Tuesday, November 25, 2008



Varnam is one variety of Musical pieces in Carnatic Music and is technically rich. It is considered as a Abyasa Gana variety as well as Sabha Gana variety. It is interesting to observe its structure, its place of rendering in katcheries, its rendering style by various artists, for the purpose of appreciation.
One can acquire good knowledge on Raga, Tala by learning many Varnams since it contains beautiful Sancharies, Visesha Sancharies the raga admits. And also it is good for voice culture. By practicing Varnams one can get good control on Tala as it is practiced in different degree of speed. The students are taught the Swaras for the entire Varnam first in different degrees of speed with proper handling of Swaras to reflet Ragabhava and after wards the Sahitha portion is taught at appropriate places.
The style of playing Sahithya in Musical Instruments has got its own respective methods.
The structure of Varanas is, Pallavi, Anupallavi, Mukthayi Swaras, Charanam, Many Chittai Swara passages.
Pallavi Anupallavi and Charanam will have Sahithyas with plenty of vowel extensions . Mukthayi Swaras and Chitta Swaras will have no Sahithyam These type of Varnas are called Thana Varna.

The Padha Varna , which is an other variety Varnas, will have Sahithya for the entire length of the piece. These Sahithyas will have less amount of vowel extension and these Varnas are rendered for Dance performance. These are sung in slow tempo and Jatis are introduced at appropriate places.

There are no Sangathis in the lines of Varnam.

Normally, Swarakalpana is not rendered for the Varnam. Of Course , there are exemptions.


There are several ways in which the Varnams are rendered.

The Pallavi, Anupallav and Mukthayi Swaras are rendered in Chowka Kalam or in slow tempo.
The Charanam and Mukthayiswaras are rendered in Madyama Kalam or medium tempo.

Method 2
Pallavi, Anupallavi, Mukthayi Swaram, Charanam, and Chitta Swaram are rendered in normal or quick tempo.

Method 3
Pallavi , Anupallavi and Mukthayi Swaras are rendered in I degreeof Speed followed by II Degree of Speed. And, Charanam and Mukthayiswaras are also rendered in I Degree of speed followed by II degree of Speed.

The artist may also choose some other form as well, for rendering the Varnam

In case on Musical Instruments rendering, the Sahitya portion of Varnam will be played as “ Sahithya Style” unique to the individual instruments.
Whereas, all the Music Students whether Vocal or Instruments , will learn both Swara and Sahithya portions of the Varnam.

The Varnam are composed in many languages and normally in Adi Thalam, Ata Thalam , Jumpai Thalam.

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