Song of Surrender

Monday, 27 May 2013

Heat and light

By Thanjai K. Sivasubramanian

The exchange of correspondence on the raga Reetigaula between B.M. Sundaram and T.M. Krishna was interesting. One controversy is about Balamurali singing Neelotpalanayike with chatusruti dhaivata. It is quite clear from both that there are two schools, one considering Reetigaula a janya of Natabhairavi (mela 20), which has suddha dhaivata in its scale. This is the Venkatamakhi school followed by Dikshitar. According to the Tyagaraja school, Reetigaula is considered a Kharaharapriya janya (22 mela). So it is appropriate to sing the Tyagaraja kriti Bale with chatusruti dhaivata. The question raised by Krishna is whether to sing the Dikshitar kriti Neelotpalanayike with chatusruti dhaivata. On that question T.M. Krishna is right in his assertion.

Another controversy is on T.M. Thyagarajan tuning it in Natabhairavi. In the Dikshitar school, the 20th mela is called Naree Reetigaula. So TMT tuning it in Natabhairavi – which we are familiar with – may not be wrong, with the following arohana and avarohana: R2 G1 M1 N1 D1 P N1 S, S N1N1 D1 M1 G1G1 R2 S.

A similar example is Seetamma mayamma – a kriti of Tyagaraja,  now sung in Vasanta, a janya of Sooryakantam (17th mela). In the book Tyagarajaswami Keertanaigal, published by Sri Sadguru Sangeeta Samajam (1967), the raga for this kriti is mentioned as Lalita (Mayamalavagaula janya – mela 15). Here also the prayoga changing suddha dhaivata to chatusruti dhaivata, changes the very raga .

In spite of the jarring ‘sound’ portion of the letter, which could have been avoided, the ’light’ portion of the debate is welcome. More discussion on the nuances and subtle points in music and arts are welcome and enlightening. This will enrich the content of Sruti.

I am also happy that Sruti brought out a commemorative issue on veteran stage artist F.G. Natesa Iyer. The centenary of Avvai Shanmugam ended this April, and that of Seva stage Sahasranamam starts in November 2012. I am sure readers will appreciate if special issues are brought out on these personalities.

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