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The Krti in Karnatak Music

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Item Code: NAL806
Author: Dr. Lalita Ramakrishna
Publisher: B.R. Publishing Corporation
Language: English
Edition: 2012
ISBN: 9788188827305
Pages: 126 (50 B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 9.5 inch X 7.0 inch
Weight 420 gm
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Book Description
About the Book

This book analyses the Krti-a musical from liked and encouraged by the music loving public in concerts. The sub- title of the book “Krti Sanskrti” – is a reminder that Krti is a flowering of Indian Sanskrti (culture) combining the best in classical ‘music’ and ‘language’ Krti brings together Sanskrti and all the four major South Indian languages. Tamizh tradition has contributed powerful inputs in rhythm, mathematical patterns and rhyme. Scenes from mythology and the nama (names of the divine) are cultural archetypes. A krti is enjoyed for its raga and equally for the profound feeling suggested by its words.

The essential features of a Krti are enumerated in this book. ‘Tala’ in Krtis enables a raga to survive in a package (nibaddha) for posterity. Krti makes ragas accessible even to lay people who repeat popular Krtis and imbibe these ragas. Krti gives ample scope to a maestro for creative expression (manodharma) in raga and laya.

This book gives in detail the lives and musical styles of the ‘great composers’ of krtis. The Big Three among them-called the ‘Trinity’ in music, set the Krti on its course.

The Krti tradition is only about 250 years old. The proliferation of this musical form in the last 150 years has been made possible by modern composers and an eager audience.


About the Author

Dr. Lalita Ramakrishna is Director of Research at Tattvaloka (an English monthly on Indian culture Sringeri Mutt, Karnataka). She has done M.Phil (Eng. Lit) and Ph.d in Karnatak Music. She writes for the music journal Naadha Brahman every month.

She has written the following books: 1. The Varnam, 2. Musical Heritage of India, 3. Sampradaya Sangita (Indian classical music tradition),4. Krti in Karnatak Music 5. Time in Samuel Beckett (Eng. Literature) 6. Myth and Reality (Bhagavatam with Inner Meaning)

Puzzle-Story Books: 1. Charm of Ram, 2. Nala Damayanti, 3. Krishna Akarshana, 4. Music Fun (Karnatak Music Quiz), 5. Music Fun-No.2, 6. Puzzle your way through Mythology, 7. Why Nani?, 8. Ram Lila (Card Game), 9. Journey though Ramayana (Board Game)



This book analyses the Krti – one the most significant and enduring forms in Karnatak Music. The sub-title of the book is a reminder that the Krti from is a flowering of Indian samskrti (cultural tradition).

This book is for those who seek to understand the Krti which is central in South Indian music concerts. It explains the purpose and scope of this musical form. The krti from is intensely classical and the words project traditional images and values in a poignant fashion. The krti tradition is a fusion of the best in classical music and in language.

A krti is enjoyed for its raga, bhava (intensity of expression) and its words which are highlighted. We are indebted to our vaggeyakaras (composers) for the krti heritage they have lelf for us. The krti tradition is only about 250 years old, but it has established itself firmly in the field of classical music. Since it is a form liked and encouraged by the music loving public, it enjoys prime place in concerts.

The first chapter looks at the ‘name’ of this musical form. A ‘Krti’ means “that which is made.” It is a name suited to the nature of the krti which is the most flexible among precomposed forms in Karnatak music. It can accommodate changes in the future and would still be a ‘krti’ a readymade musical item, with certain distinct features.

The second chapter looks at the ‘structure’ of a krti in detail. Its essential features and other optional decorative angas (limbs) are enumerated.

The third chapter is a comparison between ‘krti and other musical forms’ in Karanatak music

The fourth chapter inspects ‘raga portrayal’ in krtis. A krti helps in preserving the ‘best features of the rage’ for posterity. It is not preserved like a dead specimen in a bottle, but in a dynamic vital form responding sensitively to changing perceptions in a bottle, but in a dynamic vital form responding sensitively to changing perceptions of each raga. Raga in a krti has to adjust to the requirements of tala and words. It has to express the meaning of the lyric and the mood of the composer.

The fifth chapter is on the ‘languages’ used in krtis. Krti brings together Samskrti and all the four major South Indian languages on one platform. Even Hindi was set in Karnatak rages by Swati Tirunal. Scenes form mythology and the nama (names of the divine) are cultural archetypes. They have the patina of the ancient and make krtis rich with their images.

The sixth chapter looks at ‘tala’ in krtis which performs a crucial role since it enables a raga to survive in a package (nibaddha) for posterity. Tala makes ragas accessible even to the untutored who repeat popular krtis and imbibe these ragas. Tala is a paradox. While it restrains the flow of a performer’s raga expression, It enables him to create endless variations of raga patterns within the boundary of tala.

The seventh chapter is on ‘Manodharma’ (creativity). A krti gives ample scope for creative expression in raga and laya. A krti can also be sufficient unto itself. It sounds beautiful even without creative extemporisation.

The eighth chapter traces ‘the origin’ of this musical form – krti. It highlights the Tamizh tradition which has contributed powerful inputs in rhythm and mathematics; in rhyme and alliteration.

Chapters nine to fourteen highlight the lives and musical styles of the ‘great composers’ of krtis. The Big Three among them – called the ‘Trinity’ in music, set the krti on its course – which is a blend of precomposed and extempore, a blend of the past and the present.

The fifteenth chapter is on the proliferation of the krti made possible by ‘modern composers’ and an eager audience in the last 150 years.

The sixteenth chapter analyses ‘Concert music’ and the importance of the krti in this domain.

The seventeenth chapter analyses aesthetic values of concert music.

Appendix.1 explains the two Systems of Scales and Appendix.2 carries Lists of Group krti. Appendix 3 has two Music Maps. The Glossary provides all the technical terms with diacritical marks and explains their meaning.




  Acknowledgement iii
  Introduction v
  Key to Music Notation and Transliteration viii
Chapter 1. Name and Form 1
Chapter 2. Struture of a Krti 9
Chapter 3. Krti and Other forms 17
Chapter 4. Emotion and Melody (Bhava and Raga) 24
Chapter 5. Language & Lyric (Bhasha - Sahitya) 31
Chapter 6. Free Rhythm and Fixed Rhythm (Laya and Tala) 40
Chapter 7. Creative scope (Manodharma) 48
Chapter 8. Origin of Krti 58
Chapter 9. Uthukadu Venkata-Kavi (1700-1762) 79
Chapter 10. The Trinity 90
Chapter 11. Syama Sastri(1763-1827) 100
Chapter 12. Tyagaraja(1767-1847) 114
Chapter 13. Muthusvami Dikshitar (1776-1835) 134
Chapter 14. Swati Tirunal (1813-1847) 152
Chapter 15. Proliferation of the Krti 161
Chapter 16. Krti in Concerts (Sabha Gana) 179
Chapter 17. Aesthetics of Concert Music 198
  Appendix 1. Asampurna and Sampurna Melas 206
  Appendix 2. Group Compositions-Muthuswami Dikshitar's Krtis 209
  Appendix 3. Musical Maps 212
  Glossary 214
  References 220


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