Daughter and disciple of the eminent Musician-musicologist, the late Rangaramanuja Ayyangar, author of the magnum opus, Krtimanimalai Series, Padma Varadan’s career as a performing vina artiste spans over six decades. He debut on the concert platform was when she was barely nine years old.
A post-graduate in English, with a degree in teaching as well from the Madras University, she is an 'A' grade vina artiste on the lists of All India Radio and Doordershan. Her vina music is regularly broadcast over radio and television network.
Padma has performed concerts all across India and abroad. Subtlety, depth and clarity are the hallmarks of her music. She has conducted lecture-demonstrations on Carnatic Music, Solfa notation and Vina technique at several Sabhss and universities.
Padma is deeply committed to the vina legacy her father bequeathed to her - a music tradition espoused and transmitted to him by the renowned Vina Dhannamal and acknowledged by the cognoscenti as unique, almost esoteric in content and appeal. As the Managing Trustee of Vipanci Cultural Trust, she has been keeping alive the colossal publication work her father had single-handedly accomplished. These monumental publications run into thousands of pages in print in Tamil and English, highlighting both theory and practice of South Indian Music. The present adaptation of English Tamil Volume III of Krtimanimalai, is her tribute to her father's memory.
Yet another offering at the altar of the Muse! The Tamil version of Krtimanimalai Volume Ill, doing the rounds in many editions for several years now, evolved over the years 1952 to 1964 from fifty pieces as part of the original Part IV via two hundred and odd more in Part V to the later revised, consolidated, enlarged edition - Volume III - of four hundred select compositions. The present English adaptation is based on the last mentioned.
It was fortuitous that a dedicated band of competent exponents stepped in to stem the rot of conflicting versions that surfaced soon after the composer passed on. They sought to salvage whatever renderings survived and invested most of them with a fair amount of authenticity and refinement. The masterpieces among the compositions of Muddusvami Diksitar reveal a happy amalgam of stupendous scholarship, equally profound music methodology, spiritual maturity, enviable command over the Sanskrit language, unflinching devotion and adherence to traditional values.
Even so in the absence of fool proof written record, the possibility of even spurious stuff getting palmed off as originals with just the signature to recommend their inclusion dogged the selection during many stages of preparation. And this indeed motivated Sri Ayyangar in the first instance to embark upon his momentous publishing career mainly to preserve the great legacy for posterity, to collate and commit at least four hundred select compositions to exhaustive detailed notations in his Tamil Krtimanimalai Volume Ill. Further, the Nottu svara-s credited to Diksitar have been deliberately left out as they hardly reflect the general lofty conceptualization that is the hallmark of the great composer's other prodigious output.
Any amount of information about Diksitar's life history, lyrics, and skeletal notations for the compositions are available in print as well as on the internet. Yet, the main motive behind inclusion of the compositions in the Krtimanimalai series lies in the elaborate detailed notations for the songs on a scale not attempted earlier, distinguishing them as a class apart from every other publication. In fact, almost over eighty percent of the volumes is dedicated to exhaustive notations.
The original Tamil version was privileged to carry articles by erudite scholars and savants such as Yogi Sudhananda Bharatiyar, Embar Vijayaraghavachariar and Kalki Sri Krsnamurti. The terse quality of the Tamil prose they employed is hard to capture in translation. Even so, some attempt has been made to at least make the sentiments underlying some of these literary gems available to the readers of this English adaptation.
A few new features have been included in the English editions of Krtimanimalai in general as value additions :
1. By way of aiding correct pronunciation of the Tamil, Telugu and Sanskrit syllables and words, the standard diacritical markings for Indian phonetics is used throughout this publication including the Sahitya line in the notations.
2. Single character referencing of the svara variants is used with the help of caps, small letters and italics within the body of the notations to avoid back and forth reference to the Mela svara-s.
3. Special symbols for a few important gamaka-s pertinent within the cluster of Svara-s of a musical phrase have been introduced to make for better finesse in execution.
Detailed presentation of these concepts (in Chapters 3 and 9) with special elucidation tables aid in the use of all the above features.
My sincere thanks are due to Sri N. Ramanathan, Retd. Head of the Department of Music, Madras University whose article virtually vindicates the very origins of Krtimanimalai decades ago though. Sri Ramanathan has highlighted in his article some of the anomalies inherent in oral transmission of traditions.
Last but not least is the valuable, across the board software that my son-in law, Sri Venugopal Chari, developed without much conscious exposure to the music system, for effective use of data furnished to him, vis-a-vis notation specific svara variants, diacritical markings for the lyrics, tala /tempo representation and gamaka symbols.
It is hoped that votaries of serious music will find the volume worth their while.
In the service of the Muse,
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