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I am a singer-researcher with expertise in Karnatik Music and Early Opera. I discuss intercultural music-making contexts. My work is available at www.charulathamani.com and at www.youtube.com/isaipayanam

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Raga’s Journey — Sorrowful Subhapantuvarali

A Brief Guide to Raga Subhapantuvarali:

Isai Payanam DVD#8 - Raga Subhapantuvarali in Classical Music:

Isai Payanam DVD#8 - Raga Subhapantuvarali in Film Music:

Isai Payanam on Jaya TV - Subhapantuvarali Episode:

"Ennalu urage" - Thyagaraja kriti with Lyrics and Meaning:

Audio Clips:

Previously covered Ragas:
Charming Charukesi


  1. Hi

    Thanks for your informative Isai payanam programs.

    Would you know the ragam of an old movie song 'Mannukku maram baarama.....'

    The melody is quite haunting.


  2. ...much of kumaraswamy's usual pompous ranting truncated...

    The versatility of Ilaiyaraja had already been reflected in “Aayiram thaamarai mottukkaley” from Alaigal Oyivadhillai(1981) and some dozen songs that followed suit from the same composer in the same tune during the same decade. This is a glaring omission in this article.

    Coming to the most sorrowful part of this article is that “Unnai naan sandhithaen” song from Aayirathil Oruvan(1965), is not certainly Subhapantuvarali but based on Hindustani Lalith
    Yours faithfully,

    1. Depending on the handling of the Madhyama, and Nishada, shades of Subhapantuvarali, Bhavapriya, or Lalit will be evoked. Film music directors have no compulsion to stick to any one raga, hence these overlaps and ambiguities.

      If Mr. Kumarasawamy spends more of his time on actually listening to the songs or cultivating a sense of pitch or ear for music, he would not be over-emphatically (and pedantically) classifying some of these tunes, in many cases second-guessing the composer himself!

    i am reading this series only now, and i could not help noticing your ever-present responses. Your previous "corrections" which were themselves incorrect reminded me of Pope's famous observation:
    "A little learning is a dangerous thing;
    drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
    there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
    and drinking largely sobers us again."


  4. In the mail sent to you yesterday on the subject matter kindly correct the music composer of the soulful Subhapantuvarali devotional song “Kaalai ilam kadhiril undhan kaatchi theriyudhu” sung excellently by Sirgazhi Govindharajan as M Ranga Rao. I have mistakenly mentioned it is composed by D B Ramachandran.

    Thanking you,

    Yours faithfully,

    1. Not to worry, we are not publishing or including your lists anywhere as they are unverified and invariably contain at least a few errors.
      Please note that except for shadjam and panchamam, notes take different swara sthanas (tivra/komal, kakali/kaisiki, shuddha/antara, shuddha/chatusrati/shatsruti etc.) As you do not seem to have a trained sense of pitch you should try to cultivate one before making authoritative pronouncements on ragas. For instance, in your "comments" you seem to regularly confuse shuddha and prati madhyama notes, or are unaware of the distinction.

      Barring the vitriol, your feedback is nevertheless appreciated,


  5. Talking or writing about Radio performances is I think an exercise in futile
    because the musician simply forget the day of recroding and also day
    of its boradcast. Any way for there or four days there was Veena,Venu,violin concert inFM Rainbow"Arangisai" which come on air at 4 AM in chennai(Ialways gets up to listen whenever in Chennai)and it comes at 5.30PM in the afternoon) in New York)concert
    Coming to the concert it was a pity that you had not chosen one Tamil Keerthanai except a three minute Sindu Bairavi of Mayooram Visvanatha Sasthri) To be preise it stared with a Dikshadar Gowlai, Annamya's Hindolam Thiyagaraja"s Ravichandrika and the main Varali again Thiyagaraja Madam Can you not render at least one Tamil song as a main one
    Hope You wil do it later
    with best wishes
    Jagannathan, New York