(Continued from part 1 of this post)
Notes from the session on Muthiah Bhagavathar (as spoken by TNS):
- “In kritis, he did new things in old songs and incorporated old usages in new songs. Example: kaligiyuntE in kIravAni is by thyAgarAja swAmi. His student pattanam subramaniya iyer created “varamulOsagi brochutanI” as “P M1 G2 R2 S D1 N3 S R2 R2”. pUchi srInivAsa iyengAr created “nijamukha rAmA” as “P D1 N3 S N3 D1 P M1 M1 G2”. muthiAh bhAgavathar started and ended in panchamam – “amba vAni nannu AdarimpavE” “P P M1.P M1. G2 R2 S R2.G2 M1 M1 P”
- “(Thyagaraja) Swami’s kritis drAkshArasam …..means drAkshai (grapes) will taste sweet superficially (and will be rich in technicalities too); but if you go to look into technicalities, like for example for finding ArohanA avarOhaNa for a rAgA in which a kriti is based, we need not have a conference like this to find that out. “Paluku kaNDa” in navarasa kAnnaDa – S G2 M1 P P S, N2 D2 M1 P D2 M1 G3 R2 S. Swamigal has told us to say it not as S G2 M1 P S but as S G2 M1 P P S (extra P) to bring out the beauty of the rAgA. Muthiah Bhagavathar has similarly composed “lambOdara mahA gaNEsa varadA” – “S N2 D2 M1 G3 R2, S G2 M1 P P S”. There are lot more pearls and gems that can be got from the vast ocean of Muthiah Bhagavathar’s compositions. It is difficult for me to decide which ones to tell you about and which ones to skip, given the limited time.
- Muthiah Bhagavathar popularized many of the ragas. There is a difference between discovering a raga and popularizing it. If you give a shape or life to a raga that exists in theory/textbooks by composing songs/varnams or any other types of compositions and if it stands the test of time, then the credit goes to you. Muthiah Bhagavathar’s daugher passed away during the time he came to Mysore as a “samasthAna vidwAn”. In the sorrowful mood that he was in during that time, he went to Banaras and stayed there for some time. He moved along with a Hindustani Music Vidwan called Krishna Badji(?) during that time and got involved more in Hindustani Music for some time. Before the bifurcation of carnatic and hindustani systems of music took place sometime during the invasion of India by the Mughals, there was only one system of music. This can be understood from the architecture and sculptures in a place called “kudumayAmalai” near pudukkOttai, down south in Tamil Nadu, where a sArangi is shown to be played for thEvaram songs. In early days, many vidwans were well versed in both systems. When Muthiah Bhagavahar heard the rAgA sOhini in the Hindustani system of music, he adapted it to Carnatic music as rAgA hamsAnandi and made it easy for everyone to sing by making a simple ArOhana and avarOhana for it. He was the first person to compose a kriti in this rAga. He composed the kriti “nIdu mahima pogada nA taramA”. When he was invited by the Raja of Travancore to tune and popularize Maharaja Swati Tirunal’s compositions, he chose the rAgA hamsAnandi for the kriti “pAhi jagajjanani“.
- He also invented rAgAs. To invent rAgAs or to create something new,one should be knowledgeable enough about what all old things are there. If you term something old as new, it is only new to you 🙂 . It is not new but is already there. Our great ancestors have already formulated a very good system with an exhaustive permutations and combinations set …….. Muthiah Bhagavathar took the clue for karnaranjani from the song padavini in sAlakabhairavi. ” S R2 M1 P , M1 G2 R2″. Karnaranjani – “S R2 G2 M1 G2 P”. Instead of going like “S R2 G2 M1 P”, he added an extra G2 and held the note for sometime ….. Take the case of durgA … sudha sAvEri is “S R2 M1 P D2 S, S D2 P M1 R2 S”. durgA is “S R2 M1 P M1 D2 S, S D2 P M1 R2 M1 S”.
- He has also put very good chitta swarams for many kritis. Example is his kathanakuthUhalam kriti “giripriyam gangAdharam” by hearing which we can see how far sighted he was. He has composed chitta swarams which even today stand the test of time and appeal to us.
- We usually do vAdi samvAdi in swarams. He has done vAdi samvAdi in prayOgAs too. The raga budhamanOhari has a kriti “samayamithE nannu brOchutaku” based on it. “S R G M G P S, S P M G R S”. I had been thinking how he would have thought about this rAgA. It struck me that kuntalavarALi is “S M1 P D2 N2 D2 S, S N2 D2 P M1 S”. If you take M1 as S and sing, you get budhamanOhari. So budhamanOhari is the madhyama mUrchana of kuntalavarALi. Such has been the kind of research he has done into rAgAs.
- He has created thillAnAs in Kathak style. Take the case of the hamsAnandi thillAna created by him.
- He was a great exponent of harikatha. He used to share a lot of pearls of wisdom through his harikathas which used to last for 4-5 hours easily those days.
- He produced a lakshana grantha called “sangIta kalpadrumA” for which he was conferred with a doctorate degree. He was the first musician in India to be awarded doctorate for music.
- He had a very open mind and was very appreciative of talent too. He wanted to bring good talent to limelight.“