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During the past years, I have posted the notation to one of my compositions in this space (and sometimes a recording too). I thought of continuing the tradition for this year as well.
Here is a sapta rAga mAlikA varNa, a garland woven in seven rAgas which I composed few years ago. The composition is about gouri, and I thought it was most apt to be share during this festival.
The sAhitya is in kannaDa (bordering on sama samskrta), and includes rAga mudre. The lyrics are here.
sarasAngika vAchikAdi nartana chaturE SrI gouri ||pallavi||
suvarNAngi poreyE sadAshiva manOhari ||anupallavi||
gItaroopiNi latAngi ||charaNa||
ನರ್ತನ ಚತುರೇ ಶ್ರೀ ಗೌರಿ ||ಪ||
ಸದಾಶಿವ ಮನೋಹರೀ ||ಅ.ಪ||
ಗೀತ ರೂಪಿಣಿ ಲತಾಂಗಿ ||ಚರಣ||
The lyrics describe Goddess Parvati as one who is proficient in various aspects of dance such as Angika, vAchika and praises her as the embodiment of song (ಗೀತ). The words can also be wrapped around to make her the embodiment of music. ( ಗೀತ ರೂಪಿಣಿ ಲತಾಂಗಿ – ಸಂಗೀತ ರೂಪಿಣಿ ಲತಾಂಗಿ)
You’d have noticed that the rAgas are Sarasangi, Suvarnangi, and Latangi. What about the rest? The Chitte swara is set in a rAga called Dhavalangi, and the ettugaDe swaras are set in the rAgas Latangi, Kanakangi, Dhaivatangi and Syamalangi.
Although I don’t have a good audio to share today, hopefully I will share that at a future date, but for those of you interested, here is the notation for the composition: sapta-raaga-maalike
Wishing all readers of “ಅಲ್ಲಿದೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಮನೆ” a very happy time during this festive season!
Today is the ninth day of Navaratri, Mahanavami – 2015.
Mahanavami was a grand festival during Vijaya Nagara times. Even today you’ll see remnants of Mahanavami dibba, where the festivities would take place.
The traditions of Vijayanagara continued in the Tanjavur and Mysore kingdoms.
So did music and arts. We can’t forget the contributions of people who had origins in the Vijayanagara court to the development of what we call Karnataka sangeeta today.
It’s a common occurrence that ragas go out of vogue and new ragas become popular. Similarly new types of musical compositions also come into the scene. Thus we several new classes of musical compositions starting in the 17th-18th centuries and one such is the Swarajati.
Many a times performed on the stage by dancers as well, a Swarajati is a composition that is primarily made of swaras, and which may or may not have lyrics to go with it. Many swarajatis are taught in the early training for music while some swarajatis (such as those of Shyama Shastri) are very elaborate compositions, in line with the Ghanaraga pancharatna kritis of Tyagaraja.
On this day, I am very glad to present one of my compositions -, a swarajati, in the raga Ramakriya. (This is a traditional, slightly older form of what we call as Kamavardhini/Pantuvarali).
You can listen to the complete swarajati here:
The lyrics are by Ashtavadhani Sri Mahesh Bhat and the vocalist is Vidushi Ragini Sanat.
Happy Vijaya dashami to all visitors of “ಅಲ್ಲಿದೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಮನೆ”.
Today, 10/2/2010 is the ninth day of Navaratri, which is celebrated as Mahanavami. The first eight days of Navaratri, the music compositions I posted were all about Parvati (or one of her forms). Since, Mahanavami s also the day when many people perform Saraswati pooja, I thought it would be very appropriate to share composition about Saraswati today.
The Sharada shrine in Shringeri, which dates back to Adi Shankara’s days is one of the most famous shrines of Saraswati. The temple is known for it’s grand celebration of Navaratri.
In one of my earlier posts this series I had mentioned how the term Veena was a term used to indicate any string instrument. Some sculptures of Saraswati show her playing a fret-less string instrument. The music compositionI am sharing today is also played on a Veena without frets. Known as Gotuvadya or Chitra Veena, this instrument is a close cousin of Vichitra Veena and Rudra Veena which are used in Hindustani system.
The composition starts with the words “Sarasiruhasanapriye” and praises the Goddess as one who is delighted by singing and Veena playing. It is a composition of Puliyur Doreswamy Iyer, a post Trinity composer ( and father of Maha Vaidyanatha Iyer and Ramaswamy Shivan).
This composition is in rAga nATa, which has been a popular raga for several centuries, and particularly considered an excellent raga to play tAna. No wonder the artist has preceded the composition with a short Alapa and tAna.
Today, 10/1/2014, is the eighth day of Navaratri. This is celebrated in the name of Durga, and so the festival is called Durgashtami. While the Bengal region is known for it’s Durga puja, in Karnataka Navaratri is celebrated in the name of different forms of the Goddess.
In the first seven days of the festival, I wrote some some interesting bits about seven composers of Karnataka Sangeeta and their compositions – Syama Sastry (Devi brova samayamide) , Muttuswamy Dikshita (Meenakshi memudam dehi) ,Tyagaraja (Darini telusukonti) , Swathi Tirunal (Pahi jagajjanani), Muttaiah Bhagavatar (Sudhamayi sudhanidhi) , Lalgudi G Jayaraman (Tillana in Mand) and G N Balasubramanian (Ranjani niranjani).
Today also, I am planning to do the same – although there is meager information on the composer. I chose this song because of couple of different reasons, but let me do some history talking first.
The term used for “composer” in Indian music is Vaggeyakara – which implies that both the words and the music were created by the same person. Traditionally, Indian music was primarily to be performed vocally, and hence the necessity of having words. Therefore, unlike in western music, there were almost no compositions which were created for playing on instruments until very recent times.
But there have been instances when the lyrics are penned by one person and the music given by another. We have very limited view of our music compositions before the 16th-17th centuries. It may come as a surprise to a lot of people, but most of compositions of early composers such as Purandara Dasa (and other Haridasas) or Annamayya have been tuned by later day musicians. Only a few have retained their original form. There are also instances where in the lyrics were written by a person specifically to be given a musical form by another. I can cite the example of Devottama Jois writing the sahitya for the 108 compositions on Chamundeswari for Muttaiah Bhagavatar during his stint in Mysore as the Asthana Vidwan. Then there are cases of Swati Tirunal‘s compositions being re-fitted with music by Muttaiah Bhagavatar, and later by Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer. So in such cases, the role of Vaggeyakara is split between two people.
And then in some cases, compositions that were probably never set to music or sung before, are set to music by a musician, and they become popular as a “composition” of the person who wrote the sahitya lines, rather than the person who set music. The composition I am talking about is one such , which is set in multiple ragas.
Ragamalika (ರಾಗಮಾಲಿಕಾ, ರಾಗಮಾಲಿಕೆ) – is a type of composition that is quite popular in South Indian classical music today. As the name suggests, such a composition sung in multiple ragas, and so the name Ragamalika, i.e. “garland of ragas”. As a composition type, they seem to gained popularity from the early 18th century. Muttuswami Dikshita’s father Ramaswamy Dikshita, and his guru Veerabhadrayya are some of the earliest Ragamalika composers known. As I was telling earlier, several Purandara Dasa compositions that are sung as Ragamalikas, have been set to music by later day musicians, since we have lost most of original structure of haridasa compositions from the 15-18th centuries. And their ragamalika form is more than likely to be of recent origin.
There is some food for thought here. Why didn’t Haridasa’s who composed suLAdis , which are compositions in multiple tALas (tALamAlike), think of composing in multiple ragas? They my indeed have, but we can’t prove they did. As an aside I can cite a composition of Sripadaraya ( who composed several decades before Purandara dasa) – ಲಾಲಿ ಗೋವಿಂದ ಲಾಲಿ – in which three of the twenty three charaNas have names of the ragas embedded in the lyrics (Kalyani, Anandabhairavi and Devagandhara) giving us an opportunity to speculate that the composition indeed might have been a ragamalike, sung in those ragas for those specific charaNas ( because that’s how the raga signature is included in more recent ragamalika compositions). Yes, again, it remains only a speculation.
Today’s ragamalika, Srichakraraja simhasaneshwari, is said to be a “composition” of Agastyar – only means that someone with a pen name “Agastyar” wrote the sahitya, as the language and style look contemporary. This is set in four ragas, that are sung in madhyama shruti – Jhanjoti, nadanamakriya, Punnagavarali and Sindhubhairavi.
Now listen to a rendition of this composition by Aravind Bhargav, a worthy disciple of the Mandolin maestro Srinivas, who passed away recently. This is from a concert recently in memory of his guru:
The embedded video seems to start at the wrong time – Start from the 1hr 35m mark to listen to Srichakraraja simhasaneshwari in ragamalika. I recommend you listen not only to this composition (which is only about 5 minutes long), but the entire concert, which is excellent.
Today’s 9/27/2014. The fourth day of Navaratri. In the first three days of this Navaratri, I wrote about a music composition of Syama Sastry, Muttuswamy Dikshita and Tyagaraja, who are popularly called the Trinity of Karnataka Sangeeta and then shared with you links for those compositions being played on a “Veena”. And no prizes for guessing today’s post will be on similar lines!
In the 18th and 19th centuries, when the British had taken over most of the princely states under their arms, only two major kingdoms had remained, albeit under reduced strength. The Wodeyars of Mysore and the Kings of Travencore ( Thiruvananthapuram) continued to be great patrons of music, dance and other art forms. In some cases, the rulers were artists themselves.
Thiruvanathapuram is well known for the chamber concerts at the Navaratri Mandapam, adjacent to the famed Padmanabhaswamy temple. A special feature feature of these concerts is that unlike most other concerts, the main item presented on each day of the music festival is known in advance. The artist of the day elaborates a composition of Maharaja Swathi Tirunal from what is called the Navarati kritis. Each of these compositions is in Samsktra and set in rakti ragas such as Bhairavi, Shankarabharana, Natakuranji, Kalyani etc. I’d written about these compositions earlier during a previous Navaratri series. You can read them here.
Maharaja Rama Varma is better known by his star name – Swathi Tirunal, In a short span of 33 years (1836- 1846 AD) he accomplished a lot musically. He was a Veena player as well. Unlike other composers who had their students spread the compositions across the country, his compositions remained known only in Kerala for quite some time. Also, for some of his compositions nothing but the raga and tALa names were known, and were tuned by later day musicians. In the 20th century his compositions become popular outside Kerala, and now have become a part of the standard concert repertoire.
Swathi Tirunal adapted some Hindustani ragas into Karnataka sangeeta as well – and thus the Raga Hamsanandi was born from Sohini. The composition I’m sharing today, pAhi jagajjanani is in this raga – Listen to this played on electric guitar by Abhay. The Guitar, although a western instrument falls in the class of what has been traditionally called a “Veena” in India.
Interestingly enough, Guitar Abhay has not changed the way the guitar is traditionally tuned. He is a student of Mandolin Shrinivas whom we lost recently. It’s but a sad coincidence, both Swathi Tirunal and U Shrinivas had short lives , but they sure have touched many hearts in their lifetime and will continue to do so much beyond their life time.
Now over to Guitar Abhay’s magical fingers, playing pAhi jagajjanani in rAga hamsAnandi: