Music related questions

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat May 16 21:13:54 UTC 1998

S Krishna <mahadevasiva at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:

>1.  Would anybody who is interested in Carnatic music please tell me
>the significance(musically and lyrically) of starting a kr*ti with the
>anupallavi instead of the pallavi as happens in the case of tyAgarAja's
>"bAla kanaka maya" (athANa) or "sompaina manasu tO" ( Ahiri). Among
>composers whose compositions are heard on a frequent basis, it is only
>tyAgarAja whose kr*tis begin this way( though I did read about a
>Munipalli Subrahmanya Kavi in the Journal of the Music Academy whose
>krtis INVARIABLY start with the anupallavi)..Was this the way it was
>also sung in tyAgarAja's days or is this a later improvisation?

Most padams of pre-Tyagaraja and post-Tyagaraja composers start with the
anupallavi and then lead into the pallavi. Many of the utsava sampradAya
compositions of Tyagaraja are also sung that way. The major criteria are
that -

1. The pallavis of such compositions do not offer great opportunity for
musical elaboration in the form of sangatis. For example, the musical
structure of elani dayaradu (in balakakamaya) is like that.

2. The pallavi acts mainly as a refrain, and sangatis are avoided even
if they are possible. This is especially the case with Tyagaraja's
utsava sampradAya compositions and with padams.

The form of musical composition that is called a kRti was still evolving
during Tyagaraja's time. Composers like Margadarsi Seshayyangar and
Uttukkadu Venkatasubbaiyer were some of the earliest to explore the kRti
format. The earlier dhruvapada form of composition did not have a
three-fold division into pallavi, anupallavi and caraNam, but a two-fold
(a)sthAyI and antara division, to be preceded by free improvisation of
the raga, with AlApa and 'nom-tom'. This has been retained in the
dhrupad of Hindustani music and in the Ragam-Tanam-Pallavi of Carnatic
music. In fact, Tyagaraja's disciples and grand-disciples were the ones
who gave great importance to sangati development in the pallavis of
kRtis. Any such features in the compositions of Syama Sastri and
Muttuswami Dikshitar are because of the predominance of Tyagaraja's
disciple lineages in Carnatic music. Many of Dikshitar's compositions
only allow for one or two sangati variations, as compared to the
numerous sangatis possible with Tyagaraja's compositions. As for
pre-Tyagaraja composers like Puranadaradasa or Annammayya, their
compositions have been retro-fitted into the mature kRti format that
musicians have become used to, although it did not exist in their own


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