This is the answer to the Rare Treats in Carnatic Music #12 post. The raga is rudrapriya, an old raga, and the artist is Smt. Neela Ramgopal, a senior learned musician. The alapana is part of an elaborate rendition of Sri tyAgarAjasya bhaktO bhavAmi by Muttusvami Dikshitar.

The arohana/avarohana of this raga is S R2 G2 M1 P D2 N2 S | S N2 P M1 G2 R2 S of the kharaharapriya mela where it skips dha in descent.

Some of you may have immediately thought the raga was ratipatipriya, another rare raga but whose melodic identity is very unique and somewhat unusual that it stands out. This resemblance is due to the way Smt. Neela Ramgopal sings npmgr where the “ma” is almost hidden inside the slide to ga. She sings has ni…. p (m)g r …… and this sounds like n… p g r…. and that would be common with ratipatipriya whose structure is S R2 G2 P N2 S | S N2 P G2 R2 S.

However as you can from its arohana/avarrohana, rudrapriya has dha in ascent and thus freely uses pdns, dnp , pdnp etc. which cam never be part of ratipatipriya. So, although the initial part may have immediately sent ratipatipriya bells ringing in your head, as early as round 0:17-0:18, dha features somewhat prominently and that would rule ratipatipriya. However, the “n2 P G2….” type pattern is very unusual that it could trump any other thought in some of us 🙂 ! Also, (I believe that) ratipatipriya is a newer raga and thus is a baby compared to the older rudrapriya.

It is also interesting that the above phrase does not seem to occur (or does not occur prominently) in this particular krithi‘s rendition as well as elaborate kalpanaswaras that follow:

Audio Courtesy: Sangeethapriya

What a beautiful job!!! I am intoxicated by the melodic flavor a strong flat elongated R2 rishabha in the context of the kharaharapriya mela. I like it in kharaharapriya itself, in Sriraga, in maNirangu, in huSeni and here in rudrapriya. I am a sucker for it.

Here is an report on Music Academy Raga Lakshana Discussion in 2008 by V. Sriram which involved a technical discussion on the grammar and usage of rudrapriya. Note that the above krithi Sri tyAgarAjasya does not appear in the sangIta sampradaya pradarshini of Subbarama Dikshitar, but another krithi rudrakOpa does occur and based on the notation in it, rudrapriyadoes have deep slides down to ga from ni. Thus the above phrase that may remind some of us of the newer ratipatipriya may have been a derivative of this, and thus part of rudrapriya.

The more popular amba paradEvatE
Arguably, the most popular krithi in this raga is the sprightly amba paradEvatE by Krishnaswami Ayya. It is a very upbeat song with an attractive ciTTaswara section and the late Alathur Brothers use to excel in it at near lightning speed. Here is Alathur Brothers’ kalpanaswaras for this song:

Audio Courtesy: A friend

My dad who has seen them live back when he was young used to say that their kalpanaswaras would be like firecrackers during Deepavali/Diwali. We sure can relate to that from the above!

A parting treat

And finally, here is a real treat of the amba paradEvatE song that I found on YouTube when researching info for this article.


Very impressive by the Wesleyan University students: Raphaelle Brochet, Garrett Field, Aaron Paige, and Anand Satchidanandan! We carnatic music rasikas have been exposed to their other works in the past (a beautiful Sriraga piece) and they continually amaze us! The enunciation and the adherence to sruthi is solid, and the krithi is I believe is a tough one in the tricky (atleast for me!) 5-beat khaNDa cApu. The rendition is slower paced compared to the Althur Brothers and other renditions I have heard, but nevertheless quite charming indeed.


6 Responses to “Rudrapriya”

  1. bilahari Says:

    Arun, ratipatipriya never entered my mind once! I immediately thought – kharaharapriya! But in retrospect, I can see how it might appear that way. This was a very good one.

    Arun: Interesting 🙂 – For me it was like a huge gong in my head when I first heard the piece !! Kharaharapriya for me was no way because of the first few phrases

  2. vk Says:

    Kharaharapriya for me too. At one point, there was a madhyamavathi sAyal but I guess that is because of the dha-less phrases in the descent.

  3. Arunk Says:

    I guess I was the only one to drink ratipatipriya kool-aid 🙂 – I should have considered that possibility and toned down that angle


  4. vk Says:

    Upon second listen, I see the ratipatipriya angle, on the second part of the first phrase. When I first listened to it, the first phrase did not quite trigger KHP though I was thinking this IS familiar ( mostly based on the first part of the first phrase ). Then the second phrase made me think of KHP.

    But then I figured if it is KHP, Arun would not have it a topic of his blog post. That kept me searching further but could not latch on to anything.

  5. ragam-talam Says:

    It sounded like Pushpalatika to my ears. There were also certain Kapi phrases.
    Pushpalatika: S R2 G2 M1 P N2 S / S N2 P M1 G2 R2 S
    Rudrapriya: S R2 G2 M1 N2 S / S N2 P M1 G2 R2 S
    Arun: BTW Rudrapriya’s arohana is p d n s as I indicated and dha does occur in alapana (m-n-s in arohana comes in purNaSadjam). But not sure if some time the ascent is done as p-n-s. But there are definitely similarities to pushpalatika

    Isn’t Gananayakam of Dikshitar a gold standard for this ragam?
    Arun: I dont know but as I mention only rudrakOpa appears in SSP as well as amba paradEvatE. I would think either of them would be a better reference.

    For some reason, I didn’t hear Ratipatipriya at all!
    Ratipatipriya: S R2 G2 P N2 S / S N2 P G2 R2 S
    Arun: It was mainly that one phrase descending to ri.

    And the artiste sounded like Suguna Purushottaman for me.

  6. Veen Says:

    Very similar thing happened to me too this morning when I was listening to GJR Krishnan’s “amba paradEvate”, was constantly thinking it was kharaharapriya. That’s what prompted me to clarify and guess what I stumbled upon this explanation – very nice!!

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