Ragam Tanam Pallavi: Their Evolution, Structure and Exposition (With Notation)
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Ragam Tanam Pallavi: Their Evolution, Structure and Exposition (With Notation)

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Item Code: NAL835
Author: Dr. M.B. Vedavalli
Publisher: The Karnatic Music Book Centre, Chennai
Language: English
Edition: 2014
Pages: 200
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 8.5 inch X 5.4 inch
Weight 240 gm
About the Book

This book deals with the origin and development of the exposition of all the aspects of Manodharma Sangita ViZ., Ragalapana, Tana and Pallavi exposition. Their evolution has been traced from the pre-historic period upto the present day. Besides, the book gives in detail the structure of the theme of the pallavi, their special features, varieties etc.

There is a vast change in the procedure followed at present due to the limitation of time factor of concerts wherein all the above aspects are presented in an epitomised from. Moreover at present the presentation of Korvai has become an indispensable aspect of Kalpana Svaras. Therefore the method of weaving patterns for Korvai has been added in this edition.


About the Author

Dr. M. B. Vedavalli took her M.A. degree in Music, from Madras University, in the year 1962. She was awarded Doctoral degree for her thesis on “Mysore as seat of Music” in the years 1983 and D. Litt. Degree in the year 2004 for her thesis on Ragam-Tanam-Pallavi.

She has handled both Theory of Music and Practical classes for both under – graduate and post – graduate course for about 33 years in various institutions imparting music education.

She was a Lecture in Music in Stella Maris College, Madras, for 7 years, Head of the Department of Music in Seethalakshmi Ramaswami College, Trichy, for 6 years and in the Music Department of Madras University, for 20 years and retired as professor and Head in the year 1995.

Her training under pallavi exponents and her vast experience as Lecturer colleges and university has enabled her to write an elaborate work dealing with the evolution, structure and procedure followed in singing Ragam, Tanam and Pallavi for which she was awarded D. Litt. Degree.

She has authored several books on music and his presented research papers and Lecture demonstrations in many seminars organized by the universities and sabhas.

Dr. Vedavalli is the recipient of several honours. The Karnataka Ganakala Parishat, Bangalore honoured her in 2006. She was honoured with the title Sangita Sastra Ratna by Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha, Chennai, in 2010. She received the Musicologist award from the Music Academy, Chennai for the years 2011-2012 and Jnana Samudra Award from the organisation Samudra for the year 2012.



The exposition of Pallavi which includes in it Ragam, Tanam Niraval and Kalpana svara covering all the divisions of Manodharma Sangita may be said to be a precious gem among all the forms presented in a music concert.

It is in this aspect of music that the knowledge, skill and creative ability of a musician finds full expression. There are many instances wherein the musician finds have exhibited their skill in pallavi exposition and thereby earned an eminent position in the world of music.

In the past as the concerts were held for a longer duration, the time at the disposal of musicians was unlimited. Therefore they could elaborate a particular pallavi in great length and exhibit their knowledge and skill in the art in a leisurely manner.

But at present the duration of the concerts has been reduced very much and so the time allotted for the exposition of pallavi is also less. Therefore stages of pallavi exposition have been deleted by the musicians of the present day. Inspite of this, the musicians try to bring out all the important aspects of music with in the limited time.

In this book an attempt has been made to trace the origin and development of these concepts, the procedure adopted in their exposition during the different periods in the history of Indian Music and the structure of all the above three aspects.

Thought the origin of all the three concepts may be traced to the ancient period, only Ragalapana seems to have had a continuous development. The earliest work to describe the alapana paddhati somewhat similar to that o f modern period is Sangita Sudha of Raghunatha Nayaka. The same has been described in almost similar way by the later musicologists. Tana and pallavi exposition developed only during the post Sangita Sudha Period. Therefore Sangita Sudha has been taken as the basis and the development of the three concepts has studied.

With regard to the development of Ragalapana, though almost all the works written after Sangita Sudha upto the first half of 20th century have described the procedure almost in a similar manner, there is a vast change in the procedure followed in the second half of 20th century.

Regarding the previous study made on the Ragalapana Paddhati, Sangita Kalanidhi Dr. T. Viswanathan in his doctoral thesis on “Raga Alapana in South Indian Music “ submitted in 1975 and published in 1988, has traced the origin of alapana from pre-historic time to that of modern period. In this book, he has given the definition of Ragalapana as found in both Sanskrit and Tamil works and has also made a detailed analysis of the different styles of the performance taking 6 major ragas Bhairavi, Kalyani, Kambhoji, Sankarabharan, Saveri and Todi, on the basis of the exposition of the above ragas made by exponents of South Indian Music. But the procedure followed in its exposition has not been dealt with.

Therefore this study has been undertaken by the author. For this purpose live concerts of the eminent musicians and cassettes containing the exposition of Ragalapana by them, have been taken as the basis.

Regarding the exposition of Tana there is a Doctoral thesis of Smt. E.S. Saraswati entitled “A study on Thayas and Chittatanas” wherein she has made a comparative study on the structure of these forms and has given a brief account of the procedure followed in its exposition.

Now in this book a more detailed study of the procedure followed at present, has been made by the author on the basis of the exposition of Tana made by the exponents of the present day.

With regard to pallavis, some of the books like Pallavi Svara Kalpavalli of Tiruvottiyur Tyagayyar, Pallavi Ratnamala, Ragalapana Paddhati Tana Mattu Pallavi and other books have illustrated in notation pallavis and also some of the stages in its exposition. But P.Sambamoorthy is the earliest author to describe the structure of pallavi and also to mention the different stages of its exposition.

But at present many of the stages mentioned by him are not followed. Therefore based on the performance of the present day musicians, the procedure followed at present has been presented.

Besides making a study on the procedure followed at present and the structure of these concepts on the basis of exposition of all the above aspects of music, the origin and development of these concepts were also studied by consulting books written in different languages viz. Sanskrit, Kannada, Telugu and Tamil.

The materials thus collected have been organized under the following chapters.

The first chapter is an introduction, describing the salient features of the different aspects of Manodharma Sangita.

The second chapter deals with the development of Ragalapana paddhati. It has been presented under the sub-divisions.

1. Ragalapana paddhati during the Pre-Sangita Sudha Period.
2. Ragalapana paddhati during the Period of Sangita Sudha.
3. Ragalapana paddhati during the Post-Sangita Sudha Period.
( upto the first half of the 20th century.)

The third chapter describes the development of Tana exposition under the sub divisions:

1. Pre-Sangita Sudha period
2. Post-Sangita Sudha period
( upto the first half of the 20th century.)

The fourth chapter presents the development of pallavi exposition under the sub-divisions: 1. Pre-Sangita Sudha period
2. Post-Sangita Sudha period
3. Post-Sangita Sudha Period.
( upto the first half of the 20th century.)

The fifth chapter deals with the structure of the pallavi.

The sixth chapter presents the varieties of pallavi with illustration.

The seventh chapter gives the procedure followed at present in the exposition of Ragam, Tanam and Pallavi.

In the eighth chapter 46 pallavis which are commonly sung by present day musicians have been gives in notation. Most of them are unpublished pallavis.




  Preface iii
  Note to the Second Edition vii
  Acknowledgements viii
Chapter I Manodharma Sangita 1
Chapter II Development of Ragalapana Paddhati  
1 Pre-Sangita Sudha Period 8
2 Period of Sangita Sudha 15
3 Post-Sangita Sudha Period 24
Chapter III Development of Tana  
1 Pre-Sangita Sudha Period 42
2 Post-Sangita Sudha Period 43
Chapter IV Development of Pallavi Exposition  
1 Pre-Sangita Sudha Period 55
2 Period of Sangita Sudha 57
3 Post-Sangita Sudha Period 57
Chapter V Structure of Pallavi 84
Chapter VI Varieties of Pallavi 97
Chapter VII Procedure followed at present in the exposition of Ragalapana, Tana and Pallavi 116
Chapter VIII Notation of Pallavis which are commonly sung at Present 162
  Bibliography 174
  Index 184
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