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 Jaya Guruswamy
Music has been part of human lives for a long long time. The ancient kings encouraged this art by supporting and encouraging the musicians . They even built temples with the skills of artisans and encouraged them to select granite stone pillars in the temples which produced muscical notes when struck or played with sticks. Such musical pillars are found in some of the temples of South India which are marvels of architectural and musical skill. They are of ferrous granite and support the roof like the ordinary pillars. The cluster of pillars chiseled out of a huge block of resonant stone was played upon with two sticks. The performers stand on opposite sides and play on the pillars.
Solo music as well as rhythmic accompaniment is provided on them and the tone of the notes emanating from the pillars resembles the tone of Jalatharangam.
It is found that the pillars are of various artistic shapes: cylindrical, square, octagonal, Fluted and twisted. They clearly show how art could be combined with the requirement of music. When a pillar is struck one can feel the sympathetic vibration from the opposite pillar, graduated to the same pitch.
The Pampapatti, Chowdeswari and Vittala shrines at Hampi and the temples at Lepakshi, Tadpatri, Madurai, Azhagarkoil, Azhwartirunagari, Tirunelveli, Kalakkad, Suchindrum and Thiruvananthapuram contain splendid specimens of musical stone pillars. The height of these Musical pillars ranges from 4 feet to 7 feet. The notes given by the pillars correspond to one of the following scales: Sankarabharanam, Harikambhoji, Kharaharapriya.
There are three musical stone pillars at the corners of the mantapam in from of the Deity SoundaraValli Thayar in Tadikombu, near Dindigal produce the correct notes of the Vedic chants: Udatta, Anudatta Svarita. It is said that the Vedic hymns were recited to the accompaniment of the music notes from the pillars.
In the temple of Darasuram, near Kumbakonam, the stone steps of the Balipitam produce musical notes and the reasons for which they were made is not known, In the temple at Simhachalam near Vishakapatnam in Andhra musical notes are heard from the stone foliage work on top of the pillars.
The architectural marvels of musical notes producing pillars in various temples show the greatness of our people in ancient times who made and appreciated them.
(Ref: various sources including internet)
Written by Sri.V.Sriram. Extracted from the book Carnatic Summer with the author’s kind permission and published in Nadasurabhi Souvenir 2007
Carnatic Music is a peculiar name for an art form that lays claim to a lineage stretching back over many centuries. But why the term ‘Carnatic’ music, or its more Indian version ‘Karnatak’ music ? It certainly had nothing to do with the eponymous modern state in south India that has its capital as Bangalore.
Several reasons have been given as to why the name Karnataka Sangita for the music of south India. Many have opined that the region south of the Vindhyas was referred to as Karnatakam and hence the name. The word Karnatakam also stands for ‘that which is very old’ and scholars have interpreted it to mean that this music form is an old one. Yet another explanation is that the word derives from Karna (the ear) + Ata (to haunt) or ‘that which haunts the ear’. That would certainly be an apt description for Carnatic Music.
Written by Smt.Harini Raghavan
The word ‘Varna’ in general, has different meanings like, colour, a syllable or people belonging to a particular sect, and so on. Bharata, the author of ‘Natyasastra’- one of the earliest literature on music- describes Varna as ‘a mode of singing’ (Ganakriyaa uchchyate varnaha). Here Varna means musical notes or ‘Swaras’. Varna evolves from ‘sapta swaras’ and expresses itself through various combinations of these ‘sapta swaras’. In yet another treatise the process of singing itself is described as Varna. Matanga explains the features of Varna as existing in groups of notes, traversing in the pattern of ‘Taanas’. An earlier treatise says that the ancient Varna patterns have absolutely no relation with the present Varna forms, and therefore Varnas must have come into existence only after ‘Kritis’ were shaped. Presently, in the field of carnatic music Varna is one of the most popular pieces of composition which has its own definite form and a huge variety. It has prime of place both as a practice piece (abhyasa gana) and a warming up piece in a regular concert.
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