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Sri Shyama Shastry (1763-1827)- Part Eleven

Continued from Part Ten

Sri  Shyama Shastry – Music-continued

Varnas

bangaru kamaksi

Varna is a short, crisp and tightly knit composition that aims to encapsulate the main features and requirements of a Raga. These are finely crafted exquisite works of art. The creation of a Varna calls for delicate craftsmanship, thorough knowledge of the Raga, its sanchara (movements) in various Kaala (tempos) ; and, a  grasp over Taala and an overall sense of beauty and balance.

Varna is unique to Karnataka Samgita. The Hindustani Music does not seem to have its counterpart

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During the course of training in Music, after the Gitas, the Svarajatis with their rather complicated arrangement of Svaras and Sahitya are taught. Then comes the Varna; rich in textual expressions of Raga-Svarupa, displaying the vigour, the tenderness and the graces of the Raga.

Now, the student is at a more difficult level. She/he will have to gain an understanding of the subtleties involved in the  rendering of a Raga in all its gaits  and rhythms (Laya) through its ascending and descending notes, in Vilamba-kala (slow speed), in Madhyamā-kala (normal) and in Druta-kala (fast tempo) movements.

While doing so, the student learns to appreciate the unique characteristics of the dominant notes; and, the way they are used to delineate the Raga in its various shades and colours.

For students, the Varnas that are taught at the intermediary level are useful for learning the Svaras of various Ragas, singing in multiple speeds fluently; as well as learning the appropriate Gamakas. 

Further, learning to sing effortlessly in three degrees of speed strengthens ones Laya-Jnana (sense of rhythm); while the profusion of vowels helps one to render Gamakas in smooth, seamless  curves , oscillations, glides and turns.

Varna- rendering also helps to develop voice culture and in learning to maintain proper pitch and control over rhythm. The instrumentalists too can gain control over playing -techniques

Therefore, among the Music-curriculum, practicing Varna, understating its structure and its implications is of much importance. A diligent student, of both the vocal and the instrumental music, learns with great care and assiduity the various components (Anga) of the Raga structure and its nature.

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Although the Varna precedes the Kriti, in the teaching-schedule, the student continues to practice Varnas along with the Kritis, because of its inherent merit as an Abhyasa-gana

Therefore, in order to gain a convincing hold over a Raga and the Laya, a Varna in which its Raga-svarupa is crystallized in a systematic manner, the advanced students also practice Varnas in multiple Ragas or Taalas. It also helps to inculcate in them the discipline that is needed for singing complicated combinations of Svaras and Sahitya.

A Varna, therefore, is a very important component of both the Abhyasa-gana (compositions forming a part of initial training) and the Sadhana-gana (performance of the compositions);

In the concerts, a Varna is most often the first or the second piece to be rendered. Though some consider it as a warm-up exercise, the correct rendering of Varna requires complete knowledge of the Raga. It is thus of great value to beginner as also to and an experienced performer.

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In the Karnataka Samgita, all types of compositions are Raga-specific. Among the many such verities, in particular, the Varna and the Kriti aim to bring out and display artistically, the nature and the tendencies of a Raga.

But, in a Kriti which is steeped in its own emotional content and in the intricacies of Prosody (Chhandas), Prasa, and Anuprasa etc., only certain aspects and shades of a Raga are portrayed, keeping in view the overall context of the Kriti.

The Varna, in contrast, is an independent and a methodically structured work having the sole aim to present efficiently and objectively all the significant characteristics of a Raga. Encapsulating and preserving the essentials, within a tight knit work of art, is the sole objective of a Varna. Apart from that, it has no other theme.

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A Varna is composite musical form. According to one definition; it is said to include in itself the elements of Raga-Bhava; Raga-viseha-sancharas; and, several Apurupa- prayogas (use of unusual phrases in a Raga). Analysing and understanding these aspects are the initial steps in Manodharma Samgita. 

Varna lays out the Grammar of a Raga. That is to say, it specifies the features and the rules regarding the movement of the Raga (Raga-sanchara); its scale; how each note of the Raga should be stressed and so on. A Varna is therefore a fundamental form in Karnataka Samgita.

Learning a Varna is the process of getting to know intimately a Raga, which is beautified by the tonal excellence of its Svaras. Each Raga has its own peculiar features; it is a living and a throbbing dynamic entity finding its own flow, rhythm and gait. Each one has its own preferred ways of movements, turns, slides and glides etc.

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In a Varna, the starting note of its Pallavi is said to be significant; because, it captures the flavour of the Raga, and establishes its identity. It is also said; the identity of a Raga is better established in the Avaroha (descent), especially in the Madhya-Sthayi.

A Varna attempts to project the total picture of a Raga, drawing attention to its parentage (Mela), its Murchanas (the ascending and descending movement of the seven notes in successive order)  , pointing out to its Graha-Svara (initiating Svara), its Amsa Svara – the important notes ,which should be prolonged; the Hrasva-Nyasa, the shortened delicate notes at the conclusion of a phase; and so on.

The Varna also tries to demonstrate the enterprising Ranjaka-Prayogas, Viseha-Sancharas, permissible Apurva-Prayogas; Dhathu-Varisha-Prayogas and the Alpa-Prayogas– the skipping of certain notes etc.

In short, a Varna captures the total physiology of a Raga within a well designed work of Art.

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A Varna does include Sahitya (lyrics); but, its role is rather secondary; mostly supporting the music-content of the Varna. It provides the Lakshya and Laksana of a Raga. The focus of a Varna is on the Raga, its individual Svaras and Svara phases of various lengths and speeds. It is said; a Varna does not need the distraction of Sahitya.

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Usually, there will be two Avartas (cycles) each for Pallavi and Anupallavi; and, two to four Avartas for the Muktayi-Svaras. The length of the Ettugada Svaras increases progressively; and, the last Svara will be the longest one. This will have four or five Ettugada Svaras.

The movement of a Varna is strictly controlled; and, it’s rendering demands discipline.  Its focus is on the Graha Svara (initial note of the Raga), the Gamakas, the Sanchara (movement) of the Raga according to the prescribed format.

The Pallavi of a Varna starts on the lower end of the scale, stressing on the most important Svara (Jiva Svara) in the opening phase of the Pallavi. The Anupallavi deals with the higher end of the scale. And, the Mukthayi Svara and Chittasvara – consist of meandering (Sanchari) chains of Svaras that explore both the upper and lower reaches of the Raga.

The rendering of a Varna employs all the three tempos. The first Carana-Svara is rendered in Vilamba-kaala (slow tempo); where, each Jiva Svara must be highlighted.

After which, the rest is sung in Madhyamā-kaala (half-time). Some musicians insert their own kalpana-svara passages.

 In the third Carana-Svara, the Svaras are short and made into groups (Avartana) of four.

Thus in Carana, there are two or three Svaras of one Avartana, one Svara of two Avartanas; and, finally one Svara of four Avartanas.

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The Varnas are mainly of three types: Daru-Varna, Pada-Varna and Taana-Varna. The theme of these Varnas is usually Bhakthi (devotion) or Srngara (love).

The major types of Varnas are, however, two: Taana-Varna and Pada-Varna.

The Taana-Varna, with Svara and Sahitya passages, is essentially for concert Music. The Pada-Varna, with its rhythmic patterns, is mainly for Dance.

[There is also a mention of Raga-maalika-Varnas, with a string of stanzas, composed in compatible Ragas that blend well with each other. This type could be either Taana-Varna or Pada-Varna.

The other is the Nakshatra-malika-Varna, set in twenty-seven Ragas (each representing a star in the Indian Almanac) . In each Avartana, the first half is set in one Raga; and, the second half in another Raga; which makes two Ragas in, one Avartana.]

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Daru-Varnas are a special type of Varnas, wherein its Mukthayi-Svaras start with the Svara passages, followed by the Jatis, which are then followed by the Sahitya. The Daru Varnas are structured with Ettugada-Pallavi and Ettugada-Svara-passages.  They are similar to the Pada-Varnas; and, are well suited for Dance.

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 Pada-Varna (Ata-Varnam): As its name indicates, has a greater element of Sahitya (Pada or words). Pada-Varnas with elaborate Sahitya are hard to grasp; especially, when set to difficult Ragas and Taala.

But, the Pada-Varnas rendered in Vilambita-laya, offer greater scope for Abhinaya to interpret the Sahitya, interspersed with appropriate Sollulkottus, Tirmanas and stances. Hence, they are in greater use in Bharatanatya; where, it’s Sahitya, its expressions and its Svaras, in moderately slow pace, are said to be suitable for choreography.

[Pada Varnas used for dance choreography are also called as Chowka Varnas or Ata Varnas. They usually are set in slower tempo (Chowka-kala); and, have longer lines and pauses, enabling the apt portrayal of the Bhava of the Varnam. All its Svaras are accompanied by Sahitya (lyrics) and Sollukattus which are made up of rhythmic syllables. The dancer performs the Sahitya in Abhinaya and the Sollukattus in Nrtta. Thus, the Chowka Varnas are well suited to dance. 

Further, learning to sing Chowka Varnas is considered a part of developing a good voice cultureThe Chowka kala rendering helps one to explore the Raga, in depth. It also helps the learner to balance the Taala; to adjust the Gamakas; and, to pay greater attention to pauses.]

sarasvathi-tanjore

The Taana-Varna perhaps derived its name on account of its brisk Laya and Svara arrangements with pulsating movements in even tempo, as in the Taanam. It usually is of fast tempo (Druta and Tisra Gati). But, they sound best in Madhyama-kala, when the Taana sequences have to be executed.

Taana-Varnas do not have Sahitya for Svaras. It is the sort of Varna that is meant as pure music, without the intervention of words. It, therefore, has fewer words than the Pada-Varna.

The characteristic Svara-Prayogas, emphasising on Graha, Nyasa, Amsha; as well as Hrsva, DeerghaPrayogas are very frequently employed in Taana-Varna.

The difficult Taana-Varnas are commonly chosen for rending in the concerts; and, they provide the base for Mano-dharma-samgita. The artists enjoy greater elaborations of Taana-Varnas studded with Kalpana-Svaras to enhance to beauty of the Raga; and, to entertain the listeners.

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A typical structure of a Taana-Varna has Pallavi, Anupallavi, Mukthayi Svara, Carana, Carana-Svara and an optional Anubandha.

A Varna is structured in two Angas (sections):

The Purvanga (first section) comprises Pallavi, Anu-pallavi, Mukthayi-Svara (a passage of Svara syllables, usually of two Avartas, succeeding the Anupallavi).

And, the Uttaranga (the latter section) comprises a Carana that acts as a refrain for the latter part of the Varna and Carana-Svaras (Chittasvara) that are alternated with the Carana. 

Each section of a Varna elaborates an aspect of the Raga (raga-svarupa).

Thus, the Taana-Varnas are basically Svara and Sahitya exercises; and, help the student to gain a greater degree of control while venturing into the finer Prayogas in the Raga.

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Gana-krama 

Although the Varna has the structural divisions of Pallavi, Anupallavi (with Muktayi Svara) and Carana; while singing, the Pallavi is not treated as an independent Anga. There is continuity in singing.

The Purvanga starts with the Pallavi; and, is continued through Anupallavi and Mukthayi Svara; and, then it reverts to the opening words of the Pallavi.

The first movement of the Pallavi ends in Mukthayi-Svara. After this, the Ettugada Pallavi, made of the Sahitya lines of the Carana, is sung. This is followed by the Svara-passages in sequence. After each Svara passage, the Carana line is sung again, as refrain

[It is said; in the olden days, the Purvanga was sung in all the three speeds followed by Uttaranga, alternating between two speeds for each Carana. Nowadays many other rendition styles have come into being.]

[Sometimes a Taana-Varna is adapted for dance (Say, like Viriboni, Bhairavi, Ata). In such cases, the Taana Varna is expanded by repeating the Sahitya many times, with Sangatis. Additional Sahitya and Jati patterns are added. And, even though the words are meagre, the dancer has to interpret them with Abhinaya, so that the meaning is brought out clearly. ]

Shyama Shastry by S Rajam

The Varnas composed by Sri Shyama Shastry

According to most of the versions that are now in circulation, Sri Shyama Shastry is credited with four Varnas, which are highly musical in their structure. They are:

(1) Na-manavi-vinu (Saurastra-Chatursra-Ata); (2) Samini-ramm-anave (Anandabhairavi, Khanda-Ata); (3) Dayanidhe (Begada, Adi); and, (4) Nive-gatiyeni (Kalyani, Tisra-Mathya).

Varnas of Sri Shyama Shastry 2

[Though most of the sources mention these four Varnas as the works of Sri Shyama Shastry, Smt. Sharadambal recognized only two Varnas (not four) as that of Sri Shyama Shastry.

She says: ’There are two Varnas of Sri Shyama Shastry found in the early publications’. And, throughout her book, she talks of only about his two Varnas; Samini-rammanave (Anandabhairavi, Khanda-Ata) and Dayanidhe (Begada, Adi).

She also mentions that the detailed notations have been worked out for the Varna ‘Samini…’ (Anandabhairavi) in the Sangita-Sampradaya-Pradarshini of Sri Subbarama Dikshitar at  B.50 on pages 1540-1545.

This and the Hand Written Note Book of Shyama Shastry II are said to be her sources.

According to Smt. Sharadambal, both these Varnas are Taana Varnas. Yet, in the Varna ‘Samini-rammanave’ (Anandabhairavi), the Sahitya resembles Pada-Varna. This is sung by the Nayaki to her Sakhi, to describe her plight to Lord Varadaraja of Kanchipuram, who is the Nayaka of the Varna.]

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These four Varnas, though similar to Svarajati (pertaining to the realm of Dance), in structure; they are composed of a separate Pallavi, Anupallavi and Mukthayi- Svara, collectively known as Purvanga. The Uttaranga part consists of Carana, Carana-Svaras and Sahitya.

These Varnas are above the level of the usual Abhyasa-ganaVarnas. They are set in more difficult Taalas, like Chaturasra Ata and Tisra Mathya. The Varnas here, are characterized by many peculiar features, such as: the introduction of Svara-Sahitya (each Svara syllable having a corresponding syllable of text of identical duration) in the Mukthayi-Svara (in ‘Na-manavi’ and ‘Dayanidhe’); and, the unusual length of the Carana-Sahitya (four Avartas in ‘Nive-gatiyani ‘, Kalyani)’

The Varnas in Kalyani and Anandabhairavi are recommended even for the practitioners at a slightly higher level.

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  1. The Varna Na manavini vinu in Raga Saurastra is set in Chatursra Ata Taala.

[Raga Saurashtra is a Janya of the 17th on the Melakarta Suryakanta 

Arohana (Ascending): S R1 G3 M1 P M1 D2 N3 S’ / Avarohana (Descending) : S’ N3 D2 N2 D2 P M1 G3 R1 S.

Saurastra is an auspicious Raga. Sri Thyagaraja’s opera ‘Prahlada Bhakthi Vijayam’ opens with ‘Sri Ganapathi’ and concludes with the Mangalam’ Nee Nama Rupamalu’ both of which were set in Raga Saurastra.]

The Varna is structured with a Pallavi, Anupallavi followed by a Svara-Sahitya passage; and ends with a short Carana of just two lines.

Na Manavi Vinu yi vela brovu Kanchi Kamakshamma / Pamara-palini O Janani, krupa judamma is a poignant prayer submitted to Kanchi Kamakshi , beseeching her, repeatedly, to kindly show mercy  and to pardon  him for all his wrong-doings committed knowingly or otherwise  (telisi-telitaka-jesina-aparadhamulanu-manninchi); to protect him (brovu) ; and ,to grant him salvation (Mukthi ni eeyave). O Mother, I have the deepest faith in you; I trust you, I trust you and have ever trusted you (nammiti nammiti nammitin-amma).

The slower tempo (Chowka-kala) and Chatursra-Taala are eminently suited for the Raga-Bhava of Karuna Rasa.  Usually, such Varnas in Chowka-kala will have longer lines and pauses, enabling the apt portrayal of the Bhava of the Varnam.  

This Varna has two Avartas (Taala-cycles) each, in the Pallavi and the Anupallavi. The Svara-Sahitya passage is appended to the Muktayi Svara. The introduction of the Tisra, Chatursra and Khanda groups in patterns can be seen in this Varna.

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  1. The Varna Samini-ramm-anave Saraskshi is set in Raga Anandabhairavi, Ata Taala

[Anandabhairavi is a Janya of the 22nd Mela Kharaharapriya. Arohana: S G₂ R₂ G₂ M₁ P D₂ P Ṡ / Avarohaṇa: Ṡ N₂ D₂ P M₁ G₂ R₂ S.

Svara-sthanas: Chathusruthi-Rshabha, Sadharana-Gandhara, Shuddha-Madhyamā, Chatusruthi-Daivatha, Kaisiki-Nishada; apart from Shadja and Panchama.

Anandabhairavi is said to be one of the favourite Ragas of Sri Shyama Shastry.]

Saminirammanave  (Anandabhairavi) is an Ata-Taala, Taana-Varna, starting in the Laghu after a pause of eight  Akshara-kala duration.

But, here, the Svarasahitya passages are suffixed to the Muktayi-Svara, first, fourth and fifth Ettugada-Svaras. There are five Ettugada Svaras in all. Few syllables are there in the Pallavi and Anupallavi, with more vowel extensions.

This Varna is marked by a number of distinct features.

This is a fairly lengthy Varna with Pallavi, Anupallavi and two Caranas, with four Svarasahithya passages interposed between the Anupallavi and the last Carana.

Though it is listed under Taana-Varnas, its Sahitya resembles Pada-Varna.

We find the Kshetra-mudra ‘Kanchi-vasudina-Sri Varadarajuni’ in the Anupallavi.

The Telugu language used in this Varna is different from the one found in his Kritis. The use of the complex words of  archaic poetic nature resemble the Svarajatis; and gives a complex form to the language, as against the simple colloquial style of the Kritis.  In fact, the Telugu Sahitya here makes a difficult reading.

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And, to say the least, this is a rather unusual Varna; and, therefore, has been much discussed.

This is one of the two compositions of Sri Shyama Shastry that is not dedicated to praise the Mother Goddess in her various forms.

This Varna is the only single instance among the body of the works of Sri Shyama Shastry portraying Madhura-bhakthi.*

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Sri Shyama Shastry was a true Bhaktha of the Devi in the classical mould. He worshiped his Ishta-Devatha Bangaru Kamakshi with intense devotion (Archana); serving her and praying at her feet (Pada-sevana, Vandana and Dasya); thinking of her all the time (Smarana); listening to the legends of her magnificence (Srvavana); singing of her beauty, glory and splendour in countless manners (Kirtana); submitting himself to the will of the Mother and seeking refuge in her with absolute faith (Atma-nivedana) .

Thus, Sri Shyama Shastry was indeed a true icon of a devotee, a Sadhaka who constantly served his Devata with utmost devotion in all its modes (Nava-vidha-Bhakthi) as extolled in the Srimad Bhagavatha Purana.

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Sri Shyama Shastry adopted the Apatya-bhava*, an intense sense of proximity, looking upon Devi Kamakshi as his own Mother, who is always with him. It is the guileless (Akritrima) natural love; the purest of the attitudes that one can cultivate towards God.

[* The term Apatya is related to the child; and, to its attitude towards its parents. Yaska, in his Nirukta 3.1 :, explains it as: apatya kasmāt apatata bhavati pitu sakāśādetya pthagiva tata bhavati. ]

He was a child (Bidda, Sutudu) to his mother (Talli, Mayamma) with whom he talked, confided his fears, argued with her, cajoled her,  persistently sought her protection ; and , above all,  he never was willing to be weaned away from her. He loved her with all his heart, as only an innocent child can. He devoted his entire adult life in serving her, thinking of her,  being ever dedicated to her,  and loving her till his very last moment on this earth.

[Sri Shyama Shastry could foresee the end of his time on this Earth.

On the morning of the that appointed auspicious day, the Dashami, Tuesday (Cevvai), Shukla-paksha Makara (Magha) Masa , Shishira-Rtu – Uttarayana – Vyaya – Samvatsara – 1748 – Kaliyuga – 4927,  February 7th, 1827Sri Shyama Shastry meditated upon his Ishta Devata Mother Kamakshi; and, a little later he laid his head on the laps of his son Subbaraya Shastri; and, asked him to softly recite the Karna-mantra into his ears.

He was fully conscious till the very last moment. He peacefully, serenely journeyed to Sripuram; the heavenly abode of Devi Kamakshi, as if a child goes home to his Dear Mother.

That was how a noble soul came to pass.]

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The other notable Sadhaka who adopted such Apatya-bhava was Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (18 Feb 1836 – 16 Aug 1886), who was born about nine years after the passing away of Sri Shyama Shastry (1827).

Sri Ramakrishna, just as Sri Shyama Shastry, was a priest. He worshipped Goddess kali at the Dakshineshvar temple. And, he too regarded Kali as a living Goddess (Pratyaksha Devata); he felt her presence everywhere, talked to her, fed her, and argued with her just as a child does with its loving Mother.

[The other Sadhakas who sang of Kali with a flaming devotional fervour that quickly come to my mind are Ramprasad Sen (1718-75) and Kamalakanta Bhattacharya (c. 1769–1821)]

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Sri Ramakrishna all through his Sadhana-kala practiced Apatya-bhava. But, for a very brief time, he tried, Madhura-bhakthi-bhava, the sweet love-filled attitude (Mahabhava) of Radha, the highly idealized personification Love and Beauty, towards Krishna the eternal Lover.

But, very soon he came back to Santa-Apatya-Bhava, the child-attitude, of peaceful adoration. 

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 In all the known compositions of Sri Shyama Shastry that have come down to us, it is the Apatya-bhava, the love and affection binding the child and the Mother that shines forth and overwhelmingly dominates. His child-like love, looking up to  Devi Kamakshi as his own Mother; as also the Bhakthi and Karuna Rasa appealing to her for  love and care at every moment and every turn of his life are the recurrent themes of all his compositions. It is truly very touching.  And, when that purest emotion is rendered through soulful Vilamba kala, it is then the Bhakthi Samgita of the highest order.

The Varna in Anandabhairavi is the sole instance of Madhura Bhakthi among all his compositions.

This could be considered as a very brief phase along the course of his Sadhana, which was essentially rooted in the Apatya-bhava, the purest of all. Just as Sri Ramakrishna did later, Sri Shyama Shastry had quickly come back to his  own natural aptitude. You can perhaps say; Apatya, truly, was Sri Shyama Shastry’s Sthayi-Bhava; while Madhurya was a fleeing Sanchari-Bhava.

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The Varna Samini-ramm-anave (Anandabhairavi), for all purposes can be treated as a Pada Varna. 

This is sung by the lovelorn (Virahini) Nayaki, asking her maid (Sakhi), to convey a message (Sandesha) to her Lord Varadaraja of Kanchipuram, the Nayaka, describing her plight, suffering pangs of separation; and, hasten to come to her.

Here, in this Varna, there are descriptions of the Lord as ‘Kamini Kanna’, who gave birth to Manmatha; and as Gunavanthudaina (meritorious one) Sarasa-nayana (with eyes like lotus), Samaja-gamana (with gait like that of an elephant).

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Some have pointed out that considering the overall nature of Bhakthi and Karuna Rasa, that pervades the compositions of Sri Shyama Shastry, the Varna ‘Samini..,’  surely does appear to be out of character; and, it stands out oddly. Therefore, they have expressed reservations about the authorship of this Varna; and, have even pondered over the possibility that it might have been, at a later stage, interpolated (prakshepa) by someone else into the body of the works of Sri Shyama Shastry.

That is a fairly plausible way of looking at this Varna, in the context of Sri Shyama Shastry’s compositions taken as a whole.

But, the scholars such as Prof. Sambamoorthy (1930), Dr. Vidya Shankar and Dr. Sharadambal, who have studied deeply into the works of Sri Shyama Shastry, have all accepted this Varna as being a composition of Sri Shyama Shastry.

This Varna is also featured at Number 32  in Dr. T K Govinda Rao ’s book ‘ Compositions of Shyama Shastri..’ , published in 1997

Dr. Sharadambal also mentions that the Varna is included in the Hand Written Note Book of Shyama Shastry II (the great grandson of Sri Shyama Shastry).

Further, Sri Subbarama Dikshitar, in his Sangita-Sampradaya-Pradarshini (published in the year 1904), has included this Varna among the works of Sri Shyama Shastry. He has also worked out, in great detail, the Notations , spread over five pages, for the Taana Varna ‘Samini...’ pages 1540 to 1545  in the Appendix-Anubandha

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Considering the fact that many scholars had gone into the issue; and had, after due consideration, admitted this Varna into the list of the compositions of Sri Shyama Shastry, we may perhaps follow suit.

But, we may, for a limited purpose,  treat it as  the sole representation of Madhura Bhakthi in his compositions , which came about  at a very brief passing phase along the arduous course of his Sadhana; as it happened , later, in the life of Sri Ramakrishna.

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This is a typical Ata-Taala-Varna, starting in the Laghu after a pause of eight Akshara-kala duration. The only difference being the Svarasahitya passages suffixed to the Muktayi Svara, first, fourth and fifth Ettugada-Svaras. There are five Ettugada Svaras in all. Few syllables are there in the Pallavi and Anupallavi with more vowel extensions

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According to Smt. Sharadambal, who has made a detailed study of this Varna:

This Varna ‘Samini-ramm-anave’, though similar to Svarajati (pertaining to Dance) in structure has evolved with a separate Pallavi, Anupallavi and Mukthayi-Svara, collectively known as Purvanga.  The Utaranga part consists of Carana, Carana-Svaras and Sahitya.

In the complete version of the Varna ‘Samini-ramm-anave’ (Anandabhairavi) as seen in the Note Book of Shyama Shastry II, there is no Sahitya for the Ettugada-Svara. The Carana and the Carana-Svaras are also missing.

But, in other books, the Sahitya is found for Ettugada-Svara and some Carana-Svaras.

Among the Carana-Svaras, the first, fourth and the fifth alone have Sahitya portions. The four Carana-Svaras have one Avarta; while, the last one has two Avartas. There is no Anubandha or the continuing portion after the Carana-Svara. After singing the last Carana-Svara and the Sahitya, the Ettugada-Pallavi is sung. Then, the Anubandha is sung; and, finally, the Varna is concluded with the singing of Pallavi.

*

The Graha-Svaras for the various Angas of this Varna ’Samini….’ (Anandabhairavi)  are : Shadja for the Pallavi, Anupallavi and the Mukthayi Svara. The Carana starts as:  ’ mg-Ma-ga-ma-Pa’, after ending the phase ‘Pa-dha-pa-ma-ga-ga’. The Carana is taken as ‘ga-ga-Ma’

While the first and second Ettugada-Svaras start on Pa; the third and fourth Svaras on Madhyamā; and, the fifth Svara on Nishada. The ending phases of the Svaras have natural link with Carana.

We can find different Svaras as the ending Notes. While the first and last Svaras end as  ’ Sa-ga-ri-Ga-ga’ ; the second ends as’ Pa-Ma-Ga-Ri-Ni’; third as ‘Sa-Ni-Dha-Pa’; and, the fourth as ‘ Ma-Pa-Sa-Ni-Dha’. And, the Graha-SvaraMa’ is sung with a glide (Jaru) from ‘Ga-Ni-Pa and Dha’.

*

As regards the Gamakas, the Varna ‘Samini..’ opens with the key phrase of Anandabhairavi Raga i.e., the ‘Erra-jaru’ prayoga as ‘ Sa/Sa Dha-Pa-Ma-Ga-Ma’ in the Pallavi and also in the Anupallavi, as ‘ Sa/Sa Dha-Pa-Ma’ as published in the Samgita-Sampradaya –Pradarshini of Sri Subbarama Dikshitar.

The Jaru-Prayoga is found not only as the opening phrase ; but also in the other parts of the composition.

*

We find Svaraksharas in many places in the Varnas of Sri Shyama Shastry; as also in the Svarajatis.

In the two Varnas, Svarakshara syllables are found in the beginning as well as in some places. Both the Shuddha and Suchita Svaraksharas are found in them

In the Varna in Anandabhairavi Raga, Svaraksharas are found in the beginning of the Pallavi, Anupallavi and Carana.

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  1. Dayanidhe Mamava sadaa – Begada (29) Adi Taala

[Raga Begada is the Janya of the 9th Mela Dhira Shankarabharana

Arohana: s g r g m p d p S; Avarohana: S Nd p Mg r s

Svara-Sthanas: Shadja, Chatussruthi-Rshabha-, Antara-Gandhara-, Suddha-Madhyama, Panchama, Chatussruthi Daivata, Kakali Nishada]

The Dayanidhe (Begada, Adi Taala), comparatively, is a short Varna. Its Pallavi, Anupallavi and Carana, have just one line each.  The Svarasahitya that follows the Carana has four lines.

The Vaggeyakara Mudra or Sva-nama, unusually, appears right at the beginning of the Varna in the Pallavi as:  Dayanidhe mamava sadaa Shyama Krishna pujite.

This Varna in Sanskrit is a simple prayer, composed in easy flowing beautifully worded lines; very pleasant on the ears. 

The Varna calls out to the Mother, citing her various names and forms (Nama-Rupa).It describes the beauty of Devi as having soft and delicate feet; and a very graceful neck.

Lalita-pada-yugale; kamaniya-kandhare

Sri Shyama Shastry sings the magnificence of the Mother, praising her as the protector of the people of the world, the Sages and all the celestial beings.  And, as one who mitigates the sins of all beings; and, protects the virtuous

Parama-Pavani; Bhavani; Paratpari; Shiva-shankari / Palita-Jana-Munigana- Sura-samude / Paapa-shamani, Sahrudaya-sammodini/

He adores the Mother as the Ocean of mercy and compassion; the abode of all illustrious virtues, which bring delight to pious people. And, he prays to her to grant him the sublime virtue of devotion

Mahaniye-Sugunalaye -Vitara –Bhakthim me

This is a very pious, delightful and a happy song, praying to the Mother to protect, redeem and uplift all beings including the Munis (Sages) and Devas.

*

This is a Varna with vowel extensions in the Pallavi and Anupallavi, lending scope for Madhyamā Kala singing.

A Svarasahitya passage is appended to the Mukthayi Svara.

There are four Ettugada-Svaras in the Uttaranga.

There is no Sanchara below Madhya-Sthayi-Shadja in this Varna; but, there are many Tara-sthayi phrases.

The Svarakshara beauties can be seen in the Pallavi, Svarasahitya and the Carana.

[There is also another version of this Varna, which is generally sung with slight variations.

 For more on this, please check page 251 0f Dr. Manju Gopal’s work under Appendix.]

*

Smt. Sharadambal , in her book, talks about this Varna

The Varna ‘Dayanidhe’ in Begada Raga is not found in the Hand-Written Note Book of Shyama Shastry II. This Varna as found in the book of Sri A Sundaram Ayyar is in the regular structure of Taana-Varna with Pallavi, Anupallavi and Mukthayi-Svara, in the Purvanga. And, the Uttaranga consists of a Carana and four Ettugada-Svaras.

Yet, we find the Sahitya for the Muktayi Svara, and the second Avarta for the Carana to be sung after the last Ettugada-Svaras in the book of Smt. Vidya Shankar

*

The Varna ‘Dayanidhe ‘ in Begada Raga of Sri Shyama Shastry , in praise of Goddess Raja-rajeshvari is in simple diction. In the Pallavi of the Varna itself, we find the Mudra of the composer, in the second Avarta.

 The actual words start as Atita-Eduppu from the first Avarta as: ‘Sa //Dha Shyamakrishna’. Usually, the Mudra of the Vaggeyakara will figure in the Anupallavi of the Varna.

*

Both the Nishadas are used in the Begada Varna ‘Dayanidhe’. The Anya-Svara Kaishiki Nishada is used only in the opening phase: ’Dha-Pa-Ma-Pa-Dha-Ni-Dha-Pa’.

The Pallavi alone starts with ‘Dha’, while the Anupallavi and Ettugada –Svara start on Ma ; the Ettugada-Pallavi and the first two Svaras start on ’Pa’; third one on ‘Ga’; and, the last on Tara ‘Sa’.

Though in many Varnas we find similarity in the opening Svaras of the Pallavi and the Ettugada Svara here is missing.

*

We find Svaraksharas in many places in the Varnas of Sri Shyama Shastry; as also in the Svarajatis.

In the two Varnas, Svarakshara syllables are found in the beginning as well as in some places. Both the Shuddha and Suchita Svaraksharas are found in them

The Varna ‘Dayanidhe’ in Begada Raga also starts with Shuddha Svarakshara in all the three Angas.

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  1. Nive gatiyeni namminanu Jagadamba– Kalyani (65) –Tisra Mathya

[Raga Kalyani is the 65th Melakarta Raga; Sampurna Raga It is also called as ‘Mecha Kalyani’ based on Katapayadi Sutram

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

Svarasthanas: Shadja, Chatussruti Rshabha, Antara Gandhara, Prati Madhyama, Pachama, Chatussruti Daivata, Kakali Nishada]

In this Varna, Sri Shyama Shastry prays to the mother to listen to his pleas (manavi vinu); to make haste and come to him (vegame); and, to rescue him, since she is the only resort and there is none else to protect him.

He addresses the Mother Kanchi Kamakshi seated in Kama-Koti as Raja-Rajeshvari; Anatha-rakshaki (one who protects the orphaned)

O Jagadamba (mother of all this existence) I have been listening to your awe-inspiring legends (Charitamu-vini-vini); and have been constantly singing your glory (pogadi-pogadi). O Bangaru Kamakshi I have absolute faith in you (nere namminanu) and take refuge in your lotus feet (paada-kamala). You are my only saviour. Please do protect me.

The Raga Mudra and Vaggeyakara Mudra are in the phrase: Kalyani Shyamakrishna Sodari Devi.

The Telugu Sahitya is in simple words. It is the Music of the Varna that is more impressive.

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What better way could there be to conclude the Series than with the  auspicious , most pleasing and lovely Mangala-Kriti (Shankari-Shankari, Kalyani, Adi) recited  by Sri Shyama Shastry as a benediction (Svasthi-vachana) – a prayer entreating the divine blessings of  his Mother, the Supreme Goddess Raja-Rajeshvari, who is the very embodiment of  all the spiritual knowledge  (Tattva-jnana-rupini) and one who enlightens  all (Sarva-chitta-bohini)  to bless  and grant (Disa)  all of this existence (Sarva-Lokaya) health, happiness , prosperity (Jaya) and well-being  in  all its forms (Shubha)

 – Mangalam– Jaya Mangalam – Shubha Mangalam

श्याम कृष्ण सोदरि शिशुं मां परिपालय शङ्करि
करि मुख कुमार जननि कात्यायनि कल्याणि
सर्व चित्त बोधिनि तत्त्व ज्ञान रूपिणि
सर्व लोकाय दिश मङ्गळं जय मङ्गळं
शुभ मङ्गळं (शङ्करि)

rajeshi

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Sources and References

All images are taken from Internet

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2020 in Music, Sangita, Shyama Shastri

 

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Sri Shyama Shastry (1763-1827) – Part Seven

Continued from Part Six

Sri Shyama Shastry – Music-Continued

sarasvathi tanjore

 STRUCTURE

Kriti, which is the most highly evolved form of musical composition in Karnataka Samgita, is a descendant of Prabandha, a Musical format, which was in vogue for about a thousand years, till the Seventeenth Century.

 To put it briefly, without much discussion:  

Prabandha

The Prabhandha is a well structured (Prabhadyate iti Prabandhah), strictly regulated (Nibaddha) Samgita, which is made up of Six Angas (shadbhir-angaisca) and Four Dhatus (chaturbhi-dhaturbh-ischayah).

The Six Anga-s or elements of a musical Prabandha-s are: Pada; Svara; Taala; Paata; Tenaka, ; and Birudu.

And, the four Dhatus are: Udgraha, Melapaka, Dhruva and Abhoga.- The term Dhatu, in this context, stands for  an element or a section or sections of a Prabandha composition

– Chaturbhir-dhatubhih shadbhishcha-angairyah syat prarbandhate tasmat prabandhah

*

[Here in this definition, the Six Angas (elements) were: 

Pada (passage of meaningful words); 

Svara (notes or sol-fa passage);

Taala (musical meter or the cyclic time units;

Paata (vocalized drum syllables or beats of the percussion and other musical instruments); 

Tenaka (vocal syllables, meaningless and musical in sound with many repetitions of   the syllables like Te and Tna conveying a sense of   auspiciousness  (mangala-artha-prakashaka); And,   

Birudu (words of praise, extolling the subject of the song and also including the name of the singer or the patron) ]

*

Of the  six Angas, it was said :  Tena and Pada, reflecting auspiciousness and meaning respectively are its two eyes; Paata and Birudu are the two hands, because they are produced by the hands, the cause  (Kaarana) being figuratively taken for effect (Kriya) ; Taala and Svara are  like the   two feet as they cause the movement of the Prabandha-purusha.

*

The Kalyana Chalukya King Somesvara III (1127-1139 AD) in his Manasollasa  explains  the four Dhatu-s :

: – Udgraha is the commencing section of the song. Here the song is first grasped (udgrahyate), hence the name Udgraha.

Udgraha is said to consist a pair of rhymed lines, followed by an ornamental passage; and, then by a passage of text describing the subject of the song. Thus there should be pair of lines in the Udgraha and in the third section as well.

: – Melapaka is the bridge, the link that unites the Udgraha and Dhruva.

The Melapaka should be rendered adorned with ornamentation (Alamkara).

: – Dhruva is the main body of the song; and, is that which is repeated. Dhruva is so called because it is rendered again and again (refrain); and, because it is obligatory or constant (dhruvatvat).  [It is also said ’the Dhruva is in the Udgraha itself – Udgraha eva yatra-syad Dhruvah]; and,

: –Abhoga is the conclusion of the song. Abhoga gets its name because it completes (Abhoga) the Dhruva. It should mention the name of the singer.

And, once the Abhoga has been sung, Dhruva should be repeated.

**

A Prabandha was categorized (Prabandha-Jaati) depending on the number and type of Dhatus (sections) that constituted its structure: Dvi-dhatu (Udgraha and Dhruva); Tri-dhatu (Udgraha, Dhruva and Abogha); and, Chatur-dhatu (Udgraha, Melapaka, Dhruva and Abogha).

*

Among the four Dhatus, the two – Udgraha and Dhruva – are essential and indispensable. And the other two, Melapaka and Abhoga are optional.

;-The rendering of the Prabandha composition of the type Medini Jaati Prabandha (having all the Six Angas); and, having four Dhatus (Chatur-dhatu) would commence with Udgraha (that which is grasped- Udgrahyate).

Here, each Dhatu (section) is set in a different Raga and Taala. 

The opening Udgraha will begin with a couplet set to mater (Chhandas), in meaningful words (Pada- pada prayoga) setting out the main theme of the song and continuing with elaboration of the melodic syllables (Svaras).

:-Then, in the interlude, which functions as the bridge (Melapaka), one may or may not have passages of Tena.

:-Then comes the main section Dhruva set in meaningful words (pada) and meter (Chhandas) with appropriate Taala cycles. Here, the rhythmic element of the song gets more intense. Then, one could have an optional section (Antara) perhaps with rapidly recited Paata syllables – before coming to the concluding section.

:-For the concluding section (Abogha), the Anga-Birudu is required as the signature (Mudra) of the composer or singer or as a dedication to the patron. The performance could conclude with repletion (refrain) of main lines from Dhruva.

*

During the Seventeenth Century, the Golden period of Karnataka Samgita, the Prabandha format was revised and recast, paving way for the introduction of a more elegant form of musical composition – the Kriti.

Certain changes were effected, in regard to the Angas and to the Dhatus as well.

*

As regards the Angas, the basic components; Pada, Svara and Taala were retained, almost as they were in the Prabandhas. But, certain changes were brought in with regard to the status of the other three Angas: Paata; Tenaka; and Birudu.

Paata:

Paata, the percussion syllables (Paata),which was  once a characteristic feature of the Bandha–karana of the ancient Shuddha-SudaPrabandhas, led to the creation of new forms such as the Tillanas. This became an independent musical format; and, got associated more with Dance.

And, under the revised scheme, the Paata, the vocalized Mrdanga syllables, was taken out from the main body of the repertoire of the stage performances (Sabha-gana); such as the singing of Kirtanas, Kritis etc.

But, its corresponding Svaras, when coordinated with the Sahitya passages, re-appeared as Chitte Svara in the Kritis.

*

Tena or Tenaka

In the Prabhanda rendering, the vocal syllables – meaningless and musical in sound – with many repetitions of   the syllables or sounds like tenna-tena-tom, conveying a sense of auspiciousness (mangala-artha-prakashaka), used to be sung after rendering Ragalapiti; but, before the main section of the Prabandha i.e. the Dhruva.

Tena, an A-nibaddha-Samgita (an unstructured, improvised, meaningless, non-verbal music), was taken out of the main body of the structured (Nibaddha) format; and, was treated as a separate segment to be rendered after Alapana (Ragaalapi); but, before taking up the Pallavi or the Kriti. Tena was re-named as Taanam. But, singing Tanam was optional. Every Kriti that was sung need not have to be preceded by Taanam rendering.

Tena, which was originally used in the Tena-karana of the Prabandha, gained greater importance in the playing of the Veena. The Tanam rendering on the Veena, was derived from the Tena-karana , which was meant to be played on the Veena in the Nanda type of songs of the Viprakirna class of Prabandha. The Taanam (played soon after the latter part of the Alapana) is a particularly endearing segment of the Veena-play of the Karnataka Sangita.

*

Birudu

The Birudu, which was an independent Anga of a Prabandha, was taken out and integrated into the Carana of a composition (usually in the concluding Mudra-Carana). And, it appeared in the Kritis, as Vaggeyakara-mudra; Raga-mudra; or Kshetra mudra

*

Udgraha and Melapaka

Now, as regards the Udgraha , the couplet with which the composition started  and which introduced the textual and the musical theme of the Prabandha, it was now assigned the name of Pallavi;  suggesting that which is blossoming or is about to bloom-Pallava .

And, the second section, Melapaka, the bridge that connected the Udgraha and Dhruva, now came to be known as Anu-pallavi (that which follows the Pallavi). And the Music here is in a higher register (Svara-sthana); and, its flow is natural.

Now, in the Kriti, the theme introduced in the Pallavi is continued further. The Anupallavi acts as a connecting link between  the Pallavi and the Carana. The length of these Dhatus (sections of the song) can be extended, if need be (optional), by introducing, the Antara, as the second theme into Anu-pallavi.

Although the Anupallavi performs a very useful role; it, nevertheless, is not mandatory. In the Samasti-Carana type of Kritis, the composer can straight away proceed from Pallavi to Carana, circumventing the Anupallavi.

*

Abhoga

And, Abhoga, which was the concluding section of the Prabandha, now became a part of the last Carana of the Kriti, accommodating the Vaggeyakara-Mudra (signature) of the composer.

*

Dhruva

At the same time, the number of stanzas in the Dhruva section was reduced.

Dhruva was the main body of a Prabandha-song; and, that which was repeated. It was called Dhruva, because it was rendered again and again (refrain); and, because it was an essential and a constant Anga (dhruvatvat).  

Dhruva was renamed as Carana, the feet which takes the Kriti forward; and, also enables it to gain movements. The Carana, at the same time, is the cream, the substance or the body of the Kriti.

Here, in the Pallavi, the theme of the song is briefly initiated. And it is slightly more expanded in the Anu-pallavi; mainly, in order to bridge the Pallavi with the Carana.

But, it is in the Carana, the theme is extensively elaborated in various ways; and, it is here that the composition finds its fulfillment. In the process, there might be slight variations of the contents, depending upon the creativity of the composers, who strive to bring more variety and richness into their compositions.

The third Dhatu Carana, generally, has twice the number of the cycles (Avartanas) of Anupallavi. The melody of the first half of Carana is set in the middle register (Madhyama-kala), closer to the main theme of the Pallavi. And, it also amplifies the theme further.

The second part of the Carana is closer or is similar to the Anupallavi in its music-content; and, finally it leads back to the Pallavi.  The entire composition is a unity of several elements and segments, all of which coming together harmoniously, to present a wholesome performance. The Carana is the sum total; the aggregate.

Thus, the Kriti effectively uses the three Dhatus in developing its theme, progressively– in stages.  Some scholars, employing the textual analogy, have described the Pallavi as Sutra; Anu-pallavi as Vritti; and Caranas as Bhashya

[In the traditional texts , the term Sutra denotes a collection  highly condensed pellets of references ; Vritti attempts to slightly expand on the Sutra to bring some clarity; and Bhashya is a detailed  commentary  on the subjects dealt with by  the Sutra and the Vritti. ; and, primarily it continues to  based on the Sutra.]

*

Thus the four Dhatus (Chatur-dhatu) of the Prabandha were remodelled and adopted into the Kriti of three Dhatus (Tri-dhatu). And, the Tri-dhatu format is now established; and, perhaps it will continue to be so for a very long time.

[Although, Prabandha, as a genre, has disappeared, its influence has been long-lasting, pervading most parts, elements and idioms of Indian Music. The structures , internal divisions, the elements of Meter (Chhandas), Raga, Taala and Rasa , as also the musical terms that are prevalent in the Music of today are all derived from Prabandha and its traditions. Many well-known musical forms have emerged from the bygone Prabandha.  Thus, Prabandha is, truly, the ancestor of the entire gamut of varieties of patterns of sacred-songs, art-songs, Dance-songs and other musical forms created since 17-18th century till this day.]

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Kriti

In Karnataka Samgita, Kriti is an icon of Nibaddha Samgita, a structured composition.  A Kriti is explained as that which is constructed (yat krtam tat kritih). It is primarily a pre-composed music (kalpitha Samgita), which aims to delineate the true nature of a Raga in all its vibrant colours. And, at the same time, it tries to harmonize the four essential components of the Kriti: the words of the song (Sahitya); its emotional content (Mano-bhava); its Music (Raga-bhava) and, the rhythm (Laya and Taala).   All these elements have to be crafted into a well organized,  crystalline, articulate and a very well designed structure, as per the tradition (Sampradaya), satisfying all the requirements prescribed in the Lakshana-Granthas.

A Kriti comprising the three segments (Tri-Dhatu) Pallavi, Anu-pallavi and Caranas, honouring the disciplines of Grammar and Chhandas, and set to appropriate Taala, is the most advanced form of musical composition in Karnataka Samgita,.

There could be variations in its structure. In Samasti Carana type of Kritis the Anupallavi and Carana is fused into one segment. It will have just two segments (Dvi-Dathu): the Pallavi which introduces the musical theme; and the Carana, which expands on that.

In either case, in these Kritis, the Mathu (be it Sahitya, Pada, Svrakshara (sol-fa syllables) or the rhythmic syllables of Taala); and, the Dhatu (Musical content, Nadadthmaka) need to be in perfect harmony:

Dhatu-Matu samayuktam Gitam-ityuchyate budhaih: Tatrah Nadatmako Dhatu Matur-akshara sambhavat

*

Despite the importance that has been now accorded to the Kriti, it took a considerable time for it to be called by that name. Even in the Sangita-Sampradaya-Pradarshini of Sri Subbarama Dikshitar, this form of compositions was referred to as Kirtana, although there are some subtle differences between the two formats. Now, hopefully, the term Kriti has come to stay.

*

Although the Kriti as a preeminent musical format was perfected by the Trinity of Karnataka Samgita, the process of its formation had stared much earlier. And, a number of compositions of that nature were written by some eminent musicologists.

The most noted among such scholars was Sri Margadarshi Sesha Iyengar,  (17th century), whose Vaggeyakara-mudra was ‘Kosala’. He also known by the name Pallavi Sesha Ayyangar

His compositions were set in the Tri-Dhatu format of Pallavi, Anupallavi and Three Caranas. He was also the earliest to use the Ragas Begada and Brindavan.a-saranga.

Sadly, all his compositions were said to have been lost. However, the Sarasvathi Mahal Library, Thanjavur, I understand, has brought out a collection of about thirty-one Krits ascribed to Sri Sesha Ayyangar. It is said; the songs therein were culled out of a bunch of manuscripts bundled as ‘Seshayyangaru -Kirtanalu’. And, the collection ended with the phrase ‘Kosalam Kirtanalu Sampurnam’. All the songs are set in chaste Sanskrit.

[ Please click here , for the list of those thirty-one songs.]

Sri Sesha Ayyangar seemed to have influenced Sri Swati Tirunal Maharaja, who in his treatise concerning the Sabda-alamkaraPrasa, the ‘Muhanaprasa- antyaprasa-vyavastha’   often cites from the compositions of Sri Sesha Iyengar, as illustrations of the Prasa-phrases.

It said; Sri Sesha Ayyangar was the first to introduce the rhetorical beauties like, Dvitiya-kshara-prasa, Muhana, Antarukti, etc into musical compositions. The Muhana-prasa, the subject of Sri Swati Tirunal Maharaja’s treaties, refers the rhyming patterns, wherein the same or similar syllable or phrase occurring at the commencement of the first Avarta of a section of a musical composition, is featured also in the second Avarta of the same section.

[The three Sabdalankaras used in composing Sahitya for music are :  Muhana, Prasa and Antyaprasa.

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

As regards the substitution; if the letter (Akshara) at the beginning of the Avarta is ‘a’, then its substitute in the Muhana will be : ‘Aa,Ai,Au, y,h’. Similarly the if the first letter in the Avarta is ‘i (ee)’ its substitute would be ‘I,e,r’. And , for the letter ‘u’, it would be ‘U, O’.

Prasa is the repetition of the second letter in the first Avarta in the same position in the subsequent Avarta in the same position in the subsequent Avartas. This is concerned only with consonants, not vowels. Prasa can be for a single letter or for a group of letters.

Its example from Sri Sesha lyengar’s Kriti is:

Tanuja sarana pa- Vanaja mukha pari- jana / jagadahita-danuja madahara /  manuja tanu dhara / vanaja dala nayana /

Antyaprasa 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. ]

*

Sri Sesha Ayyangar was also the earliest composer to use the Antarukti, the method of splitting the words, in order to maintain a Prasa.  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. Sri Sesha Ayyangar employed the Antarukti between two words which are in Muhana Prasa. For instance; in the line ‘Hanumantam Chintayeham paVana’, the word ‘Pavana’ was split to render ‘Vana’ as a Prasa to the sound ‘Hanu’. The syllable ‘pa’, here, is said to an Antarukti.

*

Later, Sri Mutthuswamy Dikshitar, in particular, as also Sri Shyama Shastry and Sri Thyagaraja employed such types of Prasas quite often.

 [For more on these, please do read an extensive Doctoral thesis prepared by Dr. Manjula Sriram, under the guidance of Professor Smt. Gowri Kuppuswamy.]

Bangaru Kamakshi

Kritis of Sri Shyama Shastry

Most of the Kritis of Sri Shyama Shastry, as per the usual norms, follow the then accepted format of Tri-dhatu, comprising three clear segments of Pallavi, Anu-pallavi and Carana.

At the same time, in a few cases, he deviated from the normal; and, in some of them he also brought in variations by way of building into the structure of the Caranas, the innovative feature of Svarasahitya.

And, of the sixty Kritis of Sri Shyama Shastry, in eight of the Kritis the decorative Anga (element) of Svara-sahitya is ingeniously structured into the Carana. The group of these eight Kritis comprise those having One Carana (1); Two Caranas (1); and Three Caranas (6).

Svarasahitya21

Of the sixty known Kritis of Sri Shyama Shastry, 1 Kriti has no Carana; 8 (7+1) Kritis have one Carana;   5   (4+1) Kritis have two Caranas; 4 Kritis have four Caranas; and, the rest 42 (36+6) Kritis have three Caranas.

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Of these, Sri Shyama Shastry’s very famous Kriti ‘Devi brova samayamide’ in Raga Chintamani, having a Pallavi and three Caranas is classified as a Dvi-Dathu-Kriti type; meaning, it has only two elements (Dathu):  Pallavi and Carana, but has no Anu-pallavi. It is a Samasti-Carana type of Kriti.

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Eight of his Kritis have each only one Carana; of which in one Kriti – ‘Mayamma nannu brova ‘(28-Nattakuranji, Adi) has a Pallavi; Anupallavi; and One Carana followed by Svarasahitya passage as an Upanga (an auxiliary element).

single carana *with Svarasahitya

The shorter Krits are simple, with a string of names describing glory of the goddess (Namavali); and praying for protection. In these Kritis, the Pallavi is followed by a short Caranas. And, while singing,  the Pallavi line is repeated after the Carana .

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Four of the Kritis , have a structure of Pallavi; Anupallavi; and, Two Caranas. Of these four Kritis, one Kriti ‘Sri Kamakshi Kavave’ (65-Kalyani-Adi) has a Pallavi; Anupallavi; and Two Caranas and a Svarasahitya passage.

Two Caranas

*with Svarasahitya

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And, Four of the Kritis have a structure of Pallavi; Anupallavi; and, Four Carana

Four Caranas

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Thus, apart from the 8 (1+7) Kritis, the rest 52 Kritis have multiple Caranas.  Of those 52 Kritis, as many as 43 (37+6) Kritis have three Caranas each.  It could therefore be said about two-thirds of his Kritis consist of three Caranas.

Generally, in the case of Kritis having multiple Caranas, the Pallavi and Anupallavi would of the same length; and, the Carana would be double in length.  

But, in the case of the Kritis of Sri Shyama Shastry, rarely do the Pallavi, Anupallavi and Carana have a uniform/ proportionate length. They do vary.

In the case of Kritis having multiple Caranas, the Music of the Caranas would, usually, be consistent, until the final Carana, with the Vaggeyakara Mudra, is taken up. So is the case with most of the Kritis of Sri Shyama Shastry, which carry multiple Caranas.

But, while singing,  few Kritis – like Mayamma-yeni (Ahiri, Adi) and Saroja-dala-netri (Shankarabharanam, Adi) – the Pallavi is sung and elaborated repeatedly , as a refrain, after the Anupallavi and also after each of the three Caranas. And, the singing concludes with the rendering of the Pallavi again.

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Among the other Kritis having the structure of Tridhatu (Pallavi, Anupallavi and Carana); and having multiple Caranas; in the following cases, the Dhatu (Music) of the Anupallavi is repeated at the second half (Uttarardha) of each Carana.

Dhatu repeated

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And, in some of the Kritis of Sri Shyama Shastry, each of the three sections of the Kriti – Pallavi, Anu- Pallavi and Carana – are set to different Ragas and different Taalas.

The following Kritis have different Dathu-s for its different Caranas (Dhatu-vyatyaya) . The term Dhatu indicates the Musical content-Nadatmaka which is enriched by varied Laya patterns, Gamakas, Sangatis and other innovative embellishments.

Different Dhathu

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Smt. Sharadambal observes:

The Kritis of Sri Shyama Shastry are normally found with three Caranas. Yet, the Kriti Nannu-brovu in Lalita Raga is found with four Caranas; and, the Kriti Devi-brova-samaya-mide in Raga Chintamani is found without the Anupallavi section.

Normally, the duration of Avartas in Adi-Taala-Kritis is 2-2-4 for the Pallavi, Anupallavi and Carana respectively.  With the addition of Chittasvara or Svarasahitya, the number of Avartas of the Anupallavi or Carana will each be increased by another 2 Avartas.

The organisation of the duration of Avartas in Rupaka Taala is 4-4-8 or 8-8-8

 The Kriti Marivere, in Ânandabhairavi Raga in Misra Chapu Taala, is found with 8-8-16 ; and with another 8 Avartas for Chittasvara.

The Kriti, Shankari in Saveri Raga is seen with the format of 8+8+8; and, a Chittasvara for 8 Avartas.

Most of the Kritis in Misra-Laghu or Misra-Chapu-Taala are found with the pattern of 8+8+16; and, only in some Kritis, the additional element of Svarasahitya is found with another 8 Avartas, reckoning  the Svara part and the Sahitya part as a single unit.

The music settings of the three Angas are separate; and, all the Caranas are sung to the same Dhatu in the compositions of Sri Shyama Shastri.

Only in rare cases –for example, in the kriti Marivere (Ânandabhairavi) and in Brôvavamma ( Manji Raga)  – the last two lines of the Carana are sung to the same Dhatu as that of the Anupallavi.

Normally slow medium tempo is employed in the Kritis set in Adi Taala (Irandu) two Kaalai, with profusion of words without any intermediary ending of the words. All the Angas will be set in the same tempo. But in two Kritis we find the number of words is increased in the Angas – Anupallavi and Carana – in Kanaka-shaila in Punnnagavarali; and, in the Carana of the Kriti Mayamma in Ahiri. This increases the tempo of the Angas , as if they are in madhyama-kâla, though in fact they are not. 

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Angas- Alamkara- decorative features

Sri Shyama Shastry was indeed very proficient in introducing into the Kritis the aesthetic delights, devises or the adornments (Alamkara).These decorative Angas were applied in order to enrich the Dhatu, Mathu and the combination of the both.

His Kritis are rich in the Angas, such as beautiful Svaraksharas, Chittasvaras, Svara-sahitya, as also the intricate Gamakas and variations of the Taala patterns etc.

The Laya-soukhya, the comfort and ease in the rhythmic flow is one of the endearing aspects of the Kritis of Sri Shyama Shastry. The other related feature is his dexterous use of the Misra Chapu Taala; and, its reversed sequences in Viloma Chapu.

Smt. Vidya Shankar writes:

The beauty of the melodic structure of Sri Shyama Shastry’s  compositions lies in the various artistic stresses and strains given to the Musical phrases (Bigu-Sugu). This is the key note of the rhythmic richness found in the works of Sri Shastry. It leaves the impression that every spot is transformed with special charm and grandeur by the infusion of this quality of Laya (change in the tempo) – Shyama Sastry by Smt. Vidya Shankar – Page 55)

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But, the delight of his compositions is in the Vilamba-kaala, like the spacious, calmly spreading, gently flowing river; which immerses the singer and the listener in tranquil joy.

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Sri Shyama Shastry also brought into his Kritis, several of the decorative Angas that are generally applied to embellish the Sahitya or Mathu, such as: Prasa; Yati; Madhyama-kala-Sahitya, Vaggeyakara-mudra; Kshetra-mudra etc.

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Apart from the Alamkara of Dhatu (Nadatmaka) the Kritis of Sri Shyama Shastry are also rich in the element of Mathu, the literary and rhetorical beauties like Svaraksharas, Madhyama-kala Sahitya, Chittasvaras, Gamakas and varieties of Prasas etc., in addition to various adaptations in coining his Vaggeyakara-Mudras.

Sri Shyama Shastry was an adept in introducing into the Kritis, the aesthetic devises or the adornments (Alamkara) such as beautiful Svara-sahitya, Svaraksharas, as also intricate Gamakas and variations of the Taalas etc.

Sri Shyama Shastry had also used varied patterns in the structure of the Kritis, like appending the Svarasahitya to the Carana;  and, employing the Dhatu of the Anupallavi in the Carana again, as in the Kritis ‘Marivegati’ (Anandabhairavi); ‘Sari evvaramma’ (Bhairavi); and, ‘Ninne namminanu’ (Todi).

[In wielding of the Alamkaras such as, the Svarasahitya, Svaraksharas and Chittasvaras, Sri Shyama Shastry was indeed an expert and, the foremost.

But, his use of certain other Alamkaras, such as: Sangathis; Madhyama-kala-Sahitya; Yati-prasa; and, Raga-mudra, etc., were rather limited. There are also no noticeable instances of Taala-mudra. Some of the Sangathis that are now applied to his Kritis are believed to have been inserted by the musicians of later generations.]  

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Let’s, briefly, try to go over some these features, with special reference to the compositions of Sri Shyama Shastry.

Sangathi

The Sangathi, the melodic variations, is a process of embellishing a particular passage of a musical composition, with varied improvisations to bring out the different shades of the Sahitya and also of the Raga, without, however, altering the Mathu (Sahitya or words) of that segment

The Sangathis are, generally, improvised while rendering the Pallavi or Anupallavi (rarely in Carana); and at the same time, retaining the words of the text (Sahitya). Though they are sung to the same Sahitya, each Sangati is a logical progression from the previous one.

In certain cases, with the recurrence of the musical phrases, the Sahitya gets hidden under the melodic variations.  And, in certain others, in the Sahitya-bhava-Sangatis, the meaning of the Sahitya gets emphasised, to stimulate its effect.

The Sangathis are not developed from the opening phrase; but, only in the later portions. But, the Sthayi and tempo may be varied; and, increased gradually from Sama-kala, to Madhyama-kala and to Durita-kala. Or else, they may be rendered at the tempo assigned for that segment of the Kriti.  With the increase in the tempo; and, with variations, the length and time of the Pallavi or Anupallavi get elongated.

And, in either case, the Sangathis contribute in bringing out the various shades of the Raga; and also the complex layers of the emotional aspects and meaning of that particular Sahitya. Hence, the Sangathis being endowed with the potential to bring forth varied possibilities are used as creative ornamentations at various places.

In some Kritis, the Sangatis are applied only to the Pallavi and Anupallavi. In certain other cases, the Sangathis are applied either at the commencing part of Pallavi; or at a particular part of the Kriti; or, it is applied with variations in other parts as well.

Sangathi is a much used Anga in the Kritis of Sri Thyagaraja. But, Sangathi is not a major issue in the Kritis of Sri Shyama Shastry; but, still there are some instances of Sangathi prayoga.

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In the Kritis of Sri Shyama Shastry, the Sangatis are developed gradually and extended to successive Avartas, heightening the Raga-bhava and the Sahitya-bhava; and, the final Sangathis spread over the full line.

But, While singing the Kriti Saroja-dala-netri’ (Shankarabharanam) , we find that the Sangathis are developed by the performers and extended over the whole Avarta in the second line of the Pallavi. The First Sangati is developed from the place ‘Sri Meenaksamma’; while the second is developed from the beginning with slight changes occurring here and there.

And, while singing the Kriti Durusuga (Saveri) the Sangathis, as developed by the performers, fill in the gaps that are without Sahitya, at the end of first Avarta of the Anupallavi. Here, the Sangathis are executed with a series of ’Aaa-karas’ (or non-verbal sounds); and, no words are added even after the ‘Aaa-karas’.

The second and Third Sangathis are developed to fill in the gaps, by breaking up the Sahitya phrase and elaborating its component-words in a variety of ways. And, by the gradual increase of the Svaras in two speeds (Druta), the Sangathis are progressed. 

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Svrakshara

The device (Anga), which adds lustre and delight to both Dhatu and Mathu are the Svaraksharas. It is a variety of Sabda-alamkara; and, is described as Dhatu-Mathu-Samyukta-Alamkara, in which the Sahitya syllable (Mathu) and the Svara syllable (Dhatu) are identical or sounding similar.  

This structural beauty, termed as Dhatu-Mathu-Alamkara, is a happy confluence of both the types of decorative elements:  Svara (sol-fa-notes); and, the identical or similar sounding syllable (Akshara) of the Sahitya (lyrics). Here, the Svaras are rendered in the proper Svara-sthana assigned to them (order or Krama).

They figure in almost all the musical forms like:  Kritis, Varnas,, Raga-malikas, Svarajatis, Tillanas etc. The Svarakshara can be Hrasva (short) or Dheerga (long) depending on the nature of the syllables. E.g.: Pa- Da- Sa- Roja (Dheerga Svaraksharas)  in ‘Pada saroja-muna nammi ‘the Carana of the Navaragamalika Varna.

The Svaraksharas occurring in his Kritis blend harmoniously and naturally with the Sahitya; and, give forth a pleasant feeling. These are generally found in the beginning of Pallavi, Anupallavi or Carana.

But, Svarakshara is an Alamkara that can be noticed and enjoyed only in vocal music; since, in the instrumental music, the Sahitya cannot be explicitly brought out.

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The art of composing Svarakshara is often compared to Chitra-Kavya or ornamental poetry, where the syllables and words are graphically presented as patterns or images. Creating the right type of beautiful sounding Svaraksharas; and, introducing them at appropriate places in the Kritis is an art, a precious gift; and, it is also a measure of the musical and literary capabilities of the composer.

Sri Shyama Shastry excelled in structuring into his compositions delightful Svarakshara passages, in all their forms.

In the Kritis of Sri Shyama Shastri, we find the extensive use of Svaraksharas of both the varieties:  Shuddha and Suchita Svaraksharas. They occur more often as a two or three lettered word, than as single syllable.

The Svaraksharas could be either direct (Shuddha), where the literary (Sahitya) syllables are exactly like the Sol-fa notes; or, they could be mere suggestive (Suchita), where the Sahitya-syllables (Akshara) might sound slightly different from the Svara-syllables, because of the vowel-changes (Svara-vyatyaya) in the Sahitya syllables

In any case; it is said; the Svaraksharas should convey some meaning by themselves or when combined with other non-Svarakshara syllables.

The Sahitya-(Sari) evvaramma (Bhairavi-Adi) is an instance of Shuddha- Svarakshara indicating the notes Sa and Ri. And, in the Kriti ‘Devi brova samaya’ (Punnagavarali), the term ‘Sama’ is set to Svaras ‘Sa-Ma’. And, in the Kriti Kamakshi Bangaru (Varali), the Svaraksharas are Ga-Ma.

The combinations like ‘Sa-Ma’; ‘Pa-Ri; ‘Sa-Ri’; ‘Ga-Ma’; ‘Ni-Dha’; ‘Dha-Ri-Sa; and, ‘Pa-Dha-Sa’, are some such Svaraksharas found in the Kritis.

And in his other Kriti, the phrase in ‘Du –ru-su’ ga krupa’ (Saveri-Adi) suggests the sounds Du-Da, ru-ra , su-sa. And, in his another Kriti (Mi) nalochana brova (Dhanyasi-Chapu) the Sahitya-syllable ‘Mi’ suggests (Suchita) the Svara Ma.

Sri Shyama Shastry has also employed a combination (Misra) of Shuddha-Suchita Svarakshara, as in the line: Ri-Ga-Ma-Pa-Dha-Ni , corresponding to ‘Sri- Ka –Makshi – Ni’.

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In some of his Kritis, the Pallavi, Anupallavi and Carana begin with Svaraksharas. For instance; (Sa-ri) evvaramma;   (Pa) rama-pavani – Anupallavi; and, (Ma) dhava Sodari – Carana, are Svaraksharas.

And, his other Kritis in Yadukula-kambhoji, Mukhari, Kalyani and Ritigaula, the Svarasahitya commence with Svaraksharas.

Similarly, in the Kriti ‘Marivere-gati’ (Anandabhairavi) the Svarasahitya ‘(Pa da) yu-ga’; and, ‘Janani Ninnu vina ‘have some Shuddha Svaraksharas.: Pa-Dha-Pa-Ma / Pa-da-yu-ga.

And, in one more instance of the Kriti Ninne-namminanu (Todi) the Svaraksharas appear in the Svarasahitya in the line ‘kamala bhava danuja ripu nuta pada’-

  • (Ga Ma) Ga Ri Sa (Dha) Ma Ga Ri Sa (Ni Dha) Ma Ga(Ga) Ri
  • (Kama) la bhava; (da)nu ja ri pu (nu ta) pa da (Ka) ma

There are many Svaraksharas here, throughout the Svara Sahitya

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The three Svarajatis have numerous examples of both Shuddha and Suchita Svaraksharas in the Svarasahitya.  

And, similarly, his Varnam ‘Dayanidhe mamava’ (29-Begada, Adi) starts with a Suddha Svarakshara in all its three Angas.

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Chittasvaras

Chittasvara, an Alamkara-Anga, is a series of Svara phrases (Sol-fa passages) set in order to enhance the beauty and the musical appeal of a composition. And, in a Kriti, the Chittasvaras are, usually, rendered at the end of the Anupallavi; or towards the conclusion of the Carana; or at the end of each section in Raga-malika-Kritis.

They may be in the Sama-kaala (same tempo) or in the Madhyama Kaala. But, generally, the Chittasvaras are sung in Madhyama-kaala at the end of the Carana, even if they were rendered in Sama-Kaala after the Anupallavi.

In Sri Shyama Shastry’s Kriti Marivere (Anandabhairavi), the Chittasvara is sung in Dhuritha (two speeds) after the Anupallavi; and, the Chittasvara-Sahitya– is sung after the Carana, in the corresponding Svara.

Where the Svara-sanchara of the Chittasvaras is integrated by the composer himself; it might even be considered as pre-composed Kalpana-svaras.  And, in addition, the performer on the stage, the singer, could also improvise in all artistry to illuminate the Raga-bhava.

Generally, the Chittasvaras are composed by the Vaggeyakara himself, as passages of few Avartas of Svara-sanchara. But, there are many instances, where they were inserted at a later time by his disciples or descendents.

This decorative Anga comprising of Svara passages of 2 or 4 Avartas (cycles) would be set to the tempo (Kaala) of the Kriti.  The Avartas may vary in accordance with the kaala to which the segment of the Kriti is set. For instance; if the Anupallavi is to be rendered in Vilamba-kaala, then it would be Vilambita Kala Chittasvara; and, it would be Dhruta-laya-Chittasvara after the Carana.

The Laya or the rhythm of the Chittasvara also varies with the Taala.  For instance; in the Adi Taala, the recurrence (Avarta) will be 2 to 4; and, in the Rupaka Taala, it will be 8 to 16 Avartas.

Based on the tempo, the Chittasvaras are classified either as Sama-kala-Chittasvara or as Madhyama-kala-Chittasvara.

[In the Kritis, ‘Devi mina- netri’ and ‘Mariveregati’, the Chittasvaras are being sung also in the Madhyama-kala (second degree of the speed).]

The Chittasvaras could again be classified as those that end evenly (Sama) or as those with Muktayi patterns or MakutaSvaras, peaking to a higher note towards the conclusion. The Makutas are structured with short, crisp and attractive Svara phrases. And, the Makuta could again be short (Hrsva) or Dheerga (elongated). In either case, the Muktayi should be proportionate to the length of the Chittasvara.

A further innovation is brought into the rendering of the Chittasvaras.

 Normally, it is sung as a straight or a linier phrase (Anuloma). But, they can even be rendered in the reverse (Viloma) order of its set Svaras. However, the Viloma type of Chittasvaras can be introduced only in the case of those Kritis, which are set to Ragas having symmetrical Arohana (ascent) and Avarohana (descent) in their Svara structure. Such Ragas could be Sampurna (having all the seven Svaras), Shadava (having six of the seven Svaras in its scale) or Oudava (having only five of the seven Svaras in its scale).

In certain other instances, a corresponding Sahitya, known as the Chittasvara-Sahitya would also be inserted.

Another variety is the admixture of Svara-phrases with the Jati or the Pata-ksharas – (Sollukattu). These are known as ‘Sollkattu Svaras’. And, in the songs, specially meant for Dance, the Sollukattu syllables would be mingled with Sahitya (Sollukattu-Sahitya).

[Sollukattu -(or Pataksharas– vocalized Mrdangam syllables or beats of other percussion instruments or cymbals)- is said to be a variety of Chittasvara, indicating the arrangement of rhythmic beats in a time sequence (Taala-pramana).

Here, the Svara passages are interspersed by Jatis (sequence of drum-syllables measuring the time-units). Its Dhatu will be the same as that of the Chittasvara, which in turn will be in the tempo of the Kriti. The Sollukattu in the Anupallavi will be sung in Vilamba -kala (first degree of speed); and in the Carana, it will be sung in Madhyama-kala (second degree of speed)

As the section is sung, one will hear the Svaras and Jatis alternately, providing the Kriti some variety and depth.

A variation of Sollukattu is Sollukattu-Svara-Sahitya, where, in addition to Svaras and Jatis, suitable Sahitya would also be composed for the passage.

Sollukattu-Svaras are commonly used in the compositions that are dedicated to those gods who are associated with Dance, such as,  Ganapthi, Nataraja or Krishna.

Sri Mutthuswamy Dikshitar is believed to be the first to use this Anga in a Kriti. ]

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It appears that the Chittasvara-prayoga was not in much use before the time of the Trinity. Even among the Trinity, it was only Sri Shyama Shastry who experimented with Chittasvaras; and was also the first to introduce the Svarasahitya into the Kritis.

He used the Chittasvaras in quite a number of his Kritis.

Chittasvara

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Svarasahitya

Svarasahitya refers to Chittasvara passages (Dhathu) adorned with appropriate Sahitya (Mathu) ingeniously structured into the Carana. And, Chittasvara are a set of Svaras (sol-fa passages) integrated into a composition, to enrich its beauty. It is sung at the end of the Anupallavi or the Carana.

The Svarasahitya is a musical passage, where every letter of the Sahitya line corresponds to a Svara note. If the letter (Akshara) in a word is elongated (Dheerga) the corresponding the Svara is also elongated – according to the degree (Dheerga) long, or Hrsva (short) letters; and, the Svaras will have their corresponding duration..

The Svarasahitya could perhaps be called as musical notations that trace the progression in the process of noting the Svaras and Sahitya elements of the composition.

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The Svara-line of the Svarasahitya passage is affixed to the Anupallavi; and, the corresponding Sahitya line is appended to Carana; before the Pallavi is rendered again as refrain, in each case.

That is to say; the Svarasahitya, is an Alamkara, which contains both the Dhatu and Mathu elements; and, it is built into a Kriti.  And, while rendering the Kriti, the Dathu portion of the Svarasahitya will be sung after the Anupallavi; and, its Mathu portion after the Carana. Thus, the theme and the content of the Svarasahitya will be apportioned between the Anupallavi and the Carana.

The presentation of this passage enhances the beauty of the rendering of the composition.

The rendering of the Chittasvara and Svarasahitya passages in the middle of a composition helps to establish the unique nature of the Raga; particularly ,in the case of rare and Vakra Ragas.

It also facilitates the displaying rare Prayogas, leading to Kalpana-Svaras; thus, lending variety and attractiveness to the performance, particularly when skilfully supported by the accompanying musicians. The audience in the concert too love such engaging passages .

The Svarasahitya must be in conformity with the Sahitya of the Anupallavi and of the Carana. The syllables of the Mathu have to be in accordance with the Svaras or the Dhatu syllables.

Though prosodic beauties are not strictly complied with, as required for the Svarasahitya, some literary ornamentation like Yati and Prasa do occur in few cases.  Here, the Prasa-akshara is independent of the Anupallavi and Carana. And, the Sangathi or such other repetitive improvisations are not included.

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According to Vidushi Smt. Vidya Shankar, the Svarashitya is a miniature form of Svarajati, the speciality of Sri Shyama Shastry. And she further illustrates a Svarasahitya passage, with reference to a Kriti of Sri Shyama Shastry.

A remarkable feature of Sri Shastry’s compositions is the matching of the Mathu and Dathu i.e. the Sahitya with its corresponding Svara-structure. With absolute ease, he establishes a perfect harmony with the syllabic duration with the melodic duration of the phrases.

Sri Shastry’s dexterity in expressing this pattern of rhythmic structures has won him the prime place among the composers of Svarajatis.

In its miniature form, the structure of the Svarajati is transformed to a Svarasahitya-arga in most of his Kritis. This technique was adopted and followed by his son and disciple. I shall wind up this by the illustration of a Svarasahitya of Shyama Shastry’s Varali-Raga-kriti ‘Kamakshi Bangaru’ in Chapu Taala:

Na maanvini vinu Devi / Nive gatiyeni namminanu / Mayamma vegame karuna judavamma / Bangaru Bomma (Kamakshi)

Kamakshi Bangaru

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Sri Shyama Shastry might have found the Svarasahitya very fascinating; and, challenging too. This Anga, which presents a melodic line, projected by Svara syllables, to which meaningful text (Sahitya) is appended, is creatively woven into his Kritis as also into his Svarajatis. This indeed is a magnificent achievement.

This element of ornamentation (Alamkara Anga), the Svarasahitya, is said to be an original contribution of Sri Shyama Shastry to the development and the beautification of the Karnataka Samgita. He was the first composer to introduce this decorative Anga into the Kritis. He did extremely well in this aspect; and, used Svarasahitya extensively in his Kritis and other types of compositions, such as Varnas and Svarajatis.

The Kritis of Sri Shyama Shastry contain many enchanting Svarasahitya passages, with independent Prasa, so that they can be sung at the end of the Anupallavi and also at the end of each Carana.

He seemed to be fond of the latter part (Upanga) of the Svarasahitya, where a Svara-passage comes in the Anupallavi; and, its corresponding Sahitya-passage comes in the Carana

 Since then, the general practice has been to sing the Dhathu part of the Svarasahitya at the end of the Pallavi; and, the Mathu part at the end of the Carana.

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Sri Shyama Shastry does not seem to have composed any Svarasahitya, in the Madhyama Kala, per se. Generally they follow of the tempo of the Anupallavi or the Carana, as the case may be.

 For instance; in his Kriti ‘Durusuga’ (Saveri) the number of syllables per beat is the same both in the Music (Dhatu) and in the Svarasahitya. But, in his another Kriti ‘Marivere’ (Anandabhairavi) there is an apparent stepping up of the tempo of the Svarasahitya. Here, in this Kriti, its main body, the Pallavi, Anupallavi and the Carana are built to a cycle of 4 to 5 syllables per beat; whereas, the Svarasahitya which follows the Carana, has around 6 to 7 syllables per beat.

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In some of the Kritis of Sri Shyama Shastry, the Svarasahitya was added at a later time by his descendants or by his disciples.

For instance; it is said, the Svarasahitya for the ‘Palinchu Kamakshi’ (Madhyamavathi) was composed and inserted by Annaswamy Shastry, the grandson of Sri Shyama Shastry. And for the Kriti ‘O Jagadamba’ (Anandabhairavi), the Svarasahitya was submitted as Guru-dakshina, by Sangita Swamy, a Sanyasin and the long lost first disciple (Prathama-sishya) of Sri Shyama Shastry.

The Kritis of Sri Shyama Shastry adorned with many beautiful Svarasahityas, with independent Prasa-aksharas.

Svarasahitya

*Varana

Vajra 2

Madhyama-kala Sahitya

Madhyama-kala Sahitya, one of the optional sections in a Kriti, usually follows the Anupallavi or Carana or both. It will usually be half the Avarta of the Pallavi or Anupallavi, having a proportionate relationship with the length of the Carana.

This Anga is found mainly in the Kritis of Sri Mutthuswami Dikshitar. And, in his Kritis, this section also occurs after the Samasti-Carana.

The Madhyama-kala-Sahitya passage will, usually, be set in the same tempo as of the Kriti. This will be usually in 2 or 4 Avartas. But, in case of Kritis having Samasti-Carana, the tempo would be doubled. There is no scope here of Sangatis or other elaborations.

*

Sri Shyama Shastry used this Anga rather sparingly. But, in his Kriti O Jagadamba (Anandabhairavi) the entire Anupallavi is in the Madhyama-kala; besides, the Madhyama-kala-sahitya is in the Carana and in Svarasahitya.

 

Kamakshi

In the next Part we shall take a look at the other Angas such as Prasas, Gamakas,

Taala etc.,; and, also at the Language of the Kritis

Continued

In

The Next Part

 

Sources and References

All images are taken from Internet

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2020 in Music, Sangita, Shyama Shastri

 

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