Varnams are scholarly compositions and the Pillar of Abyasa Ganams. They teach the Raga in its entirety with their Unique sancharas along with its typical gamakas. Varnams teach you the basics of Manodharma Sangeetham. Varnams are of different kinds. The usual is Tana Varnam. A master class is ..
What is a Raga ? To put it in simple terms, a combination of swara-s in certain order of ascent called arohana and descent called avarohana. Essentially it must have some aesthetically melodic content. AlApana is a means to communicate to the audience, the flavor or the bhAva of the rAga through the permitted notes and its phrases.An alapana, is the exposition of a raaga or tone – a slow improvisation with no rhythm. In presenting a phrase of Alapana, the swaras are not spell out as such, but spell out as certain syllables like tha dha ri na.