Pallavi Seshayyer

Pallavi Seshayyer (1842–1909) was a composer of Carnatic music, who followed the traditions of the famous composer Tyagaraja. Seshayyar was a singer in the court of the king of Mysore. As a singer, he was an expert of the techniques of Ragam-Thanam-Pallavi. This expertise gave him his epithet Pallavi Seshayyar. He could also compose in rare Ragas.

He belonged to the post Trinity period of Carnatic Music. Seshayyar hailed from Neikkarapatti, Salem district in Tamilnadu. He learnt many Tyagraja kritis from his father, Subbarayar who was a disciple of the Saint Tyagaraja. The young Seshayyar made his debut in the year 1858, after which he gave many concerts.

Known for his exquisite Pallavi (Ragam Tanam Pallavi) singing prowess, Seshaayyar is said to have impressed audience at the Annual Music festival in Tiruvottiyur by singing – Dhanyasi Ragam for 8 hours, Gaulipantu for 3 hours, Dwijavanti for 3 hours and Mukhari for 2 hours.

His manodharma, ability to improvise, sing extempore kalpana jatis earned him a special place in the Carnatic music field.

Having a good command over Telugu and Sanskrit, he composed many kritis on Rama.He balanced lakshya-lakshana very well, the theoretical and practical aspects of music. His compositions contained notations and he has written the arohana avarohana for almost 1000 ragas. Some of his compositons are – Eelagu in Nagaswaravali, Intavadani in Vakulabharanam.

He taught many students, some of their names are – Manathattai Doraiswami Iyer, Chintapalli Venkoba Rao and Nagaswaram Krishnan.

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