Raga identification made easy!

Surabhi Post Myriad Hues Of Ragas Maharani Kalyani

After our episode on the 'Samrat' of ragas (Surabhi Post - 8), the raga to be discussed next, obviously has to be the 'Maharani'!  Kalyani is the 65th melakartha raga, the prati madhyama equivalent of raga Shankarabaranam.  Kalyani is one of the most popular major ragas with a very pleasing and attractive bhava and brings in a mood of joy and happiness.  

Though ragas Shankarabaranam and Kalyani share the same swaras and differ only in the note 'Ma' in their arohanam and avarohanam, there is a world of difference in the way the swaras are handled in both these ragas. The gamakam aspects are entirely different though the notes may be the same.  Rasikas may recall the 'flat' 'Ga' in Shankarabaranam where as Kalyani has a strong oscillating 'Ga'.  Similarly Shankarabaranam has a strong gamakam based 'Ri' while Kalyani has a flat 'Ri'.  The general rule, I would like to mention here, is that, if there is a strong gamakam in a particular swara, the next swara in most cases would be flat.  I would like to recall here a Lecture-Demonstration by Sangeetha Kalanidhi Smt. R. Vedavalli on the importance of gamakam in carnatic music during the last music season.  She asked the audience to find out whether it was Kalyani or Shankarabaranam by merely singing the swaras 'Ga' and 'Ri' and explained that though the differentiating swara was 'Ma' there was no need to look for 'Ma' all the time and it is possible to identify the raga based on the gamakas incorporated in the other swaras as well. The next striking feature of Kalyani is the strongly oscillating 'Ni'.  Thus 'Ga' and 'Ni' are considered the Jeeva swaras. 'Ri' 'Ga', 'Da' and 'Ni' are nyasa swaras. Apart from the regular sancharas, the prayogas omitting 'Pa' and 'Sa' (called panchama-sadja varjam) add special beauty to this raga (Listen to the key prayogas of kalyani raga).

Some popular janya ragas from Kalyani are Mohana kalyani, Yamuna kalyani, Saranga, Hamir kalyani, Sunadha Vinodhini and Vandara Dharini.

Some famous compositions in Kalyani -

Thyagaraja's Nidhi Chala Sukhama, Sundari Nee Divya Rupamu, Ethavunara, Vasudevayani, Amma Ravamma

Dikshitar's Bhajare Re Chitha, Kamalambam Bhajare, Shiva Kameshwareem, 

Syama Sastry's Thalli Ninnu Nera, Birana Varalichi, Himadri Suthe

Swati Thirunal's Pankaja Lochana, Papanasam Sivan's Unnai Allal, Badrachala Ramadasar's Nannu Brovumani, Patnam Subramania Iyer's Nija Dasa Vara and the list goes on...

We will take up another raga in our next post, until then you can celebrate Kalyani as much as possible!

Musically yours,

A step by step initiation in to Carnatic music theory addressing raga classification, common music terminologies, various swara sthanas, raga lakshanas and more...Do take time to go through our blogs where all concepts are described with appropriate audio demonstrations. (Explanations in English)