|Musings on Music|
a handy music diary for writing notation by S.Rajam
Text by S.Rajam, Text assisted by "Garland" Rajagopalan, Illustration by S.Rajam
Prominent Terms in Musical Parlance
:Free improvisation of pure melody(alapana) based on swaras
without rhythm in successive melodic phases, quite within the stipulated
framework of the raga with its arohana & avarohana, i.e., ascending
& descending scales. Each raga has all the seven or six or five notes
in varying combinations - called sampoorna, audava-shadava, etc & enjoys
a distinct 'raga swarupa'. Carnatic music enjoys the most systematised
raga-melodic structures. Hence called "Ranjayatee iti ragah".
:Without percussive help, rhythic pulses brought out delineating
the various phases & tempos, the fineness and beauty of a raga to display
& portray its panoramic potential. Veena is the ideal instrument for
tana since all its seven strings blend to give a harmonius nada(sound)
in the crescendo.
KALPANA :Improvised swara permutations as are appropriate
to each raga. Solfa syllables alone are used to elaborate & pleasing
combinations depend on the expertise of the artiste. Raga alapana has no
rhythm but swara kalpana is subjected to the strict discipline of rhythm(tala)
:Rhythm. Time-cycle containign one or more sub-time measures.
There are 128 talas. Each is a rhythmic arrangement of beats, etc., in
:The first section of a kriti or kirtan, which has normally
a pallavi, anupallavi & charanam. A few have 'samashti charanams' where
there is no distict anupallavi.
Pallavi also represents
the distinct manodharmic sangita using a short phrase or idiom & giving
full scope to exposition of raga-tala intricacies, swara kalpana, etc.
This type of special rendition demands a high level of expertise
:A garland of ragas with or without lyrics.
JAVALI :Modern padams depict musical forms best suited
to bring out the infinite captivating graces. Javalis slightly differ from
padas in its erotic content.
:A composition with jatis, brisk in tempo interspersed with
swaras, katos and lyrics. Often in middle & fast tempos. Best suited
to dances to whip up tempo after the sublime, padas.
:Extempore, innovative, creative improvisation of raga.
:Ascending order of notes - sa, ri, ga, ma, pa, da, ni either
in full, or with omissions or in jumbled series according to the prescribed
notes of each raga.
:Same as in arohana but in descending order. If arohana
takes the rendition uphill, avarohana brings it back downhill. Taken together,
raga swaroopa or shape is evolved.
:Style of rendition.
:Emotion, feeling, the soul of lyric or raga.
:Solfa syllables (swaras) pre-set by composer as distinct
from swara prastara, which is improvised. Chittaswara is ornamentation
to bring out the innate beauty of raga in the context of the flow of the
:Traditional end of concert or chorus - a propitious finale.
:Niraval is phrasing, developing and expounding the lyric
bringing out the subtelities & beauties, and variations of the raga.
:Most important note of a raga.
:Jumbled notes in arohana or avarohana.
:Notes omitted in arohana or avarohana which conduces individual
GITAM :Song which illustrates or portrays the basic
features of a raga.
:Composition with limited words & maximum of notes to
bring out raga lakshana & raga bhava.
TALAS :Druva, Matya, Rupaka, Jampai, Triputa, Ata &
:Laghu, Druta, Anudrata, Guru, Pluta & Kakapada(6) -
which distinguish individual talas.
:One beat & counting or time-measures with fingers -
as many as is fixed for each tala.
:Beat of the hand & visarjita or turning it - 2 aksharakalas.
:Beat of the hand alone - 1 aksharakala.
:Unit measure of talas. Thus,
Druva tala has 14 aksharas.
Matya tala has 10 aksharas.
Rupaka tala has 6 aksharas.
Jampai tala has 10 aksharas.
Triputa tala has 7 aksharas.
Ata tala has 14 aksharas.
Eka tala has 14 aksharas.
:One full cycle of any tala comprising one or more of the
shadangas having the respective aksharakala.
:One who composes & sings his own creations.
From Musings on Music - a handy
music diary for writing notation by S.Rajam
Text by S.Rajam, Text assisted
by "Garland" Rajagopalan, Illustration by S.Rajam