Why not kick off the raga series with
todi as the first raga !
In the Karnatic system, 'Todi' ragam is commonly referred
to as "HanumantaTodi" and is placed as the 8th in the melakarta system
and being an ancient raga it was called Janatodi.
Todi is a sampoorna raga, i.e. a raga with all 7 notes and perfectly
symmetrical tetra-chords as swaras. It has S-shudha, R1-Rishabham, G2-sadharana
gandharam, M1-shudha madhyamam, P-Panchamam, D1-shudha dhaivatam, N2-kaishiki
nishadham and S.
The poorvanga (S to P) and uttaranga (P to S) are very balanced. The jeeva
swaras of Todi are GMDN. Their usage in prayogas during raga aalapana of Todi
brings out the beauty of this raga. Nyasa swaras are GMPDN. One can weave
different patterns of notes centred around these notes, but some prayogas
without panchama (P) sound very beautiful.
Todi lends itself beautifully for slow medium-paced kritis,
varnams, tillanas, viruttham etc. For example,
tAyE yashOdA undan | Adi | UttukkADu venkatasubbaiyer,
from the movie Morning Raga. The swara kalpana's and the
ragam-taanam-pallavi coupled as fusion music was simply fantastic and
Era napai | Adi | Patnam Subramanya Iyer, is another varnam
aptly suitable for ragam-taanam-pallavi, where all swaras
should be handled softly and each note is suitable for Gamaka prayoga
This page has a
composite list of all the Karnatic todi ragam songs. Looking at the
"peculiar compositions" by Ramaswami Dikshitar (svarastAna pada varNam) and "Ma
manini" Dr.MB.Krishna (which i remember partly, egad :-S), you will find them
constructed without words. The whole song consisting of pallavi, anupallavi and
charanam is composed with only the 7 swaras... WOW!!
Practically speaking, each of these songs in Todi, sounds different at
first. The difference is not because of the lyrics, which albeit different, but
look at the swara sthanas (hint: arohanam and avarohanam) which differ.
Shruti-bhedam i.e. while singing alap, using tharasthayi R as
S, makes Todi sound like Kalyani, but since it interferes with
bhava (emotional flow of the raga) which should not be done
The composers have the liberty of starting off anywhere but are still bound
within the raga metrics and that is their playground for creativity. Ofcourse
each composition can have a different talas (beats) and no two songs of the
same raga will sound alike, else your credibility as a composer is zilch. Duh,
imagine the precarious position of the hindi film music composers(?), who are
renowned for -copying- err.. being inspired .. *cough*.... by other peoples
Now you must be wondering how a listener will know who is the composer of a
particular song in say raga: Todi.
Simple.... Every composer had a signature embedded in the song he/she wrote,
akin to the "comments" that programmers include in their programs. Some
composers used a pseudonym/pen name and some their real names but they always
inserted their names in the charanam (last stanza) of the song, never earlier.
Humility matters :).
Legend has it that some not-so-famous students of famous composers in order
to give credibility to their compositions used to pen them in their "famous
composer teachers" names and bask in their shadowed glory. I am not sure how
true this is and dont particularly care. Its more fun to enjoy the music!!
In Hindustani music there are quite a few ragas with the suffix
Todi but sounds very different from the Karnatic HanumantaTodi.
Example : The Hindustani Gurjari Todi, Mian ki Todi,
Multani Todi etc., do not resemble the Carnatic Todi. This is
true for many ragas which only share a common raga name.
There are many compositions in HanumantaTodi. Every southern
Vaggeyakara has composed in Todi. SriThyagaraja has composed around 30 kritis
and the speciality is that each one highlights a different nuance of the
1] The kriti 'Dasarathe' starts in mantra sthayee "D" and emphasizes the
prayoga of gamaka-laden "D".
2] The kriti 'Dasukovalena' centres round Madhya sthayee "D".
3] The kriti 'Koluvamaregada' starts at Taara sthayee "S" and comes down the
avarohana slowly. Shyama Sastri has done a slow vilambit kala kriti with
Swarajati Raave, thereby bringing out the slow beauty of this raga.
TO-DO in Todi, including the derivative janya ragas are :
1] Venugana ramana | Mishra Chapu.
2] Dasuko | Misra Jhampa | Thyagaraja.
3] Koluvamaregada | Adi | Thyagaraja.
4] Rajuvedala (Srirangam Pancharatna) | Rupakam | Thyagaraja |
5] Sri Krishnam Bhaja (on Guruvayurapan) | Adi | Dikshitar |
6] Ninne Nammi | Misra Chapu | Shyama Sastri |
7] Raave (Swarajati) | Adi | Shyama Sastri |
8] Sarasija nabhada | Misra Chapu | Swati Tirunal |
9] Thamatham en | Adi | Papanasam Sivan |
10] Tanigai Valar-Khanda Chapu- Papanasam Sivan |
11] Kartikeya- Aadi- Papanasam Sivan |
12] Anjananandam | Adi |
13] Annaiyargal vanam nadi vandar | Adi |
14] Dasharathe dayanidhe | Adi
15] En inge vandu | Adi
16] Jatadhara shankara devedeva | Adi
17] Rasa loka vaibhoga | Adi
18] Tale sharanam amma | Adi
19] Tannam taniyaha senrale | Mishra Chapu
20] Urugada manam enna manamo | Adi
21] Vandavarai varum enrazhaittu mani polum | Adi
Janya (derivative) raga :
1] Bhuvana moha saundara sukumara | Dhanyasi | Adi
2] Nada nada nada krishna | Dhanyasi | Adi
3] Padmini vallabha dehi pradehi | Dhanyasi | Adi
4] Natajana kalpavalli | Punnagavarali | Adi
5] Nila vanam tanil oli vishum niraimadiyo | Punnagavarali | Adi
6] Na dhru dhim tadana tomtana (tillana) | Sindhubhairavi | Adi
7] Shen shiva jatadhara shambho | Sindhubhairavi | Adi