varnam pallavis

Carnatic composers (other than performing vidwans)
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Post by kamalamba » 20 Jan 2009, 06:55

In listening to a number of varnams, I notice a larger proportion of pallavi' starting with or containing

1. Ninnekori / Ninnukori
2. Sami Ninne
3. Vanajaksha / Vanajakshi
4. Era Napai
5. Intha Chala
6. Nenaruchi
7. Sarasijanabha
8. Evari Bodhana (found in the pallavi of Mukhari varnam).
9. Chalamela

Since Varnams in general use few words with lots of akaara, ikaara..., why is there an over representation of a few words? Are they better suited for akaaras, or is it that themes have been kept simple and as a result most composers have stuck to a few words?

Any thoughts?
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Post by V_ANNASAMY » 22 Jan 2009, 16:25

Harikeshanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar - SuddhadhanyAsi varnam starts with 'Sri RajamAthangi chAmudIshwari'

GNB varnams starts with (1) Nee daya radha(aandOLikA) (2) ambOruha pAdamE (ranjani)
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Post by keerthi » 24 Jan 2009, 13:24

As a rule, most of the old varnas had srngara as the central theme. there too, it was the vipralambha kind i.e, love in separation. Hence, the sparse pallavi-anupallavi and charana had to have lyric which conveyed the pain/anger/anguish of separation from a beloved.

- if the song was being sung by a friend interceding on behalf of the virahotkantita nAyika{heroine distraught due to separation}, the varnam begins referring to the maiden by a suitable adjective - Vanajaksi(kalyani) madirakshi(Mukhari) Viribhoni(bhairavi, kedaragaula)Maguva(narayanagaula)or taruni(Kambhoji).

- the song may begin by referring to the heartless wicked nayaka who isn't coming to the nayika - jalajAksa(hamsadhwani), vanajAksha(Mandari), Sarasijanabha(Kambhoji),Sarasuda(saveri) or simply Sami(kedaragaula etc)

- if the song refers to the love it may begin Ento premato(Surati) or nenaruto/nenarunchi (dhanyasi) valachi vacchi(ragamalika)

- the song when a cry for succour may begin ninne kori/ninnu koriyunna - (take mercy on) one who desires you alone(mukhari,mohana) or dayajuda/ karunimpa idi samayamu (kedaragaula/sahana)

- if the import is 'who taught you to be cold towards me' or 'which enemy poisoned your mind against me' - it is cnveyed by evari bodhana or evaraemi bodhana or pagavari bodhana vini.

- if the meaning is 'why are you so cold/why this indifference', the words used are inta chalamu/chalamela/chalamu seya(begada/darbar and shankarabharanam,ramapriya)

Some of these ideas/motifs would also repeat in the charana or anupallavi, as the general mood of all traditional varnas was roughly the same.
Later composers have composed in tamizh, and with only bhakti(minus srngAra) or even on music itself(Balamurali's Shanmukhapriya varnam Omkara etc.). As a result, the MAtu of their varnas incorporated names or epithets of gods and goddesses etc. Examples for the latter may be seen in Vasudevachar's vAranAsyam(kAnada) or those mentioned in some of the postings above.
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Post by kamalamba » 24 Jan 2009, 14:27

Thanks Keerthi for that wonderful explanation.
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Post by rshankar » 25 Jan 2009, 02:29

Keerthi - that is a very clear explanation! Thanks!

Sri S. Ramanathan has composed a beautiful - malarinum melliya in dvijAvantI that can be added to the list of the later day varNams.
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Post by davalangi » 11 Mar 2009, 07:26

A varnam borrowing sahitya from a Tyagaraja krithi (contains anubandha also)
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Post by prashant » 19 Mar 2009, 12:54

Thanks for the wonderful explanation, keerthi!
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ogirala sri ramakrishna
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Post by ogirala sri ramakrishna » 15 Apr 2009, 22:49

Sadguru Sri Bhakta Gnanananda Tirtha ( Sri Ogirala Veera Raghava Sarma), the Saint Composer of Carnatac Music of 20 th century composed a beautiful varnam in the raga Todi in praise of Madhura Miinakshi

Pallavi: MInakshi NIdu pada pamkamjamule mikkili nammiti namma Madhura ::MInakshi::

after hearing devi kritis composed by the saint composer the late dwaram venkata swami naidu garu requested him to compose a varnam in praise of devi. then he copmposed this varnam.

sahityam with notation for this varnam is available in telugu and tamil in my website
bhakta gnanananda or
ogirala veera raghava

this year we are celibrating the birth centinary of h h bhakta gnanananda tirtha.

o s ramakrishna
Last edited by ogirala sri ramakrishna on 15 Apr 2009, 22:51, edited 1 time in total.
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