Music Appreciation Notes

Music Appreciation Notes

Some Varalis

We have earlier looked at raga-s which have similarities. We have also examinedsome raga-s which were not similar but had names suggesting a similarity, like those ending with 'Ranjani'. This time, we shall briefly consider another clutch of raga-s of the latter category— raga-s whose names end with 'Varali'.

It must at once be added that the purpose of considering such raga-s together is not only to dispel any misconception that may exist that the Varali raga-s all somehow belong to a joint family, but also to add an element of interest. A point, if one has to be made, that emerges is that similarity in the names of two raga-s does not necessarily imply a similarity in structure.

The 10 raga-s with Varali tagged on to their names examined here come under seven different mela raga-s with quite different swara structures— two using suddha madhyama and the rest prati madhyama.

Varali 

Varga : Vakra Sampoorna

Arohana : Sa ga ra ga mi pa dha nu sa

Avarohana : Sa nu dha pa mi Ga ra sa

Jeeva swara : ga

Nyasa swara-s : ga ma pa

Graha swara-s : ga ma pa

Prayoga-s : sa ga ri ga Ma; Dha pa ma pa dha Ni dha ni Sa; sa ni Ga

ri Sa; ni sa ri Ni dha pa ma Ga; ma pa dha ma Ga ri sa.

Varali is a janya of Jalavarali (Jaalavaraali], the 39th mela raga.

The swara-s of the raga are: shadja (sa), suddha rishabha (ra), suddha gandhara (ga), prati madhyama (mi), panchama (pa), suddha dhaivata (dha) and kakali nishada (nu). The vakratva in the arohana (sa ga riga) was introduced because of the difficulty in singing sa riga straight with the vivadi swara (suddha gandhara). In the melakarta scheme, Jalavarali in the sampoorna  tradition has the arohana sa ra ga mi pa dha nu sa without any vakratva. But, in the asampoorna tradition, in which the raga is called Dhalivarali, the arohana and avarohana are the same as those for Varali: sa ga ra ga mi pa dha nu sa ; sa nu dha pa mi ga ra sa.

The (prati) madhyama of Varali has a clearly higher tone than usual and has in fact come to be known as Varali madhyama. In earlier times, this raga was known as Varaati.

Varali is well suited for compositions with karuna rasa (compassion). It is one of the ghanapanchaka raga-s and Tyagara ja's Kanakanaruchira, one of the Pancharatna songs, is of course well known. Another song equally well-known is Kaa vaa vaa, a composition of Papanasam Sivan which owes its popularity to Madurai Mani Iyer. Dikshitar's Mamava Meenakshi, a beautiful  song, at once makes us think of D.K. Pattammal and M.D. Ramanathan.

There is a superstition attached to Varali. It is that if the raga is taught by a guru to a sishya, they will fall out. Therefore musicians and teachers who believe this are generally unwilling to teach this raga and the sishya usually has to pick it up only by listening to his master or others. 

SOME COMPOSITIONS IN VARALI

Ambi Dikshitar - Manikyavalli

G.N. Balasubramaniam - Sarasakshi sada

Pallavi Doraiswamy Iyer – Galguno; Nammina dasudo

Kotiswara Iyer - Tamvey ninnarul

Veena Kuppier - Prakrita janulato

Muthuswami Dikshitar – Lambodaraya namastey-, Mamava Meenakshi; Seshachala nayakam

Neelakantha Sivan - Karunai puriyidu

Ponniah Pillai - Brihadeeswara nammitira; Paramapavani nanu

N.S. Ramachandran - Ranganayakam bhaja

Pallavi Sesha Iyer - Rama needu karuna

Papanasam Sivan - Dikku verillai; Kaa vaa vaa

Ramanathapuram Srinivasa Iyengar -Vanajakshi (varnam)

Swati Tirunal - Mamava Padmanabha;VaJayunniha

Syama Sastry - Kamakshi bangaru; Karuna joodavamma

Tyagaraja - Dharanu nee ; Eemenu Galiginanduku ; Indukemi setumamma; Kanakana ruchira ; Karunayelagantey; Marakata

manivamai ;Noremi ;Pahi paramatmai Pahi Ramaramana; Sree Rama Jayarama; SreeRama Sree Rama; Vaddanundunadey; Yeti janmamidi.

Jalavarali Raga

Varga: Sampoorna-Sampoorna

Arohana: Sa ra ga mi pa dha nu sa; Avarohana: Sa nu dha pa mi Ga ra sa

The sampoorna arohana of Jalavarali is difficult to render because of the vivadiswara (ga). The characteristics of the raga are briefly mentioned under Varali, of which it is the parent.

SOME COMPOSITIONS IN JALAVARALI

Balamuralikrishna - Madhava dayya

Kotiswara Iyer - Anatharakshaka

Veena Seshanna - Kamasatakoti

Mysore Vasudevachar - Sree Ramachandram

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