Veena Gamaka

Subba Rama Dikshitar wrote the notation for Dikshitar kritis, and while doing so he had Veena in his mind and hence gave some signs for various gamakaas. All these can be played on the veena. The ‘AANTARA SRUTIS’ can be played either by gamakaas or kampana of the string. It is an art to know how much kampana, and andolan is to be executed. To play a pure cernatic Raga skill to execute this knowledge is necessary. All the gamakaas make the swaraas beautiful and aesthetic.

TIRUPAHA SPURITASCHAIVA KAMPITO LEENAMITYAPI

AANDOLITO VALISCHAATHA TRIBHINNAH KURULAAHATOU

ULLAASITAH PLAAVITASCHA HUMPITO MUDRITASTATHAA

NAAMITO MISRITASCHETI BHEEDAAHA PANCHADASA SMRUTAH || CHATURDANDI PRAKASHIKA||

Thus Venkata Makhi explained 15 gamakas. But Matanga Muni gave only 10 gamakas.

AAROHAMAVAROHAM CHA DAALU SPHURITA KAMPITHAAHAAHATA

PRATYAAHATASCHA TRIPUCCHAANDOLA MOORCHANAAH

Veena playing has attained special place and importance due to the gamakaas. (They are the life for carnatic music). Brief explanation about these gamakaas is given here.

The dasavidha gamakaas are :

1) AAROHANAM (2) AVAROHANAM (3) DAALU(4) SPHURITAM (5) KAMPITAM (6) AAHATAM (7) PRATYAA HATAM (8) TRIPUCCHHAM (9) AANDOLAM (10) MOORCHANA

The panchadasa gamakaas are :(1) TIRUPAM (2) SPHURITAM (3) KAMPITAM (4) LEENAM(5) AANDOLANAM (6) VALI (7) TRIBHINNAM (8) KURULAM(9) AAHATAM (10) ULLASITAM (11) PLAAVITAM (12) HUMPITAM (13) MUDRITAM (14) NAAMITAM (15) MISRITAM

Few more names of gamakaas are in general usage. They are :

(1) NOKKU (2) RAVVA (3) KHANDIMPU (4) EGU JAARU(5) DIGU JAARU (6) ODIGIMPU (7) ORAYIKA.

In fact these seven are part of the above 15 gamakaas only. Except KHANDIMPU all the other words are Telugu words only.

Subbanna Dikshitaar gave signs for a few of these gamakaas in his book SANGEETA SAMPRADAAYA PRADARSINI. A few are explained below.

1. TIRUPAM:This is called as ‘NOKKU’ also. When the string is pressed hard on one fret with left hand fingers the swara produced is the same with that Swara produced by pulling the string back. While pressing the note, the higher note or swara is heard. So when we press the fret we should wait on the fret for some time and then press the note, to show the difference between the two. This can be done by pulling the string back in the first note but, difference is there in both the varieties. The sign given for this gamakaa is “W”.

2. SPHURITAM :In Sampradaya Pradarsini it is said that – In Janta Arohana swaras like SS-RR- 3/4 time of the Swara should be in the earlier note and then the 2nd note should be pressed. This is called sphuritam. i.e. in SS-SNS should be heard. The sign . . is given.This is the procedure to play Janta Swaras on Veena. The main point here is the Nishaada which lies in between two Shadjaas should be heard . The avarohana for Sphuritam is Pratyaaghaatam.PRATYAAGHAATAM:When Sa is played in Janta Swaras Ri should be heard for a fraction of a second. Sa (Ri) Sa- That is for Sa Sa, Sa (RI) Sa should be sounded. Sa (Ri) Sa- Sign given to this is . ..

(3) KAMPITAM:Means shaking or vibrating. Vibrating the swara slightly without losing its original swara sound. Sign given is–

(4) LEENAM:Leenam means merging into the next note. Wait on the first note for 2 Akshara Kaalaas and then merge in to the next slowly.

(5) AANDOLITAM:Andolitam means to Swing. Strike the wire for a Swara wait for 4 aks harakaalaas giving small swing upto the next swara. There is a difference between this and kampita.- In kampita the vibration of the string is only upto one Akshara Kaala.- In Andolitam the Swing is for 4 Akshara Kaalaas- In Kampita the next Swara should not be audible. Even if it is heard the importance is to the lower note only.- In Andolitam the higher note can be played or heard while swinging or moving the string.

(6) VALI:To produce swaras in one Swarasthana by moving the string in a circular Çmanner and getting the sound of upper note. sign given is

(7) TRIBHINNAM:This creates lot of beauty in Veena. The three strings of Mandra, Panchama, Sarani are pressed at one time on different notes and plucked simultaneously. This is not possible in vocal.

(8) KURULAM:Kurulu means hair. This is of 2 varieties – (1) ODIGIMPU (2) ORAYIKA(1) ODIGIMPU: To produce 2 or 3 adjacent swaras in one swara. For example producing Gandharam in Rishabam. This can be very vividly shown on Veena. The sign given is X(II) ORAYIKA: Sliding from one higher note to the lower note in such a way that the higher notes are touched and are heard. While playing Sa, Ni, Dha, the higher note is heard in the lower notes. Sign given is V

(9) AAHATAM: This is again of 2 varieties. (1) RAVVA (2) KHANDIMPU, Aahatam means to beat. This does not come under plucking or Meetu. Striking the notes with left hand.(i) the higher note is heard in the lower note while sliding down it is RAVVA PM- While coming down from PA to MA – PPM should be sounded. The Ùsign given is (ii) KHANDIMPU: Means while sliding down from one note you leave the next note and go to the 3rd note. Eg. Ma Ri – Ma, ga, Ri; Sa, Ri – Sa ga riÖThe sign given is The difference between Rava and Khandimpu is bringing the shade of one upper note to the lower note leaving off the middle note – PA MA GA. GA should be shaded by MA, leaving the middle note MA.

(10) ULLAASITAM:JAARU gamaka is known as ullasitam. This again is of 2 varieties. (1) EKKU JAARU (upward glide) (2) DIGU JAARU (down ward glide). This is known as MEEND in Hindustani. Both are (obtained) played by starting from one note and reaching the higher or lower note by gliding over the intermediate notes. But these intermediate notes are not heard clearly.While going from Sa to Pa (arohana), Pa is heard from Sa onwards and the rishabha and gandharas are touched while gliding upward. This is EKKUJARU. Sign given is / When same method is followed in Avarohanam it is DIGUJAARU (Downward glide) Sign given \\

(11) PLAAAVITAM: Plaavitam means to float. According to Sampradaaya Pradarsini – “To swing in one note for 12 akshara kalas and then get the swara chaaya’.Sign given \

(12) HUMPITAMU:This is also called as GUMPITA. This is like JAARU (sliding) only. The sound of a siren is good example. Because the sound (HUM) should be continuously heard from the starting to the end, both in arohana and avarohana this is called as Humpitam. This is possible only in vocal.

(13) MUDRITAM:This can be practiced only by vocalists, because it can be produced only by closing your mouth and bring out the swara sound.

(14) NAAMITAM:Vibrating the swaraas by slowly decreasing the sound to the minimum level. This gives beauty to the Veena sound, it is playing a note by reducing the Naada.

(15) MISRITAM:If we mix any 2 or 3 varieties given above. It is Misritam.

– Leenam, Andolitam and Plaavitam belong to Kampita.

– Aahatam (Ravva, Khandimpu) Ptratyaahatam, Sphuritam are all varieties of Janta Swaras.

– Kurulam (ORAIMPU, ODIGIMPU) Ullaasitam (EKKU & DIGU Jaaru) can be brought out from Kampitam only. That is why it is said as – Only Kampita is the gamakam.

Tribhinnam and Namitham bring beauty to Veena playing, though these are not like other gamakas they require common sense and intelligence. Tirupam has significance. Humpitam and Mudritam do not belong to Veena, Vali can also be got from Kampitam.Thus many gamakas of the above list are based on Veena