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Rarely does one come across a scholar who is well versed in all aspects related to music: lakshya, lakshaNa and the associated lyrical aspects. And it was the fortune of the listeners at South India Fine Arts Spring Festival (SIFA) to see one such scholar- Dr T S Sathyavathi.

Aesthetics in Muttuswamy Dikshita’s Compositions’ was the topic Vidushi T S Sathyavathi had chosen for her demonstration lecture at SIFA. She introduced aesthetics from the Indian perspective, as the essential aspect of art which elevates the listener from a lower stratum to a higher stratum. During her lec-dem, she illustrated this through various compositions of Muttuswamy dIkshita.

The first composition she chose for rendition was a kriti on Ganapati, very aptly – ‘pancha mAntanga mukha gaNapatiA’ in raaga Malahari. She illustrated how the instrumental case in the sahitya is used to connect various phrases in the charaNa, back to the pallavi enhancing the meaning. She also showed how various details of the deity on which the composition is composed is captured in the sahitya, leaving no doubt as to the identity of the kshetra. Through various phrases used in the composition, she illustrated how the raga develops as the composition progresses. She pointed out the subtle swarakshara usage in this composition.

She also alluded to the refrain of many musicians that it is very hard to take liberty with MD’s compositions. Although this is somewhat true, she showed how Muttuswamy Dikshita provides a great framework for any rAga he has composed in.The unambiguous clarity with which Muttuswamy Dikshita treats ragas in his compositions, in her opinion, forms the basis on which later day composers have built grand compositions. She sang some parts of his Saveri kriti, ‘kari kalabha mukham’, showing how the difference between Malahari & Saveri are shown right in the opening phrases of these two compositions.

She next took the sAma composition – ‘guruguhAya bhaktAnugrahAya’ drawing audience attention to the short rishabha and dhaivata, the widely oscillating madhyama in this raga – and indicated how the corpus of sancharas the composer has shown in this composition (and other compositions) could be used as a framework for a detailed elaboration of any ragas he has composed in. She pointed out how Muttuswamy Dikshita has woven a beautiful chitte swara for this composition that includes a beautiful asymmetry in symmetry, including different laya patterns.

The next raga under consideration was Brindavana Saranga. Vidushi Satyavathi sang ‘soundara rAjam Ashraye’ very beautifully describing interesting features of the sAhitya such as the Adi prAsa, antya prAsa, and interesting aspects like the caressing kaishiki nishada which is the hallmark of this delicate raga. She illustrated the differences in the treatment of nishada and rishabha in this rAga to other ragas such as Sri and Madhyamavati as well.

The last composition, the grand chaturdasha ragamalika – ‘srI vishwanatham bhajeham’ was indeed a treat to listen to. Vidushi Sathyavathi went into the details of each of the ragas in his gem of a composition showing how the sahtitya is woven to include the raga name for each raga in each segment (ragamudre), and how a modified phrase using the raga name is used as an adjective in the very next line enhancing the beauty of the sahitya, and how the key phrases of each raga are shown within a the short segment allocated to each raga.

Vidushi Sathyavathi concluded with saying that Muttuswamy Dikshita used both his heart and art in his compositions. With her scholarly presentation, the listeners at SIFA could very well appreciate that. She was very ably assisted by Vidwan T S Krishnamurthy on the violin and Vidwan Shriram Brahmanandam on the Mrdanga.

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During the weekend I attended a lecture-demonstration on GNB’s style of music by Charumati Ramachandran. She mentioned a funny anecdote when a young GNB started with a rAga AlApane at a concert in Tanjavoor when some of the vidwans in the concert hall walked out appalled at the vocalist who ‘did not even sing Madyamavati phrases correctly’.

But still captivated by his voice, they could not help themselves hanging around outside the hall to hear the vocalist start off a hitherto unknown (for them) composition starting with the words – rAgasudhArasa .

If you were thinking about the composition of Tyagaraja, in rAga Andolika ( sometimes called Mayura Dhwani), you are right on the dot. At that time, it was still not very well known even among musicians. It is one of what is generally termed as a “apUrva rAga kriti” of Tyagaraja.

Tyagaraja was the first to compose in this rAga – as he did in several scores of other melodies unheard of till his time.

Here is a clip from a movie adaptation of this song, sung by K J Yesudas (1992 Malayalam movie – “Sargam”):

Here is the sAhitya for the composition – thanks to http://lyrical-thyagaraja.blogspot.com/

Pallavi:
rāga sudhā rasa pānamu jēsi rañjillavē
ō manasā

Anupallavi:
yāga yōga tyāga bhōga phalamosaṅgē (rāga)

Charanam:
sadāśiva mayamagu nādōṅkāra swara
vidulu jīvanmuktulani tyāgarāju teliyu (rāga)

Here is my attempt in translating it into Kannada:

ರಾಗ ಸುಧಾರಸವನ್ನೇ ಸವಿಯುತ
ನಲಿಯುತಲಿರು ಓ ಮನವೇ! ||ರಾಗ ಸುಧಾರಸ||

ಯಾಗ ಯೋಗ ತ್ಯಾಗ ಭೋಗಗಳ ಫಲವೀವ || ರಾಗ ಸುಧಾರಸ ||

ಸದಾಶಿವ ನೆಲೆಯಾಗಿರುವ ನಾದ ಓಂಕಾರ ಸ್ವರ
ಅರಿತವರಿಗೆ ಬಿಡುಗಡೆಯುಂಟೆಂದು ತ್ಯಾಗರಾಜ ತಿಳಿದ ||ರಾಗ ಸುಧಾರಸ||

Tyagaraja was born on 4th May, 1767 – 243 years ago today. He composed more than 700 songs and in a large number of compositions, he refers to music.

To Tyagaraja, music was not only a means of reaching his beloved deity- but he describes Rama as taking different musical forms in the composition ‘nAdasudhArasambilanu’ in Arabhi!

In another composition in rAga chittaranjani ‘nAda tanum anisham Shankaram’ he bows to Shiva, whom Tyagaraja calls as a another form of Omkara nAda:

I’ll end this post with a clip of a kriti in rAga jaganmohini, where Tyagaraja speaks about the charming seven notes and how they captivate his mind.

Finally, here are a few of my earlier posts about Tyagaraja:

Meru Samana Dheera

A Day in Tiruvaiyyaru

Kalyani -Top Ten

Tyagaraja, on Sangeethapriya

Tyagaraja Aradhane -2009

Rangana Halliya Rama

Chandra Jyothi

Daya Juchutakidi Velara

Remember Tyagaraja, Once Again

Long live the charming seven notes, and the love for those notes in our minds!

-neelanjana

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ಅವಧಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಹೀಗಂದರು:

"ಅಲ್ಲಿದೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಮನೆ…ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಬಂದೆ ಸುಮ್ಮನೆ… ಎಂಬ ಘೋಷ ವಾಕ್ಯದೊಂದಿಗೆ ಬ್ಲಾಗ್ ಮಂಡಲದಲ್ಲಿ ಕಾಣಿಸಿಕೊಂಡವರು ನೀಲಾಂಜನ. ಅಲ್ಲಿದೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಮನೆ ಕನ್ನಡದ ಪರಿಮಳವನ್ನು ಇಂಗ್ಲಿಷ್ ನಲ್ಲಿ ಹರಡುತ್ತಾ ಇದೆ. ಕನ್ನಡದ ವಚನಗಳು, ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತ ಸುಭಾಷಿತಗಳು ಜೊತೆಯಲ್ಲೇ ಸಂಗೀತ ಹೀಗೆ ಹಲವು ಲೋಕವನ್ನು ಈ ಬ್ಲಾಗ್ ಪರಿಚಯಿಸಿದೆ." ಅವಧಿ, ಮೇ ೧೫, ೨೦೦೮

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