Tirukkodikaval Krishna Iyer

Last updated

Tirukkodikaval Krishna Iyer

Tirukodikaval Krishna Iyer was a Carnatic violinist in the latter half of the 19th century.


Early years

Krishna Iyer had his training first from his father Kuppuswamy Iyer, and later under Kottavasal Venkatarama Iyer, a composer of Tana Varnams. [1] Krishna Iyer inherited his musical talents from his father Kuppuswamy Bhagavatar, a Harikatha performer. He did not have a good voice and so he was persuaded to take up violin playing. He, along with Veena Dhanammal and nagaswaram vidwan Tirupamburam Nataraja Sundaram Pillai, also studied under Sathanoor Panju Iyer of the sishya parampara of Muthuswami Dikshitar. [2]

Musical experiences

His violin recitals were marked with masterly touches, full of masculine grandeur. A prodigy, he could play complicated pieces on a single string. Known for his hard work, he was responsible for ushering in many new techniques to the art of violin playing. He could produce ascending and descending glides (Jarus) with remarkable effect. His was a musician among peers that included Maha Vaidyanatha Iyer, Patnam Subramania Iyer and Sarabha Sastri. [1] His stature and musicianship were such that he could dominate the performance while being an accompanist. He had an awe inspiring and intimidating stature among the musicians of his day.

He is said to have developed a bowing style and fingering technique suitable for Carnatic music. Despite being a successful concert musician and a sought accompanist, it is said[ by whom? ] that he would practice (Saadhakam) for four hours every morning. The routine is said to have included the "sarali varisais", beginning with fast bowing and ending with very slow bowing. This ensured control over the bow specifically and mastery over the instrument generally. Four Varnams viz., Kalyani & Bhairavi Ata Thaala Varnams and Saveri & Begada Adhi Thaala Varnams were also part of this rigorous practice schedule.

Government service

Krishna Iyer was also functioning as the village administrative officer (then known as Pattamaniar) of Tirukodikaval. [1] Citing his musical career as coming in his way of discharging his official routines, the then revenue authorities removed him from that post. Krishna Iyer's appeals to the then Board of Revenue to reconsider the orders was not obliged by the Government. Krishna Iyer even produced evidence that the Government was fully aware of his musical profession and that he was requested to perform his violin recital before His Excellency the then Governor of Madras during his camp at Vallam in Tanjore District. Subsequently one of his sons, T K Srinivasa Iyer, was appointed as the village administrative officer.


A concert was held during a wedding ceremony. Konerirajapuram Vaidyanatha Ayyar was the singer and Krishna Iyer accompanied him on the violin. Kumbakonam Azhaganambi played mridangam while Pudukottai Dakshinamurthy Pillai played Ganjira and Umaiyalpuram Sundaram played the Ghatam. Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, who was a young boy then, was present with his father. He was asked to perform after the main event. The boy was shy and sat in a corner of the stage. Krishna Iyer looked at the boy and said "Come forward". That was like a blessing for the boy and Krishna Iyer's words became true as Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar became a famous Carnatic musician later. [2]


Nadaswaram genius T N Rajarathnam Pillai learned vocal music from him. [3] Thiruvalangadu Sundaresa Iyer was one of his desciples. Semmangudi Narayanaswamy Iyer, Thirukodikaval Ramaswamy Iyer were his disciples. Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer is his nephew. Valadi Krishnaiyer took training from him.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer</span> Musical artist

Semmangudi Radhakrishna Srinivasa Iyer was an Indian Carnatic vocalist. He was the youngest recipient of the Sangeetha Kalanidhi awarded by the Music Academy in 1947, a distinction he holds to this day as of 2023, probably the only musician to receive that honour before reaching 40. He had received many other awards as well, including Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan from the Government of India, Rajyasevanirata title from Travancore's erstwhile ruling family, Sangeet Natak Academy award (1953), Isai Perarignar from Government of Tamil Nadu and Kalidas Samman from Government of Madhya Pradesh. He was affectionately addressed as "Semmangudi Maama" by his disciples. He was also considered the "Pitamaha" or the grand sire of modern Carnatic Music. He was conferred with an honorary doctorate by University of Kerala in 1979.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar</span>

Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, popularly known as Ariyakudi, was a Carnatic music vocalist, born in Ariyakudi, a town in the present-day Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu. Ariyakudi developed a unique style of singing which came to be known as The Ariyakudi Tradition and is followed by his students. He is credited with establishing the modern katcheri (concert) traditions in Carnatic music.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lalgudi Jayaraman</span> Carnatic violinist/composer

Lalgudi Gopala Jayaraman was an Indian Carnatic violinist, vocalist and composer. He is commonly grouped with M.S. Gopalakrishnan and T.N.Krishnan as part of the violin-trinity of Carnatic Music. He was awarded Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 2001.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">K. V. Narayanaswamy</span> Musical artist

Palghat Kollengode Viswanathan Narayanaswamy, often referred to as K. V. Narayanaswamy was an Indian musician, widely considered to be among the finest Carnatic music vocalists of the 20th century. He was awarded the Madras Music Academy's Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 1986. He was described as the "Perfect Knight" of Carnatic music, a phrase from Geoffrey Chaucer, by V. K. Narayana Menon, art critic of India and recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship.

Pazhani Subramania Pillai (1909–1962) was a well known Carnatic music percussionist. He, along with his contemporaries Palghat Mani Iyer and Ramanathapuram C. S. Murugabhoopathy, are revered as the "Holy Trinity of Mridanga". He was adept in playing the mridangam and kanjira. He was the sishya (disciple) of the celebrated Palani Muthaiah Pillai.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Palghat Mani Iyer</span> Musical artist

Palghat T. S. Mani Iyer (1912–1981), born Thiruvilvamalai Ramaswamy was one of the leading mridangists in the field of Carnatic music. He, along with his contemporaries Palani Subramaniam Pillai and Ramanathapuram C. S. Murugabhoopathy, are revered as the "Holy Trinity of Mrudangam". Mani Iyer was the first mridangist to be awarded the Sangeetha Kalanidhi (1966) presented by the Music Academy of Madras, the Padma Bhushan (1971) and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards(1956) presented by the Government of India.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">T. R. Mahalingam (flautist)</span> Musical artist

Tiruvidaimarudur Ramaswamy Mahalingam affectionately known as Mali, was a flautist who revolutionised the style of flute-playing in Carnatic music.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">T. N. Krishnan</span> Indian musician (1928–2020)

Trippunithura Narayana Krishnan was an Indian Carnatic music violinist. Along with Lalgudi Jayaraman and M. S. Gopalakrishnan he was considered part of the violin-trinity of Carnatic music. He was awarded the Madras Music Academy's Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 1980. He was also the recipient of the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian honour, in 1992, and earlier, the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian honour, in 1973.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">T. K. Murthy</span> Musical artist

Thanu Krishna Murthy, better known as T. K. Murthy, is an Indian mridangam player. Murthy is a Padma Shri and Sangeetha Kalanidhi awardee.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">V. V. Ravi</span> Musical artist

Vadakkanchery Veeraraghava Bhagavathar Ravi is an Indian classical music violinist. As an enterprising instrumentalist and violinist he has conducted concerts along with his brother V. V. Subrahmaniam and toured several nations including Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, U.S.A., Canada and England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ramanathapuram C. S. Murugabhoopathy</span> Musical artist

Ramanathapuram C. S. Murugabhoopathy, popularly referred to as CSM, was one of the most distinguished Mridanga maestros of the 20th century. He was a contemporary of Palghat Mani Iyer (1912–1981) and Palani Subramania Pillai (1908–1962). The three legends are revered as the "Holy Trinity of Mridanga".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sattur A. G. Subramaniam</span> Indian carnatic singer (1916–1977)

Sathur A. G. Subramaniam, (1916–1977) was a vocalist in the Carnatic tradition. A contemporary of Ariyakudi Sri Ramanuja Iyengar, Sri G. N. Balasubramaniam, and Madurai Mani Iyer, he was known for his pure, unadulterated style and strict adherence to tradition. His vocals were enriched with brugas and high speeds.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vellore G. Ramabhadran</span> Frequent mridangist for MMI. Vellore Gopaalachaari Raamabhadra

Vellore G. Ramabhadran was a Mridangam artiste from Tamil Nadu, India. He was awarded the Madras Music Academy's Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 2004.

Mayavaram V. R. Govindaraja Pillai was a Carnatic violinist from Tamil Nadu, Southern India.

Nagercoil Ganesa Iyer (NSG) (1905—1978) was a prominent carnatic musician and exponent.

Sangeetha Surendra Nagercoil S Harihara Iyer (NSH) (1916-1994) was an Indian Carnatic singer and violinist.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thanjavur R. Ramamoorthy</span> Indian musical artist (1929–2019)

Tanjavur R. Ramamoorthy was a vidwan in Indian classical music, playing Carnatic music on the mridangam, an ancient Indian percussion instrument. The mridangam is the primary rhythmic accompaniment in a Carnatic music ensemble, and in the Dhrupad genre, where it is known as a pakhawaj.

Madurai Narayanan Krishnan (1928–2005) was an Indian musician, known for his proficiency in carnatic music. He was known to have been proficient in all the three facets of music viz. vocals, lyrics and music and was considered by many as a Vaggeyakara. The Government of India awarded him the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in 1992 and followed it up with the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award, in 2003. He was also a recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, UNESCO Award and the Kalaimamani Award.

Ananthalakshmi Sadagopan was an Indian Carnatic musician.


  1. 1 2 3 "Thirukodikaval Krishna Iyer". Archived from the original on 28 February 2014.
  2. 1 2 "Tirukodikaval Krishna Iyer - A Great violinist". Archived from the original on 28 February 2014.
  3. T N Rajaratnam Pillai- Radio Interview -14Jan1951 , retrieved 29 September 2022