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Three parts of an alapana

10:41 PM Posted by Vijayasri

In an alapana , the phrases of the chosen raga are sung in various ways according to the lakshana (grammar) of that raga. There is no beat or tala associated with the alapana but it is rendered in differing speeds. Alapana is sung as a prelude to a krithi.

During the alapana, syllables such as tadarinana, tadarinanam, tadana, tanna are commonly used. The vowel sound of ‘ah’ is used extensively allowing ample scope for resonance. The length and depth of the raga alapana depends upon the creative ability of the performer. Great masters could render a raga alapana for hours at a stretch – concentrating on a small section of the raga, then elaborating on the various graces of the chosen notes before moving on to the next section.

Lengthy renditions of an alapana are usually divided into three parts.

The first part is a short introductory section (the akshipthika) which gives the audience an idea of the whole framework of the raga;


The second section is the ragavardhini where the artists gives step-by-step elaboration, pausing at each major note in the raga. This is the major section of the alapana.


The last section is called makarini or magarini which is the concluding section. While fast passages are interspersed throughout the alapana, towards the end of the exposition the artist can often sing brisk passages (brigas) scaling across the entire range of the raga.

Here is an example of an alapana by Sanjay Subramaniam


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