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Lecture Concert on Veena by B Sivakumar for Nadaloka @ Heritage Academy Hall July 01, 2012

Veena : Vid B Sivakumar

Veena Suport : Priyadarshini

Mrudangam : Sudarshan Chakravarthy

Theme : Technical Beauty relevant for Classical Music through Veena.

This is not complete recollection of the evenings affair. To my shame, I reached the venue very late, and have no clue on what was done before my arrival. However, here is a short report of what was transpired before my arrival at the venue.

As I entered the hall, he was explaining the nuances of raga bhairavi comparing it with kharaharapriya. Playing both the ragas subsequently, the arohana and avarohana and the minute gamakas of both the ragas, he must have been trying to confirm what he had been performing earlier. He mentioned to the students in the audience, that these nuances and the oscillations of the swaras can be mastered only through learning 5-6 kritis in each of the raga. In Carnatic tradition, the importance is always to the kriti and exploration of the raga is done through the compositions.  In Hindustani, he added, the importance is on the creativity and to a lesser extend to the compositions.

1. vAncha tOnu nA – karNaranjani – Muthaiah bhagavathar


After a short karNaranjani, he explained the raga bEgaDa. He says, there are two opinions on this raga, as it derived from mElakarta 28 or from 29, which could be due to the use of swara ‘ni’. To master bEgaDa, one has to know where to use ‘kaishiki nishada’ and where to use ‘kAkaLi nishAda’. Demonstrating these differences through some swara patterns, he clarified the use of both the nishada in bEgaDa.

Before taking up the composition in bEgaDa,  he played the bEgaDa swaras from the navaragamalika varnam.

2. anudinamu – bEgaDa – Ramanathapuram Srinivasa Iyengar ( A , S)

On a question about the oscillations deployed at the madhyamam, apart from the nishada usage, he explained that if you observe and listen carefully to the stalwarts like Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Tanjavur Kalyanaraman or Ramnad Krishnan, you can hear the ‘kampitam’in ‘ma’.  Usage of ‘deergha kampitam’ is common in bEgaDa, he said, mimicking ( in a good sense) the ‘ni ni da pa… ma ma ga ri..’ phrases.

Mayamalava gaula

Explaining further on the beauty of hte gamakas in carnatic music, he decided to explain it through Mayamalavagaula. According to him the process of mastering Mayamalavagaula is in 4 phases for the Veena students. The first phase is the skeletal arohana and avarohana. In the second phase, students learn to use the oscillating notes in the arohana and avarohana. For mayAmaLavagauLa, sa, pa and ma are constant and ri, ga, da and ni are oscillating notes. ri is sung almost like ‘sari sari’ and da as ‘pada pada’ and ni as ‘sani sani’. Madhyama is not prominent and many compisitions in this raga treat ma, with minimal use.

In the advanced stages of learing the students learn to pull the strings and play. With this technique, you can improve the continuity and can play longer with a single stroke.

3. nidhi chAla sukhamA – kalyANi – Thyagaraja ( A,S,T )

4. gOvardhana giridhara – darbari kAnaDa – Narayana Theerthar

5. karEdaru bAra bArade? – ?? mAND – Kamalesha Dasa

6. thirupugazh – bhAgEshri

7. mangaLam – saurAshtram – Thyagaraja

My regret is that I was not able to reach the venue on time. He was very good. His explanations and the demonstration were very good and simple. The concert itself was very good ably supported by his desciple and the percussionist. 

Note: If there are any technical mistakes in the above write up, they are only because of my inability to understand the explanation properly, given my un-trained background in music.

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Posted by on July 2, 2012 in Lec-Dem


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