Structure of Varnams

Tālam & Layam related topics
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sbala
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#1

Post by sbala » 19 Mar 2007, 21:04

I'm just a beginner learning varnams. I found all the varnams I have learnt have 2 avarthanams of pallavi, anupallavi, charanam ..Is this true for all varnams or is my sample size too small? :)
Last edited by sbala on 19 Mar 2007, 21:22, edited 1 time in total.
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rbharath
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#2

Post by rbharath » 19 Mar 2007, 21:29

most varnams have 2 avarthanams each of pallavi and anupallavi and one avarthanam of caranam. with a few svara passages after the anupallavi and after the caranam. these are called tana varnams

there is another category called the pada varnams, where the svara passages also have corresponding sahityam. so, when u render the varnam, u r suppose to sing the svaram once and then the sahityam again.

in varnams of the olden days, there was also the 4th part called the anubandam. which is a few avartanams of sahityam after the cittai svarams of the caranam.

There is an opinion amongst senior musicologist that all varnams should end in the pallavi line. The pallavi line should be sung after the anubandam, if it exists, or after the caranam after all the cittai svarams are sung.
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sbala
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#3

Post by sbala » 19 Mar 2007, 22:01

Thanks bharath. yes, it is one avarthanam for charanam. Is the 2 avarthanam for tana varnams a rule or convention? I also heard a lecdem that tana varnams are so called as they have to be rendered like tanam singing. I heard in a lecdem that the actual name for chittaswara section is ettugada swarams and should be only called so. Another observation is the number of avarthanams of the first in the set of ettugada swarams is always one. (again, a statement from my limited sample)
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rbharath
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#4

Post by rbharath » 19 Mar 2007, 22:21

bala, u r right about the ettugada svarams. they are called so. the caranam is usually called ettugada pallavi or cittai pallavi, however i dont know if one has to call them that way only.

the first ettugada svarams is also in most cases one avarthanam long and in vilamba kalam.

there are tana and pada varnams which have multiple ettugada pallavis with multiple ettugada svarams for each of them.
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sbala
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#5

Post by sbala » 19 Mar 2007, 22:31

Bharath - I heard about the ettugada swarams in a speech by BM Sundaram. and he said that is the name we should use.
Last edited by sbala on 19 Mar 2007, 22:32, edited 1 time in total.
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shishya
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#6

Post by shishya » 19 Mar 2007, 22:41

bala and bharath a few more observations based on my sample:

the ettugaDa swaras are usually in this progression:
first- low speed one avartanam
second- higher speed second avartanam
third- higher speed two avartanams to include vakra sancaras or datu varusalu
fourth- higher speed four avartanams usually having a resting point in the first avartanam

Some of the tana varnas have 4 avartanams in the muktAyi swara that follows pallavi and anupallavi (such as in hamsadhwani Adi tALa varNam).
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sbala
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#7

Post by sbala » 19 Mar 2007, 22:57

Shishya,
I think the only pattern I'm able to see is , apart from the first one being a single avarthanam is that the next set of swarams should be >=1 avarthanam. For instance, the 4th set of swarams in the Sri raga varnam has only 2 avarthanams. Also, the set of ettugada swarams can be more than 4 in number. I'm now looking for varnams that do not conform to these patterns.
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shishya
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#8

Post by shishya » 19 Mar 2007, 23:01

tODi tAnavarNam has 5 ettugaDa swaras with 3 and 4 swaras being of 2 avartanam duration. navarAgamAlika varNam's 2nd and 3rd ettugaDA sawaras are 2 avartanams each.
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arunk
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#9

Post by arunk » 19 Mar 2007, 23:05

sbala wrote:I think the only pattern I'm able to see is , apart from the first one being a single avarthanam is that the next set of swarams should be >=1 avarthanam.
..
I'm now looking for varnams that do not conform to these patterns. .
:) not conforming to >= 1? wouldnt that be a varnam that ends after first set of swaras?

Perhaps you meant 1st set == 1, and 2nd set > 1? Then i know atleast one which doesnt conform to that - the (short and sweet) sAranga varnam where both 1st and 2nd set span only one avarthanam each. This varnam has only 3 sets of swarams - so real short.

shishya: i just learned the hamsadhwani one! An exquisite varnam. One really gets to appreciate these ragas in varnams (atleast from a beginner's perspective).

Arun
Last edited by arunk on 19 Mar 2007, 23:07, edited 1 time in total.
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shishya
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#10

Post by shishya » 19 Mar 2007, 23:20

arun,

I guess that is the purpose of varNams. If you pay attention to them, they can reveal the main piDis of a ragam that will give you enough material to sing alapana fro about 5 minutes. Savor them.
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sbala
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#11

Post by sbala » 19 Mar 2007, 23:31

I meant 2nd set onwards >=1. So Saranga still falls within the framework!
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arunk
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#12

Post by arunk » 19 Mar 2007, 23:45

but bala my point is NOT >= 1 is < 1 i.e. 0. You are never going to find a varnam that violates that rule. I think I get what you mean and perhaps can be said better - you are looking for a varnam whose first set has > 1 avarthanams?

Arun
Last edited by arunk on 19 Mar 2007, 23:48, edited 1 time in total.
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sbala
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#13

Post by sbala » 20 Mar 2007, 00:02

Arun,
I'm sorry as I'm first a cricket fan and then a music rasika. What I meant to say was that the number of avarthanams in ettugada swarams is a non-decreasing sequence. Meaning, if the second one had 3 avarthanams, the ones from the third onwards should have >=3 avarthanams. Since the first one always has only one avarthanam, everything from the second has to be >=1. Though its a trivial case, it is just a fallout of the previous rule.
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drshrikaanth
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#14

Post by drshrikaanth » 20 Mar 2007, 00:06

calamEla jEsEvayya in nATakuranji, Adi- does that not have 2 Avartas in the first ettugaDe swara?
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arunk
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#15

Post by arunk » 20 Mar 2007, 00:08

ah ok. I wonder if the mathematical term is monotonically increasing (not that it matters here!).

I dont know of any varnams that would break this rule (not that i know many varnams). I get this feeling they seem to setup to build towards some sort of a climactic finish and thus the increase in duration and other factors (the kalpana swara section sometimes resemble that).

Arun
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Suji Ram
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#16

Post by Suji Ram » 20 Mar 2007, 00:15

drshrikaanth wrote:calamEla jEsEvayya in nATakuranji, Adi- does that not have 2 Avartas in the first ettugaDe swara?
http://www.musicindiaonline.com/p/x/-qO ... As1NMvHdW/

Is this varna padavarna ? NS doesnt' sing sAhityam though.
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drshrikaanth
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#17

Post by drshrikaanth » 20 Mar 2007, 00:23

Yes I think there is sAhitya for the swaras but these are not sung by most artistes. And yes, the first ettigaDe swara definitely has 2 Avartas.

Some other exceptions- inta calamu in bEgaDe (vINA kuppayyar or his son's) has 6 Avartas of P-AP before the ciTTeswara. There is another varNa with 5 Avratas of sAhitya but I am unable to recall which at the moment.

vanajAkShirO in kalyANi, Adi has 3 Avartas in the final ettugaDe swara. Likewise, sarasijanAbha in kAmbOdhi, aTa tALa also has 3 Avartas of swaras in the last ettugaDe swara.

There are a few varNas wiht 5 etugaDe swaras (tODi has already been mentioned. Also vanajAkSha in vEdaNDagamana, Adi)
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arunk
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#18

Post by arunk » 20 Mar 2007, 00:26

drs do any of these break the rule bala states? i.e. for ettugaDe sets (i.e. following caranam), any one that has # of avarthas less than an earlier set? I think in vanjAkshIrO it is 1, 1, 2, 3 right? (cant remember of the top of my head and cant sing aloud where i am now :)).

Arun
Last edited by arunk on 20 Mar 2007, 00:28, edited 1 time in total.
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drshrikaanth
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#19

Post by drshrikaanth » 20 Mar 2007, 00:29

No- the No. of Avartas in successive ettugaDe swaras never reduce in length- they always progress in one direction only and that is toward the increase. They can remain the same. i.e 1, 2 and 3 can all have 1 Avarta (ninnukOri in mOhana, Adi)while the last almost aways has even number of Avartas(2 or 4). Usually the 3rd has 2 Avartas. The second can have either 1 or 2 Avartas.
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drshrikaanth
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#20

Post by drshrikaanth » 20 Mar 2007, 00:30

Some relevant discussion on varNas here

http://rasikas.org/forums/viewtopic.php?pid=4679#p4679
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arunk
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#21

Post by arunk » 20 Mar 2007, 00:34

thanks drs!
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Nick H
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#22

Post by Nick H » 20 Mar 2007, 08:35

Here's my simple question about varnams...

Why does the talam often change from 2-kalai to 1-kalai?

Is it just to confuse me and make sure I am embarrassed by being caught putting wrong talam right at the start of the concert? ;) ;) ;)
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mohan
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#23

Post by mohan » 20 Mar 2007, 08:48

nick H wrote:Here's my simple question about varnams...

Why does the talam often change from 2-kalai to 1-kalai?

Is it just to confuse me and make sure I am embarrassed by being caught putting wrong talam right at the start of the concert? ;) ;) ;)
In practice, there is no definative rule as to how to render varnams. Some of the common options are:

a) Whole varnam rendered in one speed (usually 1-kalai)
(Lalgudi Jayaraman usually does this for his own varnams)

b) First half rendered in two speeds then second half also rendered in 2 speeds. 2-kalai all the way through
(TN Seshagopalan quite often does this)

c) First half rendered in two speeds (2-kalai) then second half rendered in only faster speed, exactly double the first speed (1-kalai).
(This is a common option for many artistes)

d) First half rendered in a slower tempo (in either 1 or 2-kalai) then second half rendered in a faster tempo (1-kalai) but not necessarily exactly double the first speed.

There are other options like rendering a varnam in two speeds plus tisram. Also, you may have heard people like L. Subramaniam render varnams in 6 speeds (usually just the first half).

I guess the point for talam-putters is to keep alert, especially during the transition to the 2nd half of the varnam.
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sbala
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#24

Post by sbala » 20 Mar 2007, 08:51

Thanks DRS - That was very informative. A few questions.

1. In that post, you have mentioned that the anupallavi is followed by chiTTeswaras. Shouldn't it be Mukthayi Swarams?

2. You have said that the 3rd one in the ettugada swarams should not have elongated swarams. Doesn't the vasantha varnam have elongated swarams (the 3rd one starting with D)

3. Also, am I right in saying these are all conventions that describe the structure in general and not hard rules?

4. If I compose a varnam, should I adhere to any hard rules?
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mohan
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#25

Post by mohan » 20 Mar 2007, 09:00

sbala - the structure outlined by DRS is "the general structure". Of course, there are exceptions. If you are composing a varnam, I would be recommended you follow the general structure.

An aside, for the kalyani adi tala varnam, 4th ettugada swaram, most people have three avaratanams of swaram. I have learnt 4 and have heard some artistes play 4 as well. The extra avaratanam comes before the last avaratnam and goes like this

PDND ,PDN SN,D NRSN|DNRN ,DPM|PDNN S,,,|| DNSR RG... [S, R, G are all in the upper octave]

Perhaps this was added later to conform to the common structure of varna-s.
Last edited by mohan on 20 Mar 2007, 09:01, edited 1 time in total.
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