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Without a dull moment
The valid points about the kalpitha and manodharma sangeetham in this album may serve as an eye opener to many.
Swathi Soft Solutions’ release of a twin audio compact disc album, brings maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman’s lecture demonstration on the various aspects of manodharma sangeetham.

The recording covers Lalgudi’s live lecture demonstration in December 1997 held under the auspices of Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai. The simple yet powerful style of conveying his thoughts and beliefs on the various aspects of kalpitha and manodharma sangeetham makes very interesting listening.

Relevant comparisons

Lalgudi compares raga vinyasa to a portrait painted by an artist. The raga presentation could be elaborate or at times could be like a caricature bringing out the outline of the raga within a few minutes. Lalgudi proceeds to state that closely aligned ragas such as Arabhi and Devagandhari, Nilambari and Kedaram which sport similar swaras have to be clearly understood and presented. Arabhi is compared to the galloping of a horse and Devagandhari to the swaying walk of an elephant.

The demonstration at this stage has Lalgudi G.J.R. Krishnan playing the violin and S.P. Ramh vocalising the different facets of these melodies. Very rightly the seasoned vidwan says that all ragas have a kalapramana of their own. Some ragas simply do not offer scope for fast-paced sancharas or brighas. These realities have to be learnt through experience and by listening to the music of past masters.

Lalgudi also emphasises that while there is no external rhythm maintained during a raga alapana, the rhythm is in place like the undercurrent of a river. Tanam, the speaker says, is raga vinyasa in madhyama kala. He also informs that the veena is the best suited instrument for tanam rendition as the tala strings add to the charm.

About the pallavi, Lalgudi says that since the limited sahitya (lyric) has to be repeatedly sung, the same should convey the full meaning, and also be musical at the same time. Pallavis which are originally manodharma sangeetham later on become a part of kalpitha sangeetham when taught and practised. Many performers are known to have composed pallavis on the spot.

Being a master in the art of kalpanaswaras, Lalgudi explains the norms which are to be followed. The sahitya point taken for solfa passage rendition should be pleasing and not convey anything inauspicious. Care should also be taken to the ending swara before the sahitya is rendered during kalpanaswara singing. For example Lalgudi says, if one were to sing swaras for the pallavi for the kriti ‘Janani Ninnuvina’ (Ritigowla-Subbaraya Sastri), one should avoid using the swara pattern of Pa, Pa before arriving at ‘Janani’ as this would sound to have a different meaning which could be inferred as the mother of bad deeds. These valid points will definitely serve as an eye opener to many.

Could sanchari be a better word for niraval, wonders the maestro. On the whole, there is never a dull moment. : October 22, 2011, 4:20 pm