|Galaxy of Composers|
|MAHA VAIDYANATHA IYER (1844 - 1893)|
|Musical Background: He had his initial training under Anai - Ayya brothers and later continued under Manambuchavadi Venkatasubbayyar, one of Tyagaraja's disciples. His brother, Ramaswami Sivan, was also a great singer and composer and together they composed several masterpieces.
Region: He was born in Vaiyacheri, near Tanjavur, Tamilnadu.
Contribution: He was given the title of 'Maha' (great) at the tender age of 12. When he was 7, he was able to improvise on a Pallavi, besides singing raga-alapana. At the age of 10, he started singing concerts with his brother. His forte was long, detailed raga-alapanas even in rare ragas. He was a brilliant composer with several varnams, kritis and tillanas to his credit. His tillana in raga Kanada is the only one in the Simhanandana tala (the longest of the 108 talas). His masterpiece is the 72-mela ragamalika.
Themes: Mainly devotional. However, in the 72-mela ragamalika, he talks of the raga lakshanas of the melakartas.
Languages used: Telugu and Tamil.
Signature: His mudra was Guhadasa.
Popular Compositions: Pahimam Srirajarajeswari (Janaranjani), Neekela dayaradu (Sarasangi), Sri Sankara (Nagaswaravali) and so on.
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