Mela raga #57

Raga: Simhendramadhyama
Chakra: Dishi
Uttaranga: Go (3)
Swaras: Sa Re2 Ga2 Ma2 Pa Dha1 Ni3 Sa

This raga has a strong, haunting rasa (flavor). The jeeva swaras (literally, life-notes) of the raga are Re and Ga, and a characteristic nada (pattern) of Simhendramadhyama is to oscillate between the two before settling on Re. Two of the most famous kritis (songs) in it are Needucharanamule and Natajana. These kritis are usually attributed to the composer Thyagaraja, but there is an interesting story behind them.

During the earlier part of the 20th century and the latter part of the 19th century, it was not uncommon for a composer to pass off his songs as compositions of the Trinity (see Thyagaraja for details). This was usually done by putting the composer's mudra in them (mudra, literally, is "mark"; almost all composers of Carnatic music have a certain word or phrase that they insert near the end of their song to identify it as theirs).

It turns out that neither of these songs are by Thyagaraja but in fact by one K. V. Srinivasa Iyengar. Iyengar did make a public admission that both these songs were in fact his, but they are still commonly referred to as Thyagaraja kritis. Whatever the case is, the fact stands that both are excellent and widely known songs that capture the essence of Simhendramadhyama perfectly, and do justice to the memory of Thyagaraja; so it's all good.

This raga is suitable for singing at any time.

Back to The Melakartha ragas.

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