Music … MDR …

Long time since I put out some music for my faithful readers out there! So here goes … . The other day I was listening to a beautiful kori sevimpa raare in kharaharapriya by M D Ramanathan. I was idly listening when the mridangist went to a different plane for about 15 seconds, just as the pallavi ended and the anupallavi was about to begin. And then I noticed that the rendition was full of small delights. The niraval and swarams were extremely playful! Giants like Shri Tiruchi Sankaran have said that it is a great challenge to play to MDR’s slow tempo, and I think both the violinist and the mridangist did an admirable job here.

As with everything else, this too reminded me of Madurai Mani Iyer’s playfulness, and I next found an inta saukhyamani ne in my collection that I hadn’t heard very often. Half an hour of complete joy! T N Krishnan’s alapana was sweetness personified. There are even ragamalika swarams at the end!

Listen and enjoy!

Some of you would rather I provided download links. Here they are:

More music and other things!

How much can I torture my dear readers? Well, seeing as there are four and a half of them, I will not be increasing the overall pain in the world by much! Today’s post is intended to serve only one purpose – to record for myself some things that I want to remember! And so, dear reader, if you’re not down with it, we’ve got two words for you! – actually three – bear with me!

First up, probably the best concert I attended this season – my sixth Vijay Siva! Marvelous it was! With R K Sriramkumar on the violin, Tiruchi Sankaran Sir on the mridangam, and B S Purushothaman on the kanjira. He seems to be at the peak of his musical form! The concert was total sowkhyam throughout, everything kept simple and pure, with no gimmickry at all! And what choice of ragas! Hard to see so many weighty ragas packed into one concert!

  1. vallabhanāyakasya – begaḍa.
  2. saṅgītaśāstrajñānamu – mukhāri. Nice niraval, swaram.
  3. ambikāyām abhayāmbikāyām – kedāram. Short alapana, and niraval in the kriti.
  4. mīnalocana brova – dhanyāśi. I thought this was the best piece of the concert. Beautiful alapana, but the hightlight was the niraval, swaram in kāmapālinī.
  5. jānakīpate – kharaharapriya. Imagine singing kharaharapriya for a filler between two main pieces!
  6. śrisubrahmaṇyāya namaste – kāmbhoji. Majestic! The main piece, with an ālāpanā that is still fresh in memory, elaorate niraval and swarams.
  7. tani āvartanam – tisra ekam. I don’t know enough to say anything knowledgeable about Tiruchi Sankaran Sir’s playing except that it was scintillating, with B S Purushothaman ably matching him.
  8. rāgam tānam pallavi – ṣaṇmukhapriya – tisra tripuṭa (2). Not much time could be spent on the ālāpanā, but the pallavi had all the standard elements, singing in four tempos, etc.
  9. ini enna pechu – sahānā
  10. viruttam – yamunākalyāṇi, maṇiraṅgu, jañjūṭi
  11. tiruppugazh – jañjūṭi
  12. harivāsarada – sindhubhairavi
  13. maṅgalam

The other thing I want to record is something I fought hard to figure out more than once, and promptly forgot every time! After the latest episode (three or four days back) I decided to record it somewhere. (And a nice place I have chosen! Let me see if I find this the next time I am stuck on the same problem!) It has to do with a Lemma in Kenneth Kunen’s Set Theory that is dismissed with a one line proof! The claim has to do with relativizations. (The relativization of a formula \varphi with respect to another formula M(x) is got by replacing all quantifiers \forall{x}\alpha in \varphi by \forall{x}(M(x) \supset \alpha) and by replacing all quantifiers \exists{x}\alpha in \varphi by \exists{x}(M(x) \wedge \alpha). )

The claim is that if M(x) is a formula with one free variable, and \varphi_1, \ldots, \varphi_n, \psi are sentences such that \varphi_1, \ldots, \varphi_n \vdash \psi (this notation stands for: there is a derivation (using the axioms and rules for first-order logic) of \psi from the \varphi_i as assumptions), then \exists{x}M(x), \varphi^M_1, \ldots, \varphi^M_n \vdash \psi^M (here \varphi^M_1 etc. means the relativization of the formulas with respect to M(x)).

I was trying to transform a derivation of the former to a derivation of the latter. It didn’t work! Then I realised that one has to work with derivations that consist only of sentences. Whenever the assumptions and conclusion are sentences, one can manage things so that only sentences are used in the derivation, no matter what sound and complete axiom system for first order logic one uses. Then it’s a routine matter to check that the relativization of each axiom holds and that the relativized versions of the rules are admissible. But … even after many attempts I couldn’t pin down exactly where the extra assumption \exists{x}M(x) was being used in the second derivation. Finally I did find it, and that is what I want to record here!

The troublesome axiom is this: \forall{x}\alpha(x) \supset \alpha[x:=y]. But since our original proof consists only of sentences, the axiom that actually gets used is a generalization, \forall{y}(\forall{x}\alpha(x) \supset \alpha[x:=y]). Now the relativized version of this is \forall{y}(M(y) \supset ((\forall{x}(M(x) \supset \alpha(x)) \supset \alpha[x:=y])). One can check easily that this is a validity, and hence provable (or construct a derivation directly!).

So where is the extra non-emptiness assumption \exists{x}M(x) used? Precisely in proving the relativization of the above axiom, once we realize our error! The point is that x might not occur free in \alpha, and so \alpha[x:=y] might just be \alpha. In this case, our original derivation might have just used the axiom \forall{x}\alpha \supset \alpha. The relativized version is \forall{x}(M(x)  \supset \alpha) \supset \alpha. And this is not necessarily provable, unless we also assume “nonemptiness” of M! The antecedent says that for every x, either \neg{}M(x) holds or \alpha holds. Now if it is the case that for every x, \neg{}M(x) holds, then it is not necessary for \alpha to hold. Precisely this is ruled out by the assumption \exists{x}M(x).

Now I can go back to doing some actual work, after having disposed of this irritating gap in my understanding!

Update In my focus on the Kunen lemma, I forgot to mention another highlight of the concert. Padma and her father were there for this, too! And it was great company!

The music season!

After five Vijay Siva concerts, I went to listen to Prof. T N Krishnan and Viji Krishnan at Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium. To my surprise I was able to recognise all the songs they played! (I almost always attend vocal concerts, so had forgotten that this is an additional challenge!) I was trying to impress Padma (who had also come for the concert, along with her father) by (mis)identifying the ragas almost instantly. But she didn’t look too impressed! :(

But what to do with all the things I noted down about the concert? No way I shall let it go waste! Here it is for your edification, my dear readers!

Gajananayutam – Vegavahini – Adi
Nannu palimpa – Mohanam – Adi
Azhimazhaik kanna – Varali – Adi
Arivar yaar unnai – Mukhari – Mishracapu
Tolijanma – Bilahari – Khandacapu
RTP – Shanmukhapriya – Adi (the pallavi was “Sharavanabhava guruguha shanmukha”, rendered perhaps a thousand times by the evergreen Madurai Mani Iyer, perhaps five hundred of those accompanied by TNK himself! I am listening to one such rendition right now, as I am writing this post!)
Ramajogi – Khamas – Adi
Vangak kadal kadaindha – Surati – Rupakam (two Tiruppavais in one concert! The first one followed a Varali alapana, and featured niraval swarams!)
Something or the other – Sindhubhairavi

I liked the concert very much, though I felt let down by the mridangam of the veteran, Shri Guruvayur Dorai! Somehow it felt like the valanthalai (the right hand or treble side) didn’t “speak” at all! It must be me who has to learn more to appreciate him, I guess!

Now what was the use of writing all this, I am wondering… . Oh well, I can’t hope to reach the heights of my previous post with every piece of my writing, can I? So there you are!

Update: Ah yes! I forgot to say that I was completely stumped by the Varali piece till Padma said “Tiruppavai maadhiri irukke!” Of course it was Azhi mazhaik kanna!

Another significant event worth reporting! After reading about it so many times, this time I wanted to find it! So I took a detour into Karpagambal Nagar on the way back home from Pethachi Auditorium, and looked carefully at each house. And sure enough, there it was, near the door of house number 9 (but not near the gate, so you can’t see it unless you’re looking for it!), the magical words on the nameplate: “Ganakaladhara Madurai Mani Iyer”! Yes, there lived one of the greatest musicians of all time, and I have seen the place! (And what a beautiful cascade of swaras in his rendition of Koluvaiyunnade in Bhairavi, which is playing as I am writing this update!)


Submitted a paper just now after an all-nighter! What better way to celebrate than a post? (Celebrate the work always, never the result! Also, I’ve decided long back that I cannot wait for a positive result to start celebrating. Might never get the chance…)

More music, what else? But this time I also submit for your approval a grand original kadi towards the end.

This piece is a tani avartanam on the mridangam by Shri Tiruchi Sankaran and on the ghatam by Shri T V Vasan. TS is really the current incarnation of Nandi; the reigning king! Enough said.

Apparently, Madurai Mani Iyer would keep saying, returning home after a concert along with the greatest mridangist of all time, Pazhani Subramania Pillai, intoxicated with his own melody and that of Pillai’s: “Pillaival! Anda gumukki… anda gumukki…” Can the inheritor of the throne be far behind? Listen to this, let your heart leap in joy, and become speechless!

The kadi: Listening to this, I couldn’t help think that Shri Tiruchi Sankaran is really non-wellfounded here. (Every kadi should have a stupid hint, so here’s it: axiom of regularity!)

Enjoy life! I shall be back with more.


More music, hot on the heels of the previous post! Listen to this absolutely divine sukhi evvaro in kānaḍa. By my all-time favourite Madurai Mani Iyer. (N, having declared that you like kānaḍa, you’d better listen to this, okay? No excuses!) Violin is by Kumbakonam Rajamanikkam Pillai, and mridangam is by Ramanathapuram C S Murugabhupathy. It was buried somewhere in my iTunes library for a long time now, and has suddenly risen to the top of the charts.

What should strike the listener is the sheer joyousness of the music. I am in love with every bit here, but he made swara-singing his own. Volley after volley of swaras, making you feel that you are floating in an ocean of bliss, gently rocked by the waves! His inimitable ni pa ma ni pa ma ni pa ga ga, and most of the avartams ending ma pa ga ga. No wonder I go gaga over it! What is most striking happens at the end. When KRP plays the final avartam of swaras, MMI repeats after him! It is almost as if the violinist taunts him with ni . sa ri ri pa . played four times, and the vocalist joins him! Then ma pa ni ma pa ga .! After that you can hear Mani Iyer hum the notes to himself as Rajamanikkam Pillai’s play reaches a crescendo and ends brilliantly! What follows is even more touching: you can hear MMI laugh. More an outpouring of the joy that he cannot contain than a laugh! Hear it (somewhere in the last ten seconds of the piece) and you will know what I mean. And then goes on to say about Rajamanikkam Pillai: “Suru suru surunnu varaar!” inviting happy laughter from the audience, whatever that means! (I get the sense of what he is saying, but cannot explain it!)

I first heard this more than a year back, and thought this piece was beautiful. But I was listening to a lot of other things then, and failed to make a note of which song it was that has the “surusurusuru”. Then when I went to the MMI remembrance day last year, I walked in as someone was saying: “Surusurunnu varaar nu solraar paathela! Kumbakonam Rajamanikkam Pillayap pathi!” Now it’s rare to find a recording of Rajamanikkam Pillai, so I was keen to identify which piece it was, and tag it accordingly. From that time, I had been searching my MMI collection to see which piece has the “surusuru” at the end. Tried out all the RTPs that I have, but somehow missed this. Independently, I found a long list of MMI concerts with details about accompanists, dates, etc. somewhere online, and determined that at least two of my MMI albums had Rajamanikkam Pillai accompanying him. Just recently did it occur to me to listen to this album completely, and my joy knew no bounds to discover what I thought was a lost gem!

Please have a go at the music, and tell me if you felt as happy as I did! I was listening to sukhi evvaro again as I was writing this, and MMI has just now moved on to an RTP in śaṅkarābharaṇam. Yet another delightful piece with a beautiful pallavi (mandahāsavadana hare kṛṣṇa) and awesome renditions of sāraṅga, mohanam, begaḍa and sindhubhairavi in the swaras. I shall upload that later. Happy listening for now!

Adhikara nandi

Festival time again! The annual brahmotsavam at the Kapālīśvara temple starts in a week or so. The temple wears a festive look already. The rathotsavam and the arubathumūvar are the highlights, but the whole show goes on for almost a month. Just the other day I could see the fireworks display (a clear view from my kitchen window).

Two unmissables during the event are vṛṣabhavāhanam (at 12 in the night) and adhikāranandi (at 5 in the morning). (Don’t remember when exactly … have to check out.) I have seen the first once, but have been too lazy to wake up early and be there for the adhikāranandi. This time I have resolved that I should see it, and the immortal kāṇak kaṇ koḍi vEṇḍum of Papanasam Sivan has been ringing in my ears for the past few days. Such beautiful lyrics! Truly a marvellous piece, both in its saṅgīta and sāhitya aspects. A novice like me cannot comment on the music, but here are the lyrics, and here is a superlative rendering by Madurai Mani Iyer, accompanied by Lalgudi G Jayaraman, Palghat Mani Iyer, and Umayalpuram Kodandarama Iyer (from a concert in Bombay in 1958). Hope you will listen and enjoy!

Update (April 2, 2009): Actually got to see it. Awesome!!