Carnatic Music Reader In Western Staff Notation (Tutor For Guitar, Piano, Keyboard, Saxophone Violin) (Three Part Varnam Series Adi Tala Varnam ? 1) (Part 2)
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Carnatic Music Reader In Western Staff Notation (Tutor For Guitar, Piano, Keyboard, Saxophone Violin) (Three Part Varnam Series Adi Tala Varnam ? 1) (Part 2)

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Item Code: IHL084
Author: V.K. Krishna Prasad
Publisher: CBH Publications
Edition: 2007
ISBN: 8185381917
Pages: 127
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 9.4 Inch X 7.3 Inch
Weight 120 gm
Back of the Book

The carnatic music reader series introduces a systematic study of carnatic music with the help of western staff notation.

The series has been designed with the beginner student in mind so that the he can learn to play the lessons on western instruments like guitar, piano keyboard, saxophone violin etc. with little effort.

This series on varnam starts with a quick course on western staff notation and proceeds with the presentation of Adi Tala and Ata Tala varanams of select composers in different ragas. All the exercise are graphically presented in western staff notation letter notation and also the conventional carnatic letter notation.


The primary motivation in writing the Carnatic Music Reader series was to put together the basic exercise Varnamas and Krithis in the Universal Western staff Notation System which is a great tool for disseminating musical information.

Indian Carnatic Music in a recognizable universal format will make our music works comprehensible by a large majority of western and Indian musicians who are familiar with staff notation system only.

Western staff notation system is easy to learn more graphical and gives a complete picture of the music score.

The first book covered the basic exercise of carnatic music for beginners. This book the second in the series covers some of the Adi Thala Varnams.

I have to thank Shri. M. Easwaran for his continued encouragement in completing this task and Smt. Proprietor CBH publication in showing interest in this project and publishing this series.

I would like to thank to my family members and all friends who had been very appreciative of this Endeavour.



Varnams are considered to be a stepping stone for students to enter the concert forms of carnatic music. After mastering the basic exercise in carnatic music the students are introduced to Varnams for gaining perfection in Ragas Swaras and Thalas. A student of carnatic music in expected to master Varnams before delving into the more complicated Krithis.

The thematic content of Varnams will be mostly devotional or in praise of nobles. The lyrics are few and simple as compared to Krithis. Varnam usually figures as the first item in a music concert.

Structure of Varnam

A varnam is subdivided into several sections as
The first section of the composition (contains Lyrics)
The Second section of the composition (contains Lyrics)
Mukthayi Swaram
(Contains only swaras) – (Pada Varnam will Contain Lyric)
The Third section of the composition (contains Lyrics)
Chittai Swaras
(Contains only swaras) – (Pada Varnam will Contain Lyric)

The order of playing a Varnam will be
Pallavi, Anupallavi, Mukthayi Swaram, Pallavi
Charanam, Chittai Swaras – Group 1
Charanam, Chittai Swaras – Group 2
Charanam, Chittai Swaras – Group 3

There are generally 3 to 5 Chittai Swaras Groups in every Varnam.

Types of Varnams

Varnams can be broadly classified into Tana Varnam and Pada Varnam. Tana Varnams are composed of just a few lines with lot of swara exercise and pada Varnams are generally composed for dance sequence.

Varnams are usually set in Adi Thala or Ata Thala. Hence we can further classify Varnams based on their Thala as Adi Thala Varnams and Ata Thala Varnams.

All the Varnams covered in this book fall into the category of Adi Thala Varnams.


Though there are many books on Varnams there is a void when it comes to catering to the need of a student who is interested in practicing these on a musical instrument. The objective of this book is to fill this void and give the student a complete graphical interface for practicing these Varnams on a musical instrument.

This book is obviously not meant for the experts. Efforts has been taken to make the book simple to comprehend and therefore complex technical terms have been avoided as much as possible.


Introduction 1
Staff Notation – A Brief Introduction 5
Ramnad Sreenivasa Iyengar
2Sami NinneShankarabharanam
Veenai Kuppaiyer
3Evvari BodhanaAbhogi
Patnam Subramania Iyer
Ramnad Sreenivasa Iyengar
5Intha ChalamuBegada
Veenai Kuppaiyer
6Tharuni NinnuKamboji
Violin Ponnuswamy
7Sarasuda NinneSaveri
Kothavasal Venkatrama Iyer
Manabuchavadi Venkatasubbaiyer
Tiruvotriyur Thyagaiyer
10EranapaiHanuma Thodi
Patnam Subramania Iyer
11Ninne KoriVasantha
Tacchur Singarachari
12Sami NinneShree
Karur Devudu Iyer

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