|Madhyama or Ma
fourth note of the Indian scale. It is the fa of the solfa of the
raga mentioned in the Sangita
Makaranda of Narada, which can be sung at noon. It is an Audava
This seems to have been the earlier name for Madhyamavati.
in Carnatic Kritis
that are composed at twice the basic tempo. The Madhyama
piece usually appears at the end of the Anupallavi
or the Charanam
or sometimes in both sections. Many Muthuswami Dikshitar
compositions include such sections.
tempo. See Laya.
of the three old scales of which there were three. The other two
were the Shadja
and the Gandhara
This is only of academic interest today, as the Grama
system is no longer in use.
musical instrument used by snake charmers. It is called Punji
in North India. This instrument is polyphonous. A bottle gourd
attached to a double cane pipe is cut in reeds. While one of the
pipes gives the basic tonic, which it produces in a constant drone,
the other pipe is able to play the tune. This pipe has finger holes
that can be stopped just as in a flute. The wind that enters is
blown out through the other end of the bottle gourd. Its sound is
melancholy and is normally tuned to the scale of the South Indian
Punnagavarali, a kind of Mishra Bilaskhani Todi of Hindustani music.
This scale is said to attract serpents. The southern Magudi
is unable to produce the Shadja
of the higher octave. The North Indian Punji,
being longer, is able to produce the upper Shadja.
century musician, Samasthana
of the state of Travancore. His vocal range is said to have been
three and a half octave.
principal scale in which Western music is composed. It corresponds
to the Shankarabharanam
scale of Carnatic music, or the Bilawal
scale of Hindustani music.
pattern. It generally denotes the string of Swara
passages at the end of each section of a Ragamalika,
connecting the previous Raga
with the next Raga.
name of the lower octave. Also the name of the lowest pitch string
of the Tambura
tuned to the lowest tonic of its scale.
vocal training that involves a series of exercises in the Mandra
region of the scale. This exercise gives body and resonance to the
auspicious song of salutation. It is the concluding piece in
Carnatic concerts. It is mostly in the Kirtana
form and consists of a Pallavi
and several Charanams,
which are all sung in the same tune.
ragas that are associated with auspiciousness. Dhanyasi,
Sri and Yadukulakambhoji
are some of the Mangala
in the Carnatic tradition
beads threaded upon the strings of the tanpura which are used to
fine-tune the swara.
composition in which the lyrics use two or more languages but
despite this remain grammatically accurate. Linguists usually
compose Manipravala krithis. The Bhairavi composition, ‘Ni sari
samaana’ and ‘Tyagara Swami’ in Vacaspati are Manipravala
that is sung extempore - a product of the moment. Manodharma
is improvisational music and is produced instantaneously, without
much planning or forethought. It has particular significance in
Carnatic music, where the improvisational music is overlaid on the
firm structure provided by Kritis and other such compositions of the
great composers. In Hindustani music, since the compositions are
normally short pieces, almost all the performed music is Manodharma.
and the Niraval
are aspects of Manodharma
in Carnatic music.
short phrase or group of letters of the Sanskrit language, meant for
constant mental repetition, thereby gaining a curious power and
impulse. Mantra is derived from the word ‘manana’
meaning memory or thinking. Magical properties are assigned to a Mantra
such as those of purifying the mind, entering it and stilling it.
or classical, as against Desiya
which is provincial and local, belonging to the region. A strict
sense of rules is the characteristic of Marga,
makes local adaptations of the rules. Thus there are Marga
varieties of both Ragas
classical or Marga
technique of reckoning musical time.
kind of Taana
that mimics the gait of a monkey. The movement of Taanas
is often likened to the gait of animals like the elephant, peacock
or snake. For instance, a Taana
is often said to be lumbering like a bear or jerky and jumpy like a
of the Brihaddesi
of the fifth century. Matanga is believed to be the originator of
system of Indian music. All the later Lakshanakaras
quote him widely.
unit of time measure and is used as the basic unit of the 108 talas
of Indian music.
paste of rice and water applied to the left side of the Mridangam,
left side to dampen the vibrations and add tone and timbre to the
sound. The quantity and spread of the paste is adjusted so that the
sound emitted is about an octave or the Panchama
below the note played on the right side of the mridangam.
smooth uninterrupted glide from one note to another. Its closest
western equivalent is the pornamento of bowed instruments.
parent scale of notes possessing a definite melodic character, with
each note bearing a particular relationship to a tonic note and
retaining that characteristic in ascent and descent.
Full complement of seven notes are used in both the ascending
and descending scales. There are seventy-two melakarthas emerging
from the twelve notes of a full scale. This then becomes the basis
from which a raga is derived. The character of a mela is so clear
that the shortest section of its ascending or descending notes
reveals the identity of the mela to the listener. Its Hindustani
equivalent is the Thaat.
The melas are seventy-two in number and the thaats are ten in
number. The ragas are formed out of these melas as melodic units
from which ragas are born.
which can be made into a Raga.
e.g. Hari Kamboji and Kharaharapriya.
instrument that uses a membrane to produce a musical sound. A drum
would be a membraphone. It is also called Avanaddha
fret nearest the peg area of the Veena.
with a frequency interval of about 10/9. The interval between the
chatusruthi rishaba and the antara gandhara is a minor tonic.
ragas, which are usually two Ragas
joined together. There are several styles of mixing Ragas.
The Poorvanga of one
raga with the uttaranga of the other is one way of effecting this.
The real test of a mishra raga is in the way the two ragas mesh into
each other. This requires skill and intellect in the musician.
compound of two Talas.
the reference note (Shadja), in order to produce another raga. Also
|The Greek and
ecclesiastical scales. See also Major
|The concluding seal
of a performance sometimes done three times. It is usually done in
rhythmic display. The finish then feels conclusive and final. (This
is so yucky. Can’t this be done better?)
|The scales that
emerge when each successive note of the scale is made the tonic note
and a new set of notes defined from that point. The word is deriving
drorm the root moorcha,
meaning unconsciousness. The change of the Shadja
in emphasising a note gives the mind an oppurtunity to take another
pathway, which changes the feel of the first Raga
that was being performed. This new pathway ends in a new Raga, with
redefined relationships among the notes. When Ragas
are derived from Moorchanas,
the technique is called Moorchana
|A raga from which
|A thin flat iron slip
called the tongue attached to the ring shaped circular metal passing
across the centre of the ring and sticking out just a little. The
instrument is held in the mouth and struch with the forefinger which
makes the metal tongue vibrate, making the mouth act as a resonator.
This instrument is used to play Laya
sequences along with the Mridangam.
can be made to appropriate the scale of the singer by using a little
wax at the tip of the tongue. See also Jew’s
two-faced drum, used as percussion in Carnatic music, and played
horizontally with the two hands by laying it on the lap. Mridangam
literally means ‘made of clay’. It is actually made out of a
scooped out single block of wood, usually from the Neem
tree or Jack or Coconut.
A smooth paste of rice flour and water is used on the left side to
dampen the two skin tympani (See Mavu).
A mixture of rice paste and iron filings is permanently loaded on
the right drumhead. The Mridangam
can be made to sound like a human voice, with a rich tone and
timbre. This makes its use as an accompanying percussion instrument
signature used by the composer as part of the lyrics of a Kriti.
Usually, the Mudra
identifies the name of the composer, but one other use of the
signature is the imaginative incorporation of the Raga
name into the composition.
wind instrument, like a small Nagaswaram.