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The Principle of Gati and Nadai (Illustration With Concept of Space and Time and Dance Movements)

The Principle of Gati and Nadai (Illustration With Concept of Space and Time and Dance Movements)
Item Code: NAN049
Author: Audanoor P. Haridoss
Publisher: The Karnatic Music Book Centre, Chennai
Language: English
Edition: 2003
Pages: 48 (5 B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 8.5 inch x 5.5 inch
weight of the book: 60 gms
About the Author

Hails from a family of profound interest in music. With higher academic qualifications in the faculties of science, Arts and Fine Arts, gained knowledge from his Guru in several possible angles relating to the intricacies of Mridanga Naadam, Dance Adavu Patterns, Nattuvangam and Konnakol. Also proficient in the art of playing violin.

With his research works on musical instruments, invented a new instrument named “Mridanga-Veena” a sruti-swara-laya vaadyam, meant for playing solo with simultaneous rhythmical melody resembling Mridanga Naadam, Muharsing, Conch, Thabla etc., and for bringing out several instrumental effect. Innovated the arts of playing Talatharangam for easy paly and excels in this faculty.

The audio cassette on “Velum Mayilum” with Tamil songs on Lord Muruga sing by Smt. Sowmiya released by INRECO is a proof for his excellence on his music direction. Being an eminent exponent in the art of doing Nattuvangam, specialized in formulating Jati patterns and rendering konnakol.

Also good at writing Lyrics i.e. Tamil padams, sabdom, varnam and other dance items. His interest in music in general knew no bounds.


Bharatha Natya or the Pure Dance Form as narrated in the “Naatya Sastra”, is the fifth Veda which has been created and formulated for the ordinary layman for his pleasure and final realization of the ultimate. As per the writings of Havelock Ellis”. Dancing is the loftiest, the most moving, the most beautiful of the arts, because it is no mere translation or abstraction from life, it is life itself”. Dancing becomes loftiest and most moving only when the movements are pure and specific with reference to the musical melody and rhythmical sound occurrences.

The beauty of the dance as a whole (inclusive of proper structure), the graceful presentation of the Adavus with reference to the musical melodies and the rhythmic time measures coming out in the forms of Jati patterns and suitable sound accents emanating from the Mridangam- everything plays important roll in captivating the minds of the listeners in the auditorium. But the graceful dancing movements and the various sound patterns relating the movements become the object of sense perception i.e. when dancing is seen by eyes, the musical combinations are heard and both are simultaneous. If we carefully analyses the relationship between the dance movements and the sound variations, we will be able to find out the truth that really causes real identity of the absolute which is immanent in all the phenomena. Further, unlike the worldly occurrences and incidences, the related occurrences in a Dance performance are pure, orderly and systematically rhythmic. Hence dance is considered to be divine in all respects. Purity is an aspect of divinity.

The inter-related relationship of the dance movements and the sound patterns are mainly caused by the co-related time based spatial movements seen by the audience and the fundamental orderly measures of unit time phenomenally reckoned as Thaala (The fundamental time measure) and the minute time accents brought out in different types which are constantly heard in the line of illustrating the movements in all possible angles. By this type of illustrations (by sound interpretations only); all the dance movements become time based making the diminished unit spaces represented by the movements rhythmical. The rhythmical space movements seen successively on the stage with related sound vibrations gradually make the listeners to come into the line with what is presented and the proper and pure sound occurrences lull their minds and make them united in a state of pure identity of the absolute Space and Time. Our thoughts and other distractions in this juncture, become fully vanished from our minds.

The question of Gati- Nadai comes only in understanding the said relationship between the dance movements and the time measures. The fundamental Thaala measure reckoned in a phenomenal way is the basis for all the occurrences in a dance performance or in any musical combinations, for uniformity , orderliness and regularity. Basing on this phenomental time measures only other imaginative excellence in rendering compositions, jati patterns and combination of dance Adavus are built up and brought out. The accompaniment, very particularly on percussion instrument in turn initially makes the concerned artiste to identify easily the non phenomental minute uniform time measures that controls each and every and combination of dance Adavus are built up and brought out. The accompaniment, very particularly on percussion instrument in turn initially makes the concerned artiste to identify easily the non-phenomenal minute uniform time measures that controls each and every part of the composition or Sahitya and that of the Jati patterns rendered by Konnakol or brought out by dance steps/adavus. These time measures are subtle and will represent only the interim speed of each beat or count of a Thaala and this is inherent and hidden in the Sahitya or Jati pattern itself. Further these minute time measures cannot be visual but can only be sounded by uniform accents. The speed of every accent can be varied in a desired way without obstructing the flow of the original composition but in a way of beautifying the pattern and facilitating the exposition of the artiste concerned. But the interim speed remains the same however be the variations in bringing out the rhythmic sound accents.

The underlying rhythmic motion, which is felt only by the artiste rendering the composition or jati patterns have to be exposed vividly so that others, particularly the common or laymen witnessing the programme may divert their minds to the particular exposition i.e. the inner speed should be established among the listeners and this is possible only be the sound accents played and brought out from suitable percussion instrument, very particularly the Mridangam. Other percussion varieties are not rich in rhythmical sound melodies.


What is “Gati”? what is “Nadai”? What is the related difference between them? These are the mind stirring questions among the leading musicians and dancers/Gurus. Still these questions are not answered by anybody in a way of proper understanding. Out of necessity this book is written with suitable illustrations so that all musicians and dancers may easily understand the related differences between ‘Gati’ and ‘Nadai’. Both ‘GATI’ (a Sanskrit word) and ‘NADAI’ (a tamil word) represent only a movement in rhythmical order.

It is generally said that there are about 64 varieties of Indian Fine arts. Among these verities, one can learn only one of the varieties, understood and excell by his imaginative skill. These fine arts are said to be the creation of God for the self satisfaction and pleasure of human beings. Each one of these fine arts gives importance to only one aspect i.e. one may be very significant only in text or the Sahitya, another may be noted for music only etc., There is only one-sided action and related occurrence in these varieties. The nature and quality of each is very distinctive from that of others without any resemblances.

Some may develop their skill in some varieties by their sincere attempts, efforts and practices and regulate their imaginative presentation in the presence of others in any one of the fields of their specialization. Unlike the other fine art varities, the art of dancing is very special, unique and appreciable in all respects for the simple reason that it comprises of almost all the forms and involves movements in all sides, changing the places wherever necessary according to the nature of gestures (abhinaya) and adavus/steps etc. Further is also combines the qualities of other fine arts in a way to please the audience. Hence the art of dancing is considered as the finest of all the other forms. The following lines of ‘Naatya Sasta’ signifies the same’:

“Sarva Saas Thraani silpaani Karmaani
vivithaani sa asmin naatya
samethaani thasmaaddhe than mayaa krutham”

The usefulness of the art of dancing is explained in many ways by several other writers and vetarans in this art. Mainly it helps for maintaining good health; developing good culture; inculcates the habit of treating others in equal status irrespective of caste and creed. Above all, it helps forgetting everything in a state of pleasant mood and paves the way for self realization. The real truth behind this is something entirely different, not explained in other books by anybody.

The illustrations are mainly based on what has been taught by my Guru Mangudi Sri R. Durairaja Iyer (late ) and the practical experience gained through the art of teaching Mridangam, doing Nattuvaangam and rendering Konnakol. Though the subject is very abstract, it has been made easy with suitable illustrative patterns.

The very purpose of bringing out this book is to explain the real truth in a way of better understanding and make others, particularly the musicians and dancers to know the basic principle of GATI & NADAI.

Chapter I may seem to be irrelevant. But its importance and relevance will be understood on a thorough study of this book. Chapter II contains essential explanations on : Gati’ and Nadai’ and the difference between both . Understanding the said subject by thorough study of this book will definitely help all, interested in the art.


3Chapter - I
Space & Time (The Absolute rhythm) (Modes of perceptions)1 to 12
Some views of western philosophers1-3
Diminution of the absolute3-5
Table No.1 (Diminution of Space- Time)7
Table No.2 (Diminution of rhythmical Time Measures)8
Realisation of the absolute modes9-10
Special feature of Bharata Natyam11-12
4Chapter - II
GATI & NADAI (explained with music terms)
Interpretation of Time measures as Kaala/Thaala pramaana13 to 20
Interpretation of Nadai/Gati with examples21 to 24
Gati- Nadai in brief25 to 27
Important/ Special note27 to 28

Sample Pages

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