Nyasa - Cadence Note

The note on which a Raga melody ends or temporarily rests is called the Nyasa or cadence note of that Raga. This seems to be an old definition of a pause. In present day practice, it is usually preferable to close a composition on the first beat of the rhythm cycle. In Alaap, (unmetered improvisational development) phrases of the Raga are in many cases closed on the tonic note, i.e. Shadaja. Also used for Nyasa are those notes which, while serving the purpose of identifying the melodic image of the Raga to be performed, also serve the purpose of enhancing the charm and beauty of the melodic expansion. Thus, bringing different finely woven variations on closing notes by skillful maneuvers enhances further the beauty of the Raga.

Cadence notes have another significance, in that by changing them sometimes, the entire shape of a Raga takes another form. So, strict adherence to specified notes for particularly mentioned pauses can keep the unified melodic shape and expanded form of a Raga.


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