The basic lessons have been formulated by Sri Purandara Dasar in Carnatic music with Sarali Varisai as the opening lesson. The basic raga chosen is Mayamalavagaula having all the seven notes and including the upper Shadjamam total 8 aksharams or notes. This ragam has been taken probably because the distance between the notes in this raga structure are notionally almost of equi-distance from each other and is easy for a beginner to understand same.
This exercise is practised to sing / perform in three speeds namely Keezh kalam – ast speed, Madhyama kalam – 2nd speed and Mel Kalam =- 3rd Speed.
First Speed / Keezh kalam is performed / sung with 1 note – aksharam per beat.
Second Speed / Madhyama kalam is performed with 2 notes – aksharams per beat.
Third Speed / Mel Kalam is performed with 4 notes – aksharams per beat.