An Attempt to Understand Raagas in Carnatic Music
(This blog post is written by Vidhyashankar, MBA student at
Raagas form the essence of Carnatic music and refers to melodic modes used in Indian classical music. It was around the age of 7 when my grandma taught this song “Bho Shambo Shiva Shambo Swayambho”. I had no clue about that ragam (Revathi Ragam) but if you hear this song,
it will be like shiva’s rudhra thandav. Later I observed that several Shiva songs are based out of that raga. If you want to make a film connection to it, then take your “Padayappa” DVD. Fast forward it to the place where Ramya Krishnan dances in anger in front of Lord Natraja in the rain, where every pillar looks like Rajinikanth and Soundarya. The music behind is Revathi raga. (Once again the Thandav aspect).
The most famous raga off late in Tamil cinema is Reetigowla. Probably the raga has so much charm that several romantic numbers are based on it. “Azhagana Rakshashiye- Mudhalavan”, “Theenda Theendai – Thuluvatho Elamai”, “Sudum Nilavu- Thambi",“Kangal Irandal – Subramanianapuram”.
Of my personal experiences, one of the most incredible experiences was raga Kathanakuthuhalam. I was in my eleventh standard and this was when I heard the song “Raghuvamsa Sudha” that was sung in Kathanakuthuhalam. I told my sister, whenever I hear this song, I get so much energized and pumped up (I never understood the meaning of the song). Only a few weeks back I read in Google that this raga is sung in the kings court to energize and motivate people before they go to war. Movie songs – “Namathu Nagaram Thaan” in movie “
Personally my favorite raagam has been Desh. I know favoritism is limiting but its from what I know. Desh rag songs "Thumbam Nergayil". I am not sure about any movie song in this raga but we all know "Bhaje Sargam" that use to come frequently in Doordarshan
However, several of us have no introduction to Carnatic Music or Raagas. I used to always think carnatic music was not the brightest of things (Apologies to all the Experts of Carnatic Music). However, I later realized that there has been tremendous science behind ragas. Just like any other sciences in our Indian system, it is been given in a subtle way to people who are dedicated and have the openness to accept it.
I have not had a formal training in music and neither had taken a book to read about ragas. It is just through observing the patterns and at various intervals of time I had contacts with ragas which helped me learn a drop from the ocean. I am sure formal training with dedication and involvement would help us learn the width and the depth of this science “Carnatic Music”.
To be continued....