Why is the Pallavi repeated after each 'stanza'

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vark
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#1 Why is the Pallavi repeated after each 'stanza'

Post by vark »

When singing carnatic music songs, we sing the pallavi each time once after the anupallavi, once after each charanam or chittai swaram (if any)

Why is this so?

vgovindan
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#2 Re: Why is the Pallavi repeated after each 'stanza'

Post by vgovindan »

A simple answer would be that it is a 'refrain'.

SrinathK
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#3 Re: Why is the Pallavi repeated after each 'stanza'

Post by SrinathK »

Sometimes it is also functional, connecting the anupallavi or charanam to the pallavi to give the complete meaning of the line.

http://thyagaraja-vaibhavam.blogspot.co ... i.html?m=1

A song like this could logically begin in the anupallavi.

vgovindan
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#4 Re: Why is the Pallavi repeated after each 'stanza'

Post by vgovindan »

Srinath,
I have my reservations on your observation. Anupallavi, in that case would be without a context. Normally, in tyAgarAja kRtis, pallavi is sort of heading, anupallavi a synopsis and caraNa(s) amplification.

rshankar
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#5 Re: Why is the Pallavi repeated after each 'stanza'

Post by rshankar »

In many (may not be in all) kRtis the pallavi completes the meaning of the anupallavi/caraNam(s). For example
(a recent request), in the composition of Sri Sivan's on kAntimati annai of nellai, the anupallavi is "SAnti peRa engum tEDi vandaDainda kumbha munik-karuL Sambhu uLam kavar", and if it sung without appending the pallavi (kAntimati annai nI gati kAttaruL karuNAnidhi amba), it will be meaningless. And the same is true of the caraNam -
"gaNyamigu tiru vIdigaLil angum kaniyinum iniya tamizh maRai muzhangum
puNya nadiyiR siRanda tAmiraparNi vaDakarai nellai pati vaLar" - meaningless without singing the pallavi at the end. So, to me, it is more than just a refrain.

I would consider, "Old McDonald had a farm" as a refrain - not repeating it would not change the meaning, IMO. Same with many film songs - In most of them, repeats of the pallavi serve to highlight different moods, as the caraNam is typically complete in itself wrt meaning.

In one of his Lec-Dems, Prof. SRJ says that even for tAna varNams, the pallavi must be sung at the end, otherwise the meaning is lost.

pada varNams are treated differently - in the pUrvAnga, the pallavi is repeated (eventhough, in most instances, the pallavi, anupallavi, and the muktAyi/eTTugaDa svara sAhityam passage are complete wrt meaning), so truly more of a refrain, while in the uttarAnga, the caraNa sAhityam is repeated after each of the caraNasvara sAhityam passages, as it does complete the meaning in many of them.

shankarank
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#6 Re: Why is the Pallavi repeated after each 'stanza'

Post by shankarank »

Lets also not forget how musical atItam was built into it as well :D : with artha bhAva that is sadguru is always atIta ;)

guru lEka(y)eTuvaNTi guNiki teliyaga pOdu

karukaina hRd-rOga gahanamunu koTTanu sad-(guru)

And - he already took the song from a high note to place the guru at the top- as is musical convention!
Last edited by shankarank on 06 Jun 2020, 08:50, edited 2 times in total.

vgovindan
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#7 Re: Why is the Pallavi repeated after each 'stanza'

Post by vgovindan »

Unlike Indian (traditional) meals, where curd is the last item, in western six course meals, sweet is reserved at the end. Similarly too, sometimes tyAgarAja reserves sweet right at the tail end. Example is 'SAntamu lEka'.

The SAnta we all understand is peace interspersed with war (with ourselves, and others). The SAnta he means is that quiescence which is our natural state - upaSAnta. tyAgarAja keeps that most important prefix - if I may call it so - 'upa' right at the tail. Those who do not take note of this 'crown' of the kRti, miss the substance.

Therefore pallavi is, neither a simple refrain nor a heading; it is the engine that drives the train, but without the conductor at the tail, the driver is rushing to nowhere.

The fakes now being unearthed are just shunted coaches without an engine and/or conductor.

kmrasika
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#8 Re: Why is the Pallavi repeated after each 'stanza'

Post by kmrasika »

Good explanation on the reasoning for repeating the pallavi after anupallavi and caraņa for purposes of maintaining the continuity of the context of song.

There are compositions wherein the pallavi is not at all repeated after it is commenced. This is found in the predecessor form of the current rāgamāḷika, called rāga prabandham. Examples of these would be the śrī tyāgarāja caritamāḷika, with the starting words, "rāmacandra pādābjē" of maisūr vāsudēvācārya, and the similar form of compositions he penned on muttusvāmi dīkṣita, śyāmā śāstri and jayacāmarājēndra ōḍēyār.

vark
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#9 Re: Why is the Pallavi repeated after each 'stanza'

Post by vark »

Oh okay, thank you for all your answers. So, to clarify, the pallavi is repeated because it is 1) either a refrain or 2) used to give the complete meaning of the anupallavi/caranam.

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