Lesson – 3 Dhattu Varisai

Dhattu Varisai is one of the essential talas (rhythmic patterns) in Carnatic music. Dhattu varisai is a seven-beat tala that can be played at both medium and fast tempos. In this blog post, we will discuss the importance and different aspects of Dhattu Varisai. We will also explore some practice techniques that use this tala. We hope you find this information valuable and enjoyable!

Before moving on you are expected to master the following two exercises

  1. Sarali Varisai
  2. Janta Varisai

What is Dhattu varisai?

Dhattu Varisai, also known as Dhatu Varisai, is a complex and intricate form of rhythm in Carnatic music. In this musical style, the performer uses quick and precise movements to create complex patterns with their hands and feet. They will also maintain perfect timing and precise coordination. It follows a zig-zag pattern, and its basic structure is different from other varisai.

This Varisai is one of the most challenging forms of rhythm to master. Only the most talented and experienced musicians can perform it flawlessly.

This Varisai is originated in the southern state of Tamil Nadu in India. Then it has since spread to other parts of the country.

This Varisai is typically performed on various percussion instruments, such as the mridangam, ghatam, and kanjira. However, it can also be performed on other instruments, such as the violin or flute.

The word “dhattu” means “seven,” and “varisai” means “series.” Therefore, Dhattu Varisai is a series of seven different rhythms performed in a specific order. The performer must keep track of the different rhythms and maintain perfect coordination between their hands and feet while playing.

This Varisai is an excellent way to improve coordination, timing, and musicality. It is also an excellent workout for the mind and body and can be very therapeutic.

What is the importance of Dhattu Varisai in Carnatic music?

  • Dhattu Varisai is a highly complex and intricate form of Carnatic music. It requires great skill, precision, and musical mastery to perform correctly.
  • This style of music involves the playing of several different melodic instruments at once. This includes the mridangam, kanjira, violin, and ghatam, among others.
  • Some of the most well-known and respected musicians in history have mastered this form.
  • While it may be challenging to find opportunities to hear this style of music performed live. There are several recordings available that can provide a taste of its beauty and complexity.
  • Understanding and performing Dhattu Varisai can be a rewarding experience. It provides insight into the rich history and culture of South India.

Different aspects

Dhattu Varisai is a very important raga in Carnatic music. There are many different aspects to this raga, each contributing to its unique sound.

Some of the essential features of Dhattu Varisai include its jhala (a rapid stream of notes), swarasthana (the particular notes that make up the raga), and chalan (the rhythm or melody of the raga). Jhala is an integral part of Dhattu Varisai, as it gives the raga its characteristic fast pace and energy. Swarasthana is also crucial to the sound of the raga, as it determines the usage and combination of notes. Finally, chalan is what gives the raga its unique rhythm and melody.

Each of these aspects combines to create the distinctive sound of Dhattu Varisai. When all of these elements come together, a truly beautiful and unique raga is perfect for any occasion.

How to practice Dhattu Varisai in Carnatic music?

To practice Dhattu Varisai in Carnatic music well, one must first learn the various techniques involved with this style of singing.

  • One of the best ways to practice Dhattu Varisai is by first learning the kalpanaswaram patterns. These patterns are very useful in helping you practice fluidly and smoothly, as they involve a lot of trills and techniques that require you to be agile and quick with your fingers.
  • You can also work on practicing these Varisai phrases themselves. This involves learning how to sing the various phrases commonly used in this style of music. Once you have learned the basic phrases, you can add your embellishments and flourishes.
  • Another critical aspect of practicing this Varisai is to make sure that you use the correct breathing techniques. This is because incorrect breathing can often make you feel breathless and tired, making it challenging to sing smoothly.
  • Finally, it is also essential to ensure that you are using the right voice when practicing Dhattu Varisai. This means using a voice that is neither too high nor too low, which has an excellent quality. If you use a voice that is too high or too low, it can often make the music sound forced and unnatural.

By following these tips, you should be able to practice Dhattu Varisai in Carnatic music relatively easily. Just remember to take your time and focus on each aspect of the music to ensure that you are singing it correctly.

Famous compositions

Some of the most famous compositions that use the Dhattu Varisai in Carnatic music include works by renowned musicians such as Muthuswami Dikshitar, Syama Sastri, and Tyagaraja.

One of the essential compositions that utilize this varisai is ‘Suryakantam’ by Muthuswami Dikshitar. This composition is an essential part of the ‘Melakarta’ ragas in Carnatic music.

Another popular composition that uses the Dhattu Varisai is the famous Kriti ‘Neelakantam’ by Syama Sastri. It has become one of the essential works in Carnatic classical music.

Lastly, ‘Thillana Mohanambal’ by Tyagaraja is a well-known composition that uses the Dhattu Varisai.

In addition to these works, many other compositions use this varisai, further adding its importance in the world of Carnatic classical music.

Dhattu Varisai or Dhattu Varisaigal has notes arranged in a zig-zag manner or there will be jumps.

Dhattu varisai is more challenging compared to Sarali or Janta Varisai and mastery of this needs more practice from the student’s side. Dhattu Varisai is practiced in Maya Malava Gowlava Ragam & Adi Talam (8 beats).

1. S R S G | R G | R M ||

S M G R | S R | G M ||

R G R M | G M | G P ||

R P M G | R G | M P ||

G M G P | M P | M D ||

G D P M | G M | P D ||

M P M D | P D | P N ||

M N D P | M P | D N ||

P D P N | D N | D ||

P N D | P D | N ||

N D | N D | N P ||

P D N | N | D P ||

N D N P | D P | D M ||

N M P D | N D | P M ||

D P D M | P M | P G ||

D G M P | D P | M G ||

P M P G | M G | M R ||

P R G M | P M | G R ||

M G M R | G R | G S ||

M S R G | M G | R S ||

2. S M G M | R G | S R ||

S G R G | S R | G M ||

R P M P | G M | R G ||

R M G M | R G | M P ||

G D P D | M P | G M ||

G P M P | G M | P D ||

M N D N | P D | M P ||

M D P D | M P | D N ||

P N | D N | P D ||

P N D N | P D | N ||

P D P | N D | N ||

D N D | N | D P ||

N M P M | D P | N D ||

N P D P | N D | P M ||

D G M G | P M | D P ||

D M P M | D P | M G ||

P R G R | M G | P M ||

P G M G | P M | G R ||

M S R S | G R | M G ||

M R G R | M G | R S ||

You can also learn through live one-to-one tutoring with our friendly tutors. For more details visit our Carnatic singing classes


Dhattu Varisai is an important ragam in Carnatic music and should be learned and practiced with proper guidance. A professional music institute can help you learn this raga in the right way and give you access to some of the best teachers in the country. If you are serious about learning Carnatic music, approach a professional music institute today.

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