The scales of Shanmukhapriya are as follows :

Aarohanam (Ascending) : S R2 G2 M2 P D1 N2 S’
Avarohanam (Descending) : S’ N2 D1 P M2 G2 R2 S

56 Shanmukhapriya

It is the 56th Raga on the Melakarta scale. It is associated with energy, heroism and courage, qualities which are also associated with Lord Muruga. The raga name means ‘that which pleases Lord Muruga’. Above all, it is a raga which invokes devotion.

Some songs that I enjoy in Shanmukhapriya are Sharavanabhava Ennum and Parvati Nayakane by Papanasam Sivan, Marivere Dikkevarayya by Patnam Subramanya Iyer, Siddhi Vinayakam by Muthuswamy Dikshithar and Valli Nayakane by Mutthiah Bhagavatar. And who can forget Sundarambal’s Pazham Nee Appa from the film Thiruvilaiyadal?

Tamil readers may enjoy the following discussion of the raga by Charulatha Mani.

Note : The 12 notes in the octave are named as below. Please note that C is used as Sa for the sake of simplicity as the scale is relative in Carnatic Music. Also note that the scales paint only a superficial picture of the raga as the gamakas(ornamentations) are a very important part of a raga.


4 responses to “Shanmukhapriya

  1. namastE, Thank you for sharing your ideas and thoughts on music. When we talk about Gamakam, often people translate the word as “ornamentation.” That translation suggests that the music can exist without the ornamentation, but the ornamentation will make it more beautiful. I am wondering if Gamamkam is something more than that. Isn’t Gamakam what makes the rAga what it is? Then gamakam becomes a way of going from one SRuti to the other in precise ways so that the uniqueness of the rAgam stands out. As it comes from the root “gam” which means “to go” literally, Gamakam is really the only way of going from one SRuti to the other possible within one rAgam without sacrificing its unique flavor, rasa, etc. Then the question arises: does the word alamkAram mean “something that gives the rAgam its uniqueness? alam does mean “truly” and kAram comes from the root “kR^” meaning “make”, “do” etc. If that is true, then alamkAram is much more ornamentation, but it is everything that makes the rAgam truly what it is.

    These are just questions and thoughts without any solid theoretical basis, but I thought they are worth sharing.

    Thanks for your shared thoughts.

    • Thank you for your very interesting comment. I agree that gamakam is so very fundamental to the raga that it cannot be translated merely as ‘ornamentation’. However this is the word most often used to translate gamakam. I am not sure of your etymology though; गमक (noun) in Sanskrit means ‘a deep natural tone’. As an adjective, it means ‘making clear or intelligible’, ‘leading to clearness’ etc. अलङ्कार can be directly translated as ornament or decoration, coming from the root अलङ्कृ which means to decorate. But I am not a Sanskrit scholar; these are just my thoughts.
      Cheers. Suja

  2. chandrika

    Thank you so much Suja for sharing this. The discussion was mesmerising

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