Carnatic Music or Carnatic Sangeet is the classical music of South India. Carnatic music has a rich history and tradition and he is one of the jewels of world music. The Carnatic Sangeet has developed in the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka in Southern India.
These states are known for their strong representation of Dravidian culture. Prandardus (1480-1564) is considered the father of Carnatic music. He is credited with codifying the method of Carnatic music. He is also said to have created thousands of songs. Another great name of his associated with Carnatic music is Venkat Mukhiswami. He is considered a great theorist of Carnatic music.
He also developed a system for classifying South Indian ragas, ‘Melangara’. In the eighteenth century, Carnatic music took on its present form. This was the time when the “Trinity” of Carnatic music was born. Thiyagaraja, Shamashastri and Muthuswami Dikshitar have compiled famous works.
Many other musicians and composers also enriched the Carnatic musical tradition. Other notable representatives of Carnatic music include Papanatham Sivan, Gopala Krishna Bharati, Swati Tirunal, Mysore Vasudevachar, Narayan Tirtha, Utkadu Venkatasubair, Arunagiri Nathar, Annamacha. There are rears, etc.
Carnatic music is primarily vocal-centric, although it also includes instrumental music. The main emphasis of the music is on melody (raga) and rhythm (tala), with intricate improvisations and variations being a significant aspect of the performance.
The compositions in Carnatic music are usually devotional in nature and are typically sung in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, or Sanskrit. The compositions are classified into two main categories: kriti and varnam. Kritis are longer compositions, usually set to a specific tala, while varnams are shorter and often serve as an exercise in mastering the various aspects of the raga.
The performance of Carnatic music usually involves a lead vocalist accompanied by one or more musicians playing instruments such as the violin, mridangam (a percussion instrument), and the veena (a plucked stringed instrument).
Carnatic music has a rich history and has been passed down through generations of musicians. Today, it is taught and performed both in India and around the world, and continues to be an important part of Indian classical music.
Carnatic music has a very highly developed theory system. It is based upon a complex system of Ragam (Raga) and Thalam (Tala). Raga is basically the scale and the seven notes of this scale are Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha and Ni. Though unlike a simple scale there are definite melodic restrictions and compulsions. The Ragams are classified into various modes. These modes are referred to as mela, which are 72 in number. The Tala (thalam) is the rhythmic foundation of the Carnatic music.
There are a number of sections to the Carnatic performance. Varanam is a composition usually played at the beginning of a recital. It literally means a description. Varanam is made of two parts- the Purvanga or the first half and the Uttaranga or the second half. The kritis are fixed compositions in the rag. They are very specific to the composer and don’t leave much room for variation.
Arapana offers the audience an opportunity to develop the ragam while leaving great room for creativity for the artist. Ragam is a free melody improvisation performed without the accompaniment of mridangam. Tanam is another of his styles of free rhythm melodic improvisation. Pallavi is a pre-configured short melodic theme with words based on the Tala Cycle.