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Something about dance
Svarajathi and Jathisvaram by RajashreeRamakrishna 
16th-Oct-2011 06:14 pm


Svarajati and jatisvarams are musical forms that are familiar to both music and dance students. As the names of these forms suggest, they have
• swara - solfa
• jati – rhythmic syllables
• sAhityam – text

The architect of svarajati as a musical form is Melattur Veerabhadraiah who lived in the 18th century. His svarajati in the rAgam husEni is the earliest example of a svarajati. Shyama Sastri later composed svarajatis that are concert worthy.

Svarajatis are of three types:
• Those learnt in the abhyAsa gAna section – simple form without any jatis intended for students
• Those that are typical dance forms with solkaTTus, rhythmic syllables etc
• svarajatis of Shyama Sastri – performed only in music concerts and not in dance concerts

Svarajatis used in dance concerts are replete with nAyakA-nAyikA bhAvA and are suitable for performing abhinaya. There are also simple svarajatis that are taught to students after they acquire a sufficient number of gItams. A svarajati is neither as syllabic as gItam, nor does it have as many vowel extensions as in a varNam. In a svarajati, the text and the tone play an equal role. Some composers of svarajatis are Shyama Sastri, Shobanadri, Swati Tirunal, Chinni Krishna Dasa, Melattur Venkatrama Sastri, Ponniah, Vadivel, Adiyappaiah, Veena Seshanna and Mysore Sadashiva Rao


The structure of a jatisvaram is also like that of a svarajati but it does not have sAhityam and comprises of only solfa syllables. There are some jatisvarams of Tanjore Quartette that have half Avartanam of solfa syllables and half Avartanam of jatis.

The first half of svarajati is performed at a slower pace and the later half is performed at a faster pace. Svarajati has more scope for abhinayam. These are the main differences between svarajati and jatisvarams.

Svarajatis and jatisvarams are optional in music concerts but are indispensable in dance concerts.

In jatisvarams and svarajati which have pallavi, anupallavi and caraNam, the pallavi is sung first followed by the anupallavi. The pallavi is then repeated. This is followed by the caraNam. If there are many caraNams, they are sung in a sequential order and the pallavi is repeated after every caraNam.

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