Music Handbook




Gadya   Prose, as opposed to Padya, which is verse. In a musical composition, the lyrics may be prose or verse or a mixture of both (Gadya-Padya).  
Gamaka   The generic nomenclature for all melodic graces and ornamentations that arise out of musical movement. In the Carnatic tradition the Gamaka is an essential part of the melodic structure. It is rare therefore that in this tradition you hear a Swara unadorned and plain. In Carnatic music, the use of Gamaka is one of the chief identifying features of the Ragas, and cannot be omitted or reduced at will. In Hindustani music even the tonal characteristic can identify the raga without any Gamaka whatever. In this sense, Hindustani music is somewhat plainer and less ornamented as compared to Carnatic music. Various commentators have described several numbers and kinds of Gamakas.  
Gana Bhaskara   Telugu work by K.V.Srinivasa Iyengar, published in 1934.  
Gana Krama   The method and order style of singing various parts of a composition. The Gita is sung right through, without repeating any line. In the Kriti, each Sangati is sung twice. The Anupallavi is sung after the Pallavi and the Charanam follows the Anupallavi.  
Gandhara or Ga   The third Swara in the octave.  
Gandharva Veda   The branch of the Veda that deals with music. It is an Upa Veda or a subsidiary Veda along with Ayurveda (medicine), Dhanur Veda (military science) and Artha Shastra (political science).  
Gandharvas   Celestial musicians mentioned in the Indian Puranas (mythological texts).  
Gati   Tempo of a musical piece - the speed and the gait of a composition.  
Gatra Veena   Metaphorical term for the human voice. It is the Veena of the Gatra, thus treating the body as a natural musical instrument.  
Gavantu   The ledge of ivory that separates the body of the Veena from its stem.  
Gayaka   Singer.  
Gayaki   Instrumental style that views vocal music as the ideal, and mimics the voice.  
Getti Melam   A colloquial term, indicating vigorous, loud music played by a group of musicians on a Nagaswaram and Tavil ensemble. This is played at the moment the Mangalsutra is tied round the neck of a bride when getting married as per the Indian Hindu custom.  
Ghana Raga Pancharatnam A set of popular Tyagaraja compositions, consisting of ‘Jagadananda Karaka‘ in Nattai, ‘Dudukugala’ in Gowla, ‘Sadhinchane’ in Arabhi, ‘Kanakana Ruchira’ in Varali and Endaro mahanubhavulu’ in Sri. All these compositions are in Adi Tala and each of the Kritis has multiple Charanams, which are sung as Swara-Sahitya.  
Ghana Ragamalika Varna   A Varna in which the Ghana Ragas are strung together in a Ragamalika fashion. Veena Kuppayyar composed one such piece.  
Ghana Ragas   Ragas whose principal characteristics are easily revealed, e.g. Arabhi, Nattai, Varali, Sri and Gowla.  
Ghana vadya   Percussion instruments made of metals.  
Gharana   A school or style of singing in Hindustani music, usually named after the place of origin, e.g. Agra, Jaipur, Gwalior, Patiala etc. Also see Bani.  
Ghatam   A pot of specially seasoned clay, used as a percussion instrument in Carnatic music.  
Gita   Simple musical composition, first taught to students after basic training in Swara exercises and Alankaras. These are simple melodies in uniform Laya and usually in praise of one of the Hindu Gods. There are two kinds, the Sanchari Gitas, which convey the basic outline of the Raga, and the Lakshana Gitas, in which the lyrics also explicitly describe the characteristics of the Ragas in which they are composed.  
Gita govinda   An immortal poetic-cum-musical Sanskrit classic, composed by Jayadeva in the twelfth century. There are twelve chapters in it. Each song contains eight verses or Padas, on account of which these songs are also called the Ashtapadi. There are twenty-four such songs.  
Gitanugam   Any instrument that is used as an accompaniment to as singer, e.g., Violin, Sarangi, Harmonium.  
Gotu   A cylindrical piece of ebony, bison horn or Teflon, used to slide over the strings of the string instrument Gotuvadyam or Chitravina.  
Gotuvadyam   See Chitravina.  
Govinda   Author of the Sanskrit treatise Sangraha Chudamani, perhaps the last of the Sanskrit texts on Lakshana. The author lived during the latter part of the eighteenth century. He was associated with the Tanjavur court. The Sangraha Chudamani is available in a modern published version.  
Govinda Marar (1798-1843)   A highly gifted musician from Travancore. He invented a seven-stringed tambura, which had two Panchama strings, two Sarani strings, two Anusaranis and one Mandra string tuned to Shadja. He was considered an exponent of singing in Shat-kalas or six speeds.  
Graha Bheda   The technique of deriving new scales by shifting the tonic note of an existing scale. For example, if you take the raga Hindolam (Sa Ga Ma Dha Ni Sa), and treat the Ga as if it were a Sa, the resulting scale would be Sa Ri Ma Pa Dha Sa, thus giving the scale of Suddha Saveri. This transformation is based on the simple mathematical relationship between the various notes in the octave.  
Guru   One of the six Angas of Tala in Carnatic music. It has two Matras or eight Akshara-kalas. The word Guru also means preceptor, who takes the student from darkness to light.  
Guruguha   The Mudra (signature) used by Muthuswami Dikshitar in his compositions.  
Gurumurti Sastri, Paidala (c. 18th cent.) One of the greatest composers of Gitas, after Purandara Dasa.  
Guru-Shishya Parampara   The lineage of preceptor and disciple, through which the living tradition is transmitted.



Chakra Chart

Melakarta Chart

Raga Index

Varnam Index

Kriti Index

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