The Myriad Hues of Carnatic Music

I was introduced to Carnatic Music at a very young age. But it was some time before I started enjoying what I was listening to and singing. Music is one of those things which touches the soul and Carnatic music holds a special place in my heart. The most amazing thing is that it brings out such varied emotions. It’s as if each ragam brings naturally along with it a certain mood. You need no lyrics to understand the emotion.


Trinity of Carnatic Music - Muthuswamy Dikshitar, Thyagaraja and Shyama Sastry


For example, Sindhubhairavi ragam always makes me melancholic, a sadness which I actually like, which is as if it’s required and gives a sense of completeness. One of my most favourite krithis in this ragam is ‘Chandrashekharaa Eesha’ by Papanasam Sivan.

Next, Abheri. ‘Nagumomu’ by Thyagaraja is unarguably the best composition in Abheri. And to hear Dr. Balamuralikrishna sing this, transforms me to some other world. The pace, the utterance, the mood he creates is just so different from what the others do.

Reetigowlai is another lovely ragam which makes me feel pure bliss. ‘Nannuvidachi’ by Thyagaraja is my favourite in this ragam. I happened to hear a beautiful rendition of this by Ganesh – Kumaresh (Violin) during Saarang 2006. ‘Janani Ninnuvina’ is another beautiful composition and I love hearing MSG playing this. His is the best rendition of this composition I have ever heard.

Khamas. ‘Brochevare’ by Thyagaraja is my favourite, which is of course, a very popular song. ‘Seethapathe’ is another song I like, especially Madurai Mani’s rendition.

Sahana. Only one word can describe Sahana – Beauty. That’s exactly what I see in Sahana. There are numerous compositions in this, but my favourite is ‘Oho Kaalame’ which Sanjay is heard singing quite often nowadays.

Well, there are a lot more ragams that I love and it continues to amaze me how each one evokes a different emotion. Did Carnatic music really result from divine inspiration? After listening to it for so long, I truly believe so. Infact, any form of music which touches the soul, I believe, comes from a power that is beyond us. Carnatic is one such genre of music which has a very structured form and which has been preserved for a long time and at the same time, adapted to changing times.

Bhakti is closely associated with Carnatic music. All the compositions of the Trinity (I would like to know if there are any exceptions) express their devotion or prayer or some form of their connection with the Gods. Even now, when the singers perform, it really shows when they sing with the real spirit with which the song was actually composed. I believe that we can reach God or that higher power through Carnatic music. I feel that whenever i listen to Carnatic, when sung with the real feeling.

Well, I started off with something and ended with something. Anyway the point is that, there is an inherent depth in Carnatic music. You don’t need to know the technicalities to enjoy it. I think everybody should atleast try listening to it sometime.

14 thoughts on “The Myriad Hues of Carnatic Music

  1. Naan indha topicla konjam weakkuppa. The ear of mine is ever willing to listen to Carnatic, but the brain inside is not nimble enough to analyze and form opinions and conclusions.
    But I must say I like instrumental Carnatic music more than vocal (except when the voice is of the late MSS).

  2. Nirmal,
    Yeah, listening to instrumental music is better than vocal for beginners. Guess you can read up on some website more about Carnatic music. It would make it all the more an enjoyable experience.

  3. Got your link via referral mon.
    went through all the post and thought this post would be my pick to start the comment šŸ™‚

    Nice snippet of description to start with. U may include Karnaranjini for the melancholic effect. Late Maduri Somu pattu konjam emotions oda erukum.

    Jannai Ninavu / MSS combo is my pick. amazing rendering my MSS amma.

    Daily carnatic cooks my day. šŸ™‚ good post. keep munching.

    P.S>> i am just a listener to carnatic forum of music.

  4. Adiya,
    Yeah Karnaranjani has the melancholic effect. I haven’t heard Madurai Somu’s songs. Can you suggest some? I have heard MSS singing Janani Ninnuvina but I like to hear MSG playing it more than that.

  5. hey nice one!! i totally agree with the bhakthi rasa in carnatic music and i feel there is no parallel to thyagaiar’s bhakthi bhavam! and how could u not mention about thodi and bhairavi!! Bhairavi jus fills u with energy!

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