Harikambhoji is a tranquil raga that brims with positivity. It is harmonious, and symmetrical in aarohana and avarohana. It is suitable for poignant pieces, and a soothing, dulcet voice is best to enunciate this raga. The notes in this raga include the sadja, chatusruti rishaba, antara gandhara, suddha madhyama, pancama, chatusruti dhaivata and kaisiki nishada. It is the 28th melekarta raga. Harikambhoji is one of the oldest-known ragas, and corresponds to the kodippalai of the ancient Tamizh pann system. Several Thevaram pieces are rendered in this raga, as it brings out the Bhakthi rasa .
This raga is referred to as Harikedaragowla in the Dikshitar school, and Khamaj thaat in Hindustani music corresponds to it. Harikambhoji is a parent raga that has many an illustrious janya raga, such as Kambhoji.
Popular classical kritis in this raga include ‘Dinamani Vamsha’, ‘Undethi Ramudu’, ‘Chanitodi’, ‘Entaranee’ and ‘Rama Nannu Brova’ of Thyagaraja. In fact, the plethora of Thyagaraja’s compositions in this raga paved way for its resurrection after temporary oblivion post the Tamizh pann period. Pieces in this raga include Papanasam Sivan’s melting kriti ‘Enadhu Manam’, and Gopalakrishna Bharati’s imposing ‘Parkaparka’.
Kalki Krishnamurthy’s ‘Vandadum Solai’, rendered by M.S. Subbulakshmi is quintessential Harikambhoji.
This raga has not been frequently heard in films. But a few samples include the melodic ‘Malargalai Pol’ from Paasa Malar, composed by M.S.Viswanathan and T.K. Ramamurthy; in the phrase ‘Annan Vazha Vaippan’, the notes SRN, S bring forth the raga.
In Pudhiya Paravai, M.S.V and Ramamurthy have given us the super-hit piece ‘Unnai Ondru Kaepaen’ in this raga. In the phrase, ‘Ennai Pada Sonnal’, the notes SRGR,S S,N set the mood for the raga. ‘Sumai Thaangi Saiyndhal’ from Thanga Padakkam (music: MSV) is a calm, simple piece set in this scale. The kaisiki nishada establishes the raga.
‘Ore Padal Unnai Azhaikkum’ from Engirundho Vandaal, composed by M.S.V falls within the bounds of this raga, but not in its grammatical form. In fact, the song reminds one of raga Navarasakanada, a janya of Harikambhoji.
Ilaiyaraaja has composed many pieces in this scale, often lending it a folksy touch — for instance, ‘Maman Oru Naal’ from Rosapoo Ravikkaikari. Harikambhoji comes forth in the opening phrase, SSNDPMGRS.
The line ‘Ingu Oaraayiram’ in Varusham 16’s ‘Pazhamudir Cholai’, the pallavi culminates with the swaras GMGRSNDPMG.
The song ‘Manasukulla Nayana Satham’ from Mallu Vetti Minor, ‘Yetham Ayya Yetham’ from Ninaive Oru Sangeetham and ‘Oru Gundu Mani’ from Avatharam bear a folksy touch, under Ilaiyaraaja’s music.
Very often, in film songs, one is unable to find pieces that strictly follow the order of notes in the raga. When a pancama or dhaivata is skipped, we have to overlook it in the light of the mood the song projects.
In Malayalam, ‘Kalipattamai’ from Kalipattam and ‘Karmukhil Varnante’ from Nandanam, with music by Raveendran, tend towards Harikambhoji.
In Bombay (music: A.R. Rahman), the pallavi of ‘Uyire Uyire’ is in Harikambhoji; the charanam moves away from the raga.
Vachaspati, the 64th melakarta raga, would be the prati madhyama counterpart of Harikambhoji. A bright raga, Vachaspati is best known for fast sangatis, rhythmic progressions in kalpanaswaras and clever tonal manipulations. The Thyagaraja kriti ‘Kantajudumi’and the Papanasam Sivan favourite ‘Paratpara’ are evergreen pieces in this raga.
In ‘Nikattuma Pogattuma’ from Periya Veetu Pannakaran (Music: Ilaiyaraaja), the raga’s bhava brims forth even in the opening phrase PPDNS/NSNDP/PMGRSRG ...