When I saw the schedule of the Academy for Music Season 2010, I decided I would certainly attend two of the Lecture-Demonstrations listed there - one on neraval singing by Smt. Suguna Varadachari and the other on raga elaboration by Shri Nedanuri Krishnamurthy. I thought I would share the key points addressed in these sessions for the benefit of Raga Surabhi rasikas.
Smt. Suguna Varadachari is a well known senior vidushi and a great teacher in today's music circles. She has had the great opportunity to learn from stalwarts like Musiri Subramania Iyer and her music is rich in classicism and bhava.
She explained that neraval originated from the tamil word 'neravuvadu' meaning to make it even. In this context, it means filling in the spaces in a line with melodic phrases. Neraval singing in kritis and pallavis are different from one other. While neraval singing in kritis is more bhava oriented, the neraval singing for pallavi is more intellectual. For the kritis, the line chosen for neraval is usually rich in bhava and has a lot of scope for elaboration. Lines packed with sahithyam are not suitable because they do not offer much scope for neraval. In a kriti, while rendering neraval, one must take care not to change the eddupu (starting point of the line), the other words however can be handled as per the artiste's liberty. But in pallavi singing, the eduppu as well as the place where every word occurs must not be altered. Always the finishing note must be the one preceding the starting note of the neraval line. She demonstrated all these aspects with some nice examples. One thing that struck me the most about her demo was her utmost humility. When she demonstrated neraval singing at 'kannulara sevinchi' in the Mukhari kriti 'Enthaninne', she said these lines have been immortalized by stalwarts of yester years and she was really afraid to sing it in front of scholars like T K Govinda Rao! On the whole it was a very neat presentation and a very useful one for music students.
I will talk about the second lec-dem in the next post, till then…