Monday, 23 July 2012

Trinity of Carnatic music

Dikshithar, Tyagaraja and Syama Sastri

The trinity of Carnatic music - comprising of Tyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshithar and Syama Sastri - were a group of saint-composers who have influenced and shaped Carnatic music in a way no others have. The quality and grandeur of their compositions remains unparalleled to this day. My purpose in the next series of blogs would be to analyze and compare their compositions in various aspects such as:
  • Choice of ragas
  • Range of talas employed
  • Language of the compositions (sAhitya)
  • Deities extolled, philosophical inclinations (Dvaita vs Advaita)
  • Complexity: how difficult is it to learn and appreciate their compositions
  • Usage of mudras (tyAgarAja, guruguha and syAmakRishNa)

Tyagaraja was the most prolific composer among the three; in the sense that the number of compositions attributed to Tyagaraja is more than Dikshithar or Syama Sastri.  He is said to have composed over 24000 songs under various genres, of which around 700 have survived today - thanks to his shishya parampara. This is in contrast to 300-400 of Dikshithar and around 80 of Syama Sastri. 

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