Carnatic Music Dictionary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 

A

aadhaara shadja

The basic key note or the basic swara, the fundamental musical note up on which a raga or a particular combination of swara is built.

aadi swaras

The most ancient swaras known in the indian music. the swaras are udaatta, anudaatta and svarita of the vedic hymns. panini refers to these 3 notes as the aadi swaras.

aalaapana

The richest part of music where a musician reveals his musical capabilities. This section elaborates a raga through improvisation in such a way that raga's form and spirit are revealed, while observing all the laws that govern the raga. In Hindustani music, the word used is alap. There are changes in the treatment as well in Hindustani

aasthana vidwan

A musician in charge of a court or a state / court musician.

abhyaasa

Constant practice of music, practice a raga so that its Also called saadhana

achala swaras

These are notes / swaras that do not have varieties. These notes do not have sharps or flats.

achyuta shadja

The tonic note - shadja. the chyuta shadja is slightly lower in frequency when compared to the tonic shadja.

Akaara saadhakam

Training in music using the intonation, aa. It often serves as the basic vocal exercises in indian music (south Indian & North Indian). In this mode name of swaras like sa , ri, ga etc.. are not pronounced instead singing is done using the sound ‘aaa..'

aksharakaala

This is a unit of time in music. Mostly used to connote taala in music. It is relative and not an absolute measure.

alankaara

These are scale exercises that shows the seven principal talas and their varients

alap

the introductory, non-metrical part of a performance in which the raga is slowly and systematically unfolded; it elaborates the musical ideas on the melodic axis, in a Raga. Carnatic Aalaapana.

anakshara aalaapana

Also see Akaara Saadhakam . This is the aalaapana, when no words, syllables or mnemonics are used.

anuloma

A term to signify the singing or performing a theme in three degrees of speed, while keeping the basic tala constant. the kriti is thus first sung once at its basic speed, then twice at double its speed and at double that or four times the basic speed in the third stage.

anupallavi

The second section of a kriti, keerthana, varna , padam in carnatic music.

anuvadi

All ragas have two key or most important swaras called vadi & samvadi, while the other swaras are neither. These are called anuvadi swaras.

apaswara

a swara having a pitch with poor qualities. It is further explained as a note off-key. An improperly made note

archika

Means singing to one single note. Vedic hymns use this methods

arohana

Arohana is the ascending sequence of a series of notes based on pitch. In Hindustani aroha

ashtakam

A song consisting of eight sections and each section being sung to the same music.

ashtapadi

Is the poetry and composition by jayadeva in the gita govindam consisting of 26 ashtapadis. ( eight verses).

avarohana

Is the descending scale of notes of a raga. In Hindustani avaroha.

B

bani

the characteristic style of singing or performing associated with a particular school, singer or performer. This is applicable to instrumental performance and vocal performance as well.

bhaava

Is the emotional aspect that is displayed as part of achieving perfection while rendering a raga, without which a raga is a mere scale.

bhagavata mela

Is a form of devotional dance and song performances in the presence of temple deities during the temple festivals.

bhagavatar

The name given to performers of kathakalakshepam or religious discourses to the accompaniment of music. Usually used as a synonym to a traditional singer

bhajan

Hindu devotional poem set to music

bhakthi rasa

The feeling of devotion to God

C

chakra

The chakra is the basic unit around which the 72 melakarta raagas are arranged. There are 12 chakras or sections, with each chakra comprising within it 6 mela ragas.

charanam

Charanam is the third part (in most case, the concluding part) of any composition or kriti in the carnatic music tradition.

chaturbhaaga

Is a unit of time equal in duration to half of an anudrutam.

chaturdandi

The most ancient swaras which known in the indian music. The swaras are udaatta, anudaatta and svarita of the vedic hymns. panini refers to these 3 notes as the aadi swaras.

chaturdasa murchchanas

Are the 14 murchchanas or scales that are born out of what is known as grama bheda.

chaturdhatu prabandha

Is a musical form which had all the 4 dhatus or sections - udgraha, melapaba, dhruva and abhoga.

chaturtha jati

Is a kind of taan which uses four notes in a single cluster as it moves.

chaturtha kala

Fourth degree of speed as far as taala is concerned.

chaturtha raga vardhani

The fourth stage of the main part or the body of a raga aalaapana. murchchana prastara or sanchaara in quick tempo is the main feature of this fourth part of the aalaapana.

chaturtha vidari

The concluding part of that section of the raga aalaapana known as chaturtha raga vardhani.

chatushpadi

Devotional music, consisting of four padas.

chauka kaalam

Slow tempo. a chauka kaala kriti is one in slow speed.

chaukam

The style of singing raga aalaapana in slow tempo.

chitta swara

Are a series of set swaras - geometires usually sung after the anupallavi and the charanam in a composition.

D

dasavidha gamaka

Are 10 kinds of gamakas - avaroha, dhalu, sphuritha, kampitha, ahata, pratyahatha, tripuchcha, andola, murchchana.

datu prayoga

A musical phrase containing datu swaras. a raga admits of only those datu swara prayogas which reveal and establish its melodic individuality.

datu swara

A note removed from another note by some steps.

datu swara varisai

swara exercises involving datu swaras. the practice of these exercises develops swarajnanam.

dhatu

The technical term signifying the music of a composition as distinguished from the term 'maatu', which signifies the sahitya of the composition..

dheergha(long)

a long note lasting atleast two units of time as opposed to a swara which lasts only one unit beat of time.

dhruva

A kind of musical composition referred to by bharatha in his natya sastra, used in dramas.

dhurita kaalam

quick tempo.

dhvani

literally, means sound.

dindi

a marathi musical form sung in kathakalakshepams.

divya prabandham

the 4000 verses of slokas composed by vaishnava saints in tamil.

divyanaama kirtana

literally, a song containing the names of the lord & his praises and intended for being sung in bhajans.

divyanaama sankirtanam

practice of divyanaama kirtanaas.

drisya gaanam

singing from sight. musical passages given in notation.

dvaadasa mudra

the 12 kinds of mudras figuring in musical compositions. mudras are names introduced into the sahitya of a musical composition to signify facts like its composer, raga, tala, type, etc.,

dvidhatu prabhanda

a musical composition which has 2 sections; udgraaha nd dhruva. jayadeva's ashtapadi are examples.

dvimudrakaara

a composer who has used two kinds of mudras in his compositions.

dvitiya ragavardhani

the second section of the main part of the body of the raga aalaapana. the sanchaaras in this section are confined to the madhya sthayi, with occasssional flights in the other octaves. the sanchaaras in this section in particular reveal the individuality, creative talents and imaginative skill of the performer.

E

ekakaala

one of the 10 elements of musical time; wherein for each taala akshara or count, there is only one kaala.

ekamudrakaara

a composer who has used only one type of vaggeyakaara mudra in his compositions.

erra jaaru

ascending glide.

G

gaana gita

compositions which are the contribution of composers as opposed to folk songs or songs of unknown authorship.

gaana krama

is the style of singing various movements in a composition. the gitam 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.

gaana sastra

the science of music.

gamak / gamaka

any ornament; more specifically referred to as a heavy shake on a single tone; A tonal embellishment, a grace. A note with a touch of the preceding or the succeeding note. It gives a vibratory effect.

gamaka swara

a graced note, the opposite of suddha swara or plainly uttered note.

gamana gita

a march tune.

gandharva gitaa

the music that developed spontaneously (gandharva- heavenly singers mentioned frequently in the indian puranas and mythologies).

ghana raaga

a raga whose melodic individuality is easily revealed through tana style of exposition. nata, gaula, arabhi, varali and sri are examples.

gitam

a musical composition learnt by students after a course in the preliminary swara exercises and alankaaras..

H

hasya rasa

one of the nava rasas - the rasa of mirth or laughter.

hunkaara

a vareity of sanchari alankaara.

J

janaka raaga

literally, a parent raaga. Also called melakartha.

janaka-janya paddhati

the system of classification of raagas into parent raagas and derivative raagas.

janta swara

double notes.

janya raaga

a raaga born or derived from a janaka or parent raaga.

jathi swaram

a composition with the divisions pallavi, anupallavi and charanam but without a sahitya.

javali

a song of an romatic nature.

jiva swara

the life note of a raaga. it is also called raaga chhaya swara.

K

kaaku

a song of an erotic nature.

kaavadi chindu

a type of tamil folk song.

kachcheri

the popular term for a music concert.

kalakshepam

a discourse on a sacred theme to the accompaniment of music.

kampam

a type of gamaka.

kampita swara

the note which is rendered with a shake.

keerthana

a simpler form of musical composition. words are given more importance than the musical content.

komal

'soft'; flat, a note lowered by a semitone

krama

regular (as opposed to vakra).

krama sanchaara

phrases which confirm to the arohana-avarohana gati of the raga.

kriti

said to have evolved from the keerthana where the musical value is higher than the keerthana. it is more technical than keerthana.

L

lakshana

the science or grammar with respect to raaga, taala or musical form.

lakshana gita

is concerned with the enumeration of the lakshana of the raaga in the sahitya.

lakshya gita

a geetham that is simple in tune and other technical aspects. it is usually meant for beginners. this is an exercise for beginners to correlate sahitya to swara passages and sing.

laya

rhythm or tempo; The tempo is regulated. The duration of rest between two strokes of 'matra' is laya.

M

madakku

repetition of a word or a line in a musical composition, each time with a different meaning.

madhyama kaala

medium speed or moderate tempo.

mandalam

a group or collection.

mangalam

a song of salutation, sacred that is sung at the end of a performance.

manodharma sangita

creative music.

marga

'path, way'; the ancient musical system

melakarta

a parent scale from which many janya raagas are derived. Also called janaka.

mishra

Mixed. When a raga is mixed with another or more of other ragas it is called a Mishra raga.

muktaayi

the final or the concluding part of a raaga aalaapana.

murchchana

one of the ten gamakas.

N

nadopaasaka

one who meditates on absolute music or nada.

nama sankirtanam

sacred music involving the repeated recital of god's name.

namita

one of the gamakas - singing a part of raaga aalaapana in a slender tone.

natya gaana

music used in dances.

navagraha kirtanas

songs on planets for the seven days of the week.

navarasas

the nine kinds of feelings or emotions.

navaratri kirtanas

nine kirtanas composed, intended for singing during the navarathri festival.

navavarna kirtanas

the 9 compositions composed by muthuswamy dikshitar on kamalamba (tiruvarur temple)

naya

soft

nirgit

a composition without words. eg., jatiswaram.

nokku

one of the 15 classical gamakas.

P

pallavi

the opening part of a kirtana.

prayoga

a technique of expression in raaga.

putra

'son'; offspring of a raga and ragini, used in old raga classification systems

R

ragamala

'garland of ragas'; a set of paintings depicting the raga- ragini images described in dhyanas; also an old genre

rasa

a pervading emotional flavour or aesthetic sentiment; Aesthetic content or emotional appeal.

rasika

a music lover.

S

sampoornajati

a raaga that has all the seven notes.

sanchaara

exploration of the terrain of a raaga (with a particular gait, geometry, progression).

sangeeth

music

shishya

disciple.

shruti

intonation; the twenty-two divisions of the ancient Indian octave; microtone; In Sanskrit, 'Shruti' means that which is heard. Shruti is a microtonal interval less than a semitone and is determined chiefly through a fine auditory sensibility.

swara bheda

a technique of modal shift of the tonic note.

swara prasthaara

an exercise of phrases of notes in various rhythms and layas.

T

tala

'time measurement'; the rhythmic/metric system; a metric type

tillaana

See tarana

V

vaadi

the sonant or strongest note which has a consonant relatiofiship of a perfect fourth or fifth with the samvadi ; Dominant note of a raga.

vaadya

any musical instrument.

vaggeyakaara

a composer of music.

vakra

'crooked'; referring to a scale or pattern that follows a curved, zigzag path

veena / vina

any stringed instrument

vistar

extension, expansion'; Elaboration and lmpmvisation upon the notes, for development of melodic ideas in music ; see badhat

vivadi swara

a swara which is dissonant to the scale of a raaga.

vrinda gaana

choral singing

 

 

 

 

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