|Musings on Music|
a handy music diary for writing notation by S.Rajam
Text by S.Rajam, Text assisted by "Garland" Rajagopalan, Illustration by S.Rajam
Music is associated with melody. Melody
with meaningful words (compositions) becomes a masterpiece.
"Vaagardha viva sampruktau vagartha
Jagatah pitarau vande parvati parameswaran"
says the very first verse of the
kavya 'Raghuvamsa' by the poet par excellence Kalidasa. It conveys that
a word & its meaning are indivisible and it is like the Divine unity
of Parvathi & Parameswaran. Such is the importance of meaning to a
word. And in India, where music is perceived as a means to salvation, we
find many compositions which excel in meaning, melody & technical efficiency.
We owe much to the composers, who, through their structured melodic patterns,
poetic phrases & technical brilliance have enriched Carnatic music.
Sarangadeva - Musicologist (13th century)
Authored 'Sangita Ratnakara' the
greatest work after Bharata's 'Natya Sastra'. Hailed as "Nissanka", as
he was supreme in knowledge of music. 'Sangita' as referring to music
came to be used first by him. A magnificient musicologist....Read more
Jayadeva - Composer (1101-1173)
Author of the Song Celestial 'Gita
Govindam' the first known composition in India specifying raga & tala.
Called 'The Indian Song of Songs', it has inspired composers, dance choreographers
& poets. The lady gracious behind Jayadeva's success was the eminent
Padmavati, his spouse, who danced to his singing.....Read more
Purandaradasa - Father of Carnatic Music System (1484-1564)
A pioneer in bhakthi cult &
a brilliant, popular composer. His compositions inspired Tyagaraja &
Kshetrajna - Poet of Divine Love (1610-1685)
His music & lyric share the
honours equally & it is in padams, Kshetrjna excelled. There is enchanting
beauty & exquisite finesse in his songs of dignified sringara. A great
composer who excelled in bringing out diverse emotions.......Read more
Bhadrachala ramadasa - Composer (1620-1680)
Religious bent of mind from boyhood.
Was Tahsildar at Bhadrachalam & he rebuilt the temple of Rama. Was
incarcerated at Golkonda. Divine will got his release. Exquisite songs
of Ramadasa are popular. He was the 'Mulapurusha' of harikatha sampradaya.......Read more
Tyagaraja - Fragrant gold of Carnatic Music (1767-1847)
The most popular of Carnatic Music
Trinity. 'In devotion & religious fervour, he is like Purandara &
Ramadasa', in lyrical moods he takes a leaf off Kshetrajna; in the language
of Gods, he seems to beckon his contemporary Dikshitar & Sastri; in
dramatic composition, is like Narayana Tirtha & Merattur Venkutaramana
Bhagavathar. His adherence to sampradaya is supreme.......Read more
Muthuswami Dikshitar - Architect of Raga forms (1776-1835)
The compositions of Dikshitar are
rich in raga bhava full of gamakas & graces, beauty, majesty, mastery
& wisdom. A magnificient composer, vocalist & veena player, he
was all serenity & poise. One of the Carnatic Music Trinity.......Read more
Syama Sastri - Tala Prastara (1762-1827)
One of the Carnatic Music Trinity,
his songs are noted for tala intricacies. 'The melodic form of his compositions
are strikingly original, unconventional & free.' Devi Kamakshi of Tanjore
was his patron deity........Read more
Swathi Tirunal - Royal Composer (1813-1846)
Proficient in many languages with
great talent in music, he was the Maharaja of Tiruvancore, a great patron
of arts. Lord Padmanabha of Travancore was his Ishta Devata.........Read more
Thiru Gnanasambandar - Divine Composer (6th century)
While yet a baby was suckled by
Goddess. One of the four great Saivaite Apostles. His divine musical hymns
in Tamil are delightful & the lyric is magnificient.
Thiru Navukkarasar (Appar) - Divine Composer (6th century)
One of the prime apostles of Lord
Shiva. A life of fragrant devotion & service to humanity.
Sri Periyalwar (C.700-750)
Vishnuchitta, as Periyalwar was
called before he was included in the apostolic order, brought up Sri Andal
full of love & affection but had to part with her when the Lord took
her as spouse.
Divine origin, glamorous life, spiritual
union mark the verdant life of Sri Andal who had left to posterity the
enchanting songs called "Thiruppavai" & "Nachiar Thirumozhi".
Thirumangai Azhwar (716-821/750-800)
'The effulgent lamp that shuts out
darkness in mind', Thirumangai Azhwar fulfills all the demands of modern
fiction. He had covered the largest number of temples among Vaishnavaite apostles with pilgrimage & songs.
Sundaramurthy Nayanar - Divine Composer (8th century)
A romantic apostle of Lord Shiva,
his musical hyms form part of Thevaram along with those of Gnanasambandar
One of the main four Nayanars of
Shiva. He exhorts all to 'Sing the ecstatic joy of the Lord soaked in graceful
raga; He shall bestow his grace in return.'
Tallapaka Annamacharya - Architect of Devotional ecstacy (1408-1503)
Annamacharya family was a fountain
of divine ecstacy which has dedicated a whole range of poems of madhura
bhakthi. 12,000 songs are engraved on copper plates to ensure against ravages
& insanity of nature & man. Lord Venkateswara of the Seven Hills
was his patron deity.
Arunagirinathar - Eminent Divine Poet (c.1450A.D.)
The finest flower among Tamil composers,
devoted & dedicated. His composition 'Thiruppugazh' in praise of the
Lord 'is a vast ocean of intricate time measures'. An unrivalled Master
Muthu Thandavar - Fragrant Bhava exponent (16th century)
Depth of theme, felicity of presentation,
simplicity of lyric underline his romantic poems. Lord Nataraja was his
destiny & patron. His padams, the delight of dancers, are a mine of
bhava, bhakthi & rasa.
Uthukkadu Venkatasubba Ayyar - Composer & Divine (1700-1765)
His love of Lord Krishna was unparalleled
& his bhakthi for Muruga was non pareil. His songs are graceful &
Arunachala Kavirayar - Eminent Composer (6th century)
'Rama Nataka Kirtanas', a pioneering
musical opera, enjoys simplicity of chaste language, easy-pace, flowing
presentation, mastery & versatality. It was released at the temple
of Sri Ranganatha, Srirangam in 1771 A.D. His songs were set to tune by
Sattanadapuram Venkatarama Ayyar & Kodandarama Ayyar.
Goplalakrishna Bharati - Father of Tamil Music Renaissance (1811-1881)
Author of the pioneering socio-spiritual
musical opera 'Nandanar', Bharati led a unique life of excellence &
mastery of spirit over matter. Has covered the whole gamut of musical compositions.
Lord Nataraja, the Cosmic Dancer, was his Ishta Devata. He was an eminent
musical discourser too.
From Musings on Music - a handy
music diary for writing notation by S.Rajam
Text by S.Rajam, Text assisted
by "Garland" Rajagopalan, Illustration by S.Rajam