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2009 November 9 [Monday]

Raga::Revati

Revati can be:: the name of a person ; the wife of Balarama (elder brother of Krishna) ; or a Pisces nakshatra/lunar star ; but for me its Revati ragam in Karnatic music, which is the second ratnangi janya (argh, that is YAB entry sitting as a "draft" since months).

Tala: Adi | Composer: Dayananda Saraswati | Language: Sanskrit.

Arohanam : S R1 M1 P N2 S  || Avarohan  : S N2 P M1 R1 S

where, R1==shuddha rishabham, M1==shuddha madhyamam, and N2==kaishiki nishadham.

Pallavi: bho shambho shiva shambho svayambho
Anupallavi: gangadhara shankara karunakara mamava bhavasagara taraka
Charanam1
: nirguna parabrahma svarupa gamagama bhuta prapanca rahita | nija guhanihita nitanta ananta ananda atishaya akshayalinga ||
Charanam2: dhimita dhimita dhimi dhimikita kitatom tom | tom tarikita tarikitakita tom | matanga munivara vandita isha | sarva digambara veshtitha vesha | Isha sabhesha sarvesha||

So what is it about some ragas that have an attractive quality to them? Apparently listening (and performing?) this raga always evokes deep emotions and feelings. Hmm.... I've heard the same of raga Bhairavi but BHO SHAMBHO in Revati has a very important place for me. I had learnt this raga all by myself more than a decade ago...gee, i wonder how annoyed folks around me would been as i insisted on ghissa'oing the tape 24/7. Nothing else, just one raga months on end and a few months later when I heard CB render it with a plastic bucket as his modified tabla....absolutely mesmerising!! I had to ask him for a jam session and he helped me iron out my rough edges -- He had demoed some swara bhedams and I had no clue that I was making those errors in my niravals. See, now that is the difference between DIY effort and a propah guru to guide ya. Some years later, when I formally learnt it again from a guru, I was able to appreciate the raga more deeply.

Lastly a word on the composer, Dayananda Saraswati. He is the founder of Arya Samaj whose writings, rather commentary on the Vedic/Upanishad texts is very interesting. It has a lot of similarities to Gaudapada's karika on the Mandukya upanishad which inspired the sunyata nyaya. Yet another check in my pending ToReadList.

2009 March 1 [Sunday]

Raga::Bhairavi

"Bhairavi" is another name for the goddess Shakti and is one of the forms of Kali. In Sanskrit, Bhairavi means "fierce" and frankly I've been trying hard to find those elements in the Bhairavi raga :) 

  • arohaṇa: S R2 G2 M1 P D2 N2 S

  • avarohaṇa: S N2 D1 P M1 G2 R2 S

The notes used are chathusruthi rishabham, sadharana gandharam, shuddha madhyamam, chathusruthi dhaivatham & shuddha dhaivatham and kakali nishadham. Notice that the two daivathams are used in the Arohana : chathusruthi (D2) and Avarohana uses the shuddha (D1) daivatham.

Considered to be an ancient raga its 15 centuries old and a hot favourite with all performers and teachers too. Heh, my teacher started out with this after my break and I desperately try to search for the fierce emotions whilst listening/performing this raga. Since summer has already started I do get hot under the collar but daresay that we cause more heat for others than anything else.

Older composers have numerous compositions in this raga which is a janya of the 20th Melakarta of Nataibhairavi. Surprisingly this fierce raga is well loved and widely used in both Hindustani and Karnatic padhattis and the Hindustani Bhairavi is, as usual, vastly different from the Karnatic Bhairavi, where the latter is a Sampoorna raga (scale of 7 notes) with two different dhaivatham's in its scale. That pushes it out of the Melakarta ragam classification, which is another blog entry sitting in the drafts folder ....sheesh !!

2008 May 13 [Tuesday]

Raga::Yamunakalyani

Raga: Yamunakalyani [65 mecha-kalyani janya] is a modern version of Yaman Kalyan of the Hindustani idiom. SubbaramaDikshitar classifies the raga as bhashanga and desiya.

The arohana/avarohana is given by:

A: S R2 G3 P M2 P D2 S

Av: S D2 P M2 P G3 R2 S

It is a sampoorna raga and the shuddha madhyama (M2) appears in vakra prayogas in the avarohana such as "g M r" and "g M g r s" but is often rendered in madhyama sruti.

[1] BHAVAYAMI_GOPALA_BALAM | khanda chapu | Annamacharya | Telugu |

[2] KrishnaNee BeganeBaro | khanda-chapu | Vyasaraya tirtha | Kannada (There is also a Tamil version which is what I learnt from my g'ma).

In his treatise, "Raganidhi", Subba Rao notes that there are two versions of this raga and the second does not employ the shuddha madhyama. It skips the nishada and the arohana/avarohana is "s r g p m p d s" - "s d p m s g r s".

There are many sanchari geethams and jathi swarams (the basics) in Kalyani raga.


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