Dec 8, 2010

Concert Format

My last post was more like an introduction to this blog. I always wanted to start off on a musical note so here is my first official post with a small clip. Ongi Ulagalandha in Arabhi Ragam, Adi Talam from the famous Tiruppavai Concert by Ariyakudi Sri Ramanuja Iyengar accompanied by Sri T.N. Krishnan on the Violin and Umayalpuram Sri K. Sivaraman on the Mrdangam.

There are many reasons for me choosing this clip. The last post by Sriranjani talks about experimenting with the concert structure and presenting new and different numbers with manodharma (improvisation). This post is a continuation of that and talks about experimenting with the concert format through an example.

The basic structure of a concert that we all predominantly follow today, as pointed out by her, consists of a Varnam, a ‘Main’, Fillers, Tukkadas and a ‘Sub Main’ (terms that I am not too fond of). This concert format was initially formulated and popularized by Sri Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar which everyone started to pursue later. The same man, who created this structure, also presented a lot of Tiruppavai-s in his concerts (since Tiruppugazh-s are mentioned) and has also presented Pallavi-s (RTP) as the main item. This is a classic example where he presents a Tiruppavai with Ragam and Svaram in a very concise manner leaving you yearning for more.

After listening to this, the first thing that strikes me is his to the point approach and the crispness in his music. There are no unwanted gaps or pauses and everything seems to flow smoothly from one to another. Ariyakudi, who proposed the ‘contemporary’ concert format, sings a concert full of Tiruppavai-s. People during his time might not have approved of him singing Ragam and Svaram for a Tiruppavai or presenting so many compositions in a concert. The concert format that is widely accepted today was a new innovation that he ventured in his times. Acceptance for something new takes time to gain. We might not have this format today if he was not open to experimentation. There is ample space for innovation and this is just one such example of experimenting with the concert structure within the boundaries of classicism. Many more to come…


  1. Thanks for sharing this clip -( I think one of his Live Tiruppavai concerts is available as a commercial recording..)
    I agree with the fact that his music was 'crisp' and he manages to bring out the whole raga bhavam in all of his short 4-5 minute aalapanai's..

    One more thing I'd like to add - I'd like to hear more forms of compositions being sung at concerts - I'd like to hear more of Javalis, for one!! :)

    Thanks, Priyanka

  2. @Priyanka: Thanks for your thoughts. And I am not aware of a commercial recording available. Will check it out. Thanks :)


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