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Music Appreciation Notes - Some Varalis

Poorvavarali Raga

Varga: Audava-Sampoorna

Arohana: Sa ra ma pa dha sa; Avarohaaa: Sa nu dha pa ma ga ra sa

Poorvavarali is a janya of Gaatamoorti, known as Ganasamavarali in the asampoorna tradition, the third raga in the melakarta scheme. The gandhara and nishada of the Janaka raga are dropped in the arohana of Poorvavarali for which the swara-s are: shadja (sa), suddha rishabha (ra,. suddha gandhara (ga) (in the avarohana only), suddha madhyama (ma), panchama (pa), suddha dhaivata (dha) and kakali nithada (nu) (in the avarohana only), It is thus an upanga raga of Ganamoorti, that is it has no anya swara.

Such raga-s figure in Muthuswami Dikshitar's compositions (even if not in those of most others). This is because of Dikshitar's mastery over the veena, the instrument which facilitates the production of suddha swara-s in pure form and in all their majesty. In many cases, songs in such raga-s (with limited scope for exposition) are also made short, with a pallavi followed by a samashti charanam.

COMPOSITION IN POORVAVARALI

Muthuswami Dikshhar – Parameswarena

Punnagavarali Raga

Varga : Sampoorna-Sampoorna

Arohana : Nu sa ri gi ma pa dha ni

Avarohana : Ni dha pa ma gi ra sa ni

Jeeva swara-s : r i , ga, ni (nu)

Nyasa swara-s : ga, ma

Graha swara-s : sa, ga ,pa

Prayoga-s : sa Ri (Ri) Ga Ma; Pa dha Pa; ma pa dha Pa Pa ma Ga ri

(ra) sa Ni (Nu); sa ri (ra) ga ri (ra) ri (ra) sa Sa; ga ga ma

ma pa ma ga Ri; pa ma ga Ri(Ra) sa sa; ri (ra) sa Ni(Nu),

sa ri (ra) Sa; ri (ra) sa Ni , sa ri (ra) Sa.

A derivative or janya of Hanumatodi (eighth melakarta raga), Punnagavarali is a nishadantya raga, i.e., it begins and ends with the nishada. The swara-s of the raga are: kakali nishada (nu), shadja (sa), chatusruti rishabha (ri), (suddha rishabha (ra) in the avarohana), sadharana gandhara (gi), suddha madhyama (ma), panchama (pa), suddha dhaivata (dha) and kaisiki nishada (ni).

The chatusruti rishabha and kakali nishadha are anya (alien) swara-s to Todi and thus make Punnagavarali a bhashanga raga. 

With a scale spanning only one octave, Punnagavarali is most effective when rendered in madhyama sruti. It is common belief that, when this raga is played on the snake-charmer's 'been' or gourd flute, the cobra is entranced. This is the genesis for the name of the raga. (Scientific fact is that snakes have hardly any sense of hearing).

Punnagavarali is an ancient raga. It is particularly suitable for night-time listening. It is also a raga which has to be handled with skill and without haste.

The best known song in Punnagavarali is Nadarmuadimel, composed by Pambatti Siddhar. T.R. Mahalingam revelled in this number, bringing to it ever new nuances, every time he played it in his flute conceits. Sivaganga nagari nivasini is one of the earliest 78rpm records in this raga and D.K. Pattammal's chaste singing must still be fresh in the memory of many. Tyagaraja's Tava dasoham is a fine composition in Punnagavarali.

SOME COMPOSITIONS IN PUNNAGAVARALI

Gopalakrishna Bharati - Naam enna seivom,Talluvaro

Muthiah Bhagavatar - Devi Sivadootipradey;Nandikeswaram; Todu needa

Muthuswami Dikshitar - Yehi Annapoorney;Kamalambikaya

Neelakantha Sivan - Ekanta nishtayil

N.S. Ramachandran - Sree Rajarajeswari

Mysore Sadasiva Rao - Yelagu daya

Pallavi Sesha Iyer - Neepai mohamipudu

Papanasam Sivan – Sivaganga; Un padamey saranam

Swati Tirunal - Bhavaye Sreegopalam ;Telliviyilum

Syama Sastry - Kanakasaila viharini

Tyagaraja - Evaru teliyanu; Gandhamu puyyaruga, Hah Hari neeyoka; Idi neeku; Induk;. Into bhagyamani: Krishna makemi;

Pahi katyanasundara; Tava dasoham, Ye nomunochitimo

FILM SONG BASED ON PUNNAGAVARALI 

Nadarmudi mel irukkum in 'Tiruvarut Servar'(Tamil). By T.M. Soundararajan.

Kokilavarali Raga

Varga : Sampoorna-Sampoorna

Arohana : Sa ri gi ri ma pa dha ni dba sa

Avarohana : Sa dha ni dha pa ma ri gi ri sa

Prayoga-s : ri ga ri Ma Ma; ri ga ri Sa Sa; ri ma pa dha pa ma; ri ga

ri Sa Sa; pa dha ni dha sa dha ni dha; pa ma ri ga ri sa.

This is a janya of Natabhairavi, the 26th melakarta raga. It is a rakti raga. Vakra prayoga-s give the raga its appeal.

Tyagaraja's Samukhana nilva in Kokilavarali used to figure in Musiri Subrahmania Iyer's concerts. But this is not an oft-heard raga.

SOME COMPOSITIONS IN KOKILAVARALI

N.S. Ramachandran - Rajeevalochana

Tyagaraja - Samukhana nilva

Kuntalavarali Raga

Varga : Audava-Audava

Arohana : Sa ma pa ni dhi sa

Avarohana : Sa ni dhi pa Ma Sa

Prayoga-s : sa Ma pa dha ni Dha; Sa ni Ni ni dha dha pa pa ma Ma;

ma pa dha ma ma Sa 

Kuntalavarali is a janya of Harikambhoji, the 28th melakarta raga. It is an audava-audava raga with the following swara-s: shadja (sa), suddha madhyama (ma), panchama (pa), chatusruti dhaivata (dhi) and kaisiki nishada (ni). Rishabha and gandhara are omitted. In spite of this, this raga retains a unique character, specially suited for brisk madhyama kala rendering with 'datu' swara-s (sequence in which alternate swara-s are skipped) and vakra prayoga-s.

Semmangudi's old recording (on a 78rpm disc) of Sivan's Unnai tudikka is a very good representation of Kuntalavarali. Tungatnrangey of Sadasiva Brahmendra is another well known composition in this raga. Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer's rendering of Kalinarulaku of Tyagaraja was a connoisseur's delight, as was GNB's later on.

SOME COMPOSITIONS IN KUNTALAVARALI

Balamuralikrishna - tillana

G.N. Balasuhramaniam – Ninnu pogadatarama

Veena Kuppier - Kannatandri nannu

Muthiah Bhagavatar - Niramayey niranjaney,Paripoorna paratpara

N.S. Ramachandran - Kamalalayey pahi

Papanasam Sivan - Amaley amarargal; SivayaNamavenrey; Unnai tudikka

Swati Tiranal - Bhogeendra sayinam

Tyagaraja - Chentaney sada, Kalinarulaku Sarasara samaraikasoora

FILM SONG BASED ON KUNTALAVARALI

Solla solla inikkutada in 'Kandan Karanai'(Tamil). By P. Suseela.

Pratapavarali Raga

Arohana : Sa ri ma pa sa

Avarohana : Sa dhi pa ma gi ri sa

Prayoga-s : sa ri Ma ma ma ga ri ga Ri; ri ma pa dha Pa ma ga ri Ma;

ma pa dha Sa : ri ma ma ga ri Sa dha Pa; ma pa Sa dha Pa;

ma ga ri ma ga ri Sa; sa dha pa Sa

Pratapavarali also is a janya of Harikambhoji. It is a minor raga with very few compositions. Kanchipuram Naina Pillai used to sing Tyagaraja's Vinanasakoni with vigour.

SOME COMPOSITIONS IN PRATAPAVARALI

Jayachamaraja Wodeyar - Bhoori bhagyalahari

N.S. Ramachandran - Japakusuma

Tyagaraja - Vinanasakoni

Subhapantuvarali Raga

Varga : Sampoorna-Sampoorna

Arohana : Sa ra gi mi pa dha nu sa

Avarobana : Sa nu dha pa mi gi ra sa

Jeeva swara-s : ga, pa, ni

Nyasa swara-s : ma, pa

Graha swara-s : sa, pa

Pragoya-s : Sa ri ni dha pa ma Ga; ma pa dha ni dha pa ma Ga; dha

pa ma Ga; dha ma Ga; ma ri Ga; ri ga ri sa; sa sa ga ri Ga

Subhapantuvarali is the 45th mela raga. In the asampoorna tradition, it is known as Sivapantuvarali and has the same arohana and avarohana. The prati madhyama parallel of Dhenuka raga, it has the following swara-s: shadja (sa), suddha rishabba (ra), sadharana gandhara (gi), prati madhyama (mi), panchama (pa), suddha dhaivata (dha) and kakali nishada (nu). The gandhara in this raga should be rendered fully (without gamaka) and purely, as a long note.

Many composers have found Subhapantuvarali suitable for projecting karuna rasa.

Ennallu yoorakey, a song composed by Tyagaraja, is a charming example of Subhapantuvarali and was made popular by G.N. Balasubramaniam. Dikshitar's Sree Satyanarayanam is another familiar number, having figured in the repertoire of Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and D.K. Pattammal.

This raga corresponds to the Todi that of Hindustani music. If graha bheda is done on the dhaivata of this raga, the result is Chalanata.

SOME COMPOSITIONS IN SUBHAPANTUVARALI

Balamuralikrishna - Karunanu

G.N. Balasubramaniam - Nee samanamevaru

Jayachamaraja Wodeyar - Paripahimam

Kotiswara Iyer - Velaney verey gati

Muthiah Bhagavatar - Manonmani

Muthuswami Dikshitar - Sree Satyanarayanam

Pallavi Sesha Iyer - Napunya mettido

Ramanathapuram Srinivasa Iyengar - Innallavaley

Tyagaraja - Ennalu yoorakey

Mysore Vasudevachar – Paripahimam

FILM SONGS BASED ON SUBHAPANTUVARALI

Kaalamagal kann tirappal in 'Vananga Mudi'(Tamil). By P. Suseela.

Ik tha bachpan in 'Aashirwad' (Hindi). By Lata Mangeshkar.

Inda nadagam enda medaiyil in 'Paalum Pazhamum' (Tamil). By P. Suseela.

Insan bano in 'Baiju Bawra' (Hindi). By Mohd. Rah.

Raina beeti jaye in 'Amar Prem' (Hindi). By Lata Mangeshkar.

Vaigaraiyil vaigaikkaraiyil in 'Payanangal Mudivadillai' (Tamil). By S.P. Balasubramaniam & S.Janaki.

Vasantavarali Raga

Varga: Sampoorna-Sampoorna

Arohana: Sa ra gi mi pa dha ni; Avarohana: Ni dha pa mi gi ra sa ni

Though Vasantavarali is familiarly treated as a janya of Natabhairavi, the 20th as a derivative of Shadvidamargini, the 46th mela raga, with a prati madhyama. Tyagaraja's Pahi Ramadoota would support this view. This is a nishadantya raga, with the following swara-s: shadja (sa), suddha rishabha (ra), sadharana gandhara (gi), prati madhyama (mi), panchama (pa), suddha dhaivata (dha) and kaisiki nishada (ni).

Pantuvarali Raga

This raga has already been discussed in detail in Sruti 35. 

FILM SONGS BASED ON PANTUVARALI

Amba manam kanindu in 'Sivakavi'. By M.K. Thiagaraja Bhagavathar.

Neeradum neram nalla neram in 'Vaira Nenjam' (Tamil). By Vani Jairam.

Tori jai jai in 'Baiju Bawra' (Hindi). By AmirKhan.

Yezhu swarangalukkul in 'Apoorva Ragangal' (Tamil). By Vani Jairam.

SOME COMPOSITIONS IN PANTUVARALI

Balamuralikrishna - Saranam tava charanami Varuga varuga

G.N. Balasubramaniam – Sivananda kamavardhini

Pallavi Doraiswamy Iyer - Danikey tagunu; laya jaya Gauriramana; Nedu daya-, Siva Siva yard; Talli tandrulu

Gopalakrishna Bharati - Edukku indA ; Kunchita paadattai

Kavikunjara Bharati – Tayey idu tarunam ; Vilayadinar

Ghanam Krishna Iyer - Tillai appa-, Tillai Chidambaram

Muthiah Bhagavatar - Ashtadasa;

Mangalam bhavanutey ; Saravanabhavananda

eelakantha Sivan - Tayey idu

Ponniah Pillai - Chalamu jeseti; Needu padamey

N.S. Ramachandran - Kamalayadakshi; Navaneeradaneelam

Mysore Sadasiva Rao - Pahi pahi sree Papanasam Sivan – Aadiya paadattai; Amba manam; Nee allavo-, Neeyey pedai; Nin anil, Sree Mahadeva; Unadu dayai Swati Tirunal - Hantagyaninnu; Matanga tanayayai; Nagasayana-, Paripalaya-,Sarasaksha, Saroruha

Syama Sastry - Karuna joodavamma

Tyagaraja - Anduduganey; Appa Ramabhakti; Choodarey chelulara; Naradamuni; Ninney nera namminanui Paramapavana-, Raghuvara nannu;

Sambho Mahadeva; Saramey gani; Sobhaney; Siva Siva Siva yanarada-, Sundaratara deham-, Vadera daivamu

Tiruvotriyur Tyagier – Cheliyapai

Mysore Vasudevachar - Sankari ninney

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