A Raga’s Journey Music

Mood enhancers

A regal raga that is auspicious, commanding and exuding veera ira(heroic) rasa, is Kedaram. This raga is suited for singing in the mornings. In yesteryears, dramas and religious discourses often opened with a sprightly piece in Kedaram. Kedaram brings forth joy, being mood enhancing and uplifting.

Nat Behag of Hindustani music closely resembles Kedaram. The Aarohana-Avarohana of this raga is SMGMPNS / SNPMGRS. The Gandhara is absent in ascent, and the Dhaivata is absent in both ascent and descent. It is a vakra raga owing to zig-zag patterns in Aarohana. The notes featuring in Kedaram are Sadja, Antara Gandhara, Suddha Madhyama, Pancama, and Kakali Nishada.

In Carnatic music, several noteworthy pieces have been composed in Kedaram. Mahasivarathri has just come and gone and two of the most auspicious kritis to be sung on that day are composed by Dikshitar in Kedaram. ‘Ananda Natana Prakasham’ describes in great detail the cosmic dance of the Lord in Chidambaram, the sthala representing the element ‘sky. The other piece is ‘Chidambara Natarajam’. Tyagaraja kritis in Kedaram include ‘Rama Nipai’ and ‘Marachuvadana’. Papanasam Sivan’s ‘Sakala Bhuvana Nayaka’ is a bright kriti in this raga.

In film music, this raga has been used in only very few pieces; speciality pieces, one could say. Ilaiyaraaja has given us ‘Ithu Oru Ponn Maalai Pozhudhu’ from Nizhalgal. The opening phrase indubitably establishes the identity of the raga, touching upon the essentials — ‘GMPN / SNP / SPM / GRS / SRG, S’. The slide from the Sadja to Pancama, and thereafter to Gandhara, is seamless, ideally following the raga lakshana (characteristic).

In Michael Madana Kama Rajan, the song ‘Sundari Neeyum’ was a cracker. Imposing string sections setting the stage in the opening pallavi, the classical touch imparted by the singer Kamal Hassan, and the frilly janta prayoga in ‘...Cherum Nanneram — PMMGGRRSS’ leave one gobsmacked at the maestro’s musical virtuosity. The jaaru (steep glide in notes) between the Sadja and lower sthayi Pancama ‘…Soppana Logathil Kooda’ is charming and very becoming for this raga. ‘Ennavale’ from Kadhalan (A.R. Rahman) starts off with Kedaram.

Yet another raga that is devoid of the Rishabha is Bahudari. It is unique, attractive, and the road less taken. The Aarohana-Avarohana of this raga is SGMPDNS / SNPMGS. The notes that feature in this raga are Sadja, Antara Gandhara, Suddha Madhyama, Pancama, Chatusruti Dhaivata, and Kaisiki Nishada. Bahudari conveys jubilation and positivity.

The signature piece in Bahudari in classical music is ‘Brova Barama’ by Tyagaraja. This song has been sung by Yesudas and used by Ilaiyaraaja in the Sivaji-starrer Kavari Maan. The phrase ‘DNPMG’ is most suited for this raga and Tyagaraja opens this well-loved piece with it.

Bahudari songs are very hard to find in mainstream film music. However, a Bahudari-based song that has come out in recent times is ‘Aha Kaadhal’ from Moondru Per Moondru Kaadhal, composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja. Starting at the Gandhara, the tune descends into the depths of the Nishada in ‘Konji Konji Pesudhe’, with the phrase ‘PMGSNSMG’ providing a suitable connect. The violin solo in the interlude is heart-warming.

Earlier ‘Thee Thee Thithikkum Thee’ from Thiruda Thiruda in A.R. Rahman’s music was a convincing attempt at Bahudari. ‘DNSMGSMG’ in ‘Theenda Theenda Chivakkum’ gives a glimpse of the raga.

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 1:54:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/music/mood-enhancers/article4512233.ece

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