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Musical Forms in Sangitaratnakara

N Ramanathan (Author)
Synopsis The present work is not intended to be an exhaustive study of Sangitaratnakara.  It was envisaged as an inquiry into one part of that treatise, namely, the delineation of Gita in it.  However, in my attempt to define the field of study, I have had to get a picture of the entire work.  Sangitaratnakara, my study revealed, has been conceived as a treatise on Sangita.  The term 'Sangita' as defined by its author, Sarngadeva, comprehends Gita, Vadya and Nrtta.  My enquiry into the nature of sangita led me to the conclusion that singita signified a performance in which gita, vadya and nrtta were combined.  While performances of this nature which are described by Bharata in the Natyasastra are termed Marga by ourauthor, the performances which did not conform to such strict rules and which catered to the tastes of people of different lands are termed Desi.  And from Sarangadeva's treatment of the three elements of this sangita, it becomes clear that he wished to confine himself to the delineation of desi.  On this subject, Sangitaratnakara is a very important treatise, for there are very few works available from the period earlier to the writing of this treatise which describe desi.  Brhaddesi, in which all the three aspects of desi appear to have been dealt with, is not available in its complete form.  From two other works, Somesvara's Manasollasa, and Nanyadeva's Bharatabhasya (Sarasvatihrdayalankarahara), some information can be gathered about desi.  But Sangitaratnakara is the only available work in which the unified nature of sangita is clearly perceptible.  Sangita appears to have been a performance dominated by gita.  Theword gita can beroughly translated as melodic music.  Sarngadeva emphasizes the primacyof gita both inj sangita and in the scheme of his work.  In the very first verse of the work he salutes gita and eulogises it.  And while vadyaand nrtta interest him onlyas elements of sangita, he concerns himself with the entire field of gita, and not merely the gita component of sangita.
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About the author

N Ramanathan

Born in 1946, N. Ramanathan received the Bachelor of Music Degree from the Sri Venkateswara University, with Violin as the main practical subject.  He joined the Banaras Hindu University and studied at the Department of Musicology in the faculty of Performing Arts.  He received the Degree of Master of Music in Musicology and continued in the same Department to receive the Ph.D Degree.  He is at present Professor & Head of the Department of Indian Music at the University of Madras.  He is also the Chairperson of the School of Fine and Performing Arts of the University of Madras.  Involved in teaching and research guidance, he has presented papers in seminars in India and abroad and has contributed articles to journals.  A book "Essays on Tala and Laya" containing a collection of his articles has also been published.  He has been associated with a number of research projects.  He is a performer of South Indian Art Music on the violin and used to perform over the All India Radio and Doordarshan (Television).

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Bibliographic information

Title Musical Forms in Sangitaratnakara
Author N Ramanathan
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.1999
Edition 1st ed.
Publisher Sampradaya
Language: English
length xvi+547p.; Tables; Bibliography; Index; 25cm.