In our country we are familiar with a large number of devotional notes whose outpourings are
part of our music heritage and some of them have an imported place in the history of our
music and the evolution of musical forms. And it is difficult to draw the line between these
devotional poets and the composers who form the subject of this volume.
The galaxy of composers in this volume includes Javadeva of Gita Govinda fame Annamcharya
who shares with Purandaradasa the honour of being the Pitamaha of Kamataka music Kshetrajna
a specialist in Mudhura bhakti Tyagaraja Muthuswami Dikshitar and Syame Sastri the trinity
of Karnataka music Maharaja Svati Tirunal the royal composer from Travancore and Gopal
Krishna Bharati who has been won immortal fame by his composition on Nanda the untochable.
Amir khusrau who is a product of the blend of who cultures Haridas and Tansen the pioneers
of the highest Hindustani music Dhrupad these three are outstanding names in the history of
Hindustani music. Haridas was a saint-singer who sang only of God and for God only.
Two large volumes in this series have been devoted to saints and mystics. The outpourings of
most of them are part of our history of our music and the evolution of the musical forms. It
is difficult to draw the line between them and those who figure in the present Volume
entitled Composers. All that could be said in support of this division is that those dealt
with here are more especially composers and their contributes form the mainstay
high-watermark of classical concert -music.
jayadeva leads the whole galaxy. All the music compositions before the Gita-govinda are to
be seen only in the music treatises lessly by later poets and composers. It is also the
fountainhead of dance and dance-drama and of the sampradaya of Mudhura bhakti. With
purandaradasa Annamacharya shares the honour of being the Pitamaha of Karnataka music his
compositions which had not gained the vogue that their quantity and quality entitle them to
gave the shape to the Kirtana which forms the major song-form of Karnataka music. His
creations include the theme of Mudhura-bhakti but it was Kshetrajna who specialized in it.
An equally prolific composer, Kshetrajna was a master of the rhetoric of love and the
analysis of all the possible types of Nayika and nayaka as developed in the Alankara and
Natya Sastras and he composed a Pada for everyone of this infinite variety. His Padas are
still sung and in dance their abhinaya forms the acme of excellence of bhava.
Tyagaraja Muthuswami Dikshitar and Syama Sastri form a class by themselves. In their
compositions the Kirtana of Kriti form attained its perfection. Raga and Tala with scope for
variations along with Bhava go here to make an artistic whole which raises the Kriti above
the recitative devotional composition. These three are venerated as the Trinity of Karnataka
music and the repertoire of south Indian concerts is dominated by their creations.
Although Tanjavur and Trivandrum are far from each other music and dance brought them close
during the time of the Royal Composer and patron Maharaja Svati Tirunal whose varied
compositions include Kritis varnass Padas pieces for dance, Karnataka and Hindusthani modes
and long-story compositions for Harikatha.
Gopalakrishna Bharati represents the Tamil composers of this time. He immortalized himself
by the long-story composition on Nanda the Parish devotee to Lord Nataraja in which he
inlaid the symbolism of the fallen human self yearning for the supreme self. Bharata Natya
recitals without his song on the dance of Nataraja Natanam adinar in Raga Vasanta and his
Varugalamo, in which the pariah-bhakta begs whether he would approach the Lord's presence is
one of two most moving in Raga Manji.
Three outstanding names in the history of Hindusthani music are Amir Khusrau Tansen and
Swami Haridas. The first is usually considered to be responsible for the Persian influences
in North Indian Music Ragas song forms and instrument. A poet and an ardent admirer of the
ancient art of Indian music he was a product of the blend of the two cultures. The other two
were primarily musicians pioneers of the highest form of north Indian music the Dhrupad.
Haridas came in the regular line of the Saint-singers who shunned the courts and patrons and
sang only of God and for God only.
The writers on these composers in this Volume are those who have made a special study of the
subject of their articles. As regards the lives of such celebrated and venerated figures
only in some cases we do have reliable biographical details; for the rest the authentic
picture of their historical personality gets into a maze of myths and anecdotes. But these
as handed down by tradition are not to be ignored but understood for they represent the
image that these great artists had created in the minds of the people and the value that the
people saw in their lives and contributions.
Ramakrishna Vedanta Math Calcutta
P. V. Rajamannar
Retired Chief Justice of Madras High Court Madras.
Lecturer in English Sri Venkateswara University Tirupati.
Retired Professor of Sanskrit University of Madras Madras
S. Venkitasubramoni Aiyar Sanskrit Department University of Kerala Trivandrum
(The Late) P. Sambamurit
Retired Professor of music university of madras, madras
T.L. Venkatarama Iyer
Retired Judge Federal Court of India Madras.
Chaitanya P. Deasai
Research Officer University Of music Khairagarh, M.P.
K.C.D. Brahaspati Chief Adviser music All India Radio New Delhi.
Mudikondan Venkatarama Iyer Principal Teachers Collage of Music, music Academy Madras.
Dr. B.C. Deva
Assistant secretary (music) Sangeet Natak Akademi New Delhi.
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