Having but six notes (instead of seven), this type of raga pattern is traditionally classified as being “derived” (janya) from a melakarta raga.
The most characteristic feature in the above svara pattern is the absence of the fifth note (pa) – the very note that conveys a sense of balance in most other ragas. It may be sung, hummed or practiced silently with any sadava–sadava raga you are already familiar with (e.g. Sriranjani and Hamsanandi).
Listen to a brief excerpt of a sloka in raga Hamsanandi sung by Aruna Sairam (Padam le chant de Tanjore, Ocora, Radio France, 1999)
S. Rajam (1919-2010) is credited with defining the visual identity of South India’s classical music. The present recording was made at his Mylapore home on 12 December 1997 when rehearsing for a lecture-demonstration; an annual event serving to highlight rare facets of South Indian (Carnatic) music. More about this recording & Sangita KalasikhamaniS. Rajam >>
A couple of years ago, musician-friend Ludwig Pesch invited me to a music lesson taught by S Rajam. One of the disciples there was Vijayalakshmi Subramaniam. The bond between the master and the student became evident as the lesson wore on. As the midwinter sun cast lazy shadows across the courtyard, I saw the guru lapse into proud silences, letting his disciple sing unaided. […] The memory of that master lesson at Rajam’s home remains etched in my memory. As the master and the student rendered a composition in Anandabhairavi, a curious butterfly lodged itself on my shoulder. The stillness of that moment lent me a certain delicate joy. It was something deeper than contentment—an ability to stay absolutely rooted to the music. The rest, as they say, is mere noise.
Anyone who is familiar with the world of Carnatic music, would recognise S. Rajam’s paintings of the Trinity—Syama Sastry, Tyagaraja and Muthuswami Dikshitar. They are probably his most popular creations. But his paintings of the seven swaras based on the visualisation of the swara personalities described in Sangeeta Kalpadrumam—the treatise by vidwan Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar, are equally interesting and beautiful. That Kalpadrumam was the source of inspiration for these paintings has been acknowledged by the late Rajam himself, in the detailed notes that he has given to Sruti.
Audio source: singing by the author | Find details for “78RPM – V V Sadagopan” on Archive.org >>
It is a curious irony that we, who claim to “hear” our music,1 are less sensitive to tone quality than the Westerner who “sees” his music. Happy exceptions apart, musicians and listeners (especially of the South) are usually satisfied with some illusory pleasure, and do not care for the aesthetic joy – rasa – that music should give.
Viravanallur Vedantam Sadagopan was born on January 29, 1915, in an orthodox Vaishnavite family and spent his childhood and youth in Tirunelveli. He was a graduate and pursued a parallel vocation in music. He had his musical training under Namakkal Sesha Iyengar and Ariyakkudi Ramanuja Iyengar and became one of the most sought after musicians in the 1930s. At the height of his musical career he entered films and was hailed as Rudolf Valentino of the Indian screen. […]
VVS’s compositions include kritis, keerthanais, ragamaligais, padams, kili kanni and a series of Tirukkural keerthanais, wherein the Kural forms the pallavi and is elaborated in the anupallavi and charanam. As a music composer he has left behind a lasting legacy. […]
Music education for children became his passion and mission in later years. He called his integrative scheme of music education Tyagabharati, a term he had coined to epitomise the ideals of Tyagaraja and Subrahmanya Bharati. In this he struck an entirely new path, composing nursery rhymes in Tamil and Hindi, set to simple lilting tunes. […]
However the elders, comprising his friends and well wishers often stood perplexed, unable to comprehend the new role that this musical giant had donned. On April 10, 1980, he left Delhi by train, for Madras. He was seen alighting at Gudur, the next day. He has not been seen ever since. Rumours of sighting him in Varanasi and the Himalayas and consequent searches have yielded no results.
The mantle then fell on his devoted disciple Srirama Bharati, a visionary in his own right [who] passed away at a young age […]
Here the author probably alludes to a metaphorical interpretation of karnātaka sangītam (today’s “Carnatic music”), one not to be taken literally even if invoked by some of his peers: understood as “classical music (sangītam) that surprises or haunts (ata) the ear (karna)”[↩]
STELLA SUBBIAH (Artist Development Lead, Bhavan London)
In conversation with
LUDWIG PESCH (Author of The Oxford Illustrated Companion to South Indian Classical Music)
VIGNESH ISHWAR (Musician)
Today, as in the remote past, India’s musicians and dancers share a vast and varied repertoire. Apart from facilitating oral transmission, the underlying vocabulary helps to convey feelings underpinned by aesthetic principles and values. So it hardly surprises that the best-loved lyrics are those endowed with scope for reflection and debate among listeners, critics, and the artists themselves.
For this webinar we focus on several key composers whose vision shaped South Indian music and dance as we know it today. We will consider the compositional form of Varnam or Varna, in Karnatic music which can be interpreted as not only colour, praise , or syllable but also as melodic movements. These melodic movements of Arohi, Avarohi, Sthayi, and Sanchari add to its structure and offer various musical possibilities for musical interpretations.
Bharatanatyam Historically, Bharatanatyam was mostly prevalent in Tamil Nadu, though traces of it were found in the 20th century in what are now Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Today it is taught and practised throughout the globe. The term ‘Bharatanatyam’ has been in existence at least from the 15th century but we do not know the compositions the dancers performed in the early years of Bharatanatyam. […] The repertoire added during the time of Tulaja and Serfoji II owes its credit to four brothers of Tanjavur who belonged to a traditional natyacharya family. They were Chinnayya, Ponnayya, Sivanandam and Vadivelu, the ‘Tanjavur Quartet’ we know.