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Chitraveena Ravikiran on evolution of pallavi singing
CHENNAI, September 5: The second day of Svanubhava III on August 3rd at Kalakshetra saw Chitraveena N. Ravikiran expound the evolution, creation and innovation of pallavis. Ravikiran made the post-lunch session a very interesting learning experience. He explained that the pallavis in RTP (ragam, tanam and pallavi) were more in the form of creative music. They also formed an important part in compositions. Pallavi comprised a grand part in concert circuits, he said. Only one piece was composed. The rest was creative, melodic and rhythmic music, he pointed out. Neraval had both melodic and rhythmic solfa-based kalpana swaras. This was followed by a tani avarthanam, he explained.

Pallavis, he said, could be classified as simple and sophisticated ones. Pallavis were composed in one nadai, one gati and in Chaturashram. Alar gatis were composed in tisram or kandam, he said. The take off point was known as `eduppu' of pallavi, he added. "It appears on the beat, before the beat or after the beat,'' he pointed out. It could be the prominent 5th beat in the case of adi talam, he said. In a simple pallavi, there was more scope for development.

Ravikiran led the students to actively take part in the pallavi session by quizzing them after each and every demonstration of the pallavi in various talas. His demonstration was followed by a question and answer session. A student wanted to know whether tanam singing was done with or without the tala. Ravikiran said that there was nothing wrong in playing with the talam. In Kerala, tanam was accompanied by mridangam, he added. For a rhythm without a cycle, no talam was required, he said. Someone wanted to know about the evolution of pallavis. Did they exist in the Trinity period? If so, who initiated them? Ravikiran referred to Shatkaalam Govinder, Shyama Sastri, Pallavi Gopala Iyer and others, who had all made a mark much before the last century. Ravikiran explained that there was no documentation as to the origin of the pallavis. Many had done it independently and simultaneously. To another question, Ravikiran explained the pallavi singing with the example of Sarali varisai (basic lessons) to make the understanding much easier with respect to ¾ speed. Do swaras have meaning? To this interesting question, Ravikiran said swaras had meanings when they were composed with many swaraksharas. He demonstrated this with a composition, “Ni Daya Koriti Niraja Lochani…, with swaraksharas. To another question on "eratai nadai pallavi'', he said that the laya had to be strong. He explained this with a simple pallavi where the first half of the tala cycle was in chaturashram and the second half in tisram. Someone enquired him about tala malika pallavis. To this, Ravikiran said he was familiar with Jati malika pallavis in pancha jati, where the tala speed would change.

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