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The Therapeutic Value of Sinhala Semi Classical Songs| Rupashika Ranatunga | Sri Lanka

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We have listened to numerous light songs broadcasted on the radio. Some of them have been composed based on Hindustani music. We have quite often witnessed such music containing embellishments such as cadential trills which are visible in Khayal songs. Such songs are known as semi classical songs. Furthermore, many songs composed based on the ”Raaga”s have been quite popular in Sri Lanka. In some of them, the ”Raaga” elements are very much visible and they are present all through the song. In certain songs, only its bases include ”Raaga” elements. Apart from that, there are certain other songs composed using a reflection of ”Raagas’’.

Accordingly, semi classical songs could be categorized as follows:

  1. Songs firmly based on ”Raaga” forms
  2. Songs slightly mixed with ”Raaga” forms
  3. Songs with a touch of ”Raaga”

(Sinhala Geethaye Ragadhari Pasubima – B. Victor Perera, 1999)

Let us now discuss the song ‘Sendha Ahase Irata Muvaven’ sung by Professor Dayarathna Ranathunga which is strongly based on Raag forms. This song, written by the well-known lyricist Doctor Sunil Sarath Perera and composed by Professor Dayarathna Ranathunga, is greatly based on the Yaman Kalyan ”Raaga”, and it speaks of the evening time of the day.

“Sendha Ahase Irata Muvaven kaalaya kavulu dhorin miya yanawa …

Sendha Ahase …….. “

(“The time dies away through the window by hiding from the sun in the evening sky ……..

In the evening sky ………..”)

The best time to sing the Yaman Kalyan ”Raaga” is the evening. In fact, every Hindustani ”Raaga” has a specific time to be sung, since the particular ”Raaga” can then excite the relevant emotions of the singer. It has been proven that the sound waves released through musical notes are strongly effective on the surrounding atmosphere as well as the physical body of people. The most suitable time considered for the Yaman Kalyan ”Raaga” to be sung is from 4 – 7pm. The Yaman Kalyan ”Raaga”  which should be chanted during the time of the sunset has well suited the lyrics of the song in discussion and the relevant musical notes have further beautified the song.

“Etha atheethen piyawara nagamin ….. kana wela allan kawudho enawa ………..

Balaporoththuwa layata thurulu wee ……. ea ena pera maga bala sitinawa ……..”

(“Someone from the past is coming holding a walking stick ………

Holding on to expectations, he waits for her staring at the road …….”)

When the lyrics of a certain song aim at making the listener feel the current of emotions of a lonely heart or a memory from the past, and when it is done so by combining that particular song with the amalgamation of the intensive and pure madhyams of the musical notations of the Yaman Kalyan ”Raaga”, it becomes further close to the heart of the listener.

According to raag therapy, among the ”Raaga”s used in reducing emotional pressure, the Yaman Kalyan ”Raaga”  holds a special place.

While being occupied in various daily chores, the human mind faces numerous issues and this leads to developing emotional pressure. What people mostly tend to forget is that such mental pressure could be the root cause of many physical ailments. To minimize this pressure, at the end of the day, one could be engaged in many activities such as listening to music, yoga, meditating or exercising.

Studies have proved that ”Raaga” therapy is capable of developing various chemical processes that occur in the human brain and creating a positive effect on the mind as well as the body. Accordingly, music is favorable for all activities that take place in the brain. When ”Raaga” music cannot be utilized directly, songs mixed with ”Raaga”s could be used as music therapy. The song ‘Sendha Ahase’ excites one’s mind with the likeness of a silent environment and also peaceful, relaxing and erotic feelings. Therefore, it is most suitable to daily listen to and/or sing such songs in order to minimize mental pressure.

By Shasthrapathi Sangeeth Nipun Rupashika Ranathunga – Sri Lanka

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