a raga's journey Music

The Priya principle

Vivadi melakartas are intriguing, and the last of the 72 melakarta ragas is the graceful Rasikapriya. This is the prati madhyama counterpart of Chalanata . A flamboyant raga, Rasikapriya is known as Rasamanjari in the Dikshitar school of nomenclature.

The notes in this raga are sadja, shatsruti rishabha, antara gandhara, prati madhyama, pancama, shatsruti dhaivata, and kakali nishada. The shatsruti notes are carefully nestled, far away from their preceding notes, lending the raga elusive charm.

The classical pieces in Rasikapriya that merit mention include ‘Sringara rasamanjarim’ in Dikshitar’s inimitable style, ‘Arul Seyya Vendum Ayya’ of Koteeswara Iyer, and ‘Pavanatanaye’ of M. Balamuralikrishna.

In Tamil cinema this raga has been used in a few occasions. It would take a music director with thorough knowledge of swaras to actually delve into such a raga and bring out its colour, without compromising on its grammatical propriety. One such music director is Ilaiyaraaja; another is Vidyasagar.

Ilaiyaraaja’s ‘Sangeethame’ from Kovil Pura is an outstanding piece in Rasikaspriya. The opening phrase itself establishes the vivadi aspect of the raga, PDNS. The nadaswara alternating with the voice is soothing. In the phrase ‘Odi Vanden Unnai Naan Paada’ the complete arohana is covered — SRGMPDNS. The tricky shatsruti rishabha and shatsruti dhaivata notes are sung perfectly by S. Janaki.

In the film Ji, the song ‘Ding Dong Kovil Mani’ is yet another instance where Rasikapriya is used . Vidyasagar excels in composing and orchestration. Madhu Balakrishnan and Madhusree are the singers. In the phrase "nee kaetadu asaiyin ediroli", the notes 'SND/PDP' clearly establishes in the raga in conjunction with the phrase 'GMPDN' as a link to the subsequent line.

Ilaiyaraaja comes back with the lilting Rasikapriya in ‘Kannil Parvai Pona’ from Naan Kadavul sung brilliantly by Shreya Ghoshal. In the phrase, ‘Kannil Eeram Thadhumbum’, the notes SRGMG are etched clearly. The opening phrase establishes the raga, and the little sangati, SNDNS, adds melodic value.

Speaking of Priya ragas, there is a minor attractive raga, Ratipatipriya, well loved for its swara jumps and zig-zag patterns of progress. This raga is fairly recent, a janya of Kharaharapriya. The notes in this raga include sadja, chatusruti rishabha, sadharana gandhara, pancama, and kaisiki nishada. The RG-PN harmonies are well-loved in this scale, and, often, the sadja varja is used to make phrases more interesting.

The identity of this raga is defined in the song ‘Jagatjanani’ composed by Sri Ghanam Krishna Iyer and popularised by M.M. Dhandapani Desikar. ‘Adbuthamagiya’ of Suddhananda Bharati is yet another kriti in this raga.

In films, the song ‘Manam Kanidhe’ from Sivakavi is set in the same tune as ‘Jagatjanani’. Sung by M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar, the flavour of Rathipatipriya comes forth beautifully in this rendition.

Yet another song in Ratipatipriya would be ‘Ananda Natanam’ by Ilaiyaraaja in Sindhu Bhairavi. The opening phrase S,NPG/NPGS/GR is simple yet effective in ushering in the positivity and vibrancy of this raga. Yesudas’s voice complements the melody and lifts this small piece to lofty heights.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 4:01:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/music/the-priya-principle/article5534829.ece

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