Technical Terms

Accidental, the anya svara or the visiting note in a bhashanga raga.

Adhama, vaggeyakara, composer of an inferior type.

Adhara shadja, the shadja svara that is taken as the key-note or sruti; tonic note.

Adi, the name given to the chaturasra jati triputa tala.

Antinode, the mid point in the vibrating length of a string and at which the amplitude of vibration is maximum.

Antiphony, alternate singing of solo and chorus; or responsive singing of two groups of singers.

Anupallavi, the second section of a melody in carnatic music, occuring after the pallavi.

Anya svara, visiting note or accidental; the foreign note in a bhashanga raga; opposite of svakiya svara Anya svaras give a flashing touch to the melodic beauty of bhashanga ragas and also contribute to their individuality.

Applied music, compositions wherein the music serves merely as a vehicle for a specific purpose. The sahitya is an important factor in such compositions; ex: sacted songs and songs belonging to operas and dance dramas.

Asraya raga, the prasiddha or well known raga after which a mela is named. Thus Sankarabharana is the asraya raga of the 29th mela, Dhira Sankarabharana.

Audava-audava raga, same as audava raga.

Audava raga, a raga wherein only five of the sapta svaras are represented in both the arohana and avarohana ie., two notes being varja (deleted) bothways. Ex: Madhyamavati, Mohana, Hamsadhvani and Suddha saveri.

Audava sampurna raga, a raga wherein only five of the sapta svaras figure in the arohana and all the sapta svaras find a place in the avarohana Ex: Dhanyasi, Abheri, Salaga bhairavi, Kodaragaula, Arabhi and Bilahari.

Audava-shadava raga, a raga wherein five of the sapta svaras figure in the arohana and six of them figure in the avaroha. Ex: Malahari, Jaganmohini and Sama.

Audava, Shadava, Sampurna, terms used to describe the arohana and avarohana of ragas; they indicate the number of svaras present in the ascent and descent and denote the numbers 5, 6, and 7 respectively.

Audava-svarantara raga, a raga with an audava arohana and a svarantara avarohana.

Bahu sruta, an intelligent listener; a rasika who genuinely enjoys music and appreciates it with a sense of understanding; also called guni.

Bhandira, a variety of Sanskrit figuring in the sahityas of earlier gitas; it is a form of Prakrit.

Bhashanga raga, a janya raga wherein oone or two foreign notes (notes foreign to its parent melakarta raga) come in for the sake of enriching its beauty. Ex: Bhairavi; the foreign note herein is the charussruti dhalvata.

Thus in a Bhashanga raga, both the varieties (komala and tivra) of a note occur, the note pertaining to its mela being called the svakiya svara and the foreign note, the anya svara. Bhashanga ragas admit of the five divisions:

  1. Rishaba dvaya bhashanga raga ie., taking both the varieties of ri. Ex: Asaveri and Punnagavarali
  2. Gandhara dvaya bhashanga raga ie., taking both the varieties of ga. Ex: Anandabhairavi and Athana.
  3. Madhyama dvaya bhashanga raga ie., taking both the varieties of ma. Ex: Hindusthani, Behag and Saranga.
  4. Dhaivata dvaya Bhashanga raga ie., taking both the varieties of dha. Ex: Bhairavi and Mukhari
  5. Nishada dvaya bhashanga raga ie., taking both the varieties of ni. Ex: Kambhoji, Bilahari, Nilambari and Athana.

Bhoga, the name given to the sankirna jati Triputa tala; Avarta = 13 aksharakalas.

Bhuvana, the name given to the sankirna jati Dhruva tala; Avarta = 29 aksharakalas.

Bindu, the name given to the sankirna jati Rupaka tala; Avarta = 11 aksharakalas.

Chakra, the name given to the tisra jati Rupaka tala; Avarta = 5 aksharakalas.

Chana, the name given to the kanda jati Jampa tala; Avarta = 8 aksharakalas.

Charana, third section of a melody in carnatic music.

Chatusvara vakra raga, a vakra raga with four vakra varas in both the arohana and avarohana.

Chitta tanas, set exercises for developing the finger technique in vina play.

Claque, a set of persons employed in a concert to stimulate approbation or criticism. This group of applause-makers may consist of the admirers of the performers or even hired for the purpose. They sit amongst the members of the audience at key-places.

Dance form, a composition belonging to the sphere of dance music.

Dhatu, the music of a composition as opposed to the matu or the words, sahitya or text of a musical composition.

Dhira, the name given to the sankirna jati Ata tala. Avarta = 22 aksharakalas.

Digital counting, reckoning the tala counts, with the fingers of the right hand; this is a nissabda kriya ie., reckoning without sound. The laghu consists of a beat and finger counts; these counts are reckoned with the digits of the hand.

Drone, a musical instrument that is used for sounding the key-note or sruti. It is kept sounding throughout a musical performance. Instead of the drone music, giving rise to a feeling of monotony, it creates a most pleasing background and greatly enriches the effect. Drones like the ektar, tuntina and ottu give single notes-the adhara shadja. These are called monophonous drones. But the tambura, the best of the sruti vadyas, is designed to give the basic shadja, the lower panchama and the lower shadja in addition to rich harmonics. Drones like the tambura and the sruti box, designed to give more than one note at a time are called polyphonous drones. Drones of the stringed group are played on open strings. The drone harmony provided by the tambura enriches the general effect.

Dushkara, the name given to the khanda jati Triputa tala. Avarta = 9 aksharakalas.

Melam, the tamil word corresponding to kutapa in sanskrit. Melam denoted a group of musical instruments played together. It provided a collective music.

There are the six varieties of melam:

  1. Periya melam is the nagasvaram group.
  2. Chinna melam is the orchestra that provided classical music. Sangita melam is referred to by Shahaji Maharajah in his telugu opera, Pallaki seva prabandham. There was a sangita melam in the establishment of Rajah Serfojee of Tanjore and this melam provided music to distinguished visitors.
  3. Natyandi melam is the folk band. It provides accompaniment to folk dances as karagam and kavadi. In this rustic orchestra, there are two players on the nagasvaram, one player on ottu, two players on tavil (drum), a performer on pambal ( apir of cylindrical drums), a perforrmer on kirikatti ( a pair of conical drums), a performer on dolak and a performer on cymbals, altogether nine performers. The pecularity of this melam is that the performers all stand around and perform and dance off and on in consonance with the dance movements of the principal dancers. At the commencement, the members of the naiyandi melam stand in a circle and the dancer with the kavadi or karagam stands in the middle. The dolak is played upon with two thin leather straps. A fast and powerful rhythmic accompaniment is provided by this band. The number of wind instruments and percussion instruments used in the melam is in the ratio of 2:3. Towards the close of khandika or section, music in accelerated rhythm is played by the band and this is worked up to a climax. The next part of the dance is begun with music in slow tempo.
  4. Urumi melam is a rustic band. The band is named after the principal drum, Urumi used in it. This is an instrument with an onamatopoetic name. It is a two-faced drum It is a friction drum. It is stroked on one side with a bent stick and struck on the other side with a straight stick. The other instruments played in this melam are nagasvaram, tavil, dolak and cymbals.
  5. Muzhavu melam, the band of musical instruments including the muzhavu drum.

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