RCCS Coding


This article explains the coding RCCS (Roman Coloured Coding Script) used in the learning documents to represent:

          – the Sanskrit sounds;

          – the melody of the mantras;

          – the rhythm of the mantras.

At the end, you will find a summary of the main rules that should be kept in mind at the beginning.

Some musical indications are given for information but are not essential for a global understanding of the coding. After reading this article, you will be able to begin the learning with a work file (please refer to the section For Beginners).


Sanskrit sounds in RCCS




The melody uses 4 musical notes:

  a middle note, coded in black, with the corresponding text written exactly on the line;

  an upper note (½ tone higher than the middle note), coded in red, with the corresponding text written above the line ;

  a lower note (1 tone lower than the middle note), coded in blue, with the corresponding text written slightly below the line;

  a lowest note (2½ tones lower than the middle note), coded in green, with the corresponding text written clearly below the line.

For example, if the middle note is E, then the upper note is F, the lower note is D and the lowest is B.

e.g.    ……. rāyaṇā…bramhā… yatē…

     [notes:    B D D E    F       E     D E E]



The rhythm is created by the succession of short syllables (1 unit of time) and long syllables (2 units of time). Short vowels are ‘a’, ‘i’, ‘u’, ‘ṛ’, ‘ḷ’  and long vowels are ‘ā’, ‘ē’, ‘ī’, ‘ō’, ‘ū’, ‘ai’, ‘au’, ‘ṝ’.

The rules used in the coding are as follows:


  a syllable made up of a consonant and a short vowel lasts 1 unit of time;

e.g. gaṇapati lasts 4 units of time = ga (1 unit of time) + ṇa (1) + pa (1) + ti (1)

e.g.  amṛta lasts 3 units of time = a (1) + mṛ (1) + ta (1)


  a syllable made up of a consonant and a long vowel lasts 2 units of time;

e.g. śhivāya lasts 4 units of time = śhi (1) + vā (2) + ya (1)

Note :        - ‘y’ is considered as a consonant;

                   - ‘śh’ is a single consonant, as well as ṣh, śh, th, dh, ṭh, ḍh, kh, gh, jh, chh, ch.


  when a vowel is followed by two (or more than 2) consonants, one pause must be respected between the first and the second consonant; this stop is represented by an apostrophe; 

e.g. sarasvatyai is coded saras’vat’yai and lasts 7 units of time

sa (1) + ra (1) + s’ (1) + va (1) + t’ (1) + yai (2) = 7 units of time

e.g.  vighna is coded vigh’na and lasts 3 units of time

vi (1) + gh’ (1) + na (1) = 3 units of time

e.g.  asthyasthnā is coded as’thyas’thnā and lasts 6 units of time

a (1) + s’ (1) + thya (1) + s’ (1) + thnā (2) = 6 units of time


  the previous rule is also applied between two distinct words

e.g.  śhañ cha mē is coded śhañ’ cha mē and lasts 5 units of time

śha (1) + ñ’ (1) + cha (1) + mē (2) = 5 units of time


  between two vowels, one pause must be respected; this stop is represented by a comma;

e.g.  uta iṣha is coded uta , iṣha 

Note : In case the break is not respected, the ‘ta’ of ‘utōta’ and the ‘i’ of ‘iṣhavē’ are joined and create an ‘ai’-sound and modify the words of the sentence.


  (a) or (ā) in small size indicates an ‘a’ or ‘ā’ which is part of a sanskrit word when considered separately, but which disappears in the mantra due to grammatical rules. Concerning the chanting:

-  it must not be pronounced if a breath is not taken just before uttering it;

-  it must be pronounced (in a low voice) if a breath is taken just before uttering it.

e.g.  hṛday’ya(a)ūt’yā is chanted as hṛday’yayā kūūt’yā in a single breath, or as hṛday’yayā akūūt’yā with a short inhalation between the two words.

Note : This point is important, because the utterance of ‘a’ or ‘ā’ may change the meaning of a word into its opposite. The easiest way is to avoid taking one’s breath before (a) or (ā) during the chanting and to avoid pronouncing them.


  a small sized ‘e’ at the end of a sentence should be pronounced briefly and in a low voice, just to make the final consonant audible.

e.g.  śhrad’dhā  viśh’vamidañ’  jagate  |


  a ‘-’ indicates a slight increase of the duration of the syllable.

e.g.  Om śhā-n’tiśh’  śhā-n’tiśh’  śhā-n’tiḥi  ||

śhā-n’ lasts 4 units of time (nearly): shā- (3) + n’ (1)


In summary, we should:

  spot the long syllables (with a small dash above the vowel, or made up with ‘ai’ or ‘au’);

  make a pause where indicated by apostrophes or commas;

  avoid pronouncing the small sized (a) or (ā) and avoid taking our breath just before it;

  pronounce the small sized ‘e’ in a low voice;

… and follow the melody with the colours and vertical offsets.


In the Vedic times, the transmission of the Vēdas was done from the Master’s mouth to the student’s ears. Achieving the most perfect mimick of the heard sound is the main goal.


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