “Viribhoni” by Pacchimiriam Adiyappa (Recording: Karaikudi S. Subramanian, private recording)

Subramanian’s notation shows multiple representations of the same music, overlaid vertically (Subramanian 1985, 344). The top layer (in the row marked “B”) represents “prescriptive” notation of the flow of the composition at the svara level, using solfege; this is how Karnatak music has traditionally been notated (see Govinda Rao, 2003, 2006, 2009a, 2009b). Next are layers featuring Subramanian’s unique notational contributions: a “descriptive” account of the gamaka surface, represented (a) in solfege, parsing the gamaka into internal svara referents, with additional notations for characteristic vina techniques such as slides and string-pulls; and (b) graphically, with pitch on the x-axis and time on the y-axis. At bottom, Subramanian provides Western notation of both the “prescriptive” (svara-level) and “descriptive” (gamaka-level) notation streams.