Chitta swaram in Carnatic Music Compositions
Ashok Madhav (email@example.com)
Many composers have created beautiful compositions in Carnatic music. Adding chittaswaram to a music composition or a kriti embellishes it. Having chittaswaram for a kriti was not in vogue in early periods. Only in the past 150 years or so, adding a chittaswaram to a kriti and singing it has become popular. Maha Vaidyanatha Sivan is reported to have sung kalpana swarams extensively for a few kritis of the Trinity. One can say that chittaswaram is a probable evolution from the kalpnaswaram, as it more structured compared to kalpanaswaram.
Embellishing a composition with chittaswram adds élan showing the contours of the ragam. Compositions of Annamacharya and Purandara Dasa are outpourings of their bhakti to the incarnations of Lord Vishnu and they form continuous lyrical stanzas, without swarams in the form of chittaswaram. In the recent years, some of Annamacharya compositions have been retuned to the present day popular ragams and for a few of them chittaswaram has been added on. One example “Antaryami alasiti solasiti” has been tuned in Kuntalavarali with a nice chittaswaram by Pinakapani. Another kriti ‘Chalada Hari Nama’ in Lalitha has a small chittaswaram. Similarly, Purandara Dasa kritis are tuned and for some of them chittaswaram has been added. ‘Sharanu Benekana’ in Bilahari has an attractive chittaswaram. “Vandisuvedadiyali Gana nathana” in Nata has a nice chittaswaram too. This article gives some examples and not meant to be exhaustive.
Compositions of the Trinity do not have chittaswarams at all. However, we listen to some of their compositions with chittaswarams, which have been added on by later composers or the disciples of the Trinity. Tyagaraja compositions are bhakti oriented with lyrical beauty in them. Some of his compositions have attractive chittaswarams. Tiruvaiyaru Sivaramakrishna Iyer, a grand disciple of Tyagaraja through his father, Subbarama Bhagavatar is credited to have added chittaswarams for many Tyagaraja kritis. Tirukkodikkaval Krishnayyar is responsible for adding an attractive chittaswaram to “Nenarunchi nanu” in Malavi. So has GN.Balasubramanian embellished the kritis “Vararaga laya” in Chenchukamboji ,“Yochana kamala” in Darbar and “Raka sashi vadana” in Dakka. Walajapet Venkataramana Bhagavatar ( a disciple of Tyagaraja) beautified “Shobillu saptaswara” and “Mamava satatam” in Jaganmohini with his chittaswarams. Veena Kalahasti Venkataswami added chittaswaram to “Raga ratna malikache”. We see chittaswaram added to the following kritis of Tyagaraja. “Ninne bhajana” in Nata, “Kanna tandri napai” in Devamanohari, “Darini telusukonti” in Shudda saveri, “Nee pada Pankajamule”in Kalyani, ”Telisirama chintanato” in Purnachandrika (many versions of chittaswaram available for this kriti),”Chala kallala” in Arabhi, “Marugela ra” in Jayanthasri, “Anathudanu ganu” in Jingla ”Giriraja sutha” in Bangala, and a few other kritis.
A few of Muthuswami Dikshitar compositions have chittaswaram added on. “Sri Rama Saraswathi” in Nasamani and “Anandamrutakarshini” in Amruta varshini have elegant
“Parakela nannu” . a kriti of Shyama Sastri in Kedaragoula
well structured chittaswaram. Some of Shyama sastri ‘s
chittaswarams, which were added on by his son,Subbaraya Sastri.
gati” in Anandabhairavi is one such kriti. Shyama sastri was the
introduce swara–sahityas in his kritis. In that, the swaras
is rendered after the anupallavi and the corresponding sahitya (matu)
at the end of charana. Subbaraya Sastri himself has made compositions
built in chittaswaram.”Ninnu vina gati” in Kalyani has an
chittaswaram. One can appreciate beautiful charanas with swara-sahitya
Some of the post Trinity composers have made kritis with chittaswaram. Maha Vaidhya Natha Sivan’s kriti “Sri Shankara guruvarm” in Nagaswaravali has a lilting chittaswaram
and so has his “Pahimam Sri Rajarajeshwari” in Janaranjani. The poplular kriti, “Raghuvamsha sudha” in Kadanakutuhalam of Patnam Subramania Iyer has a captivating chittaswaram, which was added by his contemporary, Tiruvaiyaru Subramania Iyer. Patnam’s Bilahari kriti –“Paridana michite” has an attractive chittaswaram. A few compositions of Mysore Sadashiva Rao’s have nice chittaswaram. “Saketanagara natha” in Harikamboji can be cited.
Swati Tirunal Maharaja’s compositions, “Bhavayami Raghuramam” which was set originally in Saveri was changed into ragamalika in six ragams with appropriate chittaswarams by Semmangudi Srinivase Iyer and it has become more popular. His another composition “Vande Maheshwaram” in Arabhi has a nice chittaswaram.
Later composers like Ramanathapuram (Poochi) Srinivasa Iyengar have made beautiful kritis with nice built-in chittaswarams.”Saraguna palimpa” in Kedaragoula, and “Raghunatha nannu” in Swara ranjani may be mentioned. Two examples of Mysore Vasudevacharya’s compositions are ”Rara rajivalochana” in Mohanam and “Palukavade emira” in Devamanohari have attractive built in chittaswaram. Pallavi Sesha Iyer’s kriti “Enta nivina” in Urmika has been beautified with a lilting chittaswaram by TM.Tyagarajan. Mysore Maharaja, Jayachamaraja Wodeyar’s composition in Gambhiranata “Sri Jalandaram ashrayami” has a long chittaswaram, whereas his kriti in Durvanki “Gam ganapathe” has a simple chittaswaram. Mysore Karigiri Rao has composed many kritis for which he himself has provided chittaswarams.TM.Tyagarajan has embellished a beautiful chittaswaram for a kriti in Mohanam, ‘Jagadeeshwari krupai’ of Tiruvarur Ramaswami Pillai.
Harikeshanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar’s compositions “Ughraya avyaya” in Dharmavati and “Vanchatonu na” in Karna ranjani have beautiful chittaswaram. Kritis like “Tunai Purindarul” in Varamu and “Ganarasamudan” in Begada by Papanasam Sivan have been embellished with nice chittaswaram. A catchy chittaswaram is appended to the kriti of Garbhara puri Vasa “Maruvaka daya” in Mohanam. “Taye Tripurasundari” in Shudda-saveri, a kriti of Periasami Tooran has an interesting chittaswaram added by TM.Tyagarajan. GN.Balasubramanian ‘s compositions “Ninnu pogada tarama” in Kuntalavarali and “Samana rahite” in Saranga tarangini have captivating chittaswaram.
Two examples of the author’s compositions “Namamyaham Sri” in Nalinakanti and “Enta bharamu deva” in Jayanthasri have built in chitta-swarams.