Krti Samskrti (Krti Tradition in Karnatak Music)

Item Code: NAB821
Author: Lalita Ramakrishna
Publisher: Kalpatharu Research Academy, Bengaluru
Edition: 2006
Pages: 275 (In 29 Color Illustrations)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 9.8 inch X 7.4 inch
Weight 750 gm
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Book Description
Back of the Book

The Kalpatharu Research Academy, Bangalore is an Institution running with the benign blessings of His Holiness Jagadguru Shankaracharya, Sri Sri Sri Bharathi Theertha Mahaswamiji under the auspicious of Dakshinamnaya Sri Sringeri Sharada Peetham, Established in 1981. Kalpatharu Research Academy has stride across the horizon of Indological Research and Publications with giant steps, and today stands as an Institution known for its unique quality of Research work. Kalpatharu Research Academy is dedicated to the cause of preservation of ancient heritage of India; it has encouraged Research in the fields of Agama, Veda, Tantra, Jyoutisha, Mantra Sastra, Vaastu, Yoga, Silpa, and Ayurveda etc.

Among its prestigious publications (numbering more than Hundred till now), are Six Volas. of Pratima-Kosha. Twelve Volas of Agama—Kosha, Three Volas of the Art & Architecture of Indian Temples, Vastu—Silpa—Kosha in three Volas, Devata—rupa—mala in Four Volas and several Koshas like Ganesha-Kosha, Lalita—Kosha and Navagraha—Kosha, Oshadhi-Kosha, Salagrama— Kosha, Gita-Kosha, Hanumat—Kosha, Vanaspathi Kosha etc.

The Academy has plans of undertaking intensive Research in the field of Veda and Vedanga, and intends publishing a Bharatiya Samskriti-Sarvasva—Koshaa an encyclopedic work in several volumes dealing with all aspects of Indian Tradition & Culture. It seeks to promote Education, Culture, and Science, Art and learning in all its branches. The approach will be broad based and multi disciplinary

An extensive, comprehensive and specialist reference library has been built up to assist the Research Workers in the Indological disciplines. A valuable collection of Palm Leaf manuscripts relating to Veda, Vedanta, Vedanga and allied subjects has already been made; the collection work is continuing.

Dakshinamnaya Sri Sringeri Sharada Peetham has been running a Guru-Kula type of Institution on traditional lines to impart Vedic Education at several places. Some of these Institutions are over IOO years old. It is the intention of Kalpatharu Research Academy to take an active part in continuing this age—old tradition and act as the Research & Publication wing for these Institutions. Our ambition is to develop as a National Center for higher learning in Veda, Vedanga and Shastras and facilitate the propagation of unique Sanskrit and Vedic texts in the National and International arena.

This Publication is the 119 “of its achievement in this field.


We are extremely happy to present this great work Kriti Sampradaya which highlights the Bhakti and intense feelings of great kriti composers. The author describes the varied approaches to the divine in the kritis of these inspired bhakthas.

We thank Smt. Dr. Lalita Ramakrishna for taking—up this great research work for us. She has a Doctorate in Indian Classical Music from Delhi University and a M.phil in English from C.I.E.E.L. Hyderabad.

We are grateful to the revered His Holiness Sri Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji, Jagadguru of Sringeri Sharada Peetham, who as the chief patron of the Academy showers his blessings on us. We are also grateful to Shri V.R. Gowrishankar Administrator of the Sringeri Sharada Peetham and chairman of the Academy.

We are also beholden to the generous Financial Assistance from the Ministry of Human Resources Development, Department of Education, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and Dept. of Education, Govt. of Karnataka, Bangalore.

We thank the Omkar Offset Printers who have produced this volume neatly and expeditiously.


This book analyses one of the most significant and enduring forms in Karnatak Music.

The title of the book is a reminder that the Krti is a flowering of our samskrti (cultural tradition). The krti is deeply spiritual and the words in krtis project the images and values of our culture in a poignant fashion. The krti tradition is only about 250 years old, but it has established itself firmly in the field of classical music. The krti enjoys prime place in concerts, because it is a form liked and encouraged by the music loving public.

The first chapter looks at the ‘name’ of this musical form. A ‘Krti’ means "that which is made". It is a flexible 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 ‘kriti’ — 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 the krti and other musical forms in Karnatak music. Raga portrayal in krtis comes in the next chapter. A krti helps in preserving the best features of a raga for posterity. Raga is not preserved like a specimen in a bottle but in a dynamic vital form. Raga has to adjust to the requirements of tala and words, and bring out the meaning of the lyric.

The fifth chapter is on the languages used in krtis. Krti brings together Samskrit and all the four major South Indian languages on one platform. Even Hindi was set in Karnatak ragas for krtis by Swati Tirunal.

Scenes from 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.

Chapter six looks at Tala in krtis which enables them to live for posterity. Tala make ragas accessible even to the untutored who repeat the 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 origins of the krti are traced in chapter eight. The Tamizh tradition was strong in rhythm and mathematics and in rhyme and alliteration. The next five chapters highlight the special features 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 14th chapter is on the proliferation of the krti made possible by our modern composers and an eager audience in the last two hundred years. Concert music and the importance of the krti in this domain is an important area that is analysed in the final chapter.

The Appendix carries explanations on various forms of the Divine, since these are necessary for a proper understanding of the lyrics in krtis.


Preface VII
Acknowledgements IX
Introduction XI
Pronunciation XIV
Key for Notation XIV
Ch 1 Nama Rupa (Name and Form) 1
Ch 2 Nirmana (Structure) 13
Ch 3 Anya rupaka (Krti & Other forms) 25
Ch 4 Bhava Raga (Intensity & Melody)38
Ch 5 Sahitya Bhasha (Lyric & Language) 48
Ch 6 Tala Laya (Fixed & Free Rhythms) 61
Ch 7 Manodharma (Creative scope)72
Ch 8 Utpatti (Origin) 86
Ch 9 Uthukadu Venkatasubbier 110
Ch 10 Tyagaraja 122
Ch 11 Muthuswami Dikshitar 146
Ch 12 Syama Sastri 180
Ch 13 Svati Tirunal 197
Ch 14 Pravrtti (Proliferation) 204
Ch 15 Sabha Gana (Concert music) 225
Anubandha (Appendix) – 1. Rama and Krishna 243
2. Forms of Devi 245
3. Siva 247
Artha kosha (Glossary) 251
References 263
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