Monday, November 29, 2010

Classical Carnatic Music

Classical Carnatic Music has a very rich heritage and cultural background and its existence can be traced down to centuries now. It is a system of music mostly associated with the southern states of India; Karnataka, Andra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Unlike Hindustani music, Carnatic music mainly focuses on the "Sahithya" aspect that is, the meaning and the words used to convey that meaning in a "Kriti." A kriti is a format in which a musical composition is made. A kriti can be split into three parts Pallavi, Anupallavi and Charanam.
                          Pallavi (equivalent to refrain in western music) is the thematic line of the song, that is, it is the first few main lines of the song. It is generally four short lines, but is repeated twice in order for the percussionists(people who support that vocalist with instruments) to get an idea of the "taalam" (rhythmic patter in which a composition is set, meter in western music) that is chosen and also for the audience to familiarize themselves with the song that's being sung. Anupallavi comes after the Pallavi and is usually the second section of any composition. It is optional and is followed by two or more Charanams.Charanam which means foot is the last part of a composition and is sung after the anupallavi.There may be multiple charanams to a composition which make up different stanzas, but in compositions that do not have an anupallavi, there exists a Samsthi Charanam which combines both the anupallavi and charanam of the composition which follows the pallavi. Some kritis also contain what is called the Mukthayi Swaram or Chitte Swaram which is a  combination of Swaram (the basic elements of music as a whole, Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Da, Ni) placed after an anupallavi to enhance the beauty of the composition. This blending of different swaram is done by placing swaram that give a nice sound next to one another and sounds good when heard.     


  1. Hey its good that somebody is there to keep music alive through blog.. Hoping to see more articles on music....

  2. Hi Seema,

    Gr8 article.

    I too love carnatic and hindustani music.

    Beautifully analysed and explained!

    Expectin' more from you! :)

  3. Great article seema... very informative! A handful of such people who are connoisseur's of carnatic music ought to strive to get this tradition going. Amazing work girl :)

  4. very informative blog.... and a very unique theme!!