(Last Updated on : 11-10-2012)
Contributions of G. N. Balasubramaniam to Music have been immense. Though, often his music is fast pace and rich with Swara Prastharas, he has also rendered numerous compositions in strictly in the 2nd Kala and not letting speed destroy the lyrical beauty of Carnatic compositions. Most of these compositions are the ones that he popularized and revived from the Trinity's repertoire with devoted support from the percussion wizard Palghat Mani Iyer. The duo would work out exactly how a composition needs to be arranged and configured to unravel its richness before being performed. Even with an almost unprecedented musical acumen, such conformity to his concert planning for his compositions often surprised his counterparts.
A well-known example of many such arranged pieces is the Swara passages (Chittaswaram) that G. N. Balasubramaniam composed for the now popular Vara Raga Laya composition set to the challenging Chechukhamboji raga by Tyagaraja
. The Chittaswaram has acquired a synonymous status with the composition itself and many popular musicians today sing the Swara passages in the same way that is arranged by G. N. Balasubramaniam, because of its rhythmic dynamism and unusually beautiful Swara combinations of the raga.
His introduction of Shruthi Bedam, a technically challenging approach of shifting raga from one to another by taking the last note of a raga as the tonic note and starting another raga with it. Though challenged by many of his counterparts as absurd and a taboo for it was claimed that it never existed, G. N. Balasubramaniam identified literary and historical evidences to support the existence of this method in early Indian music. Today this method is almost used in the renditions of most popular Carnatic musicians. The Music Academy, after detailed discussion agreed with his approach to Sruthi Bedha, as St Tyagraja himself is said to have used it in one of his songs. The Academy, however warned that all and sundry should not try it, as it may land them in trouble.