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Friday, October 30, 2009

Varnams

There was constant demand from readers for varnams and since it may be useful to all the students of Carnatic music, I tried to post as many varnams as possible with the variety of artistsVarnam is a form of song in the Carnatic music repertoire. A varnam is a relatively long piece and can range from 30 minutes to up to an hour. It is usually set to Aadi or Ata tala. It is the center piece in a recital of music or dance. The lyrics are simple and consist mostly of long syllables and swara phrases of various lengths which bring out the essential features of the raga. It has two types: Taana varnam and Pada varnam.
Varnams are considered vocal exercises in a particular raga. The patterns in a varnam are considered to be characteristic patterns of a particular raga or scale. Varnams are considered the most complex of the vocal exercises in Carnatic Music. They are designed to help develop voice culture and proper control of rhythm. Indeed, varnams are often practiced in double and triple speeds and proper rhythmic control (tala) must be kept.

Type of varnams

Named for its thanam-like rhythmic qualities, tana varnams only have lyrics for the pallavi, anupallavi and charanam.[1]
With rhythmic elements like a padam, pada varnams are generally sung to accompany South Indian classical dance, including bharatanatyam.[2] Unlike the tana varnam which only has lyrics for the pallavi, anupallavi and charanam and swarams for the rest of the sections a pada varnam also have lyrics that correspond to the muktayi and chitta swaras of the varnam, so generally, pada varnams contain more lyrical content than a tana varnam.[2] The swaras in this type of varnam are suitable for intricate footwork.[2] Padajathi varnams are simply pada varnams that also contain jatis in it, making it again more suitable for South Indian classical dance.[2]

Contents of a varnam

The varnam is subdivided into several sections:
  • Pallavi: The first section of the Varnam, sung with lyrics or sahithyam.
  • Anupallavi: A sort of recapitulation, sung with lyrics or sahithyam also.
  • Mukthaayi Swaram: Sung completely with syllables—or swaras -- (like sa ri ga ma pa da ni sa). In Pada Varnas it is known as Mukthaayi Swaram-Sahithyam.
  • Charanam: Sung with lyrics
  • Chittai Swarams: Sung completely with syllables. In a Pada varnam, there are lyrics which correspond to the Charanam swaras. The swaras occur in several groups or stanzas.
Generally, a varnam is sung as follows:
  • Pallavi
  • Anupallavi
  • Muktayi Swaram
  • Pallavi (in double speed)
Repeat, then Pallavi sung in triple speed, or in original speed.
  • Charanam
  • Charanam Swara Group 1
  • Charanam
  • Charanam Swara Group 2
  • Charanam
  • Charanam Swara Group 3
  • Charanam
  • Charanam Swara Group 4
  • Charanam
There are generally 3–5 swara groups in every varnam. In a concert, the entire charanam section is sung at approximately 1.5 speed. Sometimes when repeating the Pallavi the Annupallavi and Muktayi Swarams are repeated in double or triple speed.
Varnams are generally sung in two varieties of talas, or metric systems, Adi Tala (8 beat cycle) and Ata Tala (14 beat cycle), where Ata Tala varnams are generally more complicated and advanced. In most of the Adi Tala Varnams the tala is placed in the 2 kalai version. So therefore each beat and finger count is placed twice.
Famous Varnams
Adi Tala Varnams include:
Ata Tala Varnams include:
The Arabhi ragam varnam is supposed to be the only longest piece with jantai and tattu prayogas.
The Valachi vachi varnam is a Navaragamalika composition. The "MATHE MALAYADHWAJA" is a very Unique Varnam due to the fact that the Chitte swara has two different types of sahitya arranged according to it. The first is a rhythmic poetry describing the king and has the Raja mudra and the second is a liting Solkattu swara which is very nicely embodied in expression by bharatanatyam dancers.
Please also see this LINK for many varnams in different talas. I will try to collect as many varnams possible, but the pity is most of the singers are repeating the same varnams in most of the concerts. Why don't they stop repeating the same varnams instead of trying new ones.



  1. http://www.mediafire.com/?yjyyijhjmuk Aarabhi - T.N. Seshagopalan
  2. http://www.mediafire.com/?qomun3tnzgy Aarabhi - Anadhalakshmi Sadagopan
  3. http://www.mediafire.com/?vyoozzez2m1 Amrithavarshini - Dr. Balamuralikrishna
  4. http://www.mediafire.com/?mddmooyqmmh Aabhogi - Ranjani and Gayathri
  5. http://www.mediafire.com/?zjmo2gzmkmt Aabhogi - P. Unnikrishnan
  6. http://www.mediafire.com/?dwdowmy5wez Aabhogi - Aruna Sairam
  7. http://www.mediafire.com/?omgkdtkdwdn Aabhogi - K. J. Yesudoss
  8. http://www.mediafire.com/?yjnm5zwyw2m Aarabhi - T.K. Rangachari
  9. http://www.mediafire.com/?wzyzhzinmu1 Andholika - Sudha Raghunathan
  10. http://www.mediafire.com/?nzmykaom1zn Begadaa - Maharajapuram Santhanam
  11. http://www.mediafire.com/?1nnjnkyznzn Begadaa - T. N. Seshagopalan
  12. http://www.mediafire.com/?ybdzjgyvaye Bhairavi - Maharajapuram Santhanam
  13. http://www.mediafire.com/?gozqi2o4nyn Bhairavi - Neiveli Santhanagopalan
  14. http://www.mediafire.com/?z3itdzjdnrq Bhairavi - Dr. Balamuralikrishna
  15. http://www.mediafire.com/?mydj1hywimm Bhairavi - T. N. Seshagopalan
  16. http://www.mediafire.com/?exqlzixwtmj Bhairavi - T. M. Krishna
  17. http://www.mediafire.com/?yzm4nw24mmd Bhairavi - Sanjay Subramanian
  18. http://www.mediafire.com/?wzdgm3yiyzm Bhairavi - T. K. Rangachari
  19. http://www.mediafire.com/?mnnlfduwytt Charukesi - Maharajapuram Santhanam
  20. http://www.mediafire.com/?dimdjyimtd5 Charukesi - Aruna Sairam
  21. http://www.mediafire.com/?ihzzmjnozkn Dhanyaasi - Bombay sisters *
  22. http://www.mediafire.com/?hymmmt05ynm Durbaar - Kundrakudi Balamuralikrishna
  23. http://www.mediafire.com/?o1ymjmzznnt Durbaar - Neiveli Santhanagopalan
  24. http://www.mediafire.com/?maidz0gddyd Durbaar - Nithyashree
  25. http://www.mediafire.com/?km2kyomn330 Hindolam - Sanjay Subramanian*
  26. http://www.mediafire.com/?ij4ymyz4zmm Kaambodhi - R. Ganesh
  27. http://www.mediafire.com/?o2mwyny1ong Kaanadaa - Aruna Sairam
  28. http://www.mediafire.com/?ydkognam2dm Kaanadaa - Maharajapuram Santhanam
  29. http://www.mediafire.com/?1u3uyn21mum Kaanadaa - Ariyakkudi
  30. http://www.mediafire.com/?dl2iyxzlyzy Kaanadaa - R. Ganesh
  31. http://www.mediafire.com/?immmmnmjcnd Kaanadaa - T. N. Seshagopalan
  32. http://www.mediafire.com/?zzmbjmmk12g Kaanadaa - Madurai G.S. Mani
  33. http://www.mediafire.com/?21zdmwynyd0Kaanada - Kundrakudi Balamuralikrishna
  34. http://www.mediafire.com/?zm4jnjmnzmzKalyaani - M.S. Subbalakshmi
  35. http://www.mediafire.com/?jijocojgzc2 Kalyaani - Maharajapuram Santhanam
  36. http://www.mediafire.com/?ymwdymhzyyd Kalyaani - Raajkumar Bharathi
  37. http://www.mediafire.com/?izntyyxznjm Kalyaani - Sikkil Gurucharan
  38. http://www.mediafire.com/?ymzuhmwmwdm Kalyaani - Kundrakudi Balamuralikrishna
  39. http://www.mediafire.com/?yj2mttziov5 Kalyaani - K.J. Yesudoss
  40. http://www.mediafire.com/?rhrhzeoxbhm Kalyaani - Dr. Balamuralikrishna
  41. http://www.mediafire.com/?darlhwljwg2Kalyaani - Sowmya
  42. http://www.mediafire.com/?tz3yyzt2jmw Kalyaani - Ranjani Gayathri
  43. http://www.mediafire.com/?5unqolmhiog Kalyaani - Madurai Somu 
  44. http://www.mediafire.com/?nznmnmclnyq Kalyaani - Sathura kaamini - Binny Krishnakumar***
  45. http://www.mediafire.com/?0bmzjyzyzwt Kalyaani - T. K. Rangachari
  46. http://www.mediafire.com/?m0wozdzmytb Kalyaani - T. N. seshagopalan
  47. http://www.mediafire.com/?mm1nmiyhw2m Kamaas - Sudha Raghunathan
  48. http://www.mediafire.com/?mcytlzn2zyn Kaambodhi - Raajkumar Bharathi
  49. http://www.mediafire.com/?omovnibjd4j Kaambodhi - Aruna Sairam
  50. http://www.mediafire.com/?envmjatz2tm Kedhaaragowla - Nithyasdhree
  51. http://www.mediafire.com/?yzn0zfgmmmv Maayaamaalavagowla - Aruna Sairam 
  52. http://www.mediafire.com/?az31ww2midf Maalavi - Sudha Raghunathan **
  53. http://www.mediafire.com/?3mzzmhogxzw Mohanam - Neiveli Santhana gopalan
  54. http://www.mediafire.com/?zmnmjzjv2zz Mohanam - T. N. seshagopalan
  55. http://www.mediafire.com/?vhuhyjzmxzm Mohanam - T. M. Krishna
  56. http://www.mediafire.com/?lhznwdmmwmn Naattaikurinji - T. M. Krishna
  57. http://www.mediafire.com/?iwmhuhonyfn Naattaikurinji - T. N. seshagopalan
  58. http://www.mediafire.com/?n1nndmmz4gf Naattaikurinji - Nithyashree
  59. http://www.mediafire.com/?bzzmznyetkm Nalinakanthi - S. P. Raamh
  60. http://www.mediafire.com/?nzm1jzntngm Navaraagamalika - T.N. Seshagopalan
  61. http://www.mediafire.com/?jcjunjkhzid Navaraagamalika - K. J. Yesudoss
  62. http://www.mediafire.com/?gta1limjitm Neelaambari - S. P. Raamh
  63. http://www.mediafire.com/?oihenjrtgim Panthuvaraali - T. K. Rangachari
  64. http://www.mediafire.com/?z4zmhddekmz Panthuvaraali - P. Unnikrishnan 
  65. http://www.mediafire.com/?wjw0cmhnzlh Ramapriya - Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna **
  66. http://www.mediafire.com/?tuzdjy2znmj Ranjani - Sudha Raghunathan
  67. http://www.mediafire.com/?wngzzgjyqtm Reethigowla - T. N. Seshagopalan
  68. http://www.mediafire.com/?wmriyljtnuf Reethigowla - Gayathri Venkatraghavan
  69. http://www.mediafire.com/?yhnrzjjnwmy Saaranga - Sudha Raghunathan
  70. http://www.mediafire.com/?3qzntnmzwgz Saaveri - Maharajapuram Santhanam
  71. http://www.mediafire.com/?lzwkwj01n42 Saaveri - Neiveli Santhangopalan
  72. http://www.mediafire.com/?nyyjbymzjmk Saaveri - T.M. Krishna
  73. http://www.mediafire.com/?q2tjvvahznw Saaveri - Aruna Sairam
  74. http://www.mediafire.com/?cmzznbzgzt2 Saaveri - T. K. Rangachari
  75. http://www.mediafire.com/?odnjnymoj2y Sahaana - Aruna Sairam
  76. http://www.mediafire.com/?nngtzdwjmui Sahaana - T. N. Seshagopalan
  77. http://www.mediafire.com/?0temqt2y2ug Sankarabaranam - Sikil Gurucharan
  78. http://www.mediafire.com/?zgzmnmoytmj Sankarabaranam - T. K. Rangachari
  79. http://www.mediafire.com/?2ytmmzkmzxk Sri - Abhishek Raghuram
  80. http://www.mediafire.com/?lznozudt2n0 Sri - Sanjay Subramanian
  81. http://www.mediafire.com/?nnqhmh5yn2m Sri - Ranjani Gayathri
  82. http://www.mediafire.com/?kmmn4mt21xm Sri - Hyderbad brothers
  83. http://www.mediafire.com/?tqgytmtzigg Sri - T. N. Seshagopalan
  84. http://www.mediafire.com/?jomdimy1nnn Sudhdhadhanyaasi - Aruna Sairam
  85. http://www.mediafire.com/?ijjyyemjy1y Sudhdhadhanyaasi - Maharajapuram Santhanam 
  86. http://www.mediafire.com/?onalioykvmj Sudhdha saaveri**
  87. http://www.mediafire.com/?ytez45qmjjm Surutti - T. N. Seshagopalan
  88. http://www.mediafire.com/?n1quw5ykoim Surutti - P. Unnikrishnan
  89. http://www.mediafire.com/?mzyyymjajhx Thodi - Sowmya
  90. http://www.mediafire.com/?dvb2egiwoth Thodi - Sudha Raghunathan
  91. http://www.mediafire.com/?tzql5nygdnn Thodi - M.L. Vasanthakumari
  92. http://www.mediafire.com/?uzdnznujmte Valachi - Bombay Jayashri
  93. http://www.mediafire.com/?wwmjdjzzumm Valachi - M.L. Vasanthakumari
  94. http://www.mediafire.com/?jm0qteyhozi Valachi - Sudha Raghunathan
Apart from those available here, you will find Varnams in all concerts uploaded ( perhaps may not be any thing new) and also under Carnatic music raagas.

If readers have got any varnam which is not in this list, may please give me the link to add to this list so that it can be comprehensive.

*contributed by Ms. Vijay Latha from London
** contributed by Ms.Vijay Latha from London (19.11.09)
*** contributed by Ms. Vijay Latha from London (1.12.09)

Blogger Saraswathan said...
Dear Sir, Namaskaram. It is a pleasure to enjoy carnatic music, more so, when you can appreciate its nuances. Very informative and useful post. R Saraswathan http://saraswathan.blogspot.com
November 1, 2009 6:31 PM
Delete
Anonymous Ram said...
Thanks
November 18, 2009 8:55 PM
Delete
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Woow ... awesome collection !.. kudos!
November 24, 2010 7:38 AM
Delete
Blogger

3 comments:

Saraswathan said...

Dear Sir,
Namaskaram. It is a pleasure to enjoy carnatic music, more so, when you can appreciate its nuances. Very informative and useful post.
R Saraswathan
http://saraswathan.blogspot.com

Ram said...

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Woow ... awesome collection !.. kudos!