chAmaram - Dikshitar & Others

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SrinathK
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#1 chAmaram - Dikshitar & Others

Post by SrinathK » 16 Feb 2019, 15:43

The 56th asampUrna mEla. You might know the name whenever you say "chAmaram samarpayami" in a puja.

chAmaram is for almost all purposes identical to it's sampUrna equivalent shanmughapriya, but still despite a linear arohanam and avarohanam the SSP does mention quite a few non linear phrases. So apart from PDNS, PNS, PS are possible. SNPDP and MRGR are also possible (this is still subtly used as a gamaka in SNDP and MGR in some phrases in shanmughapriya even linearly). A bhairavi like SGR is also possible (which is used in siddhi vinAyakam at roudra bhAva rahitam). DPG, RSD, MPG, RSD-PGR and all such dhATTu phrases are used as profusely as the linear ones.

These phrases all can be used in shanmugapriya as well. So for once, there really isn't a difference between these 2.

While Muthuswami Dikshitar's siddhi vinAyakam is well known, I couldn't find the kriti in SSP in the chapter on chAmaram - in fact very oddly the book didn't feature any composition of Muthuswami Dikshitar under that raga!

Despite this, there are a few compositions of dikshitar in this rAgA.

So first let's get the obvious done and dusted -
siddhi vinAyakam - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ni5LOoo4RA - MS Amma
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTRDgBlULls - Semmangudi mama, giving it "the full works"

The violin trio of L Shankar, L Subramaniam and L Vaidyanathan playing this still remains my favourite recording. But in the meantime, we can listen to this, from L Subramaniam's own YT channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZunXgGoA-8

Coming to others, the next composition of Dikshitar is EkAmrEsha nAyakeem. Now not many recordings exist of this kriti, so these are the only ones I could find.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7JiPxCsyGg - Trichur brothers
And this (hope they won't mind) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOZpWFCe13U&t=1822s (Abhishek goes for over an hour with this!)

Then there's sadAshrayE abhayAmbikE - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_29uhiOLqeg&t=108s - Sudha Raghunathan
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxlTEb7lVNI - Nisha Rajagopalan

And finally, a kriti with the mudra guru guha whose status as a Dikshitar kriti is disputed - mahAsuram kEtum, on kEtu (IIRC Dikshitar only composed on the 7 grahas and the 2 on rAhu and kEtu are probably by disciples. Dikshitar included a lot of fine details about the deities of his compositions including the specific impacts of each graha on one's life which these 2 compositions don't have, not to mention his signature style - that goes for other disputed kritis as well).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FA0MSr7rUQ - Mani Krishnaswamy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_O5UZiJCFI#t=51m35s - Dr. S Ramanathan - Official YT Album

I don't know about you, but other than siddhi vinAyakam, all the others feel like modern retuned versions to me - Dikshitar has a very distinct style. The charanam of sadAshrayE abhayAmbikE is what I'd associate more with a Dikshitar approach.
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bhakthim dehi
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#2 Re: chAmaram - Dikshitar & Others

Post by bhakthim dehi » 16 Feb 2019, 16:43

I don't know whether or not Chamaram can equated be with Shanmukhapriya. You have mentioned several phrases wherein straight forward pdns is avoided.
You can never find a straight forward s- tara sadja or the reverse in this ragam. This is a vital difference.
Overall it gives a different feel. Tanjore Ponniah 's kriti is the only example to available to understand this ragam.
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SrinathK
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#3 Re: chAmaram - Dikshitar & Others

Post by SrinathK » 16 Feb 2019, 17:36

To tell the truth, linear phrases work better for madhyamakala where they flow freely. They can work well anywhere, but this is the area where they score over non-linear ones.

Non linear phrases excel in rhythmically complex passages, punctuated phrases, slow speed phrases and gamaka heavy phrases (where the non-linearity can even be used for a gamaka and made to look seamless or even linear).

Now I am going to make a rather controversial statement. One reason why many old kritis are the way they are is because they were not actually designed for high speed singing or for sangatis, neravals and kalpanAswaras or even with the kind of percussion accompaniment we have now - some were, but they were mostly for bhajanai type performances. Kritis as such were standalone items.

That might sound controversial today, but it used to be true back in the day. sangatis, neraval and swara singing were associated with ragas and pallavis (and the art really took off only from the post trinity period when concepts of RTP started getting applied to kritis). You can observe this in the typical Hindustani music concert even now. So some kritis (usually the 2 kaLais) fit in more easily as a base for manodharma (and therefore changed far less), but many other kritis were retuned because the new tune could fit in easily for manodharma and high speed singing.

Padams were essentially optimized for dance - hence they tend to use a lot of push-pull rubato. The varnam, tillAnA, jAvaLi and swarajati also came from dance.

Composition oriented Carnatic Music is the result of growth in the 20th century by alloying of many different art forms and traditions and the rise of recordings, and to an extent far more than what we realize, the growth of the film industry as well, not to mention our increasingly packed schedules.

More modern tunes are optimized keeping madhyamakAla sarvalaghu singing, sangatis, neraval and swaras in mind (and a need to be simpler to grasp). That's part of the reason why few modern kriti tunes rarely manage to reach the levels of the trinity songs (the other part is because it takes something special to compose another viribOni varnam or a pancharatnam or a navAvarnam or polish a padam to tune like the Dhanammal school, and yet another part is that they're competing with compositions that have grown for over 150 years now). I'm not saying that it can't be done, if anything, these days it should be easier to do with today's facilities, but over the years new composers and kritis seem content to stay lighter and audiences also have their limits.

Most retunings of the lost music of past composers also reflect this. Even the modern tunes that can be at that level are still optimized for today's musical ideas where potential for manodharma must be taken into account.

You start realizing why old disciples of Thyagaraja back in the day did not want to sing neraval or kalapanaswaram for his kritis. The past of Carnatic Music was quite different.
Last edited by SrinathK on 16 Feb 2019, 22:17, edited 6 times in total.
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bhakthim dehi
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#4 Re: chAmaram - Dikshitar & Others

Post by bhakthim dehi » 16 Feb 2019, 21:25

There is nothing controversial, at least to me. You have reflected my mind.

Now, I have a controversial thing to say. To me, the concept of 1 kalai and 2 kalai was only used for Pallavi-s. For compositions, it should have been only margam. We have adopted the concept of kalai-s from Pallavi and made some kriti-s extra slower and some ultra speed.

I feel the music was at a different level; thanks to these great disciples who have preserved these notations.

Even equating these asampurna melas with sampurna melas (not all) as here was a later evolved notion.
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ajaysimha
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#5 Re: chAmaram - Dikshitar & Others

Post by ajaysimha » 20 Feb 2019, 18:29

bhakthim dehi wrote:
16 Feb 2019, 16:43
.Tanjore Ponniah 's kriti is the only example to available to understand this ragam.
which krithi is it ?
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bhakthim dehi
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#6 Re: chAmaram - Dikshitar & Others

Post by bhakthim dehi » 20 Feb 2019, 20:08

Sarekuni padamule.
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RSR
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#7 Re: chAmaram - Dikshitar & Others

Post by RSR » 21 Feb 2019, 13:32

I have a more fundamental question.
If we accept that carnatic music is exemplified by the creations of scholars and saints like Purandaradasa and other dasa singers, Badrachalam Ramadasar, Sadasiva Brammendram, Shyama Sastri, Thyagaraja and Dikshithar, ( we are supposed to have authentic notations for these), did they make any allowance for raga aalaapana, chittaswaram, and such 'embellishments' of later day creators and performers, as today for concert platforms?
Nagaswaram players do wonderful raga alaapanaa . but the temple singers, just sang the poems , set to music of old tamizh tradition.
Was there any mention about RTP? in their history?
Am I wrong in conjecturing that the near thousand creations of all the above composers, always are brief ( not exceeding 6 minutes for any song? ) ideal for the old 78 RPM records?
Did they not give most importance to the lyrics only and added music to the lyrics, so that the lyrics and the message, get embedded in our psyche? Otherwise, could they not have left their 'poems', just in words only, without music, as literary pieces? Do the existing notations, indicate how the songs and ragams should be expounded? We did not have any violin even, just prior to Dikshithar. The only traditional accompanying instrument it appears, was the tambura. and for musicians like Dikshithar, the VeeNa, Of course, the Flute has existed for centuries. ( the saints themselves might have used the mrudhangam while singing)
The focus is always on the krithi sung in some ragam as done by them.
Can we visualize Purandaradasa or any of the trinity , in a concert platform? Any paintings or pictures? ( I believe, that HM musicians , were 'court singers' ) but not our originators of CM.
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Can the singers today, completely avoid any krithi of the creators of CM , and give raga aalaapanaa, etc? Will it still be CM? ( today's film music?). Did it begin with Nayaks and maratta rule in tamil country?
Was the 'dance' music tradition, an import? Perhaps, it is an entirely different tradition?
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bhakthim dehi
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#8 Re: chAmaram - Dikshitar & Others

Post by bhakthim dehi » 21 Feb 2019, 14:02

Can we visualize Purandaradasa or any of the trinity , in a concert platform? Any paintings or pictures? ( I believe, that HM musicians , were 'court singers' )
Predominantly, the members of Dasa kuta, Ramadasu, Brahmendraal, Bhajana Trinity, Tyagaraja Svamigal, Sastri, Manambuchavadi Venkatasubbaier, and Walajapet Venkataramana Bhagavathar were of Bhajana type, though you might have few exceptions. Lyrics with music always reach better than the lyrics alone. This was followed by Nayanmar and Azhwar too.
At the same time, we do had court musicians. Deekshitar himself was a court musicican. But the compositions of Deekshitar were mainly an attempt to record a particular tradition. I doubt whether his music can be called as a Bhajana tradition.
Veena kuppaier was a court musician; still his music was greatly influenced and reminisce that of a Bhajana tradition. I assume he would have sung some RTP only in the court of Maharaja.
As I said, we had musicians who catered to the needs of Maharaja. Unfortunately, their music or the RTP that they have elaborated is not with us.
After the arrival of Concert platform, both of these traditions were mixed - we took the manodharma component from RTP and added that with the sahityam of the composers. This was done 1. to have a good reach and 2. comparatively simple than RTP.
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SrinathK
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#9 Re: chAmaram - Dikshitar & Others

Post by SrinathK » 21 Feb 2019, 14:31

CM as it is today is a combination of many different traditions and ideas, only some of the kriti tradition and the RTP tradition was really exclusively for music. CM in turn has also flowed out into many other traditions and styles of music as well.

To tell the truth about tradition, only the sAma vEda is being sung as it is. That too it is better preserved in the South because South India was much more stable compared to the North.
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kittappa
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#10 Re: chAmaram - Dikshitar & Others

Post by kittappa » 21 Feb 2019, 17:52

Deekshitar himself was a court musicican.
This is news. Who told you this?
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