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Sri Shyama Shastry (1763-1827) – Part Ten

Continued from Part Nine

Sri Shyama Shastry – Music-Continued

Devi Kamakshi

Svarajati

Svarajati, as the name suggests, is a combination of Svaras (notes) and Jati (rhythmic pattern represented by a vocal ‘Sol’).

The Svarajati is said to have been developed in two ways – one type with Jatis to suit dance movements; and, the other, a simple type for beginners in music.

Thus, the Svarajati could be rendered as a song, with all the Alamkaras; and, it could also be a musical composition adorned with graceful and flowing stream of rhythms, to which a Dancer performs with apt Nrtta (rhythmic-body-movements) and present the interpretation of its words through Abhinaya (meaningful expressions).

The main features of the Svarajatis are (1) presence of a number of Svara-Sahitya passages in the Carana ;( 2) the absence of Anupallavi; and, (3) preponderance of Jatis

The first two features can be seen in beginner’s Svarajatis. And, in the Dance-Svarajatis, the third factor is important.

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As regards the Svarajatis, which belonged to the sphere of Abhyasa-gana; they were mainly intended to be learnt by students of music. These were simpler types, without the Jatis.

On account of the simple, yet qualitative music, and good rhythmic flow, many Svarajatis are taught to the students of music, after they learnt Gitas; but, before the Varnas.  The Svarajatis are, therefore, normally treated as Abhyasa-gana class of practical compositions.

[Simpler Svarajatis, without Jatis and the Anga of Muktayi Svara, were composed for the benefit of students of art music and dance. These are pieces to be learnt after a course in Alankara, Gita and Jatisvara; but, before learning to sing Varnas.

The purpose of learning Jatisvara and Svarajati is to get a good grasp of the rhythm, which would prepare the student for the next difficult piece, the Varna.

Thus, there is some logic behind the graded method of teaching the musical forms.

The Sahitya of a Svarajati has more words than the Sahitya of a Gita.

To enable the student to get familiar with a Sahitya consisting of more number of words; to train her/him to sing properly, following the time-units precisely is perhaps the intention behind the gradation of  these technical forms.]

This Abhyasa-gana type of Svarajatis is quite different from the Pada-Varna.  It has a different structure. It has no Anupallavi; but, there is coordination between the Svaras and the syllables of the Sahitya. The Sahitya and the melody take priority.

Perhaps, the only common point it has with the Pada-Varna is the fact that the beginning Svara sahitya passages are simpler; and, there is a gradual increase in the length and complexity of the lines.

*

As regards the Svarajatis that are specially designed for Dance; they have rhythmic syllables or Sollukottus in its musical structure. In this type, there are Jatis and Sahitya for all the Svara-passages. The Svara and Sahitya lines which follow each other alternatively, lend themselves well to the Abhinaya and Nrtta sequences in a dance.

Here, the Nrtta (rhythmic-body-movements) and Adavus (basic steps in Dance) are performed to the Svaras and Sollokottu; whereas, the Abhinaya is performed to the Sahitya.

The early version of the Dance-Svarajatis resembled the Pada-Varnas. It had a short Pallavi, Anupallavi and a fairly long Carana portion, consisting of Carana-Sahitya, Svara passages and a Jati section.

*

The third type of Svarajati, which has no Jati or Sollukottu in its structure; which has the refinement to project the Raga-svarupa; and, which can be rendered in music concerts, was the one that was developed by Sri Shyama Shastry.

The Svarajatis developed by Sri Shyama Shastry were far more advanced and sophisticated than the simple Abhyasa-gana Svarajatis. And, at the same time, they are different from the Dance Svarajatis.

The Svarajatis of Sri Shyama Shastry form a separate class of compositions, which do not resemble Dance-Svarajatis. They do not have a Mukthayi-Svara section with Sahitya and Jati. They also do not, generally, form a part of the repertoire of Dance-Music. They are largely rendered in Art-musical-concerts.

In their structure, these types of Svarajatis are made of Pallavi, and many Caranas in the form of Svara-Sahityas (Svara syllable having a corresponding syllable of text of identical duration).

A number of Svara-Sahitya passages in the Carana and the absence of Anupallavi are the other characteristic features of this type of Svarajati.

The Svarakshara beauty, where the syllable of the text is identical or similar to the correspondent Svara syllable, is a noteworthy feature in most of the Svarajatis.

Svara-Sahitya is a combination of Svara (Sol-fa) passages with appropriate Sahitya passages that match the Svaras. The Svara-part should steadily maintain continuity with the Music of the Sahitya of the Carana; and, should methodically lead to the Pallavi. Again, the Sahitya-portion of the Svara-Sahitya should blend with the Sahitya of the Carana; and, later with the Carana.

That is to say; the Svarajatis are compositions made of Pallavi, Anupallavi and Caranas in the form of Svara-sahitya. Now, while rendering the Carana, its Svaras are sung first; and, then its corresponding Sahitya is presented. After the final Carana, the Pallavi is again rendered as  the conclusion.

By increasing the numbers of Svara letters and the Sahitya letters, according to the time-units of the Taala-aksharas, the Carana-Svaras are sung as if in Madhyama-kala. The number of Avartas (one Avarta is a complete cycle of a Taala) for the Carana-Svaras is also increased gradually.

When one tries to explain in words, it does sound very complicated. But, when an erudite artist sings, seamlessly weaving the Svara-Sahitya passages with consummate skill and artistry, it is truly delightful.

Vajra

Almost running parallel to what I said above:

Dr. Ritha Rajan, in her articleJatisvaram/Svarajati’ published in the Journal of the Music Academy Madras (Vol. LXXV- 2002) mentions that Sri Subbarama Dikshitar, in his Sangita-Sampradaya-Pradarshini, described two types of Svarajatis.

The first type of Svarajatis are those, which are more suitable for Dance-Dramas , like Bhagavatha-Mela-Natakas, wherein the brisk Madhyama–Kala could be executed , with all its vigour and gusto, by the male dancers.

This is said to be the older form or type of Svarajati; with Madhyama-kala as its characteristic feature. Many of them are set in Tisra-Eka-Taala (each unit of Taala being three melodic pulses) or in Rupaka-Taala (one Dhruta followed by one Laghu).

The Mukthayi (a passage of Svara syllables that succeeds an Anupallavi, usually of two Avartas) was composed with the first phase,  with only long Svaras; the second phase in Madhyama-kala; and, the third phase in Durita-Kala, ending with the Jati phrase : ‘ taddin ginata tom’. The Carana was sung in a faster tempo as Svarajati.

[It is said; this older type of Svarajati-s fell into disuse; because the Pada-Varnam, which resembled it, gained more popularity.]

The other type of Svarajatis that Sri Subbarama Dikshitar mentioned is that, where the Jati-groups (rhythmic patterns composed of vocal ‘Sols’) form the central core of the composition. The Jati-groups are presented in the form of Svaras, along with the Sahitya.

The Graha-Svaras (Svara on which a Raga or a song commences) of the Svara-Sahityas will be in the Arohana-Krama (ascending order), in accordance with the Murchanas (the ascending and descending movement of the seven notes in successive order) of the Raga. Sometimes, the Krama or the sequential order of the Graha-Svaras of the Svara-Sahitya will be in Avarohana-Krama (descending order). The Mathu or the text will be of devotional nature. The Mathu of the first section of the Svarajati will be like a Pallavi.

*

Viewed in the light of these explanations, you find that the Svarajati-s of Sri Shyama Shastri in the Ragas Bhairavi and Yadukula-kambhoji in Misra-Chapu-Taala, alone come under the second category of Svarajatis.

These Svarajatis have a Jati based format, which is presented as Svaras with appropriate Sahitya. The Graha Svaras of the Svara-Sahityas are in the Arohana- Krama. The Mathu is devotional, in its nature. The first section is complete like the Pallavi section of a Kriti, in terms of both Dhatu and Mathu.

Dr. N. Ramanathan points out that the Todi Svarajati of Sri Shyama Shastry seems to be the odd one out; because, certain important features found with the other two Svarajatis are absent here. There is no proper ascending order (Arohana)   for the Graha-Svaras in the Svara-Sahityas of the Svarajati in Todi Raga; and, a planned gradual musical development is also missing in its Svara-Sahityas.

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As regards the Svarajatis in Ragas Bhairavi and Yadukula-Kambhoji, Dr. Ramanathan mentions:

The Pallavis of the Bhairavi and Yadukula-kambhoji Svarajatis have almost identical rhythmic structure; and, also have architectonic order and proportion. Further, certain Svara-Sahityas have similar structure in both the forms. In the Bhairavi Svarajati, out of the Eight Svara-Sahityas, from the 5th Svara-sahitya onwards the numbers of melodic pauses considerably increase.  There are also sub divisions of melody within the sections.

Vadi-Samvadi-Svara combinations, Svara-aksharas, Atita and Anahata-Eduppus and prolonged Svaras with Karvai for five or seven Aksaras also figure in the Svarajatis

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Further, Dr. N. Ramanathan says that the Svarajati form created by Sri Shyama Shastry is almost similar to the Carana part of the old Svarajati, with modifications. These made the composition into an Art-musical form. With revision of the Kala-pramana into a slower one; and, by concentrating more on melodic richness; and, with a plain Bhakthi text, the new form of Svarajati came into vogue.

Vajra

Sri Shyama Shastry revised the form of the Svarajatis by eliminating the Jatis from their musical structure and, letting the Svaras to arrange themselves into Jati-patterns. And, he converted them into a refined form, which can even be sung in concerts.

Though the Jatis are eliminated, there are enormous other rhythmic beauties and complexities in the structure of his Svarajatis; without interfering the Bhava aspect; and, at the same time, adding more richness to these compositions. Sri Shyama Shastry, elsewhere, referred to this musical form in his Natta Raga Kriti ‘Pahimam’ as ‘Sarasa-pada-yugale Svarajati kalpita sangeeta-rasike’.

Sri Shyama Shastry’s contribution in reforming the Svarajatis is indeed exceptional. He was probably the first to compose Svarajatis in a new form of musical genre, where the compositions can be rendered in vocal or in instrumental form, with all the embellishments. Prior to this, the Svarajati was primarily a dance-song, resembling the Pada-vara, in its structure.

The Svarajatis of Sri Shyama Shastry are different from the rest; they are more advanced; and by themselves, they form a separate category of Art Music.

The beauty of the Svarajatis composed by Sri Shyama Shastry is in its natural flow of the Taala, Laya and Svaras.

He seemed to have found the Svara-Sahitya feature most fascinating and challenging, as well.

Here, in the Svarajatis of Sri Shyama Shastry, the elegant Svara passages blend naturally with the emotionally rich Sahitya. What you experience here is the harmony that binds together in one entity, the soulful Ragas; the lyrical elegant Sahitya; and, the innovative Taala patterns; all into a rare joyful aesthetic delight.

As regards their structure; his Svarajati compositions commence with a Pallavi, which is followed by Carana/s. While rendering the Carana, the Svaras are sung first; and, then its corresponding Sahitya is presented.

*

It is often said that the earlier form of Svarajati was primarily a dance-song, resembling the Pada-Varna in its structure; and, Sri Shyama Shastry transformed it into a more Musical form.

However, Dr. Ramanathan observes:

I think that in Shyama Shastri’s compositions the dance rhythms may not be explicit; but, they are still very much there. His Guru Samgita Swami was a Natyacharya; and , learning from this Guru at a young age had probably left certain deep impressions and ideas in the disciple’s mind, based on which, he would later mould his compositions.

It is also possible that in making modifications to the earlier Svarajati forms, Sri Shyama Shastry was influenced by the songs like ‘ēmandayānrā’ in Husēni Raga of Paccimiriyam Ādippayya (with whom he spent quite some time).

*

Sri Subbarama Dikshitar also says that the compositions of Shyama Shastri have an under-current of Jati-patterns in the melodic structure; and, should be sung with a proper grip and assertiveness.

That is because; his techniques have created unique rhythmic patterns and movements. For instance; in the application of Chapu Taala, he very effectively used the khanda phrases (i.e. phrases with 5 pulses), by way of starting the composition after the lapse of 5 counts and by providing apt Misra and Sankirna pauses of duration of 5 counts. This extraordinary use of khanda-Karvais, in effect, made the Taala gain an altogether different dimension.

[Dr. N. Ramanathan says that there is another variety of Svarajatis, which is modelled in the structure of a Pada-varna, with Pallavi, Anupallavi, Muktayi-Svara, Carana and Carana-Svaras.

In this type, the Muktayi-Svara passage consists of two parts i.e. Paata syllables and Svaras. It ends with the Jati ‘ta-dingina-tôm’ before returning to Pallavi.

He mentions that the Graha-Svaras of the Carana-Svaras are in the ascending order; in this type it is observed only in the Svarajati ‘Emandayanara’ in Huseni Raga composed jointly   by Paccimiriam Adiyappa and Melattur Venkatarama Shastri

In these Svarajatis we find the Sahitya of the Pallavi and Anupallavi is spread over a number of Svaras; and, only in the Carana Svaras we find the Svara letters and Sahitya letters are identical either long or short (Dheerga or Hrasva).

 Moeover, the Kala-pramana also differs between the Purva-part and Uttara -part in some Svarajatis.  The Purva-part is in slow tempo while the Uttara-part is in Madhyama-kala.]

devi 

Sri Shyama Shastry has composed three Svarajatis which are aptly called ‘Ratna-traya’ i.e. three gems.

His three Svarajatis are: (1) Rave Himagiri Kumari (8-Todi, Adi Taala); (2) Kamakshi anudinamuna (20-Bhairavi, Misra-Chapu Taala); and, (3) Kamakshi nee padayugamu (28-Yadukula-Kambhoji, Misra-Chapu Taala).

All the three are composed in Telugu; and, consist of Pallavi and multiple Caranas, which are sung as Svara-Sahityas.

And, all the three Svarajatis are dedicated to Devi Sri Kamakshi of Kanchipuram.

 Each Svarajati extols the beauty, the magnificence and splendid virtues of the Devi. And, through these gems, Sri Shyama Shastry prays to the Devi, seeking her blessings, her protection and her Motherly Love; and, refuge at her Lotus-feet.

All the three Svarajatis, singing the beauty and glory of the Mother Goddess Kamakshi, resemble the Kriti in their form. However, they differ from the Kriti in that they have no Anupallavi; and, have a number of Svara-sahitya passages with an entirely different Dhatu. 

All the three Svarajatis are structured with a gradual sequence of music that ends in a climax.  With the steady ascendance of the tempo, it looks as if Sri Shyama Shastry adopted here the sequential progression of the Alapana-Paddathi.

The Todi-Svarajati ‘Rave-Himagiri-Kumari-Kanchi-Kamakshi‘in Adi-Taala is the shortest, with six Svara-sahitya; each of which begins with the Raga-Chaya-SvarasDha, Ga and Ma. The Svara-kashara syllables are dexterously woven into the texture of the Sahitya.

*

The Bhairavi-Svarajati ‘Kamakshi-Amba-anudinamu-maravakane’ is set to Chapu Taala; and, has the unique structure with eight Caranas  each beginning with a successively a higher note in the scale of   the eight Svaras ‘Sa Ri Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa’ in that order (krama). And, the last Carana begins with tara-sthayi shadja. And, the Pallavi starts in the Mandra-sthayi; and, has a rare Prayoga of Shudha-Dhaivata, sung as a prolonged note. This is perhaps is the most popular Svarajati of Sri Shyama Shastri.

*

The Yadukula-Kambhoji Svarajati ‘Kamakshi-ni-paada-yugamu’ is set to Misra-Chapu. And, here again, the different sections commence on the Raga-Chaya- Svaras of the Raga- Sa,-Ri,-Pa,-Dha. This Svarajati is mostly in Mandra and Madhya Sthayi; but, some lines, towards the end, ascend (Makuta) to the Tara-Sthayi.

Svarajatis of Sri Shyama Shastri

The Ragas selected, in each case, is very apt. All the three Ragas are Shuddha-Madhyamā Ragas; of which one (Raga Todi) is a Melakarta.  Of the two Janya Ragas, Bhairavi, which is a major Raga, provides abundant scope for elaboration. And, at the same time, the third one, Yadukula-Kambhoji is very rarely elaborated. But, Sri Shyama Shastry has deftly handled all the three Ragas, exploring their subtleties and their individual characteristics.

All the three Svarajatis, which are addressed to the Devi Kamakshi, have many common features; such as: similarity in thematic content of the Sahitya couched in sweet-sounding rhythmic passages; in the arrangement of the Music starting from the slow meditative expansive elaboration, gradually raising to higher pitch and faster pace towards the end portions.

The prime feature of the music of Sri Shyama Shastry is his deep-rooted faith and his ardent devotion to the Mother Goddess. He approaches her as a child that longs for the Love of his Mother.  The Laya patterns, in tandem with the soulful (Bhava-purita) Sahitya, portray his approach.

Most of his compositions commence in calm, slow-paced (Vilamba-kala) meditative Music, lovingly conversing with the Mother Kamakshi. As the composition progresses, he is overtaken by a feeling of urgency and eagerness of a Sadhaka in securing assurance and protection from his Ishta-Devata. And, that is reflected in the contemplative mood giving place to the increased pace of the Laya in the latter parts of his Svarajatis.

 *

The sparkling Svarakshara beauty, which blends amicably well with the Sahitya, is another noteworthy feature shared by his three Svarajatis, which are often rendered at the Musical concerts.

Generally in all the three Svarajatis the Mandra Sthayi is used in the Pallavi, which paves way for the elaborate delineation of the Raga ; and , a gradual rise in the Sthayis as well as number or Avartas are found in the subsequent Caranas.

**

Before we go into the individual Svarajatis, it would be truly rewarding to briefly read through the general observations made by Dr. Sharadambal in her Doctoral Thesis.

[Her comments are highly technical. I have included here, hopefully, for the benefit of the serious students, just a few extracts from some of the details she provided.]

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Structure of Svarajatis

The three Svarajatis are in the Ragas Todi, Bhairavi and Yadukula-kambhoji.

The Svarajatis   in Bhairavi and Yadukula-kambhoji are set in Misra-Chapu Taala; while the Svarajati in Todi is set in Adi-Taala (two Kalai).

Of the three Svarajatis, the Todi Svarajati ‘Rave Himagiri Kumari’ in Adi-Taala is with Six Caranas; while the Bhairavi and Yadukula-kambhoji Svarajatis in Misra-Chapu Taala are with Eight and Eleven Caranas, respectively.

The Graha-Svaras for the Caranas are in the ascending order in the Bhairavi and in the Yadukula-kambhoji Svarajatis.

In the Todi-Svarajati, a slight change is found; the second Carana starts in the note ‘Ma’, while the 3rd, 4th and 5th Caranas on ‘Ga’.

In the earlier books which published the Svarajatis of Shyama Shastri, it is mentioned that the Svara of the Pallavi should be sung after the Svara portion of the Carana; and, the Sahitya of the Pallavi after the Sahitya portion of the Caranas.

As seen in the book Gayaka-siddha-anjanamu (of Singaracharulu Brothers, 1905), finishing portions of the Pallavi and Caranas of the Bhairavi Svarajati are marked as follows:

 Pallavi (last Avarta) : M G, R s (N) /  (nammiti) ni Sri kan ci (ka)

 1st Carana-Svara (last Avarta) :  D N S r (N) / (tal) li ra ksin cu (ka)

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Sahitya

The language employed in the Svarajatis is a high-flown pedantic scholarly Telugu, admixed with Sanskrit terms, as compared to the simple colloquial style adopted in the Kritis. The speech idiom is also interspersed with the poetical description of the Goddess.

For instance, to indicate that the Devi is the protector of the universe, he says:

Sarasijasana-harisa vinuta pada-kamalasambava-sura-muni-drulace tanu ninu-pogadutaku (Svarajati-Kamakshi-ni-pada- in Yadukula-kambhoji

To indicate that the Devi protects   her devotees, he uses a very long phrase:

Dalacinajana-dulaku-bahu-sampadalanu-sadadalacina-manavula-kella phala mosage – (Svarajati Kamakshi ni pada- in Yadukula-kambhoji).

The greatness of the Goddess as exhibited in the Vedas is mentioned in the three Svarajatis as: ‘srtutulu-moralidaga’; `vedamulu moralidagana’; and, `dorayanucu vedamulu moralidaga’.

Devi as destroyer of sins is hailed as: pataka-mulanu vâdiga; and pataka-mulanu-dircci

Devi as the destroyer of demons is praised as: Madamatta-mahisa-danava-mardani; and, madadanuja- varana-mrgendra-rcita kalusa-dahana.

*

At the same time he uses he uses, at times, even in the Svarajatis, informal, colloquial expressions, calling himself as her son, ‘Sutudamma’. He requests her to guard him against trials and tribulations. For instance:

Abhimanâmuledâ-nâpai Devi / parâkelane brôvave ippudu / cintalu vevega dircchamma / mora vinada parâkela-namma

**

Svarakshara

A remarkable feature of the compositions of Sri Shyama Shastry is the perfect synchronization of the Mathu and Dathu; blending the Sahitya with its corresponding Svara-structure. He also manages to establish harmony between the syllabic duration with the melodic duration of the phrases (Kala-pramana).

Svarajatis with many Caranas functioning as Svara-Sahityas give plenty of scope for introducing Svaraksharas. A perfect dovetailing is also found between the Svara letters and Sahitya letters in his Svarajatis.

Both the Shuddha and the Suchita Svaraksharas are found in the three Svarajatis, as the Svara and Sahitya are sung one by one; we are able to understand the Svarakshara well in the Svara -Sahityas of the Svarajati.

The Svaraksharas syllables occur in between other letters as a single letter in many places and also as combined with two or three letters.

The Svara syllables ‘Ma’, ‘Ni’, ‘Pa’, ‘Sa’ are frequently used as single syllables as the Svarakshara syllables  while the grouping of two or three are found by combining ‘Ga-Ma’ ‘Ga-Ma-Pa’, ‘Ga-Ma-Dha’, ‘Sa-Ri-Ma’, ‘Ri-Sa’ and ‘Sa-Ri’.

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Examples of single letters: In the last Carana of the Todi Svarajati, the Svaras’ Ni ‘and’ Pa’ fit in as Svarakshara.

R s n s P, D, N, P m G
cinta nuve kalyâ ni pâ da me

*

Svaraksharas used in Yadukula-Kambhoji Svarajati

svarakshara syllable2s

Some Examples of Svaraksharas in the three Svarajatis

Svarakshara Svarajati2

Vajra

  1. Rave Himagiri Kumari (8-Todi, Adi Taala)

[Todi (also called as Hanuma-Todi) is the 8th Mela

      • Arohana:s r g m p d n S
      • Avarohana:S n d p m g r s

Svarasthana: Shadja, Shuddha-Rshabha, Sadharana-Gandhara, Shuddha-Madhyama, Panchama, Shuddha-Daivata and Kaisiki-Nishada/]

The Svarajati in Raga Todi, the shortest of the three, consists a Pallavi followed by Six Caranas as Svara-Sahitya Passages.

Of the Six Carana, the first four are of the magnitude of one Avarta; and, the last two Caranas consist of two Avartas. 

*

The different sections commence on the Raga-chaya-Svaras namely Dha and Ga. The Pallavi, the first Svara-Sahitya Section; and, the Mudra section begin on Dhaivata, while the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Sections on Gandhara.

*

The music of the Pallavi begins in the Mandra-Sthayi-Dhaivata; and, revolves around the same; occasionally touching the Madhya-Sthayi ‘Ga’.

The first Svara-Sahitya passage is beautifully conceived, without resorting to Panchama note. The phrases succeed in a highly attractive manner. The 3rd, 4th and 5th Svara Sahitya sections begin in the Gandhara-Svara, bringing out the essence of the Raga through powerful and appealing phrases.

Each of these Svara-Sahitya-Caranas begins with the Raga-chayaSvaras capably woven into the texture of the Sahitya as, for instance: Ga-ma-Pa-ma-ga-ma-Dha / (Ka)- (mi)-(tartha)-(pha)-(la)-(da).

Todi Svarasahitya

 The essence of the Raga (Raga-bhava) is evoked through appealing phrases and the use of Panchama (Pa) in Alpa-Prayogas (very rare application or usage mostly when concluding the Raga-Alapana). This lends a special charm to the Music of the Svarajati.

 [Please check here for its rendering by Smt. M S Subbulakshmi. Thanks to Sri RSR)]

The Svarajati is addressed to his Mother (Mayamma) Kanchi Kamakshi, the daughter of the King of Himalaya (Himagiri Kumari). And, the Pallavi commences with a request submitted to her to listen to his plea (Naa manavi vinavamma); and, to bless him (Shubha mi-mma).

In the string of Six Svara-Sahitya passages, Sri Shyama Shastry praises the beauty, magnificence and the kindness of the Mother Kamakshi, by using the Sanskrit terms. And, while requesting (Koriti) her to dispel his worries quickly (Naa chintalanu vega deerchi) for protection (Abhaya-miyamma) since he has nowhere else to go but her feet (Nee paadamule dikku), he uses the Telugu terms and verbs.

 He describes the power and the kindness of the Mother in Sanskrit phrases as:

Mada-matta-Mahisha-danava-mardhini; Nata-jana-paripalini; Kamapalini; and, Kamita-artha-phala-dayike

In the fifth Carana, Sri Shyama Shastry sings of the beauty of the features and of the stately gait of the Mother Goddess through poetic phrases, such as:

Kamala-mukhi;Dhara-ghana-neela-kacha-bhara-vilochane;Mani-radana; and Gaja-gamana.

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The Pallavi commences in Mandra-Sthayi-Dheerga-Dhaivata, rendered with Kampita Gamaka.

The Raga-bhava of the Todi is brought out by the proper application of the Prayogas along with the Raga-chayaSvaras (Gandhara and Daivata). The Panchama-Varja-Prayoga (skipping of notes) adds beauty to the composition. A special feature of Todi Raga is said to the Varja-Prayoga or phrases where Svaras are skipped. This, in Todi in particular, enhances the beauty and Rakthi of the Raga.

*

The Dvitiya-akshara-Prasa the rhyming with identical consonants or similar sounding vowels, in the second position in a line can be seen in the Caranas 3 to 5: Kamapalini; Kamitaphala; Kamalamukhi; and, Syamakrishna.

The Svara-phrases and words corresponding to groups of Tisra and Khanda can be seen in the 5th Carana

Khandam

Smt. Sharadambal comments:

The Pallavi of the Todi Svarajati ‘Rave’ begins in the Mandra Sthayi, Dheerga Dhaivata, which is sung with Kampita -Gamaka.

The Caranas either end in Mandra-Sthayi-Nisada or Madhya-Sthayi-Shadja, with a natural lead to the Pallavi as: n (D) or s (D).

The range of the Svaras increases gradually in Sthayi. 

In the first and second Carana- Svaras, the lower limit is ‘Mandra Dha’ and upper limit is ‘Madhya Ma’

In the second and third Carana Svaras , the lower limit is Mandra ‘Ni’;  and upper limit is Madhya ‘ni’;  while the fifth Svara touches ‘Tara-Ga’ in the finishing phrase as  :

 Dha-ga-ri-ni-Dha, pa |, ma-Ga- Ri-sa ||

The second Carana Svaras start with Madhyamā, while the other three Carana-Svaras start on ‘Madhya Ga’. The first Carana- Svara start on ‘Mandra Dha’; and, the last on ‘Madhya Dha’.

The melodic movement of the last Svara also centres between ‘Madhya Ma’ and ‘Tara Ri’, only in the final phrase comes down to Mandra-Sthayi-Svaras as ‘Pa-Ma-Ga, Ri-Sa’

In the third, fourth and fifth Svaras that start on the Svara ‘Ga’, stress and shake is given to the Svara in different ways. ‘Ga-Ma-Pa’, ‘Ga-Ma-Dha-Ma’ in these Prayogas. the Dheerga KampitaGa’ is sung. 

Flattened ‘Ga’ is found in the Prayogas: ‘Ga-Ri-Sa’, ‘Ri-Ga-Sa,’ ‘Ni-Dha-Ma-Ga’ and ‘Ma-Ga-Ri-Sa’. ‘Ga’ is sung as Erra- jaru in both Mandra-Sthayi to Madhya Sthayi and Tara- Sthayi in the fifth Svara as:   ‘Dha/Ga-Sa-Ri-Ni-Sa’ and ‘Dha/Ga-Ri-Ni-Dha’.

*

We find Shadja, Panchama Varja Prayogas in the Todi Svarajati.

They are Varja and also Dathu Prayogas [Ga-Ma-Ni-Dha-Ma, Ga-Ma-Dha-Ma, Ni-Dha-Ma-Ga, Ma-Ga-Ri-Ni-Dha, Ri-Ni-Dha] – Varja, [Dh-Ga-Ri-Ni-Dha Ga-Dha-Ma-Ga-Ri-Ni] – Dathu.

In the first Svara it is a combination of a Misra and a Tisra as [dha-ni-sa-ri-G-] [-Ri-ni] , while it is simply a Misra in the second Svara as [dha-ni-sa-ri-g-ri-ni]

Vajra

  1. Kamakshi anudinamu (20-Bhairavi, Misra-Chapu Taala)

[Bhairavi is the Janya of the 20th Melakarta Nata-Bhairavi

    • Arohana: s r g m p *d n S
    • Avarohana: S n d p m g r s

Svarasthana: Shadja, Panchama, Chatussruti-Rishabha, Sadharana-Gandhara, Shuddha-Madhyamā, Shuddha-Diatom, Chatussruthi-Daivata.and Kaisiki-Nishada]

The Svarajati ‘Kamakshi anudinamunu maravakane nee paadamule dikkenuchu nammitini Sri Kanchi, Kamakshi’ in Bhairavi Raga, Misra-Chapu Taala, is a very highly popular composition of Sri Shyama Shastry; and, it is very often rendered at the Music concerts.

[Please check here for its rendering by Smt. M S Subbulakshmi Thanks to Sri RSR)]

Its Pallavi is followed by eight Svara-Sahitya-Caranas. Each of these Eight Caranas begins in a regular order of Svaras: Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni, Sa.

The Pallavi commences in Mandra-Sthayi; and, the tempo picks up progressively in the later Angas of the Svarajati, to match the emotional appeal of each Carana.

Sri Shyama Shastry seemed to have treated each Svara as a Graha Svara; and has delineated the Bhairavi Raga most beautifully.

[Please check here for the Dance-rendering of the Bhairavi Svarajati]

*

Apart from its very pleasing Sahitya, the Raga-bhava of Bhairavi is brought out wonderfully well in a methodical progression, traversing through all the Sthayis, ranging from Mandra-Sthayi-Madhyamā on to the Tara-Sthayi-Madhyama.

The Pallavi has a rare Prayoga of Shuddha-Daivata (Dha); and, is sung as an extended prolonged note.

The commencing notes of the Caranas are in the ascending order (Arohana-Krama) of the Saptha (Seven) Svaras; and, the last Carana takes off from Tara-Sthayi-Shadja.

The Vggeyakara-mudra, the signature of the composer is set in in a lengthy phrase, which is taken up by the performers on the stage for Neraval and Kalpana-Svara improvised elaborations: Shyamakrishna-sahodari-Shive-Shankari-Parameshvari.

And, the Raga-mudra, indication of its Raga, is in the last line of the last Svara-Sahitya-Carana, as: Paraku-yelane brovave ippudu Sri Bhairavi.

As in the other compositions, here too, the Vilamba-kala tempo gradually raises up along with Sri Shyama Shastry’s anxiety and impatience to stimulate the Devi to grant him protection. And, beginning from Mandra-Sthayi-Nishada, it reaches Tara-Sthayi in the last two lines, impatiently questioning and pleading with Mother Kamakshi- Abhimanamu leda naapai Devi? (Don’t you have any affection towards me?); Paraku yelane? (Why are you delaying so much?); Brovave ippudu (Protect me right now) Sri Bhairavi –Kamakshi.

Very enterprising Gamaka Prayogas are built into the rendering style of this Bhairavi Svarajati. The third Carana starts on ‘Ga’ rendered in Kampita Gamaka ; and, that is followed by exploration of the varied shades of the Madhyama , ranging from the delicate  throbbing Gamaka for the words ‘Padma-bhava’ (Ma-Pa-Ga, Ri)  leading up to a higher Gamaka ending in ‘Pa’ for the words ‘Hari’(Ga Ma) and ‘Shambhu-nuta’ (Pa; Dha-Ma-Ga).

In the next Carana also there is a charming Jaru-Gamaka (sliding) that links the higher Svara Sa to Pa, when the words ‘Taamasamu seyaka’ (Pa; Dha-Ni-Sa-Pa) are rendered.

*

The profusion of enchanting Svara-Sahitya lends richness and sparkling rhythmic brilliance to this sublime Svarajati.

[This Svarajati, in its structure and musical content resembles the famous Ata-Taala-Varna ‘Viriboni’ composed by Sri Pachimiriyam Adiappiah, the noted composer and singer of his times, under whose tutelage the young Shyama Shastry spent a brief time.

Some scholars have tried noticing in this Svarajati of Sri Shyama Shastry, the traces of the influence of Sri Adiyappa.]

*

Smt. Vidya Subramanian has made a very good study of the Svara-sahitya in the Bhairavi Svarajati Kamakshi anudinamu. I have tried to summarize her observations, here:

The first Carana ends with the words ‘Talli rakshinchu’. The Svara for these words are Pa-Dha (Talli) and Ni-Sa-Ri (Rakshimpuu). The Svaras ‘Pa and Dha’ leisurely take four Akshara-kala; while ‘Ni’ takes three; Sa takes two; and, Ri takes one Akshara-kala.

The second Carana concludes with the word ‘Mayamma’. The Svaras used for this word are ‘Ni, Ga, Ri’, a typical Bhairavi Prayoga, to which Gamakas  are applied,  to heighten the  emotion of Bhakthi (devotion).

In the third Carana , which commences with the Svara ‘Ga’, many shades of delicate Gamakas are applied to the words ‘Padma-bhava’ (Ma; Pa-Ga-Ri) taking up to higher Gamaka , ending in ‘Pa’ for the words ‘Hari’(Ga Ma) and ‘Shambhu-nuta’ (Pa; Dha-Ma-Ga).

In the fourth Carana, the Jaru-Gamaka on ‘Sa’ links the higher Svara ‘Sa’ to ‘Pa’, when the words ‘ Taamasamu seyaka’ (Pa; Dha-Ni-Sa-Pa) are rendered.

The fifth Carana also commences on a Svarakshara. The words ‘Paataka mulanu’ match the Svaras ‘Pa; Dha-Pa-Ma-Ga-Ri’. And, his question ‘Pavani-gaada?’ is matched by the Svaras ‘Ga; Ma-Ga-Ri-Sa) ; and,  ‘Moravinadaa?’ with (Pa-Ma-Ga-Ri-Sa).

In the sixth Carana, here is an unusual link from the Svara ‘Sa’ in the Madhyamā-Sthayi to the higher Svara ’Ga’ in the Tara-Sthayi , matching with the word ‘Vedamu’ (Sa-Ga-Ri)

The seventh Carana also has many Svarakshara Prayogas; like Nee Pavana (Ni; Ri-Sa-Ri) and Mada Danuja (Ma-Pa-Sa-Ni-Dha). There are also some charming Sancharas like (Ga-Ma-Ga-Ri-Sa) which bring out the beauty of Bhairavi raga in the higher notes.

The Eighth and the concluding Carana ,is adorned with a series of inspired and lovely phrases addressing the Mother Kamakshi . Among these, the Music for the words ‘Abhimanamu-leda-naapai?’ seamlessly escalates from Madhyamā-Sthayi to Tara-Sthayi, with the Svaras (Sa-Ni-Sa; Pa-Ma-Pa; Dha-Ni; Sa-Ri; Ga)

*

Smt. Sharadambal comments:

In this Svarajati the eight Carana-Svaras start on the Saptha-Svaras in the ascending order as:  Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni and Sa.

The Svaras end mostly or Rsabha-svara; and, the Pallavi is taken as :  Ga Ri \ Ni or Sa Ri \ Ni.

Only the third and fourth Caranas end Shadja as:  Ga Ri Sa and Ma Ga Ri  Sa

The number of the Avartas as well as the range of Svaras increases gradually from the first Carana passage to the last Carana passage. 

The first Carana has four Avartas and the last Carana Svara has sixteen Avartas. The melodic range in the first Carana-Svara is from the Mandra Madhyama to Madhya Rsabha; gradual increase in the Sthayi is noticed in the subsequent Carana Svaras.

In the second Carana Svara the lower limit raises to ‘Mandra Dha’ and the Svara Sancharas are framed up to ‘Madhya Ma’.

 In the next two Carana-Svaras the Sancharas does not go below Mandra-‘Ni’;
while the upper limit is increased to ‘Tara Ri’ and ‘Tara Ga’.

The seventh and eighth Carana-Svaras touch ‘Tara Ma’; while the Svara-Sancharas cover Madhya and Tara- Sthayi in many places, occasionally touch Mandra –Sthayi-Svaras also.

*

We find a number of Svara patterns in the Bhairavi Svarajati also. Though the composition is in regular Misra-Chapu Taala, we find patterns of Svaras in the Viloma-krama (i.e. reverse order 4+3). 

The third Carana ends with this pattern as ‘Ni-Ni-Dha-Pa | Pa-Ma-Ga-Ri-Sa||’

In the seventh Carana we find the ending as (Ni Dha Pa G Ri] [; Sa Ni Dha Pa] [; Ga Ri (Ni)]

The eighth Carana ends in a combination of ‘Misra’ as:  Ma Ga Ri Ra Ri|| Sa Ri Ni Dha Pa || Ma Ga Ri Ga Ri||.

Vajra

  1. Kamakshi nee padayugamu (28-Yadukula Kambhoji, Misra Chapu Taala)

Raga Yadukula Kambhoji is a Janya of the 28th Melakarta Harikambhodi

  • Arohana:S R₂ M₁ P D₂ Ṡ / Avarohaṇa: Ṡ N₂ D₂ P M₁ G₃ R₂ S
  • Svara-shtana: Shadja, Chathusruthi-Rshabha, Antara-Gandhara, Shuddha Madhyamā, Panchama, Chathusruthi- Dhaivata and Kaisiki-Nishada.]

The Svarajati in Yadukula-Kambhoji, in its commencing lines of Pallavi, is a poignant submission to the Devi, requesting her to drive away all his worries. Sri Shyama Shastry, here again, asserts his deep-rooted immense faith in his Mother (Amma); and pleads with her to rescue and to protect him.

Kamakshi nee padayugamu sthiramani ne namm-iyunnanu; naa chinta-lellanu deerch-amma

This is the longest of the three Svarajatis of Sri Shyama Shastry, with the Pallavi followed by as many as eleven Svara-Sahitya-Caranas.

Addressing the Mother Kamakshi as :  Pavani Manini; Parvathi-Sakala-Janani; and, Sura-vrnda-Vinuta; Sri Shyama Shastry recites the beauty of Devi Kamakshi with a series of elegant Sanskrit phrases; Kamala-dala-sama-nayana; Kacha-jita-ghana-Sashidhara-vibha-vadana; Baala-kisa-laya-carana; and, Kunda-mukula-radaa.

Yadukula-Kambhoji, usually, is not much elaborated in the Raga-alapana. But, Sri Shyama Shastri makes a deft Prastara of it.

Moving away from the usual mode of singing this Raga only in the Mandra and Madhya Sthayis, Sri Shyama Shastry attempted introducing the Tisra-Sthayi up to Madhyamā.

Here, again, the different sections of the Svarajati commence on its Raga-Chaya-Svaras: Sa, Ri, Pa, Dha and Tara Sa. The Music of the Svarajati is mostly in Mandra-Sthayi and Madhya-Sthayi; and, some lines, towards the end, go up to Tara-Sthayi.

The Caranas are systematically arranged in the raising order of the pitch, keeping in tune with the emotional content of the Carana. This progression simulates the Alapana-Paddathi, moving from low to high

The first two Caranas are set in Madhya-Sthayi-Shadja. The next three Caranas commence with the Svaras ‘Ri’, ‘Ga’ and ‘Ma’.

The three Caranas that follow begin with ‘Pa’.

The ninth and the tenth Caranas start with the Svara ‘Dha’.

And, the eleventh and the last Carana commences with Tara-Sthayi-Shadja.

*

The Yadukula-Kambhoji Svarajati has many instances of Jaru-Gamakas (slides) as well as the graceful Pratyahata- Gamaka, which is a characteristic of the Raga

[Please check here for its rendering by Smt. M S Subbulakshmi Thanks to Sri RSR)]

Smt. Sharadambal comments

This Svarajati is a lengthy one with eleven Caranas in all the versions of the published books; and also in the HW of Shyama Shastri II; but in SSP of Subbarama Diksitar there are only 10 Caranas.

In this Svarajati also the starting Svaras of the Caranas are in the ascending order. This Raga has only five Svaras in the Arohana [Sa Ri Ma Pa  Dha], so more than one Caranas start on the same Svara

There are two Caranas starting on the Svaras Shadja Rsabha and Dhaivata; and three on Panchama

There is only one Carana each starting on the Svara Madhyamā and Tara Shadja. The Nyasa Svaras of the Caranas are mostly ‘Ga’ and ‘Ri’ and the Caranas either end as `Sa-Ri-Ga’, `Ri-Ma-Ga’, `Dha-Pa-Ma-ga’, `Pa-Ma-ga-Ri’, `Ga-Ri,-Ma-Ga-Ga-Ri’ and `Dha-Pa/Ga-Ri’

Only one Carana i.e. the 9th one ends on the Svara Dha as `Ni-Dha –Pa-Dha

In the first seven Carana Svaras  the melodic movement in the Mandra Sthayi touches ‘Mandra Pa’ and the upper limit only increases gradually as `Ma’, `Dha’, `Ni’ and `Sa’.

In the eighth Carana alone the lower limit happens to be `Madhya Sa‘ ; and in the next three Carana Svaras also `Mandra Pa’ is included in the Svara Sancharas.

The last Carana Svara gives the climax of the Raga.

*

In the Svarajati in Yadukula-kambhôji Raga, Svaras are sung in two octaves.

Here is an instance in the fifth Svara ‘PaPaDhaDhaSa /PaPaDhaDhaSa’.

We see the Erra-jaru-Gamaka also in this Svara combination.

In a similar way, different patterns of Svaras are also sung in two octaves with an upward glide.

There are Svaras sung in two octaves with a downward glide also.

Here both the Jarus are found: p d r S | \ ; m p d P || – 8th Svara

Prathyahaþa Gamaka, which is another characteristic Gamaka of Yadukula-kambhôji raga, is found in some places.

The finishing Svaras of the Carana- Svaras before taking up the Pallavi is interesting to note.

In many Svaras we find Svaras in all the three octaves occurring as finishing Svaras.

The sixth Svara finishes as – P | Dha-Sa-R-iMa-Pa-Dha-Dha | Sa, Pa|| Ri Sa Ni Dha Pa Ma Ga||.

In the eighth Svara we find the ending as: [ p d | r S ; ] [ m p | d p ; ] [ m g || + [S , ]

In the ninth Caranas the last two Avartas cover the three octave Svaras as ‘Ga-Ri-Sa-Ni-Dha-Pa-Ma | Ga-Ri-Sa-Ni-Dha-Pa-Dha ||

Lalita Parameshvari

lotus

In the Next Part we shall talk about

The Varnas composed by Sri Shyama Shastry

Continued

In

The Next Part

Sources and References

All images are taken from Internet

 
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Sri Shyama Shastry (1763-1827) – Part Eight

Continued from Part Seven

Sri Shyama Shastry – Music-Continued

sarasvathi tanjore 01

The Kriti is a composite Art form. A good Kriti is the sublime blend of the Mathu (Sahitya) and Dhathu, the Music and its rhythm. All the constituent elements (Angas) – the sentiment, the diction, the music and the  rhythm– that combine to form a Kriti, have to be in harmony, supporting each other; each helping the others to shine forth and to manifest in their best form. The Kriti is indeed a living, fluid, organic entity.

In the Karnataka Samgita, Mathu or Sahitya and the prosody (Kavya-lakshana) assume great importance. Raga, essentially, is a representation or an outpouring of the emotional content (Raga-bhava) of the Kriti, evoking a distinct feeling of happiness, sweetness (Madhurya) or poignancy (Karuna-rasa). But, Raga, by its very nature; is rather amorphous; and, truly having no physical or material existence. It does need a medium to articulate in a tangible form that draws the listener into the music; and to communicate with her/ him. It is only then there will be fulfillment (Dhanyata-bhava); and, music becomes a shared experience between the composer, performer and the listener.

And, even otherwise, the lyrics of a Kriti has its own importance. A composition is known and recognized by its Sahitya; particularly by it’s opening lines (Pallavi), than by the mere name of the Raga, which attires its lyrical appeal. There might be numerous Kritis in a particular Raga; but, it is its Sahitya that lends an identity to a given composition.

A well composed , expressive , lyrical beauty that blends amicably with melody and rhythm is a distinctly bright feature of the Karnataka Samgita. Perhaps no other system of music, anywhere in the world, can boast of such a wealth of exquisitely structured compositions set to music.

If an erudite composer also happens to be a gifted poet, endowed with innate poetic genius (Kavya-Prathibha), which is nurtured and developed through training Utpatti (detailed study of Grammar, the literary works and scriptures); and Abhyasa, Abhiyoga, Prayatna (constant practice) of composing poetry set to Music, then his Kriti will blossom into most delectable poetic presentation  adorned with enjoyable music and pulsating rhythm.

It creates an idyllic ambiance that is shared by the creator, the performer and the Rasika (enjoyer). It, somehow, touches the very core of our being. And, as Abhinavagupta says, it is a Chamatkara, which bestows on all an Alaukika Ananda, an out-of-the-world wondrous aesthetic joy. Thus, at the end, very little would separate the composer, the singer and the Sahrudaya, the well informed connoisseur.

In the traditional kritis, composing a Sahitya that conforms to the laws of the prosody (Kavya Agama) is very vital. All the renowned composers of the Karnataka Samgita were well learned in Vyakarana, Chhandas and other Prayogas of Padya Sahithya. Their Kritis show the remarkable mastery they had gained over the Alamkaras – literary embellishments—such as: Prasa, Yati, Yamaka, Gamaka, Svarakshara patterns and others.

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Prasa

Prasa is a type of Sabda-alamkara, a literary ornamentation.  The term Prasa refers to the sound or the phonetic sequence. In a composition; similar sounds (Prasa) could be employed either at the commencement of each Paada (line) of the composition (Adi or Adyakshara-prasa); or as ‘Anu-prasa’ , where similar letters or sounds  recur repeatedly in the same Paada; or in the second syllables of each Paada (Dvitiyakshara-prasa); or in the concluding line where the rhyming occurs towards the ending (Antyakshara-prasa).  

And, Adi or Adyakshara-prasa, mainly, involves rhyming, where each Paada (line) starts with the same Akshara; or, where the first letter is repeated between the Avartas.   

Anu prasa is where similar letters recur repeatedly in the same Paada.

Dvitiya-kshara-prasa is the repetition of the second letter (Jiva-akshara) of the first Avarta in the same position in the subsequent Avartas, as well. This is concerned only with consonants, not vowels.   Such a Prasa can be for a single letter and also for a group of letters.

Antya-prasa is the repetition of a letter or group of letters at the end of the Avartas. It differs from Prasa; because, while the Prasa is confined to consonants, here the vowels are also included.   For instance, a word like Netram can have Antyaprasa only with words like Gatram, Sutram, etc., and not with words like Satrum, Atrim etc.

The Muhana is the repetition of the first letter between the Avartas. The Antya-prasa is the repetition of a letter or group of letters at the end of the Avarta.

Muhana is a type of Sabdalankara, in which the same letter as in the beginning of an Avarta or any of its substitutes should occur in the beginning of the second Avarta. For example,‘ Dinakara Kula dipa / Dhrita divya sara chapa!’

The term Antar+ukti, literally means the ‘in-between utterance’. The method of Antarukti is by way of inserting one or more syllables between two words.  It is done mostly for the sake of maintaining the flow of the Taala.

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In his Kritis, many of which are technically classified as Telugu works, the essential and the prime body of the lyrics is in chaste, refined classical Sanskrit-based terms.

His Telugu words, though often are informal and colloquial expressions, are infused with emotion trying to express the natural feelings of tenderness, love and affection of a child reaching out to its Mother. Many of these songs are a sort of conversations, pleading with the Mother, questioning her why she is not paying attention to him, not responding to his desperate appeals and so on.

And, in such Kritis, though he has mostly employed the spoken form of Telugu language, either as verbs (Akhyata) – say like brovu, vinu, matladu etc. or for addressing (Sambhodana) the Mother Deity as Talli, Mayamma etc., the string of sweet-sounding names and eloquent, picturesque adjectives he uses for describing the beauty, splendour and the countless virtues of the Supreme Mother Goddess are all in delightful Sanskrit phrases.

*

Further, the nature of the Telugu- Sahitya of his Kritis markedly differs from the Sahitya of the Svarajatis.

The Telugu-Sahitya of his Svarajatis, in contrast, is more poetic; orderly and, is often  interspersed with philosophical expressions.

*

Sri Shyama Shastry has adopted the time-honored (Sampradaya-baddha) poetic traditions (Kavya-agama) followed in the ancient Prabandhas as also in the Kirtanas and   Kritis that came into being during the seventeenth and the eighteenth . Such essential poetic virtues (Kavya-guna) are found in the Kritis of the other Masters also.

Many of the Kritis of Sri Shyama Shastry are adorned with the metaphors of Kavya-Alamkara and Sabda-Alamkaras, such as Anuprasa and Antya-prasa. And, Muhana (the first letter repetition between the Avartas) and Prasa (the second letter repetition) are also used. But, more Kritis are found with the Prasa-Yati. Sri Shyama Shastri used the method of splitting up the words i.e. Antarukti for introducing Prasa- Yati

Smt. Sharadambal explains :   with regard to the occurrence of the Prasa-aksharas in the compositions of Sri Shyama Shastry, they can be divided into four categories,.

  1. Dhirgha (long) syllables preceding the Prasa-akshara in the Carana alone.
  2. Dhirgha (long) syllable proceeds in the all the three Angas.
  3. Hrasva (short) letter is found throughout the composition.
  4. 4. Dhirgha (long) syllable is found in Pallavi and Anupallavi; and, the Hrasva (short) syllable is used in the Carana.

This KritiDevi nee paada sarasamule’ (Khambhoji); and, Mayamma (Ahiri) are cited as instances, where both the long and the short syllable are used in the Kriti

**

Sri Shyama Shastry used the Prasas like Adi-Prasa; Anu-prasa; Dvitiya-kshara-Prasa and Antya-Prasa.

For instance; the Sambhodana-vibhakthi, as an Adyakshara-prasa is used in Sri Shyama Shastry’s KritiEmani Migula’ (Todi).

Here, every Paada (line) of the second Carana commences with similar sounds, calling out to the Divine Mother:  O Janani Karuni….  Om Anina JanmaO Moha- vratulai O Rajadhi-rajendra.

*

Examples of alliteration of the first letter

Saroja-dala-netri (Shankarabharanam)

Saroja dala-netri Himagiri-putri nipada-mbujamule

 Sada nammina-namma subhamimma Sri Minakshamma

Mariveregati (Anandabhairavi)

 Madhura-puri nilaya vani rama sevita pada kamala

Madhu kaitabha bhanjani katyani marala-gamana

*

Sri Shyama Shastry has employed Anu-prasa (repetition of a vowel or consonant or both), in some of his Kritis. For instance; in the Kriti ‘Kanaka-shaila’ (Punnagavarali), the syllable ‘da’ is repeatedly used in the second Carana as follows:

Chanda-munda-kandana-panditesu;danda-kodanda-mandita-pani; pundarika  -nayana-archita-paade

In the Kriti Parvati Ninnu (Kalkada) the Anuprasa is seen in many places such as:

Anupallavi: Sangita-lole, Suguna-jale, and Jala- mele

Carana-1:Banda-daitya-Khandana-Khandala-vinuta-Mârthand-Neeraja-kshi Nikhila-sakshi

Carana(2):Indu-vadana-Kunda-radana-Sindura-gamana-makaranda-vâni,Nila megha-veni Girvani.

*

In the First Carana of the Kriti O Jagadamba (Anandabhairavi), the Dvitiya-kshara Prasa for the sound ‘Inna’ occurs in all the four Avartas, till the last line:

Kanna-talli;- Kannada-salupaga ;- Ninnu-ne; –  Anni-bhuvana ; – Prasanna-murti; -Vinna-pambu; Vipanna-bhaya

*

And , in the Kriti Meenalochana (Dhanyasi) the Dvitiya-kshara ’Na’ has been maintained in the Anupallavi and in  the First Carana as ; Meena; Gana; Kanna; Panna etc.

In the Anupallavi of the Kriti Saroja-dala-netri (Shankarabharanam), the letter ‘ra’ occurs as the second (Dvitiya) letter (Akshara) of its lines.

Paraku seyaka varadayaki nivale daivamu-lokamulo-galada

 Purani sukapani Madhukara veni Sadasivuniki rani

*

Sri Shyama Shastry  used the device of Antarukti for splitting up the words, for introducing Prasa-yati, in some cases.

In the Kriti O Jagadamba (Anandabhairavi), the Antarukti is used to bring the Prasa Yati.

Pallavi:  O Jagadamba nannu (Na…..- Antarukti Vujavamuna) brovumu …..
Anupallavi: Rajamukhi ……. (Suguna –Antarukti Rajarajita) Kamakshi

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Antya-prasa is found in all the three Angas of Sri Shyama Shastry’s Kriti   Shankari Shamkaru (Saveri), where the Pallavi reads: ‘Akhilandeshwari–Vandite Gauri’.

That is followed by Anupallavi: Kalyani–Jagatjanani; and, First Carana: Jagadavanollasini—Kapaladarini sulini

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Another type of Antya-prasa used by him was to repeat the same word at the end of all the Caranas.

For instance; the word ‘birana’ is repeated at the end of the Pallavi and at the end of the last line of all the three Caranas of the Kriti Brovavamma (Manji).

Similar is the case with the word ‘Na-talli’ in Devi brova samayamide’ (Chintamani) ; and , the word  ‘Brochutaku’ in the Kriti Ninnu-vinaga (Purvikalyani)

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Yati

Yati is a generic term, having different connotations in Kavya, Taala (Mrdanga) and in Music. In regard to the Kritis in Karnataka samgita, Yati is a Dhatu-Mathu-Samyukta Alamkara. This Anga is meant to decorate the texture of the compositions. Yati could also control the arrangement of various tempos.  It is, thus, an ornamentation that enhances the beauty of the Sahitya and the flow of the Musical presentation of the Kriti.

If the Yati is taken to mean the arrangement of Sahitya phrases along with its Dhatu, there would be different types of Yatis in music. Here the Sahitya phrases would be ingeniously arranged to form varied patterns, such as: Sama Yati, Gopuchcha Yati, Srotovaha Yati, Damaru Yati, Mridanga Yati and Vishama Yati.

Sri Mutthuswami Dikshitar, in particular was a Master in crafting such various patterns of Yatis. And, some Yati-prayogas are also seen in the Kritis of Sri Thyagaraja.  But, Sri Shyama Shastry did not seem to have attempted Yati-prasa to that extent; except perhaps the Sama Yati, which is an even flow of the Sahitya phrases; and, follows a uniform length of lines (Sama). If two letters of Yati and Prasa are of one and the same character and magnitude, it is called as Sama-yati -Prasa.

According to Prof. Sambamurthy, alliterating the initial syllables or their sequence in Avartas could be taken as Yati. The purpose of the Yati is to create a pleasant musical resonance.

In Sri Shyama Shastri Kritis, the Dhatu as well as its rhythm are arranged; for example; in the Kriti Palainchu-Kamakshi (Madhyamavathi),  the phrase ‘Paalinchu Kamakshi pavani …..Paapa-shamanee‘, the appearance of the second Pa is called Sama-yati-Prasa.

In the Kriti Mayamma (Ahiri), the Yatis that occur are of the same character and magnitude.

Sarasija

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Yamaka

This is a literary beauty, where in the same word, will be repeated but with different meaning and sense. For instance; In the Anupallavi of the Kriti Mayamma (Natakuranji), the word ‘Ananda‘ is applied in many ways so as to give different layers of meaning (True bliss -Happy one – Eternally blissful -Blissful):

Saty(A)nandA – SAnandA – Nity(A)nandA AnandA

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Gamaka

The term Gamaka derived from the root ’gam’ suggests movement (Gamana, Gamya). Gamakas are graces or ornamented flourishes of the Svaras which characterize the gait of a Raga (Raga-sanchara); and, establish the melodic nature of the Dhathu of a musical composition (Raga-svarupa). They are the varied musical effects (Alamkaras) that can transform a plain note into something that is attractive, charming and pleasant on the ears (Gamakau–srotra-sukhadai-lalithair-asthu).

Gamakas  are executed in varied forms, such as: graceful turn, curve or sliding touch given to a single note or a group of notes, which animates Svaras to bring out the melodic character and expression (bhava) of a Raga. Gamaka-rendering is a highly individualistic and a specialized skill. Gamakas are very vital factors of Karnataka Samgita. I am not sure if any other system of music has a worthy equivalent to Gamaka of Karnataka Samgita.

Gamaka (ornamented note) is thus any graceful turn, curve or cornering touch given to a single note or a group of notes, which adds emphasis to each Raga’s unique character. Gamaka, in short, is the movement of Svaras which bounce, slide, glide, shivers, rapidly oscillates or skips. It provides movement and animates Svaras to bring out the melodic character and expression (bhava) of a Raga. Each Raga has specific rules on the types of Gamakas that might be applied to specific notes, and the types that may not. Every Raga has, therefore, to be necessarily rendered with the appropriate Gamakas. They depend on the manner of quivering, oscillations or shaking that the Svaras can be endowed with.

Sarangadeva (11th Century) in his Sangita-ratnakara , enumerates fifteen (pancha-dasha) varieties of Gamakas – Tiripa, Sphurita, Kampita, Leena, Andolita, Vali, Tribhinna, Kurula, Ahata, Ullasita, Humpita, Plavita, Mudrita, Namita and Misrita

And, while describing the   virtues and the desired qualities of a highly accomplished singer (Uttama Gayaka) who belongs to a good tradition (Su-sampradayo) , Sarangadeva says, such a one should have the intelligence to improvise the Gamakas in all their movements (Sarva-sthanao-ttha-Gamake-sarva-kaku-vishesha-vit,-aneka-sthai- sancharah); and, in all the three registers (Sthanas)

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The Kritis of Sri Shyama Shastry are remarkable for their Gamaka Prayogas. His Kritis, set in leisurely Vilamba laya, excelling in Chowka kala, are ideal for illuminating and  elaborately bringing out the varied nuances of a Raga through the application of many improvised  Gamaka movements like Kampita, Jaru etc..

As a composer of great merit, Sri Shyama Shastry creatively transformed the traditional concept and application of the Gamakas. In his Prayogas, the Gamaka is not a mere ornamentation of a Svara; but, it is also a soulful means of expressing anguish, devotion, joy  and such other emotions. It lends a new color and a new dimension to both the Dhatu (Music) and the Mathu (Sahitya) of his Kritis. Sri Shyama Shastry was indeed a pioneer in delineating the Raga-bhava through Gamaka Prayoga.

Any number of instances could be cited in this regard. But, just to mention a few:

His different compositions in Anandabhairavi bring out diverse shades and aspects of the Raga. It could be either a simple delineation of the Raga as in his Kriti ‘Himaachala-tanaya’; or the Jaru Gamakas (glides) in the Madhyama-kala tempo in Rupaka Taala as in the Kriti ‘Pahi Sri’; or it could also be the Jaru Gamakas in Vilamba-kala set to Misra –Chapu-Taala as in the Kriti ‘Marivere’; and, finally, it could be an elaborate Raga portrayal in the Adi Taala , Madhyama gati,  in  the Kriti ‘O Jagadamba’.

The two varieties of Kampita -Gamaka are applied to the same phrase ‘Amba ni’ in the Kriti ‘Sari-evvaramma’ (Bhairavi) to express two different emotions. Similar features can be seen in his other Kritis also.

In the Kriti ‘O Jagadamba’ (Anandabhairavi), the opening exclamation ‘Oh’ is repeated thrice, with three different Gamakas. Initially, it is in a lower Svara, as an Etra-jaru (a glide from a lower Svara-sthana to a higher one). The second ‘Oh‘ is expressed through oscillations (Kampita) in higher notes, in a circling movement. And, the third ‘Oh’ is an Erakka-jaru (a slide from a higher Svara-sthana to a lower one).

In the Svarasahitya of the Kriti Kamakshi Bangaru (36-Varali, Misra Chapu), where the word ‘Mayamma’ starts with a Jaru (glide) from the Daivata; and, reaches Tara-shadja in the passage ‘Mayamma Vegame Karuna-judavamma’

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Many examples of Gamakas can also be found in Sri Shyama Shastry’s Svarajatis. His Todi-Svarajati ‘Raave’ begins with a Mandra-sthayi-Dheergha-Dhaivata, which is sung with Kampita Gamaka (oscillations).

His very famous Bhairavi Svarajati ‘Kamakshi’ has eight Caranas starting in the ascending order, the Arohana, as ‘Sa RI Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa’. In the opening lines of the Pallavi, which are in Mandara Sthayi, in a contemplative mood, the Kampita (oscillation) and Jaru (glides) Gamakas follow in succession.

The Yadhukula-kambodhi Svarajati has many instances of Jaru Gamakas as well as the Pratyahata Gamaka (Sphurita in the descent, a Samabandha Gamaka produced from the higher note in a Janta svara prayoga), which is a characteristic of the Raga.

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Even in his Varnas, there are many Gamaka-prayogas.

For instance; the Varna in Anandabhairavi, ‘Sami ninne’ not only begins with a characteristic Jaru Gamaka (s/s-d-p-m-g-m); but , it also appears at many other parts of the composition.

[For a detailed discussion on the Gamakas, please do read the Chapter 5 – Concept of Gamaka in the compositions of Syamasastriof Dr.Manju Gopal’s research paper.]

 [** Svarajati, as the name suggests, is a combination of Svaras (notes) and Jati (rhythmical sol-fa passages). Sri Shyama Shastry revised the form of the Svarajatis by eliminating the Jatis; and, letting the Svaras to arrange themselves into Jati-patterns. The Svarajati composition commences with a Pallavi; and, is followed by Carana/s. While rendering the Carana, the Svaras are sung first; and, then its corresponding Sahitya is presented.

The beauty of the Svarajatis composed by Sri Shyama Shastry is in its natural flow of the Taala, Laya and Svaras. ]

Taala

Taala and Laya

Taala and Laya, over which Sri Shyama Shastry had gained mastery, and their dexterous combination with the Sahitya are among the outstanding features of his compositions.

He had experimented with altering the sequence of Matras in the Misra Chapu, transforming it into its reverse, the Viloma Chapau.

He had employed various Grahas or Eduppus (starting Points) in his Misra Chapu Kritis

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Sri Subbarama Dikshitar (on page 15 of the segment Vaggeyakara Caritam  included in his monumental work  Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini),  while writing a biographical note about Sri Shyama Shastry says;

Since his compositions are like ‘narikela-paka’ ”(as tough as breaking a coconut), with rich poetry, containing  Atita, Anagata Grahas , with beautiful words, some lazy musicians, who could neither comprehend nor had the mettle to sing them in the manner that pleased the audience, called them tough.

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Sri Shyama Shastry’s expertise in Taala and Laya is very evident from his treatment of the Misra Chapu Taala.

[In regard to the Taala; Graha or Eduppu denotes the point within the Āvartanam of a Taala, when a composition or stanza in a composition begins.  Graha (Eduppu) can be two ways. One is Sama; and, the other is Vishama.

When a song begins at the first beat of a Taala it is Sama. And, when song begins either before or after the stroke of Taala it is Vishama.

Vishama is classified into two, as: (a) Athitha Graha: When the song begins first; and, it is then followed by Taala beat; and, (b) Anagata Graha is when a Taala begins first; and, the song follows it later.]

The Kritis of Sri Shyama Shastry (like those of Sri Dikshitar) do not start on Athitha-Graha. But, this feature occurs within the body of the Kriti, perhaps to satisfy the requirements of prosody. Usually, the Pallavi and, at times, Anu Pallavi of his Kritis commence in Anagata-Graha; while the Anu-Pallavi and Carana begin with Sama-Graha.

For instance; the Kriti ‘Devi nee padasarasa ‘(Kambhoji) commences in Anagata Graha with ‘Pa’ as the Graha-Svara; while, its Carana begins in Sama Graha.

[ It is mentioned that in Patantara – the texts of the Kritis- that came into use after 1930, the construction of the musical elements; especially of the Eduppus changed much ; and the 4+3 format was not maintained throughout.

For instance; in the Kriti ‘Ninnu vina’, the Pallavi is framed as 2+2+3; the Anupallavi ‘Pannaga-bhushannudaina’ and the Carana ‘Parama-lobu-lanu’ are of the usual 2+7 Eduppu; not consistent with the 4+3 formation of the Pallavi.

For more on this issue, please see the extracts from the work of Smt. Sharadambal, given in later in this post]

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An excellent feature of his Kritis is that the Sahitya is arranged in concordance (Samanvaya) with the Taalajatis (beats of the rhythm cycles).

Sri Shyama Shastri has used the different combinations of Svara syllables as well as Sahitya syllables to weave new patterns, within the framework of the Taala.

In his compositions, we find many words constituting of five syllables corresponding to the tâd-in-gina-tom in a natural way.

In the compositions as well as in Svara-Sahithya we find words as ‘Anu-dina-mu, Tarunamidi, durusu-ganu, kamala.mukhi, samayamidi and so on.

His compositions have plenty of Sahitya syllables, which are in the same time-units as the Dirgha-svaras and Hrasva-Svarâs, forming different patterns within the Taala structure

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Another versatile feature in the Kritis of Sri Shyama Shastri, with regard to Taala, is that he has composed Kritis in Taalas and Gatis (sub-divisions of a beat in a composition) that are interchangeable.

He has composed a few Kritis suggestive of two rhythms. Here, one is the inherent rhythm (Sthapita-Taala); and, the other is the suggested rhythm (Suchita-Taala).

For instance; in the Kriti Shankari-Shamkuru (Saveri), Rupaka (1+1) is the Sthapita Taala; and Adi Taala (Tisra-gati, 3) would be the Suchita-Taala. The Pallavi and Anu-Pallavi, at the outset, are in Rupaka Taala; and, the Carana follows the Adi Taala (Tisra-gati).

And, similar is the case with another Kriti, Birana-varalichi’ (Kalyani) , which can be rendered in both Rupaka Taala (Chatursra- gati, 2+4) and also in Adi Taala (Tisra gati-3).

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Laya, Taala, Sruti and Kala are intricate concepts in Karnataka Samgita. They are as nebulous as one often flows into another.

Laya is commonly translated as tempo; which is inseparable from rhythm. And, rhythm is the ordered movement in time and space

 It is also said; Laya is the pulse of the rhythm, which has three major speeds: Vilamba (slow), Madhyama (medium or normal) and Dhruta (fast).

Thus, Laya is said to include both rhythm and tempo; which are measured by the uniform flow of the time-duration (Kala). With that, Laya is the ordered movement of rhythm in time.

Suffice it to say that Laya could be taken as rhythm.

And, rhythm in our music is two-dimensional; the one that is related to the pitch is termed Shruti-Laya; and, the other related to the time-units is called Taala-Laya.

[Dr S A K Durga explains ‘The Laya stands for the interval of time between the beats and movement in time. Thus the term “Laya” means both rhythm and tempo created by the even measured flow of the uniform duration of Kala (time).

Prof .P.S. Narayanaswami: Rhythm gives stability and form to music. It can be described as the tangible gait of any musical movement. In Carnatic music, this is referred to as Laya. The common fallacy is that rhythm or laya is confined to percussion instruments and the rhythmic patterns produced therein. But laya is not limited to just that. It is present not only in melodic compositions, which usually have a rhythmic metre in an apparent manner but also in the creative aspects, sometimes conspicuously (like in Neraval or Kalpana-svara) and subtly at others (Raga Alapana and Tanam)]

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Laya, for all its beauty, is abstract. You need a device, which measures and monitors this abstract time-flow. And, that function is performed by Taala.

If Laya is the rhythmical movement, Taala is that which measures the tempo of that movement. So, Laya implies movement; and, it can be perceived when there is a motion.

Taala (derived from the root tada or tadana) signifies a ‘beat’. The time-interval between the beats and its movement could also be taken as Laya, the rhythm.

Taala is the measurement of time-units in our music. And, the degree of speed with which the time-units, in each division of a Taala-cycle, follow each other is termed as Kala.

{But, Kala is also used to indicate Laya; say, as in: Madhyama Kala, Chowka Kala etc.]

The structural units of a Taala are called Angas.  Such Angas are of different kinds.

Here, Anu-Dhruta (One Aksharakala) consists only the beat with palm. Dhruta (2 Aksharakala) is a beat followed a waving of hand. Laghu-Dhruta (4+2 Aksharakala) consists beat and finger counts (Laghu+Dhruta). And, Guru-Dhruta (8+2 Aksharakala) is rendered in Dhruva-kala and Patita-(Guru+Dhruta) wave to left and right or circle with thumb-up + beat with palm + turn (wave).

Anudruta Drutha Sankeerna Laghu

Taala, in turn, is reckoned by the finger counts, beats and wave of the hand. This manner of counting and keeping time is termed as Kriya. And, Kriya is the action of fingers, palms, hands, in order to keep track of the Taala-units.

And, when it is done without making audible sounds, it is called Ni-shabda-Kriya. And, when the beats are counted and played on cymbals etc., it is Sa-shabda-Kriya.

In the execution of a Taala, between two successive Kriyas, there is a period of rest or pause; and, that has to be maintained consistently.

The action of Kriya (manifesting as Taala sequence) and the interval between two elements of Kriya are interrelated. Further, each Kriya is an extension of its previous one. Here, the duration of such time-lag between two Kriyas assumes importance; and, with its increase or decrease, the Laya becomes faster or slower.

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In Dhruta-Laya (fast), the Kriyas follow each other in quick succession, as the time-lag between them is very short. In Madhya- Laya or medium tempo, the Laya gets doubled; and, a further doubling of laya results in Vilambita laya.

This suggests; an increase in Laya results in decrease of the speed, i.e., the speed or tempo of a piece is inversely proportional to its laya.

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The tempo of the musical composition in Indian Music is not marked by the composers as Indian music is learnt through oral tradition; and, the composers did not write their compositions with notation, unlike the composers of Western music. In Indian music , the compositions are performed in the tempo according to the Rasa and Bhava of the Raga and Sahitya, besides the performer’s own decision according to her/his  concept of aesthetics,  in the presentation

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 Kala-pramana 

 Smt. Sharadambal observes  : regarding the tempo or Kala-pramana of the Compositions:

Though, most of the songs of Shyama Shastry are in slow medium tempo in Adi-Taala, there are some songs in fast and medium tempo.

The songs in Misra-Chapu and Triputa-Taalas also are mostly sung in slow medium tempo. The long drawn out rhythm with many pauses is seen in Chapu-Taala compositions with less number of words; and, with pauses here and there in these Kritis.

Some of his compositions in Adi-Taala have a tight knit relation between the Taala–Aksharas and the Sahitya letters. Almost all the Svara-letters have Sahitya-letters; and ,  Hrasva letters found in profusion.

For example; songs like’ Sarojadala-netri’ in Shankarabharana Raga; and in ‘Devi Brova’ in Chintamani Raga, though are set in Adi-Taala, the tempo seems to be increased and gives the impression that the song is set in Madhyama-kala. We do not find extensive pauses in these songs. The pauses are limited; and, words are many; and, this makes it appear as though the tempo is increased.

The songs set in Adi, Rupaka and other Taalas are in fast medium tempo. ‘Parvati-ninnu’ in Kalkada, ‘BiranaVaralicci’ in Kalyani can be cited as examples. Thus we find three different tempos such as slow, slow medium and fast medium tempos among the compositions of Shyama Shastri.

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Pada-garbha / Arudi

Arudi or Pada-garbha is a pause that occurs in between the Taala- Avartas. Usually it occurs at the middle of the two Kalai Adi Taala or in the beginning of the next Avarta; or in the beginning of the third Avarta; or in Rupaka Taala or Chapu Taala.

The Kritis:  ‘Kanaka-shaila’ (Punnagavarali); ‘Mayamma’ (Ahiri), ‘Emani-migula’ (Todi), ‘Palinchu Kamakshi ‘ (Madhyamavathi); ‘Devi-ni-padasarasa’ (Kambhoji); ‘Devi-mina-netri’ (Shankarabharana );  ‘Devi brova’ (Chintamani ), in Adi Taala  two Kalai, all have the Pada-garbha exactly at the middle of the Avarta;  that is, on the first Druta.

Here, the pause occurs dividing the Avarta into two; and, after a pause for two or four or three Aksharas, the song proceeds further.

In the songs having two Avartas in the Pallavi, the Arudi occurs in both the Avartas. For instance; we find Pada-garghas in the two Avartas in the kriti ‘Mayamma’ (Natakuranji); one in the first Avarta; and, the second in the second Avarta.

Mayam | ma nannu | Brova vam || ma+ ma ha ma | ya …u | ma … ||

Similarly in the song ‘Saroja-dala-netri’ in Shankarabharana Raga, we find two Pada-garbhas for the pallavi

Saroja dala netri Himagiripu | tri … ni | padam
Sada nammina namma subhamim | ma …O Sri 

In    Adi Taala, this pause occurs at the beginning of the next Avarta as in the song ‘Karuna judu’ in Sri Raga

Karuna judu ninnu | nammina | va-duga ||
da …in ta | parake | lanamma ||

The kriti ‘Karuna-judu’ as rendered in Misra Chapu Taala, in the 4 + 3 gait, has the Pada-garbham at the beginning of the fifth Avarta in the word ‘ga’ 

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The Kritis in Rupaka Taala and Chapu Taala have the Pada-garbham at the commencement of the third Avarta.

Ninne’ in Todi Raga and Chapu Taala’ has two lines of Sahitya; and; had pause for the two lines at the beginning of the third Avarta

Ninnenam || mi na ……… || nu ……… sa || da ……… ne ||
Vin na pa || mu vi ni || nan …… nu || bro ……vumu ||

The other examples are :Mina-locana’ in Dhanyasi Raga in Chapu-Taala and  ‘Nannu-brovu’ in Lalita Raga are in Chapu Taala; ‘Pahi Sri’ in Ânandabhairavi Raga  in Rupaka Taala;  ‘Karuna juda’ in Varali Raga in Chapu Taala; ‘Birana vara’ in Kalyani Raga in Rupaka Taala;  ‘Ninnuvina’ in Ritigaula Raga in Rupaka Taala

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Pauses found in different places

There are some kritis, in which pauses occur in different places i.e. at the end of the pallavi; or  at the end of the first Avarta and so on.

There are kritis which do not have pauses in between the Avartas; but, pause occurs only after finishing the Pallavi at the end of the second Avarta.

For example; in the kriti ‘Durusuga’ in Saveri Raga, we find pause only at the end of the Pallavi, whereas in the kriti ‘Marivere’ in Anandabhairavi Raga, we find a pause at the end of the first Avarta itself in both the lines as

Marive ……| ……………re | ga ti ye vva | ram … ma ||
Mahilo ……| …………….I. | mahilo ….. | brocu taku ||

Similarly in the kriti ‘Janani’ in Saveri Raga  we find a pause in the beginning, but after that words follow without any pause up to the end and the pause occurs after the words as :

Janani ………… Nata | jana pari | pa lini …
pahivambhava | ni ……….| …………

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In some kritis, pauses occur in the beginning; at the end of the Avartas in some; and,  in many places in some kritis ; whereas there is no pause at all in some kritis.

The kritis in Chapu Taala are found with fewer words; with more pauses occurring in different places.

In the kriti ‘Talli-ninnu’ in Kalyani Raga in Chapu Taala, a pause occurs at the end of the second Avarta;  and,  it is continued in the beginning of the third Avarta.

Talli | Ninnu nera | …………… nammi | na nu vino | ve ..

In the kriti ‘Ninnu-vinaga’ in Purvikalyani Raga in Viloma Chapu Taala, we find karvai at the end of the first and third Avarta. The karvai is found in the second line also.

Ninnu vina …… | …… ga mari | dikk-evarun ……| na ……ru ||

In the kriti ‘Brôvavamma’ in Manji Raga ,in Chapu Taala, pauses occur in many ; and, not at specified places.

Brova vam ……|……ma …… ta … | masa me ……| le … ………………| ………….
bi ……..| ra …………na …… || ……
Devita ………|…… la le ………| ne …………bi | ra …… na ……

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Similar type of kriti is ‘Nilayata-kshi’ in Pharaz Raga. We can find pause here and there controlling the flow of the rhythm.

Ni …… la …… ya || ta ………kshi || ni …… ve …||
jagatsa ……kshi ||

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In order to control the less number of words employed in an Avarta in the above mentioned kritis in Chapu Taala; Shyama Shastri might have used these pauses wherever necessary.

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Aspect of Laya

The advent of the Trinity with their compositions paved the way for a new era in the growth of Kriti. They gave importance not only to melody but also to the temporal aspect or laya.

Eduppu or Graha is the place where in the song starts in the Taala.  This plays an important role in the construction of a composition.

There are songs which start on Sama Eduppu; that is, the Taala as well as music start at the same time from the beginning of the Taala count.

There are some songs which start after the Taala begins. This is called Anagata Eduppu.

Some songs start before the Taala Avarta, that is in the previous Avarta itself; and, that is called Atitha Eduppu.

Usually in songs, the Eduppu will uniformly be the same in all the three Angas, either Sama or Anagata

We also find different Eduppus among the different sections within a song of Shyama Shastri.

There are some songs in which two Angas start on the same Eduppu; and, the other Anga has a different Eduppu. They are as follows:

1.Birana – Kalyani – Rupaka
2. Shankari – Saveri – Rupaka
3. Himadrisute – Kalyani – Rupaka
4. Devi-mina-netri – Shankarabharana – Adi
5. Devi-neepada – Khambhoji – Adi
6. Enneramum – Punnagavarali – Adi
7. Mayamma – Natakuranji – Adi
8. Karuna-juda – Varali – Chapu
9. Shankari – Kalyani – Ata

 The song ‘Birana Varâlicci’ in Kalyani Raga and the song `Himadrisute’ are with the same structure, but in Sanskrit, a special Eduppu is found in Rupaka Taala

The Pallavi and Anupallavi start after the first beat; that is, in the second beat or after four Akshra kaalas. The Carana of the song start after two Akshara Kaalas.

In this song, the Pada-garbham (Arudi) falls on the sixth beat; and, again the words start after a karvai of eight Aksharas.  This gives a grip to the song over the Taala.

Another song in which the Carana alone starts after two Aksharas, while the Pallavi and Anupallavi start on some Eduppu is ‘Shankari’ in Saveri Raga. These two Kritis belong to the group of Kritis prevailing since early thirties.

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There are some Kritis, which figure only after 1930.

Among them, the two Kritis each in the Ragas Shankarabharana and Kambhoji alone figure in the notation of Shyama Shastri II; and, the rest figure in the books of others of the same period.

In the four Kritis in Adi Taala, mentioned above, either Sama or Anagata Eduppu is kept for one Anga; and, the other two Angas have different ones.

For example, in the song ‘Devi ni pada’ in Kambhoji, the pallavi starts after two Aksharas; while Anupallavi and Carana have Sama Eduppu.

In the kriti ‘Mayamma’ in Natakuranji Raga, this is reversed. Pallavi has Sama Eduppu; and the Anupallavi and Carana start after two Aksharas.

In the Kritis ‘Devi-mina-netri’ in Shankarabharana Raga and ‘Ennçramum’ in Punnagavarali Raga, the Pallavi and Carana start after four Aksharas; while the Anupallavi start on Sama.

In the kriti ‘Karuna juda’ in Varali Raga, Chapu Taala, the Anupallavi alone starts after one Akshara; and, the other two Angas start on Sama

 In the kriti ‘Shankari’ in Kalyani raga, Chatushra Atta Taala, the Carana alone start after one Akshara and the others on Sama.

There are some songs set in Misra Chapu Taala in the Krama order as 3+4; but, the Eduppu gives the impression as if the songs are sung in Viloma Chapu.

 The songs start in the last beat of the Taala; and so the structure is formed as 2 + 3 + 2. The Kritis ‘Nannu-brovu’ in Lalita Raga and ‘Talli-ninnu’ in Kalyani Raga and ‘Mina-locana’ in Dhanyasi Raga can be cited as examples.

The song ‘Ninnu-vinaga’ in Purvikalyani Raga  is the only song set in regular Viloma Chapu , which starts in the place Taka-dimi and then taki-ta follows as in HW of Shyama Shastri II, says S.Rajah.

In the HW of Shyama Shastri II , all the songs are written only in the form 4+3; but, the Eduppu alone is denoted either as 4+3 or 3+4 or 2+3+2 by an asterisk mark.

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The Taalas handled by Sri Shyama Shastry

Sri Shyama Shastri has composed Kritis and other compositions in various types of Taalas;  such as:  Adi, Rupaka, Misra Chapu, Mathya, Triputa, Jhampa and Ata Taala. All the Taalas come under the Sapta- Taala group.

[In the Karnataka Samgita concerts, the four Taalas that are commonly used are – Adi, Rupaka, Misra-Chapu and Khanda-Chapu.  And, most number of songs is in Adi Taala.

Popular Taalas

Adi Taala has several compositions, each in a different tempo and gait. These could be effectively used to bring out contrast within the concert. Variety can also be brought out by singing compositions with different starting points. For example, a composition can start at the very first beat of the Taala. Or it can start at the next beat or after a few counts within the beats. The starting point is known as Eduppu or Graha. – Dr. P S. Narayanaswamy]

As regards the number of compositions in each type of Taala:

each type

 (Source: Dr. Manju Gopal)

Adi Taala

Of the thirty compositions set in Adi Taala, as many as twenty-seven are the Kritis. And the rest three are: a Gita (Santatam-Pharaju); a Varna (Dayanidhe –Begada); and, a Svarajati (Rave Himagiri –Todi).

All the Kritis are of the Eka Kala and Dvi Kala type.  The Laya is Vilambita in most cases. Sometimes the Madhya Laya is also used.

Of the thirty compositions in Adi Taala, as many as twenty-three start on Sama Graha; and , seven on Anagata Graha (half Eduppu).

 For the three Kritis: Karuna-nidhi-ilalo (Todi); Shankari Shamakuru (Saveri) and Parvathi ninnu ne (Kalgada), the Tisra Gati is employed.  In Tisra -Gati, each unit of the Taala will be counted as ‘ta-ki-ta’ (a unit of three Aksharas)

The variation in the Akshara-kala of each count of a Taala (Gati-bedha) is another feature here.

It is said; the compositions in Tisra Gati –Adi- Taala (with a total Akshara kala duration of 24) could also be rendered in Rupaka Taala (12  Akshara kala duration).

Following that; the Tisra Gati Kritis in Todi and Saveri Ragas are sometimes sung to Rupaka Taala.

And in the other way; the Rupaka-Taala-Kritis – Ninnu-vina (Ritigaula) ; Birana Varalichi (Kalyani) ; and , Himadrisute (Kalyani) can also be sung to Tisra-Gati-Adi -Taala.

**

Chapu Taala

It is a very common saying that among the Ragas, the Anandabhairavi; and, among the Taala, the Misra Chapu Taala are the favorites of Sri Shyama Shastry. He did, indeed, pay special attention to these two; and, transformed their modes of presentation.

The Chapu Taala is believed to have originated from the folk tradition; and, it was much used in the Bhagavatamela plays, which Sri Shastry as a youngster loved to watch while his family was Thiruvarur.

The beat (ghata) is the only kind of Kriya used in the Chapu Taala; and, there are no other Angas here such as Dhruta or Laghu etc. And, its Kriyas are not of uniform duration.

The Chapu Taala (which is said to be an abbreviated form of Tisra-Jati-Triputa-Taala) has four variations:  Tisra-Chapu (1+2=3) ; Khanda-Chapu (2+3=5); Misra Chapu (3+4=7) ; and, Sankirna-Chapu (4+5=9).

Of these variations, Sri Shyama Shastry adopted the Misra Chapu of seven Akshara kala duration  for many of his compositions.

As said; Misra Chapu has two parts. The first part (3) is three-fourths the duration of the second (4). In sum, it would be reckoned as having two beats (3 and 4). But, in practice, it is played in two beats. And, sometimes, instead of the first beat, the Taala would commence with a wave-motion (Visarjita).

Sri Shyama Shastry revised the mode of rendering the Chapu Taala ( 3+4) by reversing the  sequence of its beats and transforming it into Viloma Chapu Taala (4+3). And, this became a hallmark of his preferred Taala structures.

The following are the compositions of Sri Shyama Shastry set to Misra Chapu and  to Viloma Chapu

Misra Chapu

Among the eleven compositions in Misra Chapu Taala, five compositions viz.,   the two Svarajatis; the two Kritis in Varali; and one Kriti in Anandabhairavi, all start with Sama Graha . And, the rest six, start in Anagata Graha.

Viloma Chapu

Of the seven Kritis in Viloma Chapu Taala, the two Kritis Trilokamata (Pharaju) and Ninnu-vinaga-mari (Purvikalyani) start on the Sama Graha. And, the other five Kritis start on Anagata Graha, on the second beat. [The Kriti Karuna-judu (Sri) is sung by some in Adi Taala.]

**

Triputa Taala

There are nine compositions set in Triputa Taala; and, these include three Gitas.

Of these nine compositions: three Gitas – Kamakshi (Pharaju); Kamakshi (Madhyamavathi); and Sarasakshi (Saveri); as also the three Kritis – Paramukha-melanamma (Kalyani); Palayasumam (Arabhi) and Nilayatakshi (Pharaju) – all start Sama Graha (Eduppu).

The other three Kritis in this group: Nannubrova (Janaranjani); Adinamu-ninchi (Ananadabhairavi) ; and, Ennerum (Punnagavarali) – start on Anagata Graha (half Eduppu).

**

Other Taalas

As regards the compositions in other Taalas

other Taalas

In the case of the Taalas of the twenty compositions, the Akshara value, in each case, amounts to 7 or to multiples of 7.

The Taalas that are involved here are: Tisra-Jati-Triputa (7 Aksharas); Misra Chapu (7 Aksharas); Khanda-Jati-Ata (14 Aksharas); and, Viloma Chapu (7 Aksharas).

Of such twenty compositions, 9 are in Tisra Triputa; 12 in Misra Chapu; 7 in Viloma Chapu; and 2 in Khanda Ata. (Source: Dr. Manju Gopal)

*

Of the 72 known compositions of Sri Shyama Shastri, 47 start with Sama Eduppu; and , 25 compositions with Anagata Eduppu.

Examples of Sama Eduppu are: Emani migula (Todi, Adi Taala); Palayasumam (Arabhi, Triputa Taala); Sari evvaramma (Bhairavi, Khanda Jhampa Taala); and Shankari-Shankari (Kalyani, Khanda Ata Taala).

Examples of Anagata Eduppu are: Palimpavamma (Mukhari , Adi Taala , half Eduppu); Birana Varalichi (Kalyani,  Rupaka Taala,  Eduppu in the second beat); Nannubrova (Janaranjani, Triputa Taala, half Eduppu); Talli-ninnu (Kalyani, Viloma Chapu- Eduppu on the second beat)

*

Though there are no compositions among Sri Shyama Shastry’s creations, that explicitly commence with Atitha Eduppu, shades of this feature can be noticed in some of his verses. For example, in Mayamma (Ahiri, Adi Taala), the Carana of which reads:

Sarasija-bhava Hari-Hara-nuta sulaita nee/ Pada-pankaja-mula-sthira-mani Nammiti -Nammiti -Nammiti ni

Here, the portion from ‘pada pankaja’ is said to start with the last count of the previous Avarta. This could be taken as Atitha Eduppu.

*

A unique feature of the compositions of Sri Shyama Shastry is the modulation of the rhythm (bigu-sugu), which emphasizes certain notes and stretches them.

Another noticeable feature is the rhythmical improvisations (Laya, Taala) do not in any manner hamper the melody (Dhathu) and the consistency of the Sahitya.

In the Kritis and Svarajatis of Sri Shyama Shastri, the Sahitya phrases and the sequence of rhythmic patterns (Taala Jati) blend harmoniously.  The long Sahitya syllables are matched by long (Dheerga) Svaras; and the short ones are in tune with the short (Hrasva) Svaras.

 For instance; the sequence of the units of Akshara kala (of three different kinds- 5, 7 and 9) combines well, in each case, with the corresponding flow of the Sahitya.

In each case, the Sahitya segment is broken up into the number of units of its Taala.

 Aksharakala

devi

 We shall talk about the Languages of the Kritis of Sri Shyama Shastry

as also about his other types of Compositions

Continued

In

The Next Part

Sources and References

All images are taken from Internet

 
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Music of India – a brief outline – Part Eight

lowContinued from Part Seven – Music in Natyashastra

Part Eight (of 22) – Dhruva Gana in Natya

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Dhruva Gana

1.1. Drama in the ancient context was said to be a blend of four components: speech; gesture; song (or music); and emotion. Each of these was believed to correspond with a Veda: the spoken word or speech the vehicle of elemental power with Rig-Veda; acting, gestures and expressions with ritual action of Yajur Veda; songs rooted in tradition with the musical style of rendering the Sama Veda verses; and emotional elements communicated to spectators through the combination of all such means with Atharva Veda.

1.2. A play was described as a Poem (Kavya) that is to be seen and heard (Drshya-Kavya). Song and Music, therefore, did play a vital role in the enactment of a play. The songs in the play were of Dhruva Gana class.

2.1. Dhruva Gana initially meant versified stage-songs that are essential to a play. They were the type of songs that were sung by the actors on the stage as also by the singers in the wings, to the accompaniment of musical instruments, during the course of the play. These songs formed an essential ingredient of the play.

And, Natyashastra says:  without songs the Drama is incapable of providing joy (NS. 32. 482).  It says : Just as a well-built dwelling house (citraṃ niveśanaṃ) does not become beautiful and provide a pleasant ambiance without any colour; so also  a Drama without any songs  does not provide much joy.

Again , the importance of songs in dramatic performances is highlighted by stating that, just as a picture without color does not produce any beauty, a play without songs cannot become delightful.

yathà varnàd rahite citram na shobhotpàdanam bhavet| evam eva vinà gànam nàtyam ràgam na gacchati|| NS. 32. 425|

Therefore, much importance is assigned to Dhruva Gana.  Natyashastra devotes one entire and a lengthy chapter (Chapter 32) for discussing the Dhruva songs.

2.2. Abhinavagupta explains that the type of these songs were called Dhruva ( = standpoint; locus of reference)  because in it,  the Vakya (sentence), Varna (syllables) , Alamkara (grace notes), Yatis (succession of rhythm patterns) , Panyah (use or non-use of drums) and Laya (beats) were  harmoniously fixed ( Dhruva) in relation to each other – (anyonya sambandha) .

Vakya –Varna–Alamkara  yatyaha -panayo-layah I   Dhruvam-anyonya sambandha yasmath smada Dhruva smrutah II

He further says, the composition (pada samuha) structured as per a rule (niyatah) and that which supports (adhara) singing could be called Dhruva (Dhruvah- Gitya-adhara niyatah pada –samuha).

At another place, Abhinavagupta explains Dhruva as the basis or the support (adhara) on which the song rests. Abhinavagupta says: just as the painting is supported by wall, the Dhruva song is supported by Pada (word). And, Pada in turn is supported by, the Chhandas (meter) – (Abhinavagupta: NS.32.8).

Thus in the Dhruva Gana the words of the song are regulated by Chhandas. And , the words are then set to appropriate tunes and Taala-s.

Abhinavagupta explains that the Dhruva songs help to enhance the artistic sense of the important themes that occur in various situations in a play.

Earlier,  Natyashastra (NS: 32.32) had also explained  Dhruva Gana as well composed songs that are steadfast (Dhruva) in  the principles of Pada (words), Varna (syllables) and Chhandas (meter) .

When to sing and what to sing

Dance

3.1. During the play, the Dhruva–Gana songs were sung at various situations in the drama including entry or exit of a character; or for heightening the emotions; or for dance movements or steps. The type and mood of Dhruva songs varied depending upon the demands of the dramatic situation.  That would also take into  consideration  the theme, the context in  performance, the age and the nature of the character as also the moods , the seasons , the place , time (day or night) and conditions (bright sun , moonlight , cloudy or raining) and so on.

3.2. Natyashastra says that events and emotions that either cannot be expressed or remain to be expressed in speech should be presented through songs. That is because; the songs have the tender power, flexibility and ripeness to bring out the inner content (aantharya) of the situation succulently. And in songs, the words seem to acquire greater depth of meaning.

For instance; the Avakrsta songs having long drawn out syllables were used in pathos and when the character was in misery or nearing death. Dhruva-s of Sthitha in slow tempo were sung in the case of separation, longing for the beloved, anxiety, exhaustion or dejection. Prasdiki Dhruva-s in medium tempo is for love scenes, recalling a pleasant memory, sweet speech and wonder. And, the Druta type of Dhruva-s having short or rapid notes were employed in situations where there was furious heroism, , wonder, excitement , excessive joy or anger .

3.3. At the same time, the Natyashastra also tried to maintain a sense of balance between speech and song. It therefore said: The first round of Dhruva should be without drums, because it is important for the spectators to get to know the theme of the song. And, too much music should not be used in Dhruva because the substance of the song is important to outline the context of the scene. The words (Pada) of the Dhruva are important and should be heard clearly.

And, when a character enters crying in excitement, in wonder or announcing a statement, then Dhruva songs were not to be used.

Particularly when female actors sing , the music should not be so loud as to  hamper the intricacies of singing. Generally women have sweet and soft voice; and , they could be allowed more number of songs with mellow instrumentation. The men who have vigorous voice could use louder and intricate instrumental music.

Five types of Dhruva

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4.1. Five types of Dhruva are mentioned in the context of Natya according to the situation and the desired mood to be evoked: Pravesiki Dhruva; Naiskramiki Dhruva; Aksepiki Dhruva; ; Prasadiki Dhruva; and Antara Dhruva.

Some of the Dhruva songs were sung by the musicians behind the curtain. And when it was removed the character would enter and join the singing and gesturing the mood etc indicated by the song. All those songs were played to the accompaniment of the instruments.

Thus, the different types of Dhruva-s indicate the varied functions they perform during the course of the play. They were used to suggest either the entry or the exit of a character  or other events. The accompanying instrumental music did , of course, enhance the theatrical effect of the scene; and, made it more enjoyable. 

4.2. Pravesiki Dhruva: – these were songs heralding the entrance of a main character on to the stage for the first time. The singing of the Dhruva was generally from behind the screen (Nepathye); and when the screen was removed the character entered on to the stage. And, the actor too would join the singing. This appears to be the forerunner of the Paatra-pravesha Daru of Bhagavata Mela, Yakshagana and Kuravanji Nataka. Rajashekara (Balabharata 1-14) says: the Dhruva that announces and introduces a character, delights the hearts of the spectators; and,  helps to forge a relation between the two.

4.3. Naiskramiki Dhruva: – songs rendered during the exit of a character either at end or the middle of an act.

4.4. Aksepiki Dhruva: – songs rendered, between the acts, after a tense scene or to indicate change of mood. The change, sometimes, occurs in the character after listening to Nepathya-vakya – the speech behind the curtain. Along with the change in the mood, a change in tempo also takes place – from slow to quick or the other way. Abhinavagupta illustrates the use of Aksepiki sung in fast tempo (Druta) to indicate the change of mood of Sri Rama from that of sadness (Shoka) to that of heroics (Vira) after listening to Ravana.

4.5. Prasadiki Dhruva: – Prasadiki is described as that which gives rise to colourful delight (ranga-raga) and happiness (Prasada). This type of songs sung in Madhyama Kaala  are used to express Srinagar Rasa, as in love-scenes, the first meeting of the lovers, recalling a pleasent memory sweet speech, joy and wonder. It is also meant to clam the spectators after a stressful scene as in Aksepiki.

4.6. Antara Dhruva – is a sort of ‘filler’ that could be used to rescue the performance. It could cover up a gap due to delay or due to a mishap during the play. It could also be sung to offer relief after a disturbing scene such as violence, anger, intense grief swooning, poisoning etc. All such songs were played to the accompaniment of the instruments

Antara was always being sung from behind the curtain, while the other four types being sung on the stage and some of that the leading characters.

It is said; Antara Dhruva songs were sung even to divert audience’s attention. For instance; in the middle of one of his plays, Bharatha introduces a song and dance sequence that apparently had no relevance to the narration of the story. The learned among the audiences are promptly confused. They inquire Bharatha “We can understand about acting which conveys definite meaning. But, this dance and this music you have brought in seem to have no meaning. What use are they?” –  na gītakā-artha-sambandhaṃ na cāpy-arthasya bhāvakam ॥ 4.262

Bharatha agrees that there is no meaning attached to those dances and songs; and goes on to explain calmly “yes, but it adds to the beauty of the presentation and common people naturally like it. And, as these are happy and auspicious songs people love it more; and they even  perform these dances and sing these songs at their homes on marriage and other happy occasions”(Natyashastra : 4.267-268)

[ Such ‘relief’ Antara Dhruva was perhaps the forerunners of the Item-songs of the Bollywood.]

vinodakāraṇaṃ ceti nṛttam etat pravartitam । ataścaiva pratikṣepā adbhūtasaṅghaiḥ pravartitāḥ॥ 266

ye gītakādau yujyante samyaṅnṛttavibhāgakāḥ। devena cāpi samproktastaṇḍus tāṇḍava pūrvakam ॥ 267॥

gīta prayogam āśritya nṛttam etat pravartyatām । prāyeṇa tāṇḍava vidhir deva stutyāśrayo bhavet ॥268॥

Chhandas (Meter)

5.1. Bharatha says that just as the Vedic chants, the Dhruva cannot be without Chhandas (meter) _ (NS: 32.432). In the Natyashastra, Chhandas are discussed as an essential part of vācika abhinaya. And, Vac is said to be the soul of this Abhinaya (expressions with gesticulation). Bharatha considers that the words in Dhruva and Chhandas go together; they are mutually dependent.

(Chandohīno na śabdoˊsti na chanda śabdavarjitam, evam tūbhayasa¿yogo nāyasyoddyotaka smta ).

5.2. Bharatha combines the discussion on Chhandas with that on dramatic-plot with script (Pathya). The Chhandas, he says, gives a structure to the words of the Dhruva song (Chhandamsi hya nibaddha).

Bharata mentioned Pathya in the Natyasastra (17. 102); and, said:  “pathyam prayunjitam sad-alamkara-samyuktam” – the Sahitya of a song is called the Pathya, when it is embellished by six Alamkaras.  Abhinavagupta in his Abhinava- bharati explains that when any composition (sahitya) possesses six Alamkaras and sweet tones, it is known as a Pathya. These six Alamkaras are:  Svara, Sthana, Varna, Kaku, Alamkara and Anga.  (Note: kakus are the variations of the vocal sound for expressing different ideas)

Bharata considered Pathya under two heads: Sanskrita and Prakrit. Abhinavagupta followed Bharata in this respect

5.3. The Chapter 16 of the Natyashastra discusses the practical aspects of Chhandas in Dhruva Gana and gives about 116 illustrations of Dhruva-s set in various Vedic meters such as: Gayatri, Anustub, Tristub, Brihati, Jagati, Panaki etc

 Laya (Tempo)

Dance Drama

Laya literally means ‘to be one with’ and binds the emotion of the song with the Tempo.  Laya signifies the speed or the Tempo of a song or dance. Chapter 29 of the Natyashastra discusses how the emotional content (Rasa) or the mood of a Dhruva song could be best presented in a certain Laya.

The measurement of time is usually in terms of the time- interval between two events. Time (that is the duration) appears as a chain that links events separated from one another by periods of rest (absence of events) . That is to say the duration between two events which becomes the basic unit of measure is known as Kaala .

The Kaala is measured in terms of the time-units called Matra. And, one Matra is the time taken to utter five short syllables (e.g. Ka-Cha-Ta-Pa). It is, of course, not precise ; because,  the time taken to utter five short syllable might vary from person to person. But, it taken as the approximate time that most, normal, persons would take. Therefore, in the Gandharva Music, Matra is not rigid.

Kaala is the basic unit in terms of which the duration of the Taala is measured (Abhinavagupta: NS: 31.06). A Taala segment is identified as a structure of so many number of  Kaala-s. (Thus, Kaala, Matra, Laya and taala are all inter related terms).

The three kinds of units of measure (Kaala) that were employed in the Gandharva Music were: Laghu (short), Guru (long) and Pluta (extended). Laghu is equal to one Matra; Guru to two Matra-s; and Pluta to three Matra-s.

Laya is understood as the time-interval between two Matra-s ( or the pause between two strokes). If the intervals are of short duration then the beats must be fast; and the Tempo would be fast. If the intervals are twice the duration of the fast tempo, the beats become slower; and the Tempo would be middle. And similarly, if the intervals are four times the duration, the beats would get slower ; and the tempo would be slow.

The text speaks of three kinds of Laya: Vilambita (slow); Madhyama (middle); and Dhruta (fast). Vilambita is the basic speed; Madhyama is double the speed of Vilambita Laya; and, Dhruta, the fast, is double the speed of Madhyama Laya.

In Druta Laya the time lag between two Kaala-s is brief; each following the other in quick succession. Thus, when the Laya is short, the tempo of the Taala would be fast. In Madhya Laya, the tempo would be medium ; and in Vilamba   the tempo would be  slow. The change from Druta to Madhyama is spoken as ‘doubling of Laya’.

There are also other ways of classifying Laya:  Sama, Srotogata and Gopuccha. This is spoken in terms of Yati which is a sort of method to indicate Laya.

In the Sama there is a uniformity of Laya in the beginning, in the middle and in the end.  In the Srotagata (like the flow of the river that expands in breadth)  Vilambita is used in the beginning, Madhyama in the middle and Druta in the end. The Goputccha (tapering like a cow’s tail) is the reverse order of Srotagata.

Laya is an integral part of music, while Taala is its physical expression through a precise time-cycle. Laya is thus said to be Prana (vital force) of Taala. And the two terms are sometimes used alternatively. Therefore, the Taala-s of Dhruva songs sometimes are referred to as Laya-s or Laya-taala.

Bharatha   elaborated on Taala in the 29th chapter of the Natyashastra, as it performed a large role in coordinating different activities of music, drums and dance. The function of the Taala is measuring the rhythm of the song and regulating the flow of the rhythm and the melody in the song.

He explained Taala saying as a definite measure of time upon which Dhruva Gana rests:  ganam talena dharyathe. Matra is the smallest unit of the Taala. A Taala does not have a fixed tempo (Laya); and, can be played at different speeds. The Taala-s used in Dhruva songs were simpler – say , like Tryasra and Chturasra. ; and , were regulated by the meter (Chhandas)  of the song text (Pathya) (Abhinavagupta :NS: 32.352)  .

In the Tryasra Dhruva the steps should follow three Kaalas. And, in Chatusra they should follow four Kaalas (Kaala = Matra that is the time required to utter five short syllables)

Natyashastra recommends songs exuding Karuna Rasa (sorrow) should in Vilamba Laya; Sringara (erotic) in Madhyama Laya; and, Veera (heroics) and Raudra (anger) in Druta Laya.

And, in relation to Dhruva Gana, in particular, Natyashastra provides number of illustrations.

:- Dhruva compositions of Avakrsta  type , full of long syllables (Avakrsta) expressing pathos (Karuna) , separation (Viraha) ; or when the character on the stage is fettered , fallen , disabled, fainted and nearing death  – should be rendered in Vilamba Kaala  (slow tempo).

– When the movement is slow (with wide steps) as during the entry of an elephant; and when songs with long syllables are sung

– Dhruva-s of Sthitha type in slow tempo depicting separation, longing for the beloved, anxiety, restlessness, exhaustion or dejection, should be rendered in Vilamba Kaala (slow tempo).

– With regard to Sthitha Dhruva songs, its twofold aspects (sthana)  are described  as Parastha and Atma-samsrita . Abhinavagupta explains these terms as referring to songs that help to clearly bring out the pathos the situation. For instance; the character of Sri Rama sings a Dhruva song in anguish pining for his separated beloved Sita it would be Atma-samsrita ( concerned with the character proper); and , the Dhruva song  that Lakshmana sings  empathising with his brother and sharing  his pain that would be Parastha  ( concerned with others’ sorrow).

:-  Madhyama Kaala is the normal or the standard (middle) Tempo. And, it is particularly recommended for Prasadiki type of Dhruva songs sung in love scenes (Sringara), first meeting of lovers (prathama samagama), recalling a pleasent memory (priya varthalapa) , sweet speech (madhouse bhashi), joy (harsha) and wonder (Adbhutam, Vismaya)).

: – Dhruta the fast Tempo is employed in varieties of occasions:

–  When the character is in confusion, wonder, sudden joy or anger.

– For Dhruva of short syllables; for quick movement during scenes that depict entry of chariots, aerial-cars (Vimana).

– For Druta type of Dhruva-s having short or rapid notes, employed in situations where there was furious heroism, wonder, excitement, excessive joy or anger.

[A word of caution the concepts of Kaala, Matra , Laya etc as mentioned in the ancient Gandharva and Gana Music are NOT the same as they are understood in the present time.]

Drama chariot

 

[Natyashastra provided rules not merely for singing but also for speech delivery (Vachika) . It mentions that in order to bring out the right effects the speech should be well articulated and should respect the virtues (Dharma) of: Svara (notes), Sthana (voice registers), Varna (pitch of the vowel), Kaku (intonation), and Laya (tempo) – NS.19.43-59.

It specifies that the scenes involving humor (Hasya) and erotic or love (Srungara) the speech should be modulated by Madhyama and Panchama Svaras (notes); acute pitch (Udatta and Svarita); and , medium tempo (Madhya Laya). Where as in the scenes depicting heroics (Vira) and wonder (Adbhuta ) the speech should be in Shadja and Rishabha Svaras; acute and trembling pitch (Udatta and Kampita) ; and , quick tempo (Druta Laya). And, in the scenes of pathos (Karuna) the speech should in slow tempo (vilamba).

As regards the voice registers (Sthana), they vary according to the space (distance) on the stage between the characters.  It is said:  to call a character that is at a distance, the voice should proceed from the top register (Siras); to call one who is a short distance the voice register should emanate from chest (Uras); and, to speak to one who is standing next the voice register should be from the throat (Kanta). ]

Symbolisms

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9.1. Theater in the Natyashastra is a huge symbolism; and , it is projected beyond the natural world.  Apart from that , Theater in the sense of Drama functions on many levels of symbolism – through speech (Vachika-abhinaya), costume , make-up (Aharya) gestures (Mudra), exhibiting emotions (sattvika abhinaya) and in  music (Gana).

9.2. Dhruva symbolisms are dealt with great detail.  Symbols representing the moon, the fire, the sun and the wind; and these are to be used in the case of gods and kings; The night , the moon light, lotus plants, she elephants , rivers and night in the case of queens; The clouds, mountains and oceans are used in the case of demons; The elephants in the rut and royal-swans in the case of superior beings; Peacocks and lotuses in the case of middling’s; Cuckoos , bees in the case of others;  Creepers and swans in the case of other women and courtesans; The female bee and female cuckoo in the case other  women.

9.3. The entrance song (Pravesiki) is to be sung to indicate anything happening in the fore-noon; and, the exit song (Naiskramiki) to indicate anything happening by day and night. Gentle Dhruva-s are to be sung to indicate the forenoon; and, the songs with excitement to indicate the noon . And, the pathetic Dhruva-s are to be sung in case of afternoon and evenings.

The symbolisms of the Dhruva-s with their evocative suggestions, enriched by melodious music, helped to enhance the aesthetic quality of the theatrical presentation.

Languages of Dhruva Gana

 

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10.1.Bharata states, in general, the languages to be used in a play (pathya) as of four types: Atibhasha (to be used by gods and demi-gods); Aryabhasha (for people of princely and higher classes); Jatibhasha (for common folks, including the Mleccha , the foreigners) and, Yonyantari ( for the rest , unclassified and the tribal)

Bharata in Chapter 17 (verse 48) mentions seven types of Upa-basha (desha-basha) the dialects then in use . And he also mentions the tribal dialects

māgadhy avantijā prācyā śauraseny ardhamāgadhī । bāhlīkā dakṣiṇātyā ca sapta bhāṣāḥ prakīrtitāḥ ॥ 7. 48

śakārā abhīra caṇḍāla śa varadramilodrajāḥ । hīnā vanecarāṇāṃ ca vibhāṣā nāṭake smṛtā ॥ 7. 49

As for the language of the Dhruva songs, which were sung either by the actors or by the musicians behind the curtain, it was, usually, not Sanskrit (in contrast to Gandharva songs in Sanskrit that were sung during the Purvanga, the preliminaries), but was Prakrit, the regional languages. Natyashastra discusses the features of the Dhruva songs composed in regional dialects ; and , in that context mentions seven known dialects  (Desha-bhasha) of its time : Māgadhī,  Āvantī, Prācyā, Śaurasenī,  Ardhamāgadhī,  Bāhlikā  and  Dākiātyā  (NŚ . 17-48).  However, most of the Dhruva-s were composed in Suraseni or Magadhi; and some in Ardha-Samskrita (mixture of Sanskrit and the regional language). The songs addressing to heavenly beings were however in Sanskrit (NS.32.441).

10.2. As regards Śaurasenī, it was the language spoken around the region of Surasena (Mathura area). And, in the play the female characters, Vidūṣaka (jester), children, astrologers and others around the Queens court spoke in Śaurasenī. It was assigned a comparatively higher position among the Prakrita dialects.

prācyā vidūṣakādīnāṃ dhūrtānāmapyavantijā । nāyikānāṃ sakhīnāṃ ca śūrasenyavirodhinī ॥ 7. 51॥

10.3. In comparison, Magadhi , the dialect of the Magadha region in the East as also  Ardha-Magadhi and Prachya , also of the East, were spoken in the play by lesser characters such as servants, washer -men, fishermen, , barbers , doorkeepers, black-smiths, hunters  and by the duṣṭa (wicked)  . Even otherwise, the people of Magadha as such were not regarded highly and were projected in poor light.

māgadhī tu narendrāṇām antaḥpura samāśrayā । ceṭānāṃ rājaputrāṇāṃ śreṣṭhināṃ cārdhamāgadhī ॥ 50॥

10.4. In some versions, there is a mention of Mahārāṣṭ also. It was a language spoken around the river Godavari and according to linguists; it is an older form of Marāṭhī. In some plays, the leading-lady and her friends speak in Śaurasenī, but sing in Mahārāṣṭ.

The security guards and doorkeepers were said  to speak Dakshinatya (Southern) or Bahliki (Northwest – Ancient Bactria; modern Balkh  region) , considered as outsiders.

yaudha nāgarakādīnāṃ dakṣiṇātyātha dīvyatām । bāhlīka bhāṣodīcyānāṃ khasānāṃ ca svadeśajā ॥ 52॥

10.5. Natyashastra (NS.32.56-354) presents more than 116 examples of Dhruva-s in Prakrit in various meters  including Vedic meters such as Gayatri, Anustubh, and Tristubh etc.

10.6. The language of the Suraseni or Magadhi (specially the Narukta Dhruva) dialects was usually be simple. And, the songs talked about the things that one sees in nature during the different seasons (Rtu) , such as : the bright sun, the soothing moon, the  sparking stars in a cloudless dark night sky , the passing dark clouds laden with water bringing cheer to the hearts of lovers , the thunderous lightning that drives the Lady love into the arms of the lover etc.

10.7. The language of the Dhruva songs sung by women was generally Prakrit. Bharatha says the vocal music should be generally the province of the women as their voice is naturally sweet.

In the next Part let’s talk about Musical instruments mentioned in Natyashastra.

Please click on the picture below 

Ashtalakshmi2

Continued in Next Part

Musical Instruments in Natyashastra

Sources and References

Studies in the Nāyaśāstra: With Special Reference to the Sanskrit Drama…

By Ganesh Hari Tarlekar

Sonic Liturgy: Ritual and Music in Hindu Tradition

By Guy L. Beck

Poetics of performance by TM Krishna

Language of Sanskrit Drama Language of Sanskrit Drama by Saroja Bhate

http://www.sanskrit.nic.in/svimarsha/v6/c10.pdf

ALL PICTURES ARE FROM INTERNET

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2015 in Music, Sangita

 

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