Yamuna Kalyani–A Journey Back in Time-Part III

OTHER INTERPRETATIONS OF YAMUNA KALYANI:

Apart from the famous compositions “Krishna Nee Begane”, “Pibare ramarasam” and “Bhavayami Gopalabalam”, Yamuna Kalyani is elaborated by musicians during concerts only in viruttams/shlokas usually under the pretext of lending a “Hindustani” touch to the musical proceedings. I present two of them.

First, Sangita Kalanidhi Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer interprets Yamuna Kalyani in this shloka rendered as a ragamalika, to the violin accompaniment of Vidvan Lalgudi Jayaraman on the violin, in this very good recording from a live concert, circa 1960. Incidentally in this concert, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer sandwiches this raga between two solid “carnatic” ragas, Dhanyasi and Saveri in this ragamalika rendering of the shloka, ‘kOdanda dIksha gurum’. ( See Foot note 4).

Clip 7 – Sri Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer – Shloka

In this exposition it may be noted that Sri Srinivasa Iyer does not render the raga in madhyama sruti. He starts of on the gandhara note, the jeeva svara of Yamuna and ornaments it with a prolonged kampita gamaka. Note that when he finally concludes his essay he ends it on gandhara only . He reaches out to the tara sadja via jaaru from the pancama and travels on to the taara gandhara as well and does uses the suddha madhyama sparingly.  The prati madhayama as one notices is also muted and he uses only nRGP.  Also he focuses only on the purvanga svaras and never pauses on /uses the nishada or dhaivata as a nyasa-start or ending svara even as he conjures up his vision of Yamuna Kalyani. The  version that the veteran paints has predominantly shades of the older archaic Yamuna with suddha madhyama thrown in as well. Attention is invited to the gamaka laden murccanas/akaaras that Sri Semmangudi weaves with his well warmed up voice, imparting  the so called ‘Carnatic’ charge to this apparently northern raga!

We next move on to the rendering of a viruttam by Sangita Kalanidhi T V Sankaranarayanan (TVS), as a prelude to the kriti “Krishna Nee”. He uses Yamuna Kalyani to present the pAsuram (verses) of Tirumangai Azhwar on the Lord at Tiru Allikkeni (Triplicane, Chennai).

Clip 8 – Vid T.V.Sankaranarayanan – pasuram

Sri Sankaranarayanan’s presentation is reminiscent of Prof TRS’s style, marked by fidelity to sruti, open throated and unrestrained felicity in the execution of sancaras in the top octave.

Another old composition that is rendered in Yamuna Kalyani is the javali ‘Adhi Neepai’ of Dharmapuri Subbarayar, which again is rendered in madhyama sruti, in the modern version of the raga. The version as rendered by the doyenne of the Dhanammal family, Smt T Brindha may be referred to.

CONCLUSION:

To summarize, since its origination there has been at least 3 forms of Yamuna Kalyani as under:

  • The archaic Yamuna Kalyani melodically equivalent to Suddha Kalyan of Hindustani Music as evidenced by the gavai prabandha (Foot Note 1) and Subbarama Dikshitar’s jatisvaram.
  • The Yamuna Kalyani of Dikshitar as embodied in the composition “Jambupate” with alpa suddha madhyama prayoga (restricted to GM1R or GM1GR) and nishada being vakra in arohana, melodically equivalent to Yaman (purists may prefer the nomenclature Jaimini Kalyan for this) of Hindustani Music.
  • The much more modern and lighter sampurna version of Yamuna with more/denser suddha madhyama usage (even used in quick succession following the prati madhyama note) and ornamented with more jaarus and less of kampita gamaka. Many of the modern day expositions of even older compositions such as Tyagaraja’s beautiful piece “haridAsulu vEdalE” or “Vidhi chakra” fall within this ambit.

Today,though the raga has been relegated to a minor niche on our music canvas, the composer non-pareil Muthusvami Dikshitar has in his infinite wisdom chosen to ornament it with a truly great magnum opus, “Jambupate”. In fact I suspect that Dikshitar may have had a special affinity to the kshetra of Trichirapalli or Trisirapuram or Thiruccevvandipuram as it had been called in older texts (See Foot Note 2 and 3) .His family accounts have it that his daughter was married off into a family based in Trichirapalli. Be that as it may,  Dikshitar’s compositions for this kshetra are gems in themselves, a veritable roll call of the very best compositions from him. Here is the list:

  1. Jambupate – Yamuna Kalyani – On Lord Jambukeshvara
  2. Sri Matah – Begada – On his consort Godesses Akhilandesvari
  3. Sri Matrubutam – Kannada – On Lord Matrubuteshvara
  4. Sri Suganti kuntalambike – Kuntalam – On his consort Godesses Sugantha Kuntalambika
  5. Ranganayakam – Nayaki – On Lord Ranganatha
  6. Sri Bharghavi – Mangalakaishiki – On his consort Goddesses Ranganacciar

And as a first among equals in this listing, the composition and the conception of the raga Yamuna Kalyani therein, by themselves exemplify the greatness of Dikshitar and his monumental contribution to our music.

FOOTNOTE 1 – Prabandha Type of the Gavai Prabandha:

From a grammatical standpoint, a prabandha is supposed to have the following 5 components namely tala, tenaka etc.  For a more detailed practical exposition on the components of a prabandha  readers may refer to the book of Prof S R Janakiraman’s , “Essentials of Musicology in South Indian Music”. As we can see this prabandha has all the requisite components so mandated:

  1. Tala – Is given as Adi
  2. Tenaka – an optional attribute for a prabandha .This is not seen in this prabandha instance.
  3. Patha – Is seen, which is the sollkattus – thathom, thaiyaa etc
  4. Svara- The dhatu is available as required.
  5. Pada – The lyric is secular in character and in praise of a mortal and hence is of the category of “biruda”

Since the prabandha (with tattaittaiyaa -GGGR, as the refrain or udgraha) has 4 components including the mandatory svara part, it is a Anandini Jati prabandha. One can surmise that since this prabandha had been composed in a desya raga of northern origins, it was probably treated as a slightly inferior composition.

FOOT NOTE – 2: WHY YAMUNA FOR THE COMPOSITION “JAMBUPATE” – AN INTERESTING THOUGHT:

While one can always speculate on Dikshitar’s choice of ragas for some of his great compositions, his choice of Yamuna for “Jambupate” is very intriguing. “Jambupate Maam Pahi” is a krithi which forms part of the set of 5 compositions covering the pancabhuta kshetras namely Kancipuram (prithvI), Kalahasti,(vAyu), Tiruvannamalai (agnI) , Jambukeshvaram (jala/appU) and Cidambaram (AkAsa), wherein Lord Siva is said to embodied in the form of one of these primordial elements. Each of these kritis in unique and has been custom structured lyrically having a solid nexus to the kshetra. Jambukeshvaram or  tiruvAnaikkA, the kshetra on which this kriti has been composed, represents Shiva of the form of Water. Hence this composition features a number of water related references such as Ambu, Ambudhi, Ganga, Kaveri, Yamuna, Kambu, appU etc. The lyrics also features the standard dviteeyakshara prasa, the usage of which Dikshitar is justly famous for such as, Jambu-ambu, tumbu, ambu, kambu etc).

On the choice of ragas for the panca bhuta kritis, Dikshitar chose older and traditional Carnatic ragas such as Huseni, Bhairavi, Saranga and Kedaram for the other pieces. But the fact that he chose Yamuna for this composition/kshetra , seems to be a sort of a teaser.Given the facts we have , I speculate that he had chosen Yamuna for the following 2 reasons, perhaps:

  • To showcase his musical virtuosity by taking up a desya raga and providing a make-over to it and in the process bring it into the musical mainstream in Carnatic Music. Suddha Kalyan as a raga is considered a challenge to musicians in Hindustani Music. This is what Deepak Raja says on this point.

“A survey of available recordings of this raga (Suddha Kalyan) reveals some interesting patterns. To begin with, Suddha Kalyan appears to have been performed only by musicians of considerable stature. Even these musicians appear to have performed them primarily at concerts, and rarely on commercial recordings. These facts suggest that the raga is regarded as a considerable aesthetic challenge, and those who do perform it do so after they have ascertained the receptivity potential of their audiences to the raga’s melodic subtleties.”

  • Dikshitar associated Yamuna with Trichy/ Jambukesvaram. Given that the prabandham (the oldest available composition) is on a ruler of Trichirapalli, Dikshitar associated it with the Tiruvaanaikka temple and proceeded to compose in it.  In fact King Vijayaranga Cokkanatha was a great benefactor of the Tiruvanaikka temple as well.  Additionally one can surmise as well that Dikshitar might have heard the prabandham being rendered when he was in Trichirapalli , had it notated, which latter came into the hands of Subbarama Dikshitar, who proceeded to publish it in the SSP.
trichy-montage

“Jambukeshvara Temple andTrichirappalli – A Photo Montage, Circa 1850 (Courtesy: The Collection from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The famous British Photographer Linnaeus Tripe took these photographs of Trichirappalli and the Jambukesvara Temple , perhaps just a few decades after Dikshitar visited the temple. Dikshitar must have walked through the temple courtyard and the approach street as one sees in the photograph above. The photo on the bottom right is the ramp parts of the Trichy Palace/Fort as it was then. This Palace was probably the Court of King Vijayaranga Cokkanatha, where perhaps the Yamuna Kalyani gavai prabandha was composed and rendered, with him as the nAyakA.

FOOTNOTE 3: A BRIEF NOTE ON THE COMPOSITIONAL STYLE OF “JAMBUPATE”

Time and again one can notice that whenever there is a conversation about Dikshitar’s composition “Jambupate”, the lyrical and melodic structuring of the composition on the lines of the Northern/Hindustani Dhrupad is invariably referred to. Dhrupad in short it is an old and now virtually extinct compositional form and vehicle for musical exposition of Hindustani Music. For an in depth coverage of dhrupad I would refer the readers to the book by Deepak Raja ,titled ‘Hindustani Music – A Tradition in Transition’ . There are apparently 2 types of Dhrupad’s in the northern classical music – the so called devotional dhrupad, which is typically sung in Vaishnavite temples of the North and the second one being classical dhrupad. This is what author Selina Theilemann says of the 2 types of dhrupad ( or dhruva pada) in her work “Singing the Praises Divine: Music in the Hindu Tradition”, which I think summarizes it perfectly.

“While the classical dhrupada performance represents a musical rendition in its own right, the dhrupada of the Vaishnavite temples is characterized by its strict functionality within the devotional sevice. In the devotional drupada, the composition and sacred content of its text form the central element of the performance, whereas the purely musical aspects such as alapa and improvisation are reduced to a minimum. Devotional drupadas are always composed in cau tala and are sung in slow tempo. The rendition of the complete composition is compulsory and no part of the devotional text is indispensable. The alapa is either omitted or reduced to a few characteristic phrases of the raga. Rhythmic and melodic improvisation too is given little space and in some temples and traditions, improvisation is altogether prohibited. What is shared by both the classical and devotional drupada is the slow and heavy movement, along with the emphasis on the textual component and on the effective delivery of the devotional message.”

In all probability Dikshitar structured his ‘Jambupate’ on the lines of the northern ‘devotional drupad’. Did he hear it in a northern Vaishnava shrine, probably during his Kashi sojourn? Or did he perhaps hear it being rendered by some visiting ‘durbari gavai’ in Tanjore or Trichirapalli? No one can be sure. Be that as it may, Dikshitar invokes the deeply meditative and contemplative structure of the devotional dhrupad in this composition. The similarities ‘Jambupate’ has with the devotional dhrupad also give us a clue as to how the composition has to be rendered and there can be no doubt about it. Selina Theilemann’s summary of the style/tempo of rendering the devotional dhrupad says it all.

FOOTNOTE 4:

As an aside, attention is invited to the remarks that Sri Srinivasa Iyer makes at the start of Sri Lalgudi’s vinyasa response. Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer known for his humorous and witty on/off-stage remarks and repartee, given that the raga being rendered is of  Hindustani origins, in this clipping, expresses his appreciation for Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman’s raga response with the Hindi words ‘acchA acchA’ and then follows up with a comment to the effect that (given that the “Anti Hindi’ agitation was running high in Tamil Nadu then i. e during the early 1960’s) the usage of “that” Hindi word is best avoided! The entire concert has been commercially released by Carnatica through a CD album titled “Classical Everest”.

REFERENCES:

  1. Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini (1904) of Subbarama Dikshitar – Tamil translation published the Music Academy, Madras
  2. “Muthuswami Dikshitar’s Compositions in Desiya Ragas” ( 1975) by B V K Sastry- Collection of Essays, published as “The Musical Heritage of Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar”, by the Indian Indological Society, Baroda
  3. Ramachandran K.V. (1950) – “Carnatic ragas from a new angle – Sankarabharana” – The Journal of the Music Academy XXI, pp. 88-99, Madras, India.
  4. “Desi ragas of Post-Ratnakara Period” ( 1996) – Ph.D Dissertation of  R Hemalatha, Department of Indian Music, University of Madras, Chennai, India.
  5. Deepak Raja’s blog featuring his notes on Raga Shudda Kalyan -URL: http://swaratala.blogspot.com/2007/04/raga-shuddha-kalyan-how-and-why-it-is.html
  6. “Raganidhi” (1984) by B. Subba Rao, published by Music Academy, Madras
  7. “Kalyani”(Jan 2002) – An article by M V Ramana and V N Muthukumar available at http://www.sawf.org/newedit/edit01142002/musicarts1.asp
  8. “South Indian Shrines” by Shri P V Jagadisa Iyer  and published by Asian Educational Services, 1993;  ISBN 8120601513, 9788120601512 ;638 pages
  9. “History Of The Nayaks Of Madura”  (1924) by R Sathyanatha Aiyar ; Published by Oxford University Press

Credits/Acknowledgements:

  1. The clippings in this article have been used for purely educational purpose as illustration only and all copyrights therein lies with the music distributors or the artistes or their descendants as the case may be.
  2. I am extremely grateful to Dr. Abhiramasundari for providing me with with her interpretation and permission to use the rendering of the jatisvaram of Subbarama Dikshitar.
  3. I thank Vidvan Suryaprakash for providing me with the permission to post his rendering of the Yamuna Kalyani kriti ‘Paramashivatmajam’, from his CD release titled “Shanmatha Sunadham” distributed by Poornima Records, Chennai.

Yamuna Kalyani–A Journey Back in Time-Part II

Subbarama Dikshitar’s Compositions:

The jatisvaram found notated under this raga in the SSP can be considered as Subbarama Dikshitar’s second composition composed in the year 1856, the first one being the varna in Durbar “Intamodi”. The reference to his is found in his autobiography that he wrote as a part of the “Vaggeyakara Caritamu”. When he sang the Durbar varna before the Rajah of Ettayapuram, the Rajah to ensure that the Courtiers and other musicians too acknowledge and realize that the seventeen year old Subbarama Dikshitar was truly an original musician, made him compose this jatisvaram in the raga Yamuna as a test. The composition was structured by the young Subbarama Dikshitar as specified by the Rajah such that the pallavi and anupallavi had svaras as sahitya, the next set of svaras started with dhaivata, the final svara set had all the three speeds, and finally ending with the muktayi svaram.

As one can notice from the notation of this composition, Subbarama Dikshitar’s Yamuna is featured with older prayogas like GPDs, sDP etc. The ragamalika too bears out Subbarama Dikshitar’s penchant for the older version/archaic Yamuna rather than the newer Yamuna as embodied in ‘Jambupate’. It is only in the sancari that Subbarama Dikshitar uses the melodic material of the newer Yamuna of Dikshitar with usage of M1 and also prolific usage of nishada. His sancari too contains phrases from the older Yamuna as well as the newer Yamuna. One can surmise that the sancaris were probably composed during the run up to the creation of the SSP by Subbarama Dikshitar and not earlier.

At this juncture, attention is invited to the other notated composition found in the SSP, which is Krishnasvami Ayya’s kriti ‘Cintaye Janakiramanam’. Incidentally the kriti is not encountered in the concert circuit, but the notation in the SSP, features a slightly different Yamuna Kalyani. In this composition, suddha madhyama usage is denser and is not just restricted to the GM1R usage. We do see a GM1P usage as well as a GM2M1 usage in the kriti ! Also the M1 shows up in tara stayi sancaras as  gm1r which is extremely rare in Yamuna Kalyani. Given that Subbarama Dikshitar must have in all probability had a role to play in setting the tune for this composition, the treatment of Yamuna Kalyani in this composition is indeed very odd and unusual!

MODERN YAMUNA:

As highlighted elsewhere in this article, modern/present day Yamuna is clearly a further narrowing down of the Yamuna Kalyani of Dikshitar with two important changes:

  1. The raga is rendered in madhyama sruti
  2. Usage of suddha madhyama is much more prolific and one can also see that it is used in succession with the prati madhyama note.

On the usage of M2M1 notes in succession, it needs to be pointed that classical versions of the Hindustani raga Yaman do not feature the same. According to Rajan Parrikkar, the suddha madhyama using versions of Yaman should be called Jaimini Kalyan rather than Yaman Kalyan.  Fact is  that the Hindustani raga Yaman which is an implementation of the ‘thAt’ or raaganga Kalyan, does not sport suddha madhyama at all. The versions of Kalyan sporting suddha madhyama (Yaman Kalyan or Jaimini Kalyan as may be called), use M1 only via GM1G . The phrase M2M1G usage with the glide is considered a “lighter” version. I would invite readers to the two seminal articles on Kalyan and Kalyani by Rajan Parrikkar and Muthukumar and Ramana, respectively on sawf.org.

DISCOGRAPHY:

In this section we will take a look at the recordings of compositions as encountered in the  three evolutionary forms of Yamuna Kalyani.

Archaic Yamuna:

First is the older form, equivalent to the Suddha Kalyan of the Hindustani Music. As pointed out earlier, the Jatisvaram of Subbarama Dikshitar as notated in the SSP is a prime example. Dr Abhiramasundari, a disciple of Sangita Kalanidhi Vedavalli renders the jatisvaram as per the notation found in the SSP.

Clip 1 – Jatisvaram-yamunakalyani – SubbaramaDikshitar (Dr.Abhiramasundari)

Attention is invited to the total absence of the suddha madhyama svara and the nishada in this composition. The tonal color of the raga as delineated in this composition is vastly different.

Dikshitar’s Yamuna Kalyani –  Jambupate:

Next is the Yamuna of Dikshitar which is best defined by the pancabhuta kshetra kriti “Jambupate Mam pahi” and exemplified by the notation found in the SSP. The most popular renditions of this composition are that of Sangita Kalanidhi D K Jayaraman and Sangita Kalanidhi B Rajam Iyer, both of whom trace their pAtham to Justice T L Venkatarama Iyer and on to Ambi Dikshitar. For the purposes of this article, I present two interpretations/renderings which  appear in my opinion to be closer to the notation as found in the SSP.

But before that, I present an excerpt from a 1993 Lecture Demonstration on select Dikshitar Kritis by Prof S R Janakiraman @ Seattle, USA. He is accompanied by Srividya Chandramouli of the Karaikudi veena school . Here he dwells on the Yamuna Kalyani of Dikshitar.

Clip 2 – Prof SRJ – Yamuna Kalyani Demonstration

Prof S R J first outlines the salient features of Dikshitar’s Yamuna Kalyani and shows how different it is from Kalyani, even without usage of suddha madhyama. Watch out for the Professor tellingly use the nRGMP or nRGP (lower case signifying mandhara stayi and uppercase madhya stayi) and again PNDs (italics signify upper or tara stayi) to proceed to the upper octave, reminding us of the Hindustani Yaman. He renders portions of the composition as illustration and shows how by the mere intonation of the gandhara and purvanga svaras, Kalyani can be distinguished very clearly from Yamuna Kalyani.

Clip 3 – Prof SRJ – Jambupate

Next, Prof S R J presents Jambupate in full, to the accompaniment of tanpura sruti, preceding it with a crisp raga outline. Attention is invited to the total exclusion of suddha madhyama svara in the alapana and the sparing use of it in the kriti, in line with the notation as found in the SSP.To reiterate, in Dikshitar’s version of Yamuna Kalyani the suddha madhyama svara usage is supposed to be sparing in usage and is seen only via the murccana GM1RS only. An example, is the negotiation of the sahitya line of the anupallavi, “tumburu nuta hrudaya tapopasamana”.  Also note that fact that the rendering is “not” in madhyama sruti, driven by the fact that the kriti has sancaras spanning upto the tara gandhara. Attention is again invited to the way in which Prof S R J explicitly intones prati madhyama at the anupallavi line “AmbujAsanAdi sakala deva namana”.Within the framework of the original notation, the Prof melodically  extends , interprets and develops the sahitya line revealing the myriad melodic hues of Yamuna. The entire anupallavi presents in a nutshell, Dikshitar’s conception of the modern Yamuna in its so called bhashanga form with M1, a veritable lesson indeed for us.

A note on kampita gamaka and its usage in Yamuna Kalyani is warranted at this juncture. It is not that kampita gamaka is not to be used in Yamuna. Modern interpretations of this raga near totally eschew kampita gamaka usage, driven perhaps by the logic that since it is a raga with northern origins, its notes should be plainer and not oscillated with this gamaka. The notation of “Jambupate” in the SSP and its interpretation by the Professor clearly shows how misconceived this view can be. In his rendering, attention is invited to the portion where the Professor tellingly uses the gamaka on the gandhara as he interprets the caranam line “sarva jeeva dayakara sambho”, for example, in line with the SSP notation. Gandhara, dhaivatha and the pancama svaras , especially in the caranam are ornamented with the kampita gamaka notation, debunking this common misconception that this raga needs to be rendered “only” in a plainer/lighter fashion, lest it may probably be mistaken for Kalyani.

I present next, Sangita Kala Acharya Seetha Rajan interpreting the composition, again with fidelity to the notation of Subbarama Dikshitar, in this August 2009 recording from a chamber music recital.

Clip 4 – Vidushi Seetha Rajan – Jambupate

As I understand, she has re-learnt it on the basis of the notation found in the SSP. Her grounding in Hindustani Music as well comes to the fore as she interprets the Pallavi line ‘amruta bodham dehi” executing the GMPD/rs svara sequence via jaaru gamaka, jumping from the madhya stayi dhaivatha to the tara rishabha. One can appreciate and savor Dikshitar’s extraordinary depth of imagination as it comes to the fore when he flips the GPDs of the older Yamuna as GMPDrs imparting a different hue in this composition. The fundamental axiom of raga lakshana and its interpretation which was practiced by Dikshitar is best embodied by the assertion of noted music critique, the Late K V Ramachandran, in one of his lecture demonstrations where he avers that jumps, bends, twists were the rule for svaras in ragas and that rarely do they proceed in a linear succession. Attention is invited to the grand finale of this composition, which is the concluding carana sahitya in madhyamakala, begining “nirvikalpa samAdhi nishta…”. Students and learners of this composition should listen to the Vidushi Seetha Rajan’s interpretation with the SSP notation by the side, to appreciate how Dikshitar provides us with an unalloyed summary of his Yamuna in this final section, devoid of even the suddha madhyama.

Dikshitar’s other compositions:

Apart from “Jambupate” which is the sole composition in Yamuna Kalyani of Muthusvami Dikshitar as documented in the SSP, we have two other compositions “Nandagopala” and “Paramashivatmajam”, which have been documented by Veenai Sundaram Iyer and attributed to Muthusvami Dikshitar. Recordings of “Nandagopala” by both Dr B Rajam Iyer and by Sri Maharajapuram Santhanam are available to us. For sake of analysis, I take up “Paramashivatmajam”, which is hardly encountered in the concert circuit. Vidvan R Suryaprakash interprets this composition as he learnt it from Dr V V Srivatsa.

Clip 5: Vidvan Suryaprakash – Paramashivatmajam-Yamunakalyani

Attention is invited to the usage of the svarakshara “sDP” in the Pallavi line “sadA bhajeham”, which is a signature prayoga or motif of the older Yamuna. Attention is invited to the treatment of the raga in the composition (not found in SSP) in contradistinction to ‘Jambupate’ (found in SSP). In fact this divergence of raga lakshana and its treatment is encountered in few other ragas , such as for example Vegavauhini and Chaturangini, exemplified by the SSP kritis on one hand and the non SSP kritis on the other, as composed by /attributed to Dikshitar.

Moving away from Dikshitar, in the absence of authentic versions or notations of the available Tyagaraja kritis in this raga, I am unable to divine if indeed the Bard of Thiruvayyaru’s, interpretation of this beautiful raga was on the lines of the archaic Yamuna or of Dikshitar’s Yamuna. The analysis of the notation of the kriti “Haridasulu vedale” as documented in detail by Rangaramanuja Iyengar presents us with some data as to the form it was at least during the first half of the 20th century.

MODERN YAMUNA KALYANI:

I next take up the interpretation of Tyagaraja’s composition “Haridasulu Vedale” by the veteran vocalist Prof T R Subramaniam (Prof TRS). He along with Prof SRJ, Sangita Kalanidhi T K Govinda Rao and the well known music guru Bombay Sri Ramachandran were batch mates, learning music at the Madras Music College during the 1950’s from the likes of Musiri Subramanya Iyer, T Brinda and others.

profsrj-proftrs

Prof SRJ and Prof TRS @ Cleveland 2004

Clip 6 – Prof TRS – Haridasulu

In this old recording, we can find how pristine and felicitous, Prof T R S’s voice was. The fast brighas he executes with razor sharp precision remind us of the style of the late Sangita Kalanidhi G N Balasubramaniam, whom he  idolized. First, Prof T R S embarks on an alapana of Yamuna Kalyani. He lets his imagination run riot literally as he takes us far into upper reaches of Yamuna Kalyani and fleetingly uses the prayoga incorporating the two madhyamas in succession, which is well within the province of modern Yamuna Kalyani, which permits a much denser and unrestrained use of suddha madhyama. He concludes by outlining the eduppu/take-off of the famous Yamuna Kalyani kriti “Krishna Nee” probably for the benefit of the audience and moves on to render the kriti.

In in his rendering of the final sangati of the Pallavi line “Ananda mAye dayalo”, Prof TRS uses the two madhyamas in succession as a svarakshara. Clearly this edition of the Tyagaraja composition is classifiable under the modern version of Yamuna Kalyani.

It is indeed a pity that we are unable to divine the true/original conception of Yamuna by the bard, beyond doubt. The different patantharams and the lack of a reliable oral or textual notation as authority prevents us from understanding many of Tyagaraja’s original melodies. In fact the Experts Commitee of the Music Academy debated it without a conclusion being reached, in the year 1958, the year in which Sri G N Balasubramanian became the Sangita Kalanidhi. During those deliberations, the Experts Committee member C S Iyer ( father of  Vidushi Vidya Shankar and disciple of Sangita Kalanidhi Sabhesa Iyer) raised the question as to the original raga of the famous Tyagaraja composition “Etavunara”, which is presently rendered in Kalyani. According to him the raga of the composition was not Kalyani but Yamuna ( vide JMA Vol XXX, Page 30, Proceedings dated 23-Dec-1958 ).

We now move over to Vyasaraya’s ‘Krishna Nee’ which is a shining example of modern Yamuna Kalyani.

Krishna Nee Begane Baro:

In the context of the ‘Krishna Nee Begane” , the composition or atleast the text/lyrics dates back to the 15th/16th century.  I am unable to speculate on the antiquity of the tune. It might be very old or may not be, but needless to say that this song as immortalized by Sangita Kalanidhi T Balasarasvati (1918-1984) is the extant version of the popular Yamuna Kalyani.  For connoisseurs of fine arts, Tanjore Balasarasvathi was the very embodiment of  the music and dance of Tanjore. She was the star student of Kandappa Nattuvanar (1899-1941) who was the great grandson of Cinnayya of the  illustrious Tanjore Quartet. For the benefit of those of us who may not be aware as to why this legendary scion of the Veena Dhanammal family is justly identified with this composition, Dr B M Sundaram’s in his work “Marabu Thanda Manikkangal” (Tamil) has captured that moment in history ! The following paragraph is a rough translation of his account.

The year was 1934 and the venue was the Rasika Ranjani Sabha at Mylapore , Madras the Mecca of Carnatic Music. The cognoscenti of the City had assembled to watch ‘their’ Bala ( as she was adoringly referred to by her avid rasikas) performing to the singing of her mother, the incomparable Jayammal. During the course of the recital Jayammal, extempore launched into “Krishna Nee Begane”, the devaranama which was one  of the several, she had learnt from the great Dasa pada exponent and guru, Dharwad Hayagrivachar. Bala was caught unawares as she had not danced to the piece before that day and her hesitation if any was perhaps momentary as she instantly and naturally drew on her consummate artistic genius and innate skill of abhinaya. For the next thirty minutes  or more, she held the audience spell-bound with her remarkable interpretation of the lyrics, conjuring up the very image of Krishna of Udipi before them.  As they say, the rest is history. It went on to become the talk of the town for the next several years, setting a new benchmark for  this composition and its interpretation.

Hear the meltingly rendered composition with the abhinaya. Luckily for us, it has been captured by the doyen Satyajit Ray on film and has thus been preserved for posterity:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axuq7ncvjYE

Yamuna Kalyani–A Journey Back in Time-Part I

INTRODUCTION:

Raga Yamuna Kalyani, also called as Yamuna, is a supposedly lighter melody and a minor raga today, under the Kalyani raganga/melakartha. A look at the musical history as available to us and also given the fact that we have major compositions from both Tyagaraja and Muthusvami Dikshitar, would show that this raga was not a minor one. In fact there is even an authoritative reference that one of the kritis of Syama Shastri (“Birana Varalichi”) was composed in Yamuna Kalyani, implying that this raga should have been a member of that exalted list of 28 ragas (making it 29) that were utilized by the Trinity in common for their compositions. Many of the 20th century authorities such as Justice T L Venkatarama Iyer have been of the firm opinion that Yamuna Kalyani was an import from Hindustani Music and that the melodic equivalent of our Yamuna Kalyani was Yaman or Iman as it is referred to. In fact the “import” is ascribed to Muthusvami Dikshitar himself with the storyline that he learnt it during his Kashi sojourn.

When one traces our musical history, it can be deduced that Yamuna Kalyani had its roots in the old mela of Venkatamakhi called as Kalyana or Suddha Kalyan. This Suddha Kalyana spawned modern Kalyani even while it metamorphosed into Yamuna Kalyani as evidenced by the Dikshitar’s “Jambupate Mam Pahi”, the Panchabhuta kshetra kriti on the Lord at Tiruvanaika (Trichy) in this raga. Thus it would be erroneous to state that Yamuna Kalyani is a janya or offshoot of Kalyani. Rather Yamuna Kalyani was Kalyani’s precursor or at least Kalyani’s sibling, having been spun off from Suddha Kalyan. To suit the convenience of modern day classification it came be bundled under the Kalyani Ragaanga, in other words as a member of the Kalyani clan.

Coming back to the main thread, this Yamuna Kalyani as envisioned by Dikshitar underwent a further modification in the 20th century as evidenced by the melodic setting of the two current day famous compositions, “Krishna Nee Begane” and Annamacharya’s “Bhavayami Gopalabalam”. This modern Yamuna Kalyani can also be seen in modern interpretations of Tyagaraja’s better known compositions namely “Haridasulu vedale” and “Vidhi Chakradulaku”.

This blog post is an attempt to outline this history or metamorphosis as understood from the study of the musical history of Yamuna Kalyani through the ages from the time of our music’s great patriarch Venkatamakhi to Muddu Venkatamakhi to Muthusvami Dikshitar to Subbarama Dikshitar & to our times.

MODERN RAGA LAKSHANA OF YAMUNA KALYANI:

This raga’s current or modern day attributes/lakshana can be summarized as :

A sampurna bashanga janya of the 65th mela/raaganga Kalyani with usage of suddha madhyama in descent or avarohana phrases.

Given the current treatment of Yamuna Kalyani on concert platforms, one can additionally ascribe the following attributes:

  • Yamuna Kalyani almost as a rule, is today sung in madhyama sruti & thus having its sancara restricted in the upper octave.
  • Apart from the usage of suddha madhyama, Yamuna differs from Kalyani on two additional grounds:
    • Kalyani is rendered with more intense usage of kampita gamakas in the so called “sampurna varika style” by which every note is invested with kampita gamakas. On the other hand Yamuna Kalyani is rendered with more jarus and with vakra sancaras rather than sequential progression of svaras.
    • In terms of performance Yamuna Kalyani is relegated to lighter compositions, shlokas or javalis but is never taken up for a detailed exposition or for tillanas.

The modern form of Yamuna Kalyani is best illustrated by the following 3 compositions:

  • The Dasar pada “Krishna nee begane” as immortalized by Smt T Balasarasvathi,
  • Annamacarya’s composition “Bhavayami Gopalabalam” as popularized by Smt M S Subbulakshmi
  • Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer’s music setting of Sadasiva Brahmendra’s composition”Pibare Ramarasam”

TEXTUAL REFERENCES TO YAMUNA:

There are two references to the raga lakshana of this raga, which one can refer to:

  1. First is the raga lakshana as outlined by Subbarama Dikshitar in his monumental work, the Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini (1904), SSP for short.
  2. The raga lakshana as documented by Subba Rao in his work Raga Nidhi (1996), which is a comparative study/documentation of ragas featured in the Carnatic and Hindustani idiom.

There are no references to this raga ( that is Yamuna)in older texts including Caturdandi Prakashika or Sangita Sudha or the works of King Shahji or King Tulaja. The raga name figures as a desya raga in the listing found in the Anubandha to the Caturdandi Prakashika.

YAMUNA KALYANI AS OUTLINED IN THE SSP:

The SSP offers the first glimpse into this scale, wherein Subbarama Dikshitar refers to this raga as Yamuna. Let’s review first the information presented by SSP in connection with this raga.

  • In the (Shantha) Kalyani Raganga lakshya gitam it is given that Imma Kalyani and Mohanam are the bashanga janyas of Kalyani. As a side note, we do not see Hamir Kalyani and Saranga mentioned as Kalyani’s janyas in this raaganga raga lakshana gitam. However Subbarama Dikshitar lists out Hamir Kalyani and Saranga as Kalyani’s janyas subsequently in SSP.
  • Subbarama Dikshitar does not provide any lakshana shloka for Yamuna as he usually does. It’s indeed a puzzle for us that (Muddu)Venkatamakhi gives a reference to Imma Kalyani in the Kalyani raagaanga gitam, but no lakshana shloka or prabandha or tana or gita of (Muddu)Venkatamakhi is provided for this raga!
  • Subbarama Dikshitar gives the murccana arohana/avarohana as SRGMPDNS/SNDPMGRS under the Kalyani raagaaga. However he defines the lakshana with the following caveats.
    • Arohana is usually SRGPDs or SRGPMPDs
    • Avarohana is usually sNDPGRS or sDPMGRS
    • Sa is grahasvara and Ga, Ri and Dha are jeeva svaras
    • Suddha madhyama occurs in the prayogas GmRS or GmGRS
  • The oldest lakshana providing composition given by Subbarama Dikshitar is the “Khabay Prabandha” attributed to pUrvikAs or old timers. This composition has the ‘udgraha’ or refrain as “tha thai thaiyya”.
  • Subbarama Dikshitar provides 4 other compositions to illustrate the raga:
    • ‘Jambupate Mampahi’ of Muthusvami Dikshitar
    • ‘Chintaye Janakiramanam’ of Krishnasvami Ayya
    • Jatisvaram beginning with ‘SDPM’
    • His own sancari set in matya tala
    • The anubandha to the SSP lists out a ragamalika with 10 ragas starting with the words “Priyamuna” which has the raga mudra itself in its pallavi refrain, composed by Subbarama Dikshitar in the ragas Yamuna Kalyani, Todi, Sri, Hamir Kalyani, Durbar, Padi, Huseni, Sahana , Mohanam & Bhupalam.

YAMUNA IN THE SSP – Analysis of the Compositions:

The ‘Khabay’ or Gavai Prabandha:

To understand the origins and evolution of Yamuna, one has to look at the notation of the Prabandha which Subbarama Dikshitar credits as being composed by pUrvAcaryAs. When one looks at this prabandha, many points show up:

  1. Though Subbarama Dikshitar uses the term “Khabay”, it should rightly be “Gavai” for reasons we can see shortly.
  2. Unusually for a prabandha this one is well ornamented/notated. The only other “khabay’ type of prabhanda in SSP is under Pharaz which also is notated well. The ankita/raja mudra of the Pharaz khabay clearly indicates that it is on Tulaja II (1763-1787) & son of Pratapasimha).
  3. The lyrics in the Yamuna prabandha indicate that it has been composed on one Vijayaranga Cokkanatha , son of one Rangakrishna Muthuveera. A quick look at the Nayak Rulers of Madurai reveals that this Vijayaranga Cokkanatha was the great grandson of Thirumalai Nayak of the Madurai Nayaka clan. He shifted his Court from Madurai to Trichy & ruled between 1704 -1731.  This Chieftain has a statue in the Srirangam temple. Given the epi-graphical details, we can conveniently place the composition as having been composed circa 1720 or thereabouts. See Footnote 1 below.
  4. In the prabandha, the nishada is virtually not seen, except in one place as a podisvara & it can ignored.  The contours of Yamuna as outlined in this composition are SRGPDS, SDPMGRS without any suddha madhyama or nishada. From a musical structure perspective the following emerge.
  5. It’s very clear that G is the jeeva/nyasa svara for Yamuna. The Prabandha opens with the classic ‘GGG’ prayoga.
  6. M1 is not present & is not notated at all in the prabandha.
  7. Ga is janta with kampita gamaka thrown in liberally.
  8. Jarus are another embellishment  usages spanning GR, PG,R/G, G/P & P/s
  9. S, G, R and P are the nyasa svaras. Ga comes in as first among equals as the jeeva svara & is accompanied by the kampita gamaka as the default adornment.

Based on the internal evidence from this prabandha, some observations/conclusions follow:

  • The word “khabay” or “gabay” or “kapay” apparently had its roots in the term “Gavai”. Interestingly, the northern origins of the word become obvious, as Dr Sita in her “Tanjore as a Seat of Music” gives one musician of the name of “Gavai Khamas” Madhava Rao who had been in the Court of King Sivaji of Tanjore. Gottuvadhyam Sakha Rama Rao is named as his descendant. The word “gavai” stands for “musician” or “vidvan”. In the samasthanas of Deccan/Maharashtra, the Royal Courts had the so called AstAna vidvan who was called as a ‘Durbari Gavai” or in other words the Court Musician. The composition was probably composed by such a visiting singer or perhaps a musician from the North of the Naik Court itself. Incidentally, the composer of the famous Kuranji padam “Sivadikshaparulanu”, Ghanam Sinnaya was the Chief Minister of King Vijayaranga Cokkanatha.
  • The other “khabay’ prabandha found in the SSP is under Pharaz, which also is another raga imported into Carnatic Music. Persian/Arabian/Moslem origin thereof of both Pharaz and Yamuna is thus something which is very plausible.
  • The Kalyani raganga gitam refers to this Kalyani janya as “Imma Kalyana”, perhaps indicating its roots to the Persian melody Iman. While we may attach importance to the Kalyani raganaga gitam a number of questions remain to be answered such as :
    • The authorship, timelines and the lack of a lakshana shloka for Yamuna Kalyani makes one look at the Kalyani lakshana shloka suspiciously. It must have been the work of Muddu Venkatamakhi dateable to circa 1750 or thereabouts.
    • The other janyas of Kalyani such as Hamir/Hamvira or Saranga find no mention in this raganga gitam.  Also is the question whether this “imma kalyana” is Yamuna at all.

ARCHAIC YAMUNA:

Thus the contours of the older version of Yamuna emerge from out of the prabandha with SRGPDS/SDPMGRS as its murccana arohana & avarohana. It was devoid of Ni & suddha madhyama as well and had gained currency in our music system by the late 1600/early 1700 close to a hundred years before the trinity. For the purposes of this  post I am labeling this Yamuna as the archaic Yamuna as we will see that this metamorphosed with few variations into the modern Yamuna Kalyani as we know today.

Before we proceed further, we need to take a look at the nexus between the archaic Yamuna and the Kalyani or Suddha Kalyana of Venkatamakhi, which is considered as the forerunner of our modern day Kalyani.

ARCHAIC YAMUNA & THE KALYANA OF VENKATAMAKHIN:

Kalyana or (Suddha) Kalyana is an old raga referred to even by Somanatha in his Raga Vibodha (circa 1600). In his work he refers to Kalyana as one of his primary 23 mElas. The next reference to Kalyana is by Venkatamakhi in his CDP. This is what he has to say of Kalyana, in summary:

A desya raga, not fit for gita, thaya & prabandha, with Ma and Ni varjya in the arohana, sampurna and liked by Turuskas, having pancashruti rishabam,antara gandharam,varali madhyamam, pancamam, pancashruthi dhaivatham and kakali nishada.

The description of the Kalyana of Venkatamakhin bears an uncanny resemblance to the archaic Yamuna as found in the prabandha. The Kalyana scale of Venkatamakhin is next echoed by King Shahaji (1684-1712) in “Ragalakshanamu” where he mentions this scale as Suddha Kalyani. King Shahaji illustrates the Suddha Kalyani with prayogas such as GPDs,  sNDPMGR and GDPMGR etc. While the CDP talks of (Suddha) Kalyani being a desya raga, the Anubandha elevates Kalyani to that of a ‘rakti’ raga !

Be that as it may, the (Suddha)Kalyana of Venkatamakhi which can be resolved as SRGPDS/SNDPMGRS, probably spawned the older Yamuna as a variant while at the same time it became the nucleus of the sampurna/heptatonic modern Kalyani ( mEca kalyAnI/shAntha kalyAnI). Modern Kalyani as referred to in this post is the sampurna Kalyani sporting only the prati madhyama and rendered in the sampurna varika style as evidenced by the classic ata tala varna of Pallavi Gopala Iyer, “Vanajakshi”. This qualification to Kalyani is warranted and would be appreciated in the light of the fact that the origins of Kalyani are tied to Yamuna as well through Suddha Kalyani. This Suddha Kalyani ruled the roost for a century or two before it died leaving in its wake two off-springs namely Yamuna Kalyani or Yamuna and our modern Kalyani. The archaic Suddha Kalyan(i) was revived/resurrected as a ‘scalar structure’ by Gayakashikamani Harikesanallur Muthiah Bagavathar during mid 20th century, when he set to music Svati Tirunal’s kriti “Seve Srikantham” and composed his two own kritis “Siddhi Vinayakam Seveham” and “Bhuvaneshvarya” in the raga now known as Mohanakalyani.

DIKSHITAR’s Composition “Jambupate”:

Since the gavai prabandha was composed (circa 1720), for the next approx 100 years, till circa 1810 or thereabouts Yamuna must have perhaps remained so as dealt with therein. It must have been then that Dikshitar composed ‘Jambupate mam pahi”. This composition is found notated in several publications old & new and forms part of the oral tradition as well. The analysis of the notation given by Subbarama Dikshitar reveals quite clearly that Dikshitar interpreted the raga very differently in contrast to the prabandha version. It is obvious that Dikshitar proceeded to provide a makeover to the older Yamuna. The changes he brought forth can be summarized as :

  1. He gave the Ni svara a formal position in the avarohana passages.
  2. He brought in “sparing” usage of M1 via GM1R & as a fleeting podisvara/anusvara to G ( only in the madhya stayi) while M2 shows up in profusion as always. In essence from a Hindustani Music equivalence perspective, Dikshitar flipped Yamuna to be closer to Yaman & thus moving it away from Shuddha Kalyan.
  3. He moved the pivot of the raga slightly away from G towards P. One can see a lot of pancama pradhana sancaras in Jambupate, vide the caranam portion of the composition. From a purvanga centric raga, Dikshitar moved it to make it uttaranga centric.
  4. He continued to mark the gandhara with janta and kampita gamakas. He also invested Ri, Dha and Pa with the kampita gamaka.
  5. In contrast to the more Mohanam based legacy treatment, Dikshitar moved it to a more Kalyani based treatment. The prayoga PDS was deprecated and PNDs or DNDs PDPS or PDrS were brought in by him to impart a different hue to Yamuna.

Thus the end result as conceptualized by Dikshitar was a fairly gamaka laden raga, in contrast to what we think of Yamuna Kalyani today as a plainer & lighter raga.

Comparison between the Archaic Yamuna and Dikshitar’s Yamuna:

Before we proceed further with some more analysis of the Dikshitar composition a quick comparison between the older Yamuna and that of Dikshitar’s interpretation is required.

  • Arohana/Avarohana :

Archaic Yamuna : SRGPDS/SNDPGMRS

Dikshitar’s Yamuna : SRGPDNDS/SNDPMPGmRS

  • Key murccanaas:

Archaic Yamuna: GGRGP, GPDPD,PDS, SDP, SDPPGRS. M2 appears more as a podi svara with pancama and gandhara & thus gives the raga the hue of Mohanam. The raga is melodically equivalent to Bhup based version of Suddha Kalyan of Hindustani Music.

Dikshitar’s Yamuna: NsNDNDP, PDr, PNDPM, GM1RS. M2 appears distinctly and thus brings the raga closer to Yaman.

  • Melodic movement:

Archaic Yamuna: Purvanga centric with emphasis on arohana murccanas. Gandhara is the key jeeva/nyasa svara.

Dikshitar’s Yamuna: Uttaranga centric with emphasis on avarohana phrases. Gandhara and pancama become the key jeeva/nyasa svaras.

  • Gamakas:

Archaic Yamuna: Kampita on gandhara.

Dikshitar’s Yamuna : Kampita on gandhara, rishabha, pancama and dhaivatha

ARCHAIC YAMUNA & SUDDHA KALYAN OF HINDUSTANI MUSIC:

In relation to Suddha Kalyan as is dealt with in the world of Hindustani music, I invite readers to read Deepak Raja’s blog post on the different flavors of Suddha Kalyan as is handled in Hindustani Music. To put it simply the raga in northern music is SRGPDS/SNDPMGR with only M2. For our ongoing , I quote the relevant portion from his blog post to understand the nuances/flavors of  the Hindustani Suddha Kalyan.

“According to Manikbuwa Thakurdas (Raga Darshan), this raga can be performed in either of its two distinct variants — a Bhoop-biased treatment, and a Kalyan-biased treatment. In a Bhoop-biased treatment, the use of the Ni/Ma swaras in the descent should be subtle enough to be “apratyaksha” (subliminal/ implicit/ imperceptible). This is normally achieved by using the two swaras only in a meend (glissando) as grace swaras in the transition from Sa to (Ni) Dha and Pa to (Ma) Ga. When presented in the Kalyan-biased treatment, the Ni/Ma swaras can be “pratyaksha” (explicit) or “apratyaksha” (implicit), and therefore not limited to being treated as grace swaras.Subba Rao (Raga Nidhi, Vol.IV) points out a third interpretation of the raga which omits the Ma/Ni swaras altogether. In such a treatment, distinguishing the resulting music from Bhoop/Bhupali requires great skill. This version was heard occasionally until the 1960s, and is virtually extinct now.”

Needless to say here that the Bhup based version of Suddha Kalyani and the archaic Yamuna are similar and it must have been the one which was used by the anonymous Court musician when he composed the Gavai prabandha on King Vijayaranga Cokkanatha. The words that Deepak uses- “subtle or imperceptible use of Ni and Ma” would strike us when we view the notation of the prabandha as found in the SSP.

K V Ramachandran the noted critic of the last century advances the very same argument with authority, that our (archaic) Yamuna and Suddha Kalyan are one & the same:

“I agree with the conclusion of the Academy that Yamuna Kalyani employs both the Ma, but the raga is not the equivalent of Yaman as as stated by Hulugur Krishnachar. Suddha Kalyan is its Northern prototype, which omits Ma and Ni in the ascent and employs Ma1 occasionally. Ga is vadi, Dha is samvadi, meend between PaGa, PaRi, SaNiDha, PaMaGa, Mandhara sanchara is characteristic. Sa Ri Ga Pa Dha Sa – Sa Ni Dha Pa Ma Ga Ri Sa – Ri Ga Dha Pa Ma Ga Ri- Pa Ma2 Ga Ri- Ri Ga Ga Ma1 Ga Ri- Sa Ni Dha – Ri Ga Pa Dha sa Ni Dha Pa – Pa Sa Dha Pa Ma2 Ga. The Kalyani of Venkatamakhi, Ahobala, Pundarikavittala and Locana is just this – a blende of Kalyani & Mohanam. The marriage song when the bride and the bride groom play the ball, the kolattam song “Lokasakshi”, the mettu known as “Indra Sabha” ( see Footnote 2), the Tamil padam “Maruva Oru” are all in this raga. Sri K V S Iyengar remarks that the Syama Shastri’s “Birana Brova”, though now sung in Kalyani was sung in a different way by others. That different way is Yamuna Kalyani.”

K V Ramachandran’s reference is to the older or the archaic Yamuna and not to the Yamuna as redefined by Dikshitar in his “Jambupate”. The melodic contours of Dikshitar’s conception of Yamuna are much different in comparison with the 2 flavors of Suddha Kalyan that Deepak Raja mentions. To analyse a little more, Hindustani Suddha Kalyan is an avaroha pradhana raga with Sa, Ri, Ga and Pa as nyasa svaras, Ni and M2 being used “imperceptibly as a passing note, with PDPs and Prs as the chief uttaranga prayogas. Also the sancaras range from mandhara pancama till Madhya stayi panchama and Ri is the jeeva svara and the raga does not use suddha madhyama at all. On a side note, it is indeed puzzling for me why Sri KVR did not refer to the Dikshitar magnum opus in this lec-dem.

Dikshitar’s Yamuna Kalyani as found in “Jambupate” has Sa, Ga and Pa as the chief nyasa svaras, Ni and Ma figuring prominently with M1 as an alpa prayoga figuring in avarohana passages through the murccana GM1R & Ni is  vakra in aroha passages. Ga and Pa seem to be the amsa svaras with Ri being very weak. The sancaras range from mandhara Pa/Dha to tara sthayi Ga. In fact there is no tradition of singing Dikshitar’s Jambupate in madhyama sruti, while all others including the modern tuned up compositions such as  “Krishna nee begane” and “Bhavayami Gopalabalam” are all sung in madhyama sruti.

It’s indeed important to underline this aspect before we move on to Subbarama Dikshitar’s conception of Yamuna Kalyani as evidenced by him compositions namely the Jatisvaram, sancari and the ragamalika.

( To be Continued)

FOOTNOTE 1:

For those who are interested in the historical angle, Vijayaranga Cokkanatha was the grandson as well of the famous Rani (Queen) Mangammal, who valiantly threw tradition out of the window, by refusing to perform ‘sati’ upon the death of her husband. She instead chose to ascend the throne upon the death of her husband to bring up the minor son (Rangakrishna Muthuveera)  , who also died suddenly leaving behind his pregnant wife. Mangammal bore these losses with great fortitude and continued to reign as the sovereign regeant for her grandson Vijayaranga Cokkanatha. Sadly she couldnt prevent her daughter-in law ( wife of Rangakrishna Muthuveera & mother of the new born Vijayaranga Cokkanatha ( the patron king eulogized in this gavai prabandha) from performing Sati after she gave birth to her son. And Mangammal went on to make history, probably on the model of the legendary Rani of Jhansi. The end of the reign of Mangammal circa 1703-04, is shrouded in mystery as she reportedly became a victim of palace intrigues. Prof R Sathianatha Iyer’s ‘History of the Nayaks of Madura” is an original account of this history and readers may well refer to the same.

FOOTNOTE 2:

I am unsure which composition Sri K V Ramachandran refers to starting with the words ‘Indrasabha’. Mahamahopadhyaya U Ve Svaminatha Iyer in his work “Urainadai Noolgal” refers to a padam of Ghanam Krishna Iyer on his patron, the Tanjore King Amarasimha of Madhyarjunam ( Tiruvidaimarudur), which starts with the words “indra sabhai mAdiyil’. Probably the reference may be to this composition.