Forms of Carnatic Music - Informative & researched article on Forms of Carnatic Music
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Forms of Carnatic Music
Forms of Carnatic Music are quite a few in number. Most of these forms of Carnatic Music originated in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
 
 Forms of Carnatic music are rather rich and varied. In compositions belonging to the realm of pure music or absolute music, the Sahitya is only a vehicle in helping one to sing and remember the music. The Sahitya is of help to both the vocalist and instrumentalist in learning the pieces and perform them from memory in concerts. It brings differences between devotional music, dance music, folk music or a classical piece. In Carnatic music, the Sahitya of many great composers like Tyagaraja, Syamasastri, Muthuswami etc. are used. Some of the prominent musical forms of Carnatic music are discussed below.

Ragamalika
Previously this form was known as Ragakadambakam. It originated in the medieval period. The composition is highly ornamental. Ragamalika has various parts like, Pallavi, Anupallavi etc. Pundit Venkatamukhi, Muthuswami Diskhitayar, Swati Tirunal have composed some famous Ragamalika in different Raagas. The Ragamalika system is found existing in Hindustani music system as well.

Kriti
The Kriti originated from the Kirtan. It`s time of origin is the latter half of the fourteenth century. Kriti has three parts, namely, Pallavi, Anupallavi and Charana. The Sahitya of Kritis is secular in character. It is believed that Kriti got perfection through the composition of musical trinity of Carnatic music. A Kriti pays a great deal of importance to Raaga Bhava. (The emotion evoked by the Raaga) and the Raaga Lakshana (the characteristic rules of the Raaga). It normally consists of very few words. In this form it provides opportunities for composer to display his creative ability. Saint Tyagaraja and Saint Purandar Das are the great composers of Kriti.

Padam
The concept of Madhura Bhakti and Nayaka-Nayika Bhava in all their aspects led to the development of the musical form of the `Padam`. In the medieval period the word `Padam` was used for devotional song. Kshetrayya of 17th century is called the father of modern Padam. It is sung in concerts of music. In the dance concerts, Bhava Sahitya is used. In Abhinaya one can find many Padas in different languages. At the end of the composition the name of the composer is mentioned. It is Bhava-centric music. That is why Padam is used with dance and drama. Padam is accompanied with Bharatanatyam dance. After the fast composition like `Swaranjali` or Varanam the audience like the slow tempo of Padam, the Abhinaya part of dance.

Javali
It is a compositional form of the 19th century. It is a lighter type of composition. One cannot find any classical Lakshanas in this form. The artist breaks the grammar of the Raaga for the beautification of tune. It has three sections namely, Palavi, Anupalavi and Charanam. In a Javali there can be many Charanam. This form is composed in popular Raaga and simple Talas.

Tillana
It is sung in music concerts. It is an important item in the concerts of dance and is sung in a fast tempo. It is a musical form of the 18th century. Virabhadrayya is one of its short forms and incorporates rhythmic syllables directly as text. In most Tillanas the first two lines of the Charanam contain lyrical text. It can be compared with Tarana of Hindustani music.

Varnam
Taana Varnam is earlier than Pada Varnam, Pachchimiriyan Adiyappiah has created this Tana Varna. Pada Varnams are used in dance. Ramaswari Swati Tiruna and Syamasastri were the earliest, to compose a Pada Varnam. It is an elaborate melody, replete with emotion. The lyrics of a Varnam are comparatively simple and many relate to devotion or to divine love. It requires great skill, technical capacity and creative insight to compose Varnams. The constituent parts of Varnam are Pallavi, Anupallivi and Charanam.

(Last Updated on : 17/11/2010)
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