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Thread: Carnatic music fundamentals

  1. #1
    Senior Member Seasoned Hubber viggop's Avatar
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    WHat is a varnam?
    I listened to an excellent varnam by Maharajapuram Santhanam
    in raga charukesi.It has been composed by Lalgudi Jayaraman and it is present in the Nada Anuboothi site
    http://home.sprynet.com/~dsivakumar/music/intromus.htm

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  3. #2
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    As the name implies, varNam means "description". In other words a varNam describes or brings out the svarUpa of the raga. It has the three parts of a Karnatak song viz. pallavi,anupallavi and caraNa. Generally the text is very short in nature and there is a main set of svaras known as the muktAyi svaram. After the caraNa there may be several groups of svarAs called ettugaDa svarAs. Normally the composition is sung with an AlApanA.
    In a concert it is usually the opening piece and it is also supposed to be an exercise for the artist to have his/her vocal cords warmed up and prepare him/her for the rest of the concert.
    Some varNams are long and elaborate. VarNams used for a dance also have sholkaTTu svarams.
    Corrections welcome.

  4. #3
    Administrator Diamond Hubber RR's Avatar
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    Lakshman,
    I have been thinking varNam (in the meaning of 'color') as a piece that brings out all colors of a raga in a composition..

  5. #4
    Senior Member Seasoned Hubber viggop's Avatar
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    Lakshman
    Also,what is chittaswaram and kalpanasawrams(hope the name is right).
    Can you give me an example song for these and point out what is the chittaswarams/kalpanaswarams etc.

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    ciTTasvarAs and kalpanAsvarAs are similar in the sense that they both use the sargam notes and patterns. But ciTTasvara is usually the work of the composer and the kalpanAsvara is what the artist renders extempore after the neraval or caraNa. The latter can be elaborate, depending upon the scope of the song.
    If you tell me some songs you are familiar with, I could then point out the differences.

  7. #6
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    Lakshman

    // As the name implies, varNam means "description". In other words a varNam describes or brings out the svarUpa of the raga.//.

    Varnam depicts the whole colour of the relevant Raga unlike Keerthanas, where the total presentation of all the possible tunes need not be included. No doubt keerthanas have to convey the Raga clearly but need not fully like Varnams, where it must be complete.

    That is why we are able to pick up several tunes from one Varnam,

    For example, take the caseof Viribhoni Varnam in Bhairavi... it is totally exhaustive, analytical and complete broadlining and outlining the Raga quite deeply alongside showing its border-line close to its adjacent Ragas like Mukhari... but defining its own distinct colour boundary... by means of abundant Swaras,

    That is the reason... a Music-Student is taught the Varnams earlier prior to reaching the next Lesson on Keerthanas.

    // Normally the composition is sung with an AlApanA.//

    No.... Not so.

    // In a concert it is usually the opening piece //.

    Yes.... because...

    Varnams are sung as the FIRST PRSENTATION ... in a concert... because the Ragas are considered as Daevathas and as a matter of Obeisance and Invocation to Raga-Daevathas.... the Gods... without whose benign grace a concert cannot become fruitful.

    //Corrections welcome.//

    thanks for your Open-mindedness.
    Most INVALUABLE TREASURE is.. Time.
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  8. #7
    Senior Member Seasoned Hubber viggop's Avatar
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    Viriboni by Pachimiriyam Adiappa(guru of Shyama sastri) is an excellent piece.
    I have MS and Chembai collections of it & both of them sing it wonderfully.
    Where is this place called "Pachimiriyam"?

    Also, Bhairavi and Mukhari sometimes seem very close.There was a discussion on this in Sangeetham.com BBoard.

    Is Kalyani and Bindavana Saranga Raagam also very close to each other.I heard an amateur violinist playing "Vasudevayani" and thought it was similar to "Kalyiguga Varadhan" song.Since I'm a newbie with no formal training in music,i might be wrong

  9. #8
    Administrator Diamond Hubber RR's Avatar
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    vig,
    Kalyani and B.Saranga are very different ragas. Theoretically I think Madhyamavathi is closer to B.Saranga, but easy to distinguish in terms of raga lakshanas.
    BTW, I think we are squeezing lot of discussions under one topic

  10. #9
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    Varnam



    Quote Originally Posted by Sudhaama
    Lakshman

    // In a concert it is usually the opening piece //.

    Yes.... because...

    Varnams are sung as the FIRST PRSENTATION ... in a concert... because the Ragas are considered as Daevathas and as a matter of Obeisance and Invocation to Raga-Daevathas.... the Gods... without whose benign grace a concert cannot become fruitful.

    //... and it is also supposed to be an exercise for the artist to have his/her vocal cords warmed up and prepare him/her for the rest of the concert//.
    .
    .
    Yes. The reason for singing Varnam as the Opening-piece of a Concert is not only to warm up the Self--


    --but also the Concert team as an initial preparation-exercise --

    --and to ensure the harmony of Sruthi, Laya, and Swara-bhavas synchronisation effectively, which can be adjudged easily by Varnas only--

    --more than any other mode of presentation-- mainly because the Varnas are intermixed with Swaras in between, POSITIVELY as a Standard.

    Further the Auience also get envigoured by starting with a brisk analysis of a Raga--

    -- coupled with Tempo and Spur towards Enthusiasm by Varnas only mostly.

    For Example:

    - Evari bodhana - Varnam- Abhogi - SEMMANGUDI Srinivasa Iyer
    http://old.musicindiaonline.com/p/x/...lN9.As1NMvHdW/

    .

  11. #10
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    "A Raga’s Journey — Soothing Sahana"

    http://www.thehindu.com/life-and-sty...cle3360309.ece

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