Nadasurabhi Cultural Association located in Koramangala, Bangalore is in the forefront of promoting Classical Carnatic Music. Nadasurabhi conducts the highest quality music concerts every month and a week-long Annual Festival in November, free of charge to all rasikas. Our other events include a youth festival, Thyagaraja and Purandaradasa Aradhana, and music competitions for children.
Written by K.S.S.Raghavan. Published in Nadasurabhi Souvenir 2006
|Carnatic Music in Tamil Literature|
Two of the most important contributions of South India to the world body of knowledge are Carnatic Music and Tamil literature. Both these fields are ancient, rich and provide intellectual and emotional satisfaction to millions of people.
It is interesting to note that Tamil literature (particularly Iyal, in Prose and poetry form) contains in itself vast amounts of knowledge on Music. Starting from the earliest Tamil Literature available to us today (around 200 BC*), it is possible to trace the various forms of music (Isai) that had existed in different periods and the way it has transformed into today’s Carnatic music, by absorbing techniques from other Indian forms of music.
During the Sangam Age (500 BC to 200 AD*), there are enormous amounts of Tamil literature produced, most of which are available even today. They are mostly in Verse (Seyyul) form and concern with the rules of righteous living (Aram). There are, however many references of well developed music and musical instruments, even at that stage. The popular “Kuzhal Inidhu Yazh Inidhu” verse of Thiruvalluvar, besides establishing the popular use of the Flute and Veena (Yazh), also indicates that the Flute is an older instrument and the Yazh came later. There are also references to non-musical drums (Parai) that were in use at that time.
The first detailed information on music, in Tamil literature can be found in Silappathikaaram (Middle of 5th Century AD*). This was written by a Jain Monk, Ilango Adigal. It is also from this time, that Tamil literature blossomed in all its three branches –Mutthamizh, namely Iyal, Isai and Natakam, respectively Prose/Poetry, Music and Stage/Drama.
The roots of today’s Carnatic music can clearly be seen in the music and dance forms elaborated in the literature of 5th Century AD. The nomenclature, of course is different . The system based on Ragams (Pann) with unique ascending and descending scales and Saptha Swaras (Ezu padham) were already in place.
Terms in Tamil and Carnatic Music -
|Tamil Music||Carnatic Music|
|pann ||raagam |
|padham ||swaram |
|thaalam ||thaalam |
|aarochai ||aarohanam |
|amarochai ||avarohanam |
|padham Ezu ||saptha swaram |
|kural ||shadjam |
|thuththam ||Rishabham |
|kaikkilai ||gaandhaaram |
|uzai ||madhyamam |
|ili ||panchamam |
|vilari ||dhaivatham |
|thaaram ||nishadham |
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