As a musician, Sri R.K. Padmanabha’s style of rendition is a beautiful confluence of divinity and brilliance. His emphasis on voice culture, tonal output, intonations, modulation and shruthi alignment makes his music unique and scintillating. His performances are always packed with energy, innovations and creativity. Varnas are mostly sung in 6-7 kaala pramanas. He has developed a distinctive bani (style of singing) comprising of long and sustained notes with a tinge of Nadaswara style of singing in his raga alapana. He has always been inspired by the legends Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and M.D. Ramanathan. His krithi presentation are always confined to sampradaya and class. His bhava filled nerval rendition, sarvalaghu style of kalpana swaras, tricky korpu makes his music chaste and remarkable.
He is an exponent in rendering Raga Tana Pallavis and also makes it a point to compose a different kind of pallavi in each of his concert. Some of them are Mela Talas, Nade Pallavis, Khale Pallavis and also has the credit of bringing unknown Jaatis like Divya Sankeerna, Mishra Sankeerna, Ekadasha into lime light. He has gained immense popularity for his presentation of the 16 types of Tanas and bags the credit of incorporating two novel Tanas namely ‘Bhringa Tana’ and ‘Rudra Tana’ into the world of Karnatik Music.
His rendition of ragamalikas for the ugabhoga and shlokas sometimes exceed 25 ragas, followed by the haridasa compositions that keeps the audience spellbound. His recital of 100 ugabhogas of Purandaradasa in rarest ragas such as kalgada, sindhuramakriya, ratipatipriya, etc. is felt enchanting. He is one of the only musicians to have sung raga Kalyani in all the 12 shrutis consecutively. Such is the forte of his wide range voice.
Sri R.K. Padmanabha is also very popular to have conceptualized music into probably everything. Few being -
‘Gana Yagna’ a homa, first of its kind which comprises of musical rituals offered through the swaras, ragas, krithis and by talas with the aid of Vedic hymns.
‘Gana Pooja’, an ingenious way of performing pooja through music, is a remarkable and significant revolution in which the ‘Shodashopachara’ Pooja like, Naivedyam through alapana, arathi through Tanam and dhupa through kalpanaswara is performed.
He has also popularized and immortalized around 200 compositions of Sri Vadiraja Swami and about 200 compositions of Sri Mysore Vasudevacharya through book and CD releases. Composing the shlokas and sthothras of the great saint ‘Sri Shankaracharya’ and ‘Teerthaprabandha of Sri Vadiraja’ in the Kriti, varna and thillana format, this upasaka has also marked himself as a modern practitioner. As a researcher, he has brought in a great deal of pride by identifying Sri Purandaradasa’s birthplace as Aaraga in Shivamogga district of Karnataka. Earning more than 90 titles and 40 awards for his contribution towards music and research, Sri R.K. Padmanabha stands tall as a nadopasaka in the field of Karnatik music.