Musiri Subramania Iyer stressed more on music than on rhythm wrote V. S. Namboothiripad, Kerala’s first music critic in 1954. 

Musiri Subramania Iyer, the famous Karnatic vocalist of the South, is a man with linguistic abilities. He sings with his life and so his style of music, which is quite original, has won the hearts of listeners with its overwhelming sweetness and life. As the creator of a new style, which is more an entertainment than the acrobatics, in rhythm and music-Thalam and Gitam–Musiri is widely known in music circles with respect and he may be called as a musician of the masses. 

His hearty thanks are always given to two of the veterans of the last generation in Karnatic music-Namakkal Narasimha Iyengar and T. S. Sabhesa Iyer–for the help they have rendered in cultivating and raising the musical taste in him.

Musiri Subhramania Iyer

The outstanding event which created a new chapter in his life was the release of a gramophone record “Nagamomu” in Abheri Raga. 

The high popularity, which that record gained, brought him to the concert platforms. As a musician he is capable of winning the satisfaction of his audience. He belongs to that category of musicians who lay stress more on music than rhythm; the basic Sruthi he choses is even though high. 

Musiri as  Sant Tukaram in the eponymous film

Subramania Iyer can sing for a long time in the high pitch to the satisfaction of the audience. This writer himself had a number of chances to hear him render the famous thyagaraja Krithis ‘Evarani’, Enthaveduko’, etc., with a number of “Sangathis” (repetition with different musical phrases) touching tharasthayi continuously. Even though the tempo in his concerts is generally slow,  uniformity in tempo is maintained throughout and so his audience is seldom disgusted with his concerts. 

As a top-rank vocalist and a good teacher, Subramania Iyer is now the Principal of Central College of Karnataka Music at Madras. He is the secretary  of Thyaga Brahma Aradhana Mahotsava Committee. A tall, lean figure, but strong in physique, he is somewhat reserved. But when necessity arises he is talkative as well as witty.

Read on T N Krishnan


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