Friday, March 26, 2021

Tamizh's classical music

Only such book available now on ancient Tamil music is ‘Pancha Marabu' written by Serai Arivanar. As the name denotes, it has five chapters. Out of them, three are devoted to music and two to dance.

The work defines Isai (music) and Pann, the equivalent of the present day raga. The book explains the varieties of yazh, the number of strings and the kind of wood that was used to make them. It also gives the materials that were used to make the vangiyam (flute) and percussion instruments. 

References to musical form and structure in Sangam literature

The Arangetrukaadai, a chapter of the Silappathikaram, mentioned earlier, also provides details the musical instruments of the day such as the yal (a kind of a 14-stringed lute or harp), kulal (flute) and percussion instruments as well as pann, the equivalent of musical scales in the Western music paradigm. The chapter describes in intricate detail how the use of different notes with the help of the yal resulted in different pann. It appears that the equivalent of the seven basic notes (SRGMPDN) that form the foundational construct upon which all South Indian Carnatic and Hindustani music is built today, were in existence during the Sangam period but known by their Tamil names of Kural, Tuttam, Kaikilai, Uzhai, Ili, Vilari, and Taram. Additionally, there were terms for the upper and lower octaves of each note for example Kurai Tuttam and Nirai Tuttam for the lower and upper octaves respectively. According to Venkatasubramaniam (2010), the Tiruvaduturai Mutt palm leaf manuscripts (AD1742) list the twenty-one common pann that were sung during the day and night and their contemporary approximations.

Palaiyazh  - Harikambhoji
Velavali - Velavali
Siragam  - Sriragam
4Malakari - Malhari
Narayani - Narayani
Bhairavam - Bhairavam
Varati - Varali
Dhanasi - Dhanyasi
Ramakri - Ramakriya
Salarapani - Anandabhairavi
Padumalai - Natabhairavi
Mullaippani - Mohanam
Marudayazh - Kharaharapriya
Chevvazhiyazh - Todi
Gowdi - Gowri
Padai - Padi
Guchchari - Gurjari
Nagadhoni - Nagadhvani
Bowri - Bowli
Sayari - Saveri
Kedalikkurinji - Kedaram
Udaya giri - Revagupti
Nagaragam - Nagasvaravali
Surtungaragam - Suryakantam
Megaragam - Kokilapriya
Sigandi - Sigandi
Sayavelarkolli - Sarasangi
Mandral - Nattaikkurinji
Andi - Vasantha
Sandi - Purvikalyani
Viyandam - Vilasini
Saral - Ratnakanti

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