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Nritya Geeta Mala- An Old and Rare Book (Set of 2 Volumes)

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Item Code: NBZ066
Author: Rajee Narayan
Publisher: Rajee Narayan
Language: Tamil Text with Hindi and English Transliteration
Edition: 2001
Pages: 638
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 1.09 kg
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Shipped to 153 countries
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Book Description

While the urge to compose is keenly felt by many musicians and musicologists today, only a very few possess the requisite qualifications, specified by Sarangadeva in his "Sangita Ratnakara" - that a genuine "Vaggeya-kara" is one who happily fuses the sahitya and sangeetha in a spontaneous creation. I can personally testify to this experience having witnessed Mysore.Vasudevacharya and Sri Papanasam Sivan in the process of creation of some of their masterpieces.

The present volume "Nritya Geeta Mala", by Smt. Rajee Narayan, an accomplished musician and an able dance teacher of Bombay, amply fulfils this formula. The book, first of its kind in this genre by a woman composer, is a definitive contribution to the growing volume of dance literature in India and abroad, with this difference: that it is a practical guide, rather than a rehash of theory dished out in many books in a new format.

From the Alarippu to the Tillana, it covers compositions for a complete recital including Jatiswaram, Sabdam, Varnam and miscellaneous pieces for Abhinaya. The language of the lyrics whether Tamil, Sanskrit or Hindi, is simple, easy-flowing and elegant. The Varnam in Kalyani, Adi Tala, "Gokulabala", dealing with the leelas of Lord Krishna is an excellent example of the composer's skill in fusing the lyrics, the raga and the tala culminating in a melodic cluster of swaras. The notation and the guide lines of symbols used are clear and simple and could be easily followed by the learner.

Apart from the accustomed rakthi ragas like Kalyani, Todi, Karaharapriya, Shankarabharanam, Saveri and Mohanam, the composer has fine pieces in Nadanamakriya and Kurinji with intense melodic customs. Three Hindustani rangas, Puriya Dhanasri, Ahir Bhairav and Brindavana Sarang are employed in three compositions. The lilting Tillanas with swaras and sollukattus are couched in Hindolam, Vachaspathi and Brindavana Saranga. The talas comprise a wide variety like Adi, Rupakam, Chapu, Jampa, Misra Chapu and a Varnam in Sankarabharanam in Chatusra Mattiyam.

Having witnessed the practical exposition of some of these pieces by a talented dancer in a recital in Madras, I recommend this book without reserve to nattuvanars, dance teachers, students and dancers. I wish the author success in her dedicated endeavour.


It is with great pleasure that I write this foreward to Smt. Rajee Narayan's second volume of Nritya Geeta Mala. The first volume of her songs for dance compositions has been widely accepted, as a valuable contribution to the field of Bharata Natyam. This has naturally inspired Smt. Rajee Narayan to venture into the publishing of a second volume.

I have been particularly impressed with some of her compositions in the first volume, especially the Pada-varnam, which are suitable for dancers of all ages. One of her Sabdam (on Sri Rama) and a Varnam on Sri Krishna (in Kalyani Ragam) have been popularised by the students of our dance institute. These compositions repeatedly performed on Chennai stages have made her name known to the connoisseurs in Chennai. I believe several other teachers have since started adapting Smt. Rajee Narayan's compositions for dance.

For Bharata Natyam, there are numerous Telugu Varnam available. The need for Tamil Varnam is fulfilled by Smt. Rajee Narayan's compositions. The simplicity and economy of words in these compositions and the classical ragas in which they are set, make these a valuable repertoire of items for Bharata Natyam, after the manner of the great Tanjore brothers' compositions. In this volume, Smt. Narayan has introduced two Varnam and three Padam in Hindi. These should prove a boon to Bharata Natyam teachers, settled in Hindi-speaking areas.

Both a good musician and dance guru, Smt. Narayan shows great felicity of expression in her choice of Tamil words in her lyrics, which lend themselves to meaningful elaborations in dance compositions. A special feature of this book is that the songs are written in Tamil, Devanagari and English scripts. This should enable students all around the world to access the correct text of each song, with authentic pronunciation of each word in each different language.

I do hope Bharata Natyam dancers all over the world will come Forward to choreograph these ideal songs of a contemporary composer, as these are., bound to become a significant collection, in the course of time, enriching the idiom of Bharata Natyam.



I have regarded the author of the brochure (which I read even when it was in the form of manuscript) as one of the most versatile, painstaking and gifted musicians-cum-danseuse-cum natyacharyas. Besides all these varied gifts, Smt. Rajee Narayan - the author of Nritya Geeta Mala - has elicited my admiration for her general culture and basic humility.

What Smt. Rajee Narayan has achieved is something for which there are few parallels either in India or in any other country of the world. It is indeed a herculean task which she shouldered with cheerfulness, because of her enthusiasm for this noble cause of producing a small but extremely useful and instructive book, which will be of use both to the top-ranking danseuses and dancers as also to the up-and-coming young danseuses and dancers.

I am sure that she must have spent at least a decade of her life in conceiving, planning, composing, writing (and re-writing several times), before this unique book was produced.

Let me explain, very briefly, why I have praised Smt. Rajee Narayan so much, which may seemingly appear as being exaggerated and extravagant. The reasons why I consider no praise as being too high for her are these: (a) All the 25 songs in this book were composed by the author herself, without borrowing from some ancient book, printed or in palm leaf, like those in the Saraswathi Mahal Library in Tanjore or in any Research Publication of any other great author. Every word in these 25 songs appears to have been thought-of carefully, and composed wholly by herself. (b) Further, there is not one song in the book which cannot perfectly be utilised for Bharata Natyam of the best traditional type. (c) The Nayaki - Nayaka Bhava, the Bhakti Bhava of the Bhakta to the Supreme Being, and the Sambhoga Sringara Bhavas are all reflected in the meaning, 'significance and interpretation of the songs composed by the author (d) Is it not rare to print and publish each song containing word-to-word meaning, notation in Swaras, the rhythm with the correct time-beats, and the general meaning also, and that too not in any single language, but in Tamil, Devanagri, and English?

Why has this stupendous work been put in by the esteemed author? The answer is that it is manifestly because Dance Teachers, Dancers and Danseuses who know any one of these three languages can be considerably benefited by reading the book carefully and diligently.

Above all, the fact that all the features outlined above have been scrutinised and approved by a Vainika of the highest standing like Sangeetha Kalanidhi Vidwan Sri K.S.Narayanaswami, Principal of the Sangeetha Vidyalaya (the largest of its kind in India) of Sri Shanmukhananda Fine Arts and Sangeetha Sabha, is quite enough for me to consider writing this INTRODUCTION as both a pleasure and a privilege.



There can be music without dance; but no dance without music, is an old adage. In fact, the term Sangita itself means song, dance and instrumental music. Bharata, in his Natya Sastram, assigns a minor role to music and concentrates on drama. Songs sung by characters in plays in different situations are called Dhruvas. Sarangadeva (13th century) mentions many prabandhas and says that a dancer must perform the dance, when the dhruva portion is being sung.

The Tolkappiam and the Silappadhikaram of Tamil Nadu furnish many interesting details about the music and dance of the respective periods, but there is no mention of the musical forms employed in dance. The period of the Cholas was a bright era in the history of South Indian dance, but again, no dance compositions have survived.

It is only during Nayak rule of Thanjavur and Madurai, for two centuries from 1530 A.D., that we get some tangible information about dance compositions. Kshetrajna visited these two cities around the year 1650 and composed thousands of Telugu padams. We may presume that some of them were employed in dance. Telugu became the lingua franca of music and dance during this period.

The golden age of Carnatic music and Bharata Natyam was the Maratha period at Thanjavur (1676-1855). The present Alarippu-Tillana format came into existence during this time. The compositions of the Tanjore Quartette show that this arrangement came to be known as the Margam or the path.

The compositions of Chinnayya, Ponnayya, Sivanandam and Vadivelu have stood the test of time for nearly 170 years, but they were tediously uniform in their content, as they were invariably in praise of patrons and described lovelorn girls, pining away for their company. There was hardly any other theme. The overdose of Sringara in most of them made them undesirable for being taught to young girls. A need arose for compositions of a devotional nature, but fully answering to the requirements of classical Bharata Natyam.

In this context, the emergence of Guru Rajee Narayan as a dance teacher and a composer of dance music came as a welcome event in the Bharata Natyam field. Rajee hails from a highly cultured and. musical family. She is an extremely talented music and dance teacher, whose disciples are legion. The fact that she is also a talented composer of dance music was not known, till she published the Nritya Geeta Mala in 1985, containing 25 dance compositions with notation.

A unique feature of this publication was that the' compositions were printed in the Tamil, Devanagari and Roman scripts, a feat not achieved earlier by any other composer. Her rich imagination and long experience in the dance field are reflected in every one of the compositions printed in the book. Avoiding the beaten track, Rajee has handled rare ragas like Ranjani, Amritavarshini and Ahir Bhairay. They are sterling compositions and I have had the pleasure of watching her senior students perform these items.

Smt. Narayan is now publishing Volume II of the Nritya Geeta Mala, in the three scripts, as in the first volume. The present volume contains Jatiswaram, Sabdam, Varnams, Padams, Javali and Tillana in Tamil, Manipravalam and Hindi. I am all admiration for this indefatigable Guru, who knows how to bring out the best from talented dancers. The publication is a treasure-trove in the sphere of Bharata Natyam and I am sure dancers and their Gurus will benefit by the selfless service of Rajee Narayan.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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