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Ganakaladhara Madurai Mani Iyer
Mani Iyer Style
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The unique characteristics of Madurai Mani Iyer style of Music

  • Perfect Shruthi Alignment while singing ragam, thanam, neraval, kalpana swaram and compositions.
  • Perfect control over voice in all the 3 octaves.
  • Madhyama Kaala  (Middle tempo) oriented singing. (His voice is more facile in Middle tempo)
  • Estimates his voice condition and decides his base shruthi  before each and every concert.
  • Perfect maintenance of Kalapramana while singing Krithis, Neraval and Kalpana Swaras. Maintains the tempo till the end.
  • He followed the simple and the easily enjoyable Sarvalaghu Style of swara singing.  His style is totally devoid of rhythmic complexities. However he adapts his Sarvalaghu Style to each thala distinctly to maintain the individual beauty of that thala.
  • Maintained perfect Raga Bhavam ( Raga Lakshanam) at every point while singing. Be it a Raga, Krithi, Neraval or Swaras, he ensured that he always stick to the Raga Lakshana.
  • While Singing Ragam, His very first phrase would touch the nerve point of the raga. He used to touch the jeeva swara of the raga and start the alapana. The listener will never be kept in bay, guessing about the raga. He always maintains the Lakshanam and dwell in depth  within the limits of Raga Bhavam.
  • He never overdid anything for the sake of  elaboration as he was more a lakshana Vidwan perfect in grammar.  Thus His portrayal of Raga/Swara or Neraval, never went beyond the sphere of Raga Lakshana of each Raga.
  • His manodharma (or creativity) was a natural outpour of his listening experiences of all the great stalwarts of his time. (Kelvi gnanam) Thus his style had reflections of all the great musicians of his period. (eg: Mohanam, Arabhi, Durbar had Viswanatha Iyers influences)
  • He enjoyed every bit of his singing and never minded repeating certain phrases to enjoy its beauty.  This was a unique quality of his style which was not found in others.
  • He sang the krithis in its original pataanthara as he learnt and never imposed new sangathis. However, as his experience grew up, he introduced certain excellent phrases in the krithis which he popularized. (eg: Kanakankodi vendum, Sarasasamadhana)
  • With the advancement of age, his voice settled well in 2 tempos (chowkam and madhyama tempos). After getting this facility in his voice, he started learning more Dikshithar Krithis and introduced them in the concert Platform (eg: Navagraha and Navavarna Krithis).
  • He had good knowledge of Sanskrit thus his prounciation of Sanskrit krithis was perfect. 
  • His concert pattern was well appreciated and recognized for its variety. There was a balance in selection of songs. Though his concerts were packed with a good number of trinity compositions, he would gently introduce many great tamil krithis of Papanasam Sivan , Gopalakrishna Bharathiar and those of other Tamil composers. The point to note here is that is he used to present the tamil compositions mostly in major ragas like Kalyani, Kambhoji, Bhairavi, Thodi.  Thus the Tamil compostions in those major ragas were well received by the audience and found a permanent place in the concert world. The full credit of popularizing Tamil Krithis in the major ragas goes singularly to Madurai Mani Iyer.
  • His Ghamakas and Jaarus were measured within permissible limits and had a gentle caressing beauty. He never overdid the Ghamaka prayogas. His Jaarus were sponteneous as an outpour of his manodharma.
  • His stage mannerisms were very pleasant. He never shook his body to sing sangathis. Always sang with a smile in his face. While singing emotional phrases, he used to close his eyes and look upwards.
  • He controls his voice in such a way that even while reaching the upper octave, his voice never gets strained. He never shouts while singing in the upper octave. He could even give flawless brikas in the upper octave without loosing the sukha bhavam