Wednesday, December 05, 2012

100 Years - A Tribute

This is the centenary year of several legends like T.Brinda, Palghat Mani Iyer, Madurai Mani Iyer, T.K.Rangachari, etc. and the hundredth year of the living maestro Dr.Pinakapani. To observe the centenay year of these stalwarts, functions are held by their students, relatives and rasikas as a mark of respect and remembrance.

If an artist's centenary year is celebrated, it is because he has scaled heights and is far above the average. Otherwise, a centenary year would not have been observed. If these artists have reached such a level, it is because of the efforts they have put in, their hard work, focus and determination that took them to the top.

The aim of the centenary celebration should not be just to inform the public that these artists would have turned 100, but on the contrary, to make their efforts and contribution known to today's generation, with an aim that the youngsters look upon these maestros as role models and try to emulate them and follow the path shown by them.

This kind of emulation would itself be a true mark of homage to these vidwans and a means of paying respect to their soul.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

25th Winter Music Festival

Sruthi Laya Kendra 



25th Winter Music Festival 2012 0n 8th and 9th Dec

at Asthiga Samajam, Venus Colony, Alwarpet, chennai - 18. 


Award Function

8th Dec 2012 at 5.15 PM.

Sri KOOTHAPIRAN (Drama Artist)

Sri T.V. SANKARA NARAYANAN (Sangeetha Vidwan)

Chairman Kalakshetra Foundation
formar diplomat and governor of West Bengal

Inaugurates the festival and present Award and felicitates the artists

Sri Venkata Narasimhan Endowent prize to

Concert Details : 8-Dec-2012

Thaniavarthana concert by Palghat Sri T.R. Rajamani & V.Kamalakar Rao - Double  Mridangam

5.15 PM
Award Function

6.30 PM
Sri Vidhya bhooshana - Vocal, Vittal Sri Ramamurthy - Violin, Srimushnam Sri Raja rao - Mridangam, Sri V.Suresh - Ghatam

Concert Details : 9-Dec-2012

Sri Ganesh & Sri Kumaresh -  Violin Duet, Sri Ananda R. Krishnan  - Mridangam, Sri S.V. Ramani - Ghatam.

6.30 PM
Sri Abhishek Raghuram - Vocal, Mysore Sri Srikanth - Violin, Neyveli Sri Narayanan - Mridangam 

Entry Fee Rs. 30. Will be Donated to senior aged musician

MLA Concerts - Sruthi Laya Kendra 



in association with SRI KRISHNA GANA SABHA & KARTHIK FINE ARTS presents
MLA CONCERTS (Musicians Living Abroad)

21st & 22nd Concerts will be held at
Venue : Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Kamakoti Hall, T.Nagar, Chennai - 600 017

21-Dec-2012 at 4:30pm
Ashwini Satish - Vocal (Singapore), Srividya R.S. Iyer - Violin, Sai Nivedan - Mridangam (Australia)

21-Dec-2012 at 6:30pm
Booshani Kalyanaraman - Vocal,  Dr.Jyotsna Srikanth - Violin (UK), Thirupathi Sudhakar - Mridangam

22-Dec-2012 at 4:30pm
Sreyas Narayanan - Vocal, A.G.A Gnanasundaram - Violin (UK), Sai Sarangan - Mridangam(Australia)

22-Dec-2012 at 6:30pm
Smt. Varalakshmi Anandakumar - Vocal, Nishant Chandran  - Violin (USA),  Kottayam G. Santhoshkumar - Mridangam

26th & 27th Concerts will be held at
Venue: Karthik Fine Arts  - Bharathia Vidhya Bhavan's Mini Hall, Mylapore - 600 004

26-Dec-2012 at 4:30pm
Aswin Srikant - Vocal (USA), K. Gokul - Violin (USA), Sai Shiv - Mridangam

26-Dec-2012 at 6:30pm
S. Srinivasan - Veena, Balaskandan - Mridangam (USA), Madipakkam Murali - Ghatam
27-Dec-2102 at 4:30pm
Mahadevan Sankaranarayanan - Vocal, Arun Ramamurthy - Violin (USA), M. Ravichandra - Mridangam (Australia)
27-Dec-2102 at 6:30pm
Akkarai S. Subalakshmi & Akkarai S. Sornalatha Violin Duet, Kirupakaran - Mridangam (UK), N. Guruprasad - Ghatam

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Be The Best on every Birthday . . .

It is common to celebrate special days like Birthdays and the New Year with some sort of function. This goes on year after year.

When a baby is born, it knows no desire. With every birthday, its age increases and so do its desires. In addition, the child slowly acquires a set pattern of habits and sometimes vices.

There is no limit to these desires and habits. As he ages, his wants and ambitions multiply in leaps and bounds. Thinking that this is the base of happiness, a man searches for more and more wealth, power and prestige, even when he is very old.

Actually, the reverse will lead to happiness. If , with each birthday, a man were to sacrifice at least one material want and one habit, this would give him more peace of mind and improve the quality of his life.

A musician's birthday could be viewed at a different angle. today we see very little variety in an artist's performance. People attain star status merely by repeating the same items and approaching their art with limited stuff and no great desire for enrichment. Instead of this, every musician could look at his birthday or a new year as a day for increasing his repertoire in some way. By doing thus, he would be growing musically year after year. Just as one gets more fulfillment in life by progressively reducing one's wants, a musician, by steadily increasing his repertoire, gets more mature, refined, and has better standing in the field.

Instead of being one in the crowd, he will now be standing out in the multitude as a role model for other artists.

Could this not be practiced by all musicians, young and old ?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Knowledge Building VS Money Minded

Learning music in india is an area marked by high levels of competence and expectations, mainly because recognition is got only when there is some sort of qualified certification from the various high level organizations. But when we take the case of music abroad, the scene is different. There is a great level of commitment among classical music learners, who are settled in abroad. Urged by a need to ensure that their children are not spoilt by unnecessary distractions and to retain their native identity, there is a quest amongst them to learn Carnatic Music. Such training is also a great advantage as an extracurricular activity when these youngsters study in the University. Unfortunately, these innocent seekers of music are often taken for a ride. Many of the great artistes visit these foreign places and take classes there for such children. But, except for a few, many are more concerned about the monetary returns of such teaching rather than the progress of their pupil. In such a quest, they hasten to organize festivals, feature their students in them. Even if the student is mediocre, he is praised to the skies, thus giving him and his doting parents a false if flattering opinion of himself. In a span of say, couple of years with just a few monthly visits thrown in, the gure is in a great hurry to witness the arangetram of the pupil, in a field where traditionally the parents rush for such a day.

The arangetram abroad is often treated as a social event. But the role of a guru should be much more. He should create a thirst for knowledge to his student, so much so that the disciple should pester him for more and more , rather than worry about his performance. If this present trent goes on, there will be serious repercussions for the quality of music in general. Innocent parents, ignorant of the mediocre standard of their children, on getting concerts for their children in Chennai (easily done through money power in many a venue), feel that their child has reached star status already!

The first blame for this sad and unhealthy trend falls squarely on the unscrupulous guru's who consider that teach such a foreign based community is a sound money making venture, rather than a sacred relationship between teacher and taught. When the unwitting seekers of music abroad come to know about the true motives of these unethical teachers, it will be a black mark for Carnatic music and musicians in general.

Ofcourse, let us not forget that in the middle of such opportunists, there is a large section of genuinely committed teachers of music who have their disciples interest first and foremost in their heart. May their tribe increase. May the glow of our great fine art spread to every corner of the glove in all its splendour.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Creeping Corruption

We often boast that India is the largest democracy. Along with this boast, we can also be 'proud' of its large scale corruption and backdoor politics.
This is amply proved by the fact that in many cases, one individual often holds several important posts. Why is this ? Is there a shortage of manpower in our country? Obviously, there is more to this than just selection on merit.

When allegations of corruptions are made against some politicians, there is normally a huge clamour for their resignation, but nothing normally results. This 'virus' has entered the art field also. In fact, it has taken on a 'Viswaroopam'.

Creeping Corruption
When a government appoints someone to a top post, it is with some confidence in this candiate's abilities and also the belief that at least 80% of the finds handled,  will be put to correct use. Misuse of funds will pass as long as it remanins unnnoticed. But there is no smoke without fire. When it is discovered, especially in the field of art or in the music institutions, it creates depression and dejection in artists.

In the field of politics and politically based organizations, means like fasts , strikes and protests bring the problems to the public eye and help dispensing of justice. Unfortunately, in the field of music, there is no such means to bring the wrongdoers to book. Only then would the culprits be known to the public. Otherwise, like the politicians who enter the police vans with a broad smile on their faces, the accused in the art field will keep attending important functions without any guilt feeling or whatsoever.

Only if these trends are stopped the music will thrive and flourish in the long run.

Saturday, August 01, 2009


Manavati : It is the 5th Melakarta rāgam in the 72 melakarta rāgam system of Carnatic music.

In Muthuswami Dikshitar school of Carnatic music, the 5th melakarta is Manoranjani. This scale uses the notes shuddha rishabham, shuddha gandharam, shuddha madhyamam, chathusruthi dhaivatham, kakali nishadham

Raga Structure:
Arohanam: S R1 G1 M1 P D2 N3 S
Avarohanam: S N3 D2 P M1 G1 R1 S

Tala Structure (20 Aksharams):

1 Laghu + 1 Dhrutha Viraamam + 1 Anudhruthams + 1 Laghu + 1 Anudhrutham + 1 Laghu + 1 Dhrutha Viraamam

4+3+1+4+1+4+3 = 20 Aksharams

Monday, July 20, 2009


Vanaspati : It is the 4th Melakarta ragam in the 72 melakarta ragam system of Carnatic music.

This ragam is also called Bhānumati in Muthuswami Dikshitar school of Carnatic music. The notes used in this scale are Shuddha rishabham, shuddha gandharam, shuddha madhyamam, chathusruthi dhaivatham and kaisiki nishadham.

Raga Structure:
Arohanam: S R1 G1 M1 P D2 N2 S
Avarohanam: S N2 D2 P M1 G1 R1 S

Tala Structure (22 Aksharams):
1 Laghu + 2 Anudhruthams + 1 Guru + 1 Anudhrutham + 1 Laghu + 1 Dhrutha Viraamam
4+2+8+1+4+3 = 22 Aksharams

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ganamurti - gānamūrti

Ganamurti : It is the 3rd Melakarta rāgam in the 72 melakarta rāgam system of Carnatic music.
This ragam is also called Gānasāmavarāḷi in Muthuswami Dikshitar school of Carnatic music. The notes used in this scale are shuddha rishabham, shuddha gandharam, shuddha madhyamam, shuddha dhaivatham, kakali nishadham.
Arohaṇam: S R1 G1 M1 P D1 N3 S
Avarohaṇa: S N3 D1 P M1 G1 R1 S

Tala Structure ( 22 Aksharams) :
1 Laghu + 2 Anudhruthams + 1 Laghu + 1 Dhrutha Viraamam + 1 Guru + 1 Anudhrutham
4+2+4+3+8+1 = 22 Aksharams

Ratnangi - ratnāngi

ratnāngi : It is the second melakartha ragam in the 72 melakartha system of carnatic music.

This ragam is also called Phenadhyuti in Muthuswami Dikshitar school of Carnatic music. The scale uses the notes shuddha rishabham, shuddha gandharam, shuddha madhyamam, shuddha dhaivatham and kaisiki nishadham.

Raga Structure:

Arohanam : S R1 G1 M1 P D1 N2 S
Avarohanam : S N2 D1 P M1 G1 R1 S

Tala Structure ( 20 Aksharams) :

1 Guru + 1 Anudhrutham + 1 Laghu + 1 Dhrutha Viraamam + 1 Laghu
8 + 1 + 4 + 3 + 4 = 20 Aksharams

Kanakangi - Kanakāngi

Kanakāngi : It is the first melakartha ragam in the 72 melakartha system of carnatic music.

This ragam is also called as Kāshirāmakriya in the Muthuswami Dikshitar school of carnatic music. The scale uses the notes shuddha rishabham, shuddha gandharam, shuddha madhyamam, shuddha dhaivatham, shuddha nishadham.

Raga Structure:
Arohanam : S R1 G1 M1 P D1 N1
Avarohanam : S N1 D1 P M1 G1 R1

Tala Structure ( 15 Aksharams) :

Kanakangi - 15 Aksharams
1 Anudhrutham + 1 Dhrutham + 1 Guru + 1 Laghu
1 + 2 + 8 + 4 = 15 Aksharams

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Laws & Loopholes

Where there is law, there are loopholes. This observation seems to hold good for carnatic music too. Just as the temples did in the past, today, the sabhas, the media and the government play a major role in fostering our music and upholding quality, especially in the case of upcoming artistes.
With the aim of preserving quality, these organization demand a non-commercial audio recording of the artiste and slection is made based on the decisions of a reputed panel of judges. In order to ensure a fair ruling, each candidate is assigned a number instead of divulging the name. A laudable practice indeed. It is also obviously understood that the members of the panel maintain strict confidentiality about their role as jury members. However, it is being observed that many of them, not only disregard this confidentiality, but actually exhibit their roles as jury members by displaying it on their letter heads and business cards.

The consequences are not far to seek. Aspiring candidates naturally have the tendency to approach the members and tell them the items they have rendered, thus making null and void the fair practise of giving numbers to candidates.

This is a typical case of a good ideal being spoilt by ambitious personal interests. In the process, the authenticity of the proceedings is destroyed. Music is a very small level community. when such things go on in this small world, it is little wonder that high level irregularities take place at the state and central government levels thus hindering the efforts to bring about positive growth in our country.

Let us condemn this in our field, Let us vote in favour of quality in fine arts and ensure the growth and enrichment of our great cultural heritage.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Culture - No Culture

Irrespective of its financial situation, every establishment gives its employees a wage hike regularly. This applies to both government and private organizations. If such a hike is not given, the employees go on strike and somehow get their demands settled.

In the field of culture, especialy fine arts, and specifically music, no such hike is ever contemplated. In fact, whenever there is a financial crunch, the first sector to get targeted is the field of culture. And this, when we boast loud and long about the richness of our culture heritage!

We see that even when it comes to artists from the North and Southern parts of India, there is a great divide in the respect of honorarium.

We also note that even in times of acute financial crisis, huge amounts continue to be spent on Political Rallies, the military etc. Yet, allotments given to culture are continuously going down not just in india, but all over the world. The international music festivals are on a low key note, grants allotted to universities have been reduced, and festival committees are holding their programs with a keen eye on lowering costs.

We all know that in this hard world, only music can give solace. Even a desperate terrorist would soften up (at least temporarily) when he listen to some kind of music.

When the greatness of this art has been universally acknowledged, is it not the duty of the government and the corporate sector to ensure that the grants are given generously as befits the status of our great cultural heritage?

Unfortunately, if this present trent continues, there will be only talk about our great culture and no culture any more.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Thread from Youtube - Against KRM

It all started when “FLUTE THIAGU” wrote some bad things about Mani sir. He wrote the following things

1.Why lalgudi play along with a mediocre accompaniment (referring to Mani sir)
2.KRM's playing is like “pebbles rolling in a rusted box”
3.If Indian music is represented by these people, the halls would be empty.
....... and many more

Son of the Destroyer (What else you need): SOD
Divine Milk Man (huh!) : DMM
ajsriram : AJS

When I questioned Flute thiagu, I got the following replies... the unexpurgated version of the thread is listed below

raghu41 (6 days ago) - 4th October 2008
I have heard him before, but I dont think this is good music. If Indian music is represented by these people, the halls would be empty.
ajsriram (6 days ago)
thanks for your comment, and it show your knowledge in music! haha! if you dont understand please ask try to understand dont try to act as if you know
things! lol!
sonofthedestroyer (3 days ago)
ajsriram it is very cheap of you to threaten physical assault on anyone who criticises KR Mani. Reminds me of the late journalist Subbudu who has assaulted
verbally, physically and even in writing because he criticised certain musicians.
ajsriram (3 days ago)
SOD: I am sorry! I think you have misunderstood. I am not threatening at all, BUT I am telling the fact and the truth! Just that i am being frank and nothing else. What i said remains the same and its not a threaten message. I will do what i said. Never bring in subbu in this conversation it will digress the topic. I replied to the creepy, idiotic, knowledgeless, dumb ass Raghu and no one else. If this raghu is a clone of some other shit then it means the same to him and no change in that.
sonofthedestroyer (3 days ago)
Of course it is a threat. How can you say it isnt? 'wont have any hands or mouth left to play flute'
That is definitely a threat from you.
ajsriram (2 days ago)
I already said, I am being frank! lol! If you think its a threat let it be! i dont mind! :-)

sonofthedestroyer (3 days ago)
Also i have witnessed Indian classical musicians disrespect each other behind the stage.
I am happy to see it come out into the open. I hate the fake 'admiration crap' they spew out on stage when the media is watching them. Better to be honest.
ajsriram (3 days ago)
Not a valid post ! lets have this discussion of the board or in someother board, i am readybut not in this! Thanks, i could have easily deleted this post, but let it be here..

divinemilkman (1 day ago)
aj, how can you say that KR MANI is the best of all mridangists and better than all the rest of the artistes out in the world. I myself am a disciple of mridangam in the Palani Subramaniapillai method. Your narrow-mindedness in your statements is a classic sign of your lack of true musical knowledge.
ajsriram (1 day ago)
Can you list out any one better than Mani sir. you cant! You might be a disciple of Pillaivaal school, thats your fate what to do ?. Does that mean anything being in the school of Shri.Palani subramani pillai. Nothing right! Dont be childish, accept the fact and move on buddy!
sonofthedestroyer (21 hours ago)
Actually you are acting WORSE than a child. It all started when you were stupid enough to threaten Thyagu with physical assault. 'If i ever see him in Chennai he wont have hands or mouth left to play flute' Perhaps you need to move on. KR Mani will never reach the heights that other mridangists have reached
ajsriram (17 seconds ago)
I said i didnt not give a threat. I said what i am going to do. Its not threat, its a fact. There is no change in that. I dont know what heights others have reached, Hope you are not calculating the Heights "BELOW TO SEA LEVEL", In mani sirs case its all about "ABOVE THE SEA LEVEL". So there is no point in comparing Mani sir and other artists. I dont find any difference between you and thiagu so what ever said to him applies to you!

divinemilkman (1 day ago)
Also, I have completed my Advanced Diploma in Mridangam at the world reputed Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. KR MANI sir's playing is outstanding yet I cannot insist ignorantly that he is the best in such a vast and versatile field of mridangam. If you object, then you are simply a buffoon, i.e. a talentless idiot. Also, threats are very poor methods of resolution- it conveys your weakness. sonofthedestroyer I like all your points, 100% valid. :)
ajsriram (1 day ago)
Completing a Adv.dip. in mridangam from BVB London? So what! big Deal.. What did you do with that? any concerts, have u sat on the stage once? Why boasting of something which is not needed here!...outstanding means, standout, superlative, superexcellent anything else. Yes, He outstands everyone and he is the best. Btw, I never talked anything about my talent here! if you need lets take it on seperately not here! you better close your doors rather than opening it and show that you are dumbo. :-)
divinemilkman (1 day ago)
I have played at many concerts on many stages more than you would ever have seen in your pathetic life aj. I am not boasting I am pointing out where I learnt and that there is no such thing as best mridangist as each style offers beauty and variety to this ancient art. Stop attacking all comments, you jackass. Grow Up!
ajsriram (1 day ago)
Now i know what your knowledge is and the person who fixed you as an accompaniment! LOL
If really feel that you play well, write in your own name than in a nick! You know by youserlf why you cannot boast, since you dont have anything to boast of yourself than being in LONDON.

divinemilkman (1 day ago)
I have met and learnt a few lessons from KR MANI sir when he came to the BVB in London to teach one summer. He is a great player, but you cannot call
anyone the shows arrogance and ignorance....foolish words on your part aj...
ajsriram (1 day ago)
So what BIG DEAL! What did you learn god knows! MANI IS A GREAT performer no doubts and you dont have to certify! :-)!
இதெல்லாம் கத்து கொடுத்து வருவதில்லை. புத்தி இருந்தா போதாது. I am arrogant! arrogant to the core!
Im a fan of so many mridangam artists that is apart, all I SAY is HE IS THE NUMBER ONE AND HE IS THE BEST and no one can deny it.
sonofthedestroyer (21 hours ago)
Actually the vast majority of people on this planet will Deny KR Mani as the best. Only a small minority of politics pushers say he is the best.
KR Mani is a good mridangist who developed a difficult technique to play. That is all there is to him.
Game Over!
ajsriram (17 hours ago)
You can never have the last laugh when talking about Mani sir. What is difficult and what is not difficult is in the hands of the person who plays the
instrument. for him anything and everything is easy! i dont know about the Rest.
Yaa i know your game is over!
sonofthedestroyer (14 hours ago)
No one is laughing at KR Mani. We are laughing at you.
ajsriram (7 hours ago)
LOL! you read my post again and then try to understand! :-)
ajsriram (32 seconds ago)
You can never laugh at mani sir, only thing you can do is get jealous and burn in the fire. If you feel only he developed difficult technique then i am sure you
dont know what is mridangam playing technique, just being bookish is of no USE. You laughing at me!Keep doing! till you feel you are happy! LOL cos, you cant do anything else! haha

Monday, September 29, 2008

Analysis - IV

Starting time : 4:35
Ending Time : 6:17

As seen in the previous post, shifting from one nadai to another nadai can be done in different ways. He mani sir has chosen a simple method. Taking a syllable of 8 mathrai playing the same in chatursram and tisram.

In simple words, if you play a syllable of 8, 2 times in 4 Aksharams (16 mathrais), it should be played 3 times in 4 Akshrams (24 mathrais). This is what he is doing from minute 5:00 to 5:28. The korvai starts @ 5:30. The Korvai is defined for 1.5 Avarthanams (2 kalai) / 3 avarthanams (1 Kalai) or 24 Aksharams of chatursram,which is 32 * 3 = 96 Matharais.

while converting the same into tisram, this comes to 1 Avarthanams(2 kalai) or 2 Avarthanams (1 kalai) or 16 aksharams or 48 * 2 = 96 Mathrais. The 48 is nothing but, 6 mathrais per aksharam (1 beat) and aditalam comprises of 8 beats its is 8 * 6 gives you 48.

The korvai is structured as into two parts. The first part is set to 8 Aksharams and the second part is set for 9 aksharams for thisram, if it has to played for chatursram, the same thing will fit into 10.5 aksharams and 13.5 Aksharams.

There is lot of scope of improvising this particular korvai. In the diagram, I have drawn two lines, vertical and horizontal. The uthrangam (finalpart) of the korvai can be played either horizontally or vertically, since the average is 18.

Next we will see about harishankar's thisram.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Analysis - III

It is continued by a thisra nadai by mani sir. I would like to add few of my view points in this area. There are different ways of converting from one nadai to another nadai. To my knowledge the following is some of the ways it can be shifted.

1. Starting thisram staright from the word GO
2. Starting thisram by playing a small syllable then shifting gears
3. Play a korvai in chatursram and convert the same into thisram
4. Play thisram in terms but not showing the nadai.
5. Just play a korvai in thisram

We can never say which one of the above mentioned is the thumb rule, it purely depends on time. If you are in Air, if you are a 3 minutes thani, you can never play thisram elaborately. In this thani avarthanam, you will find 2 ways of handling conversion from one nadai to another nadai.

Manisir will be taking chatursram Syllable as a base and do vinyasam on the same, play same korvai in chatursram and thisram, where as Harishankar will Play a BIGGGGGG korvai playing the same 2 times in chatursram and finally converting the same into thisram.

We are familiar with composers of songs, but a special note should be made on the korvai harishankar has played. The composer of the korvai was mani sir. He composed it especially for harishankar for the Sruthi laya Thaniavarthan Series (1980). Harishankar has handled the korvai as if its made only for him. Many will feel that its not a tough korvai, but it requires lot of memory power and control over the laya. We will see more about the korvai when we see Harishankar's extra-ordinary thisram section.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Analysis - II

Starting time : 2:26
Ending time : 4:35

Let me take the Chatursram 2nd round of Mani sir.
Started with the usual 6 syllable, Kita tha ka thaka thom thom ka (2nd speed).
The abhiprayam is structured as the first part decreasing from 5, 4, 3 with the second half increasing from 1,2,3.

The total Mathrais for the abhiprayam is 99. It is splitted into 3 halfs, the first half will be for 31 mathrais and the second one for 34 mathrais and the final one for 34 mathrais. The mathrais are including of the karvais (gaps) that is given between the 1st, 2nd and 3rd part.

After that, it’s a free flow Chatusra Sarva laghu with different varieties. I don’t think any explanation required for this part alone.

Analysis - I

The tala chosen for analysis is Aadi talam 2 Kalai, Arai Edam (atheetha eduppu). The pallavi starts 1 beat(4 mathrais) before the samam. Once you follow the thani avarthanam with the talam religiously you will know why I am calling this as atheetha eduppu.

The first round of thaniavarthanam looks like net practice - warming up for a big one. After playing 4 syallables in chatursram, mani sir takes 24 (12 in fast tempo) mathrai syllable for a small korvai. You cant call this as a korvai, we can call this as abhiprayam. I have seen many people calling this as a korvai and many people calling this as Abhiprayam (Abhiprayam differs ;-)).

Though the abhiprayam looks simple its a bit confusing. The abhiprayam is constructed in the following way. First lets see the structure and then the abhiprayam as syllables.

Part 1 :
Step 1 : First syllable for 3 Aksharams - 12 Matharis ( splitted as 8 and 4 )
Step 2 : Second Syllable for 2.5 Aksharams - 10 Mathrais ( splitted as 7 and 3 )
Step 3 : Third Syllable for 1.5 Aksharams – 6 Mathrais.

Total comes to 28 Mathrais or 7 Aksharams. (Since its chatursram, a beat consists of 4 mathrais, it comes to 7 Aksharams)

Part 2:
A balance of 36 matharis or 9 aksharams is pending. Now this 9 is divided into 3 parts. A 3 akshram syllable is taken as arithi which constitutes this Abhiprayam.

Harishankar started of few fast phased syllables and played a simple abhiprayam for 3 Avarthanams. The structure of the Abhiprayam is very simple, but a simple change made it sounds better.

The strucutre needs no diagrams a its a straigh forward abhiprayam, if you dont understand I will give more details on this.

6 3 , 6 3, 6 3 - 27
8 3 , 8 3 ,8 3 - 33
10 3, 10 3, 10 - 36

the total comes to 96. which comes for 3 Avarthanams. Six can be played as Thatheekitathom, 8 as thaka Thatheekitathom and 10 as thakathina Thatheekitathom.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thani Avarthanam - I

Here is ONE of the best thani by Mani sir and G.Harishankar. It’s been long time since I wanted to write about the thanis of mani sir somehow it didn’t happen. I don’t know how many of you have this recording with you. I am uploading the same for the sake of people who don’t have it.

The idea behind writing about thani is, often in many forums I see people saying… “I don’t understand anything, but I like it”….

The first step I am doing here is giving you the link to download the thani, if you want to hear it online, you can do it. The below given links will help you.

Enjoy the scintillating thani
Download : Thani Avarthanam

Listen Online

Shifting Scales - II

We are interested in obtaining one scale from another scale. One way to get one scale from another scale is to rearrange the intervals. The interval between the 1st and the 2nd note may be made short and the interval between the 2nd and the 3rd note may be made long. For example from the scale of the 29th mela Sankarabharanam, if the scale of Kharaharapriya has to be obtained, then the interval between the notes R and S is shortened, the interval between N AND S is lengthened and so on.

If the major scale of the western music is taken into account, and if the whole lock stock and barrel of the scale is shifted from C to G, then F sharp is obtained. The process by which a scale can be obtained from another scale, is the process of modal shift of tonic. Here the mode is retained. In other words the sequence of the intervals is retained. It must be remembered, that the tonic or the aahara sadja alone is not shifted. 

Take for example, the scale of Sankarabharanam. It is S R2 G2 M1 P D2 N2 S. In this scale, if the Aadhara sadja, is shifted to the position of rsabha and if the interval between the svaras are maintained, then a new scale is obtained. Here only the scale is taken into account and not the raga. This is due to the fact that in carnatic music, each raga has the shape of its own, due to the various type of gamakas employed.

Shifting Scales - I

The word “scale”, means an ordered presentation of notes abstracted from any melody, put in a particular order, may be in the ascending order.In South Indian music, it will be in terms of svarasthaanas. If we say C scale or D scale, they are just that set of seven notes because they just take part in melody. In the 72 - mela scheme, all the 72 are scales. 

Scales may be having seven, six or five notes, put in order.  Modal shift of tonic is the process by which the tonic or the Aadhara sadja is shifted from svara to svara, keeping the sequence of the intervals of the original scale in tact. This process gives new scale.  In common music language this process is known as the Grahabhedam.  In ancient tamil music, this process was known as Kural tiribu, Pannuppeyarttal and Paalai Pannal.

Seven Commandments

The very fabric of Indian music is based on the Sapta Swaras. In the same way, every artiste- be he vocalist, instrumentalist or percussionist is guided by the ‘Seven commandments’ of:

Sa: The Sanctity of Carnatic music
Ri: The richness of this great fine art
Ga: The Galaxy of great musicians- the predecessors of this age, who are a great source of inspiration.
Ma: The maturity that he aspires to gain with experience in the field
Pa: The passion for his art
Da: The aim to dazzle his audience, but maintaining dignity all the time.
Ni: The niceties and nuances of the art that separate the good from the best.

Alas, some of today’s trends seem to follow a ‘Vakra’ mode. Today’s scene witnesses various combinations like: S M P N D S
Disrespect for senior musicians 

Or S R G D N S
Degrading others
Narrow mindedness

We all know that though both Sampoorna and Vakra ragas are essayed, it is the Sampoorna ragas (like Kalyani or Thodi) that offer unlimited scope for development, ragas that can be unfurled for limitless hours. These ragas stand the test of time.

However attractive a Vakra raga may seem, it will be impossible to essay a Kuntalavarali for hours on end. Scintillating it may be-but for a few moments only. These ragas are time bound.
In the same way, it is the ‘Seven commandments’ – the ‘Sampoorna path’ that will stand a practitioner in the long run, even long after his life time.

If one is guided by the mottos of the ‘Vakra mode’ however, the ‘moments of glory’ will soon vanish.  It is always the enduring values that stand the test of time. 

Let us remember Saint Thyagaraja’s immortal Chakkani Rajamargamu. Why follow the by-lanes when the Great Path is available?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Artist ?

The 'Youth revolution' in Carnatic music is witnessing certain imbalances today. Concert artistes are always denoted as Vocal (Main) and accompanists (Supportive) artistes. The paper advertisements also feature the concert in the order of the Vocalist (or Instrumentalist in an instrumental concert), the violinist and the mridangam. Remuneration for these artistes also follows the same trend, i.e, the vocalist gets the lion's share with the accompanists getting less. It so happens today that concerts of many of the young, crowd pulling artistes who are in great demand, feature senior accompanists who have been dominating their field for decades. In this case, these stalwarts, who are so responsible for bringing up the level of the concert to great heights, are paid less than the young 'main' artiste who may not have even been born when the concerned accompanist was on his way to the peak. Such a discrepancy seems unjust. Is it fair to pay a top level, world famous, senior, experienced, crowd-pulling violinist or mridangam vidwan less just because he is 'not main'? Should there not be acknowledgement of his senior status, by virtue of which the concert reaches unprecedented heights? The organizer should surely take cognizance of such stature and seniority and give the supportive artistes their dues.

In the All India Radio, artistes are paid according to their grading, irrespective of their position as 'main', 'accompaniment', etc. Remuneration is fixed and thus there is no differentiation between a main artiste and otherwise. If such a stand was taken in the Sabhas, one could well imagine the controversies that would be stirred up! The only solution seems to be to acknowledge that all the members of a concert team play an equal part in the success of the concert and give payment without differentiating between their roles. Otherwise, it would be like paying the batsmen more, the bowlers less and the wicket-keepers much lesser for the same cricket match the team has won together!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Popularity - Fame

December may be the last month of every year but for some young and upcoming musicians and dancers as well as some artists abroad, it is a welcome month. Quite so as this is the time for showing their mettle in the fine-arts world which has also become a highly competitive one. This is quite cheering. But this natural urge and enthusiasm in them to gain name and fame is misused by some who are supposed to represent the press to earn cheap and easy money.

In this festival season, I observed some people thronging an young artist right inside the artist’s room after the performance introducing themselves as press reporters, demanding money for publishing the artist’s photo and an article about the programme. On such occasions, the artists who are not so experienced, in their desperate mood fall easy prey. I do not know how such so called press people gain easy access to the artist’s room itself without proper identification. I feel that people who represent leading magazines and newspapers will never adopt such mean tactics. What can be done to curb this unhealthy practice requires serious thinking and suggestions by all.

Btw, Is this the intelligence of the press reporters to barge inside the dressing room to get the money knowing the performer’s love towards on popularity and fame?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Fractions To Fractures

All of us are interested in some sport or the other. Some are addicted to Cricket. Many have a fascination for Soccer or Football as was evident from the recently held world cup soccer in Germany. We also hear about the fierce combats of boxing, wrestling and the violent rugby shows. If we keenly observe, apart from being a sport all these have one thing in common, which is a set of rules and regulations. They have a ground or a ring within which they compete following the rules and regulations. They do not try to go beyond the boundary and explore extra-ordinaries. Their actions are closely watched and misconduct against rules and regulations is reacted upon appropriately.

If you draw a parallel of this to our music, we have exhaustively worked out possibilities based on which rules and regulations are built. For centuries great scholars, beyond our portrayal have contributed to these rules and regulations. Respecting their conclusions, some of the points which are of only theoretical interest are deliberately left unexplored by our predecessors. For an instance in Layam, tempos are broadly classified in to five. When from Chaturasram (4 matras per beat) we go to tiram (3), Kandam (5), misram (7) and sankeernam (9) there is natural change of pace with definte matras conforming to each beat. We can have permutations, combinations multiplication, sequencing and so on within this larger boundary. The unexplored possibilities within this strong disciplined fence remain still infinite.

If such is the case, where is the necessity to attempt unusual pace changes like tisram of kandam, kandam of misram, misram of sankeernam etc? In all these attempts fractional values are assigned per beat which make them musically and rhythmically deficient. Even if one tries to substantiate it as his aptitude or gift, aesthetics are mislaid. While we have a dress code for occasions, rules for rituals, behavioral disciplines in every walk of life, why not avoid that which is disregarded by our precursors? Why attempt on the fractions in layam? Beware! Fractions can lead to Fractures!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

"Cheap" publicity

The press is playing an important part in the publicity of a concert. The artiste wants to perform and get a good name and a good review in the paper. The reviewer also wants to be praised for their reports. So he takes care of the matter and the language.
After seeing the paper in this season, I feel that a new category of publicity seeker has started out.

This category is not a performer or a critic. But they give free views in the "Letters to the Editor". In this, they are putting controversial subjects and false ideas that can't be proved and just try to make a name. I am surprised that the papers which are supposed to be reputed allowing this. Normally, even when we give a private advertisement in the paper, they ask us not to use certain objectionable words, etc. In that case, how can such papers allow these kinds of scandalous matters without filtering?

  • Just because the writers are big shots

  • Writers have a good influence

  • Writes have a good english/Tamil knowledge

  • News papers doenst want to lose their subscribers

It is not fair that they can say what they want in an e mail without any filtering.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

House full

The music season of Chennai has always generated a 'fever of excitement' that is not found in the other months. Though music festivals are held in all parts of the world, Chennai, the Hollywood of music stands unparalleled for sheer numbers and enthusiasm.

Naturally, season's tickets for the programmes get sold out even before the rasikas know about the artistes, the singer/accompanist combinations, and so on. In addition, members are given concessional rates and naturally, avail of this opportunity.

In this situation, the number of daily tickets being sold is limited. Many rasikas seeking to attend that day's concert have to go back without getting a ticket.

However, on entering the hall, one is surprised to see that there are still quite a few vacant seats. This is because of the non-attendance of some of the season's ticket holders or members for some reason or other.

On one hand, many rasikas are deprived of a daily ticket. On the other hand, there are still seats vacant in the hall. How to solve this problem?

The solution seems to lie in reserving the admission of the season's ticket holders and members.

Just as a passenger boarding a flight has to check-in at least an hour in advance, or a train traveler at least 30 seconds before the departure, it may be made mandatory for such a ticket holder to report on time, or with a minimum grace time of say, 5 minutes. Failing which, his seat could be sold as a daily ticket.

Such an arrangement will allow genuine rasikas to listen to their favourites without disappointment and in addition, prove an encouragement for artistes who can sing to a really full hall instead of one that merely bears the sign 'Sold out'.

Friday, September 05, 2008


It is a well known fact that a master in his chosen field is held in great esteem by the public. This applies to musicians as well as other famous personalities. The image he carries is spotless, making him a role model for others to emulate.
However, when such people interact with others in, say, lectures, speeches, discussions, interviews, etc. , they sometimes betray facts about their characters that are anything but admirable. This reveals their true nature and is a proof that what they have been projecting to the public is nothing but a drama.
Truth always comes out in the end.
It would be in the interests of these celebrated personalities to genuinely be what they show to the world. Otherwise, they will not only be displaying their weaknesses to the public, but also the fact that their behaviour is hypocritical.