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A new twist on "The Music of the Spheres."

"Solarmuse" is an application that allows you to explore the 72 scales of Carnatic (South Indian) classical music, known as the melakarta scales, or simply melas. This system bares some resemblance to the Western scales and modes (such as major and minor), in that there are 7 notes (swaras) in each scale.

Sa - Ri - Ga - Ma - Pa - Da - Ni - Sa
Do - Re - Mi - Fa - So - La - Ti - Do

Each swara, and scale, correspond to a host of metaphors and meanings, grouped into 12x6 (thus 72).

On the main screen, each of the 7 members of the scale (swaras) are represented by a planet in our solar system, extending up the scale away from the sun in a spiral. The sun itself represents the stationary drone Sa (C#) to which all other notes relate. Pluto is also present, though its status as a planet remains dubious, thus it is an extra step above the octave, Ri.

The scale sounds are that of a sitar, which can be played by touching the planets directly. The tuning of these pitches is also derived from Indian music, more acoustically pure than the equal tempered tuning of modern Western music. The drone sound, which can be turned on and off freely, is a tambura, a frequent presence in Indian music. Underneath the main screen, a list of all 72 melas are selectable, which is also a handy resource for students of Indian classical music.

Solarmuse - a musical solar system in your pocket.