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NOTTU SWARAS by MUTHUSWAMY DIKSHITAR

2:13 PM Posted by Vijayasri


NOTTU SWARAS :
'NOTTU SWARAS' are group of krithis with a unified theme composed by Muthuswamy Dikshitar which follow the styles of both Indian and western and at the same time it is neither completely Indian nor completely western.
It is unique and special. This genre of music represents a unique dimension of creativity and is also a pointer to the relatively unknown aspect of the cultural interaction between the East and the West in the 1800s.

Muthuswami Dikshitar (1775-1834 A.D.) is regarded as one of the greatest composers of the South Indian classical (Carnatic) music system. The nottuswara sahityas are thus a body of compositions based on western original melodies (largely of Irish/Scottish origin) and Sanskrit text.

Dikshitar lived during the rule of the British East India Company. Along with the British, various forms of music from the European music repertoire arrived in India. Amongst these were the British National Anthem and other marches, waltzes, Celtic jigs and reels, polkas and more.
When Muthusvami Dikshitar lived in Manali near Chennai, he came in contact with the bands of the British East India company and the music played by them.

Dikshitar wrote lyrics in Sanskrit to many of the Western melodies that he came in contact with. Thus was born a new genre of music, known as nottuswara sahitya. This new genre of music is both Indian and western and at the same time it is neither completely Indian nor completely western. It is unique and special. This genre of music represents a unique dimension of creativity and is also a pointer to the relatively unknown aspect of the cultural interaction between the East and the West in the 1800s.

The nottuswara sahityas are thus a body of compositions based on western original melodies (largely of Irish/Scottish origin) and Sanskrit text. These compositions are totally Indian from the standpoint of the stotra literature-based lyrics that constitute their body although the melody is devoid of characteristic Indian ornamentation.

Birth of Nottu Swara Sahityam (Western Melody)

Dikshitar had occasion to listen to Western Music when he came in contact with officials of the East India Company and their English Musical band. His younger brother, Baluswami Dikshitar, who was initiated to learn European violin by the patron Manali Chinnaswami Mudaliar, introduced the violin into Carnatic music.
With this influence, Dikshitar composed many kriti-s under the classification of Nottu Svara Sahitya-s, all in the raga sankarabharanam in different tala structures. All of these are extremely melodious, and some of them resemble Western tunes.
For example, the kriti "santatam pahi mam sangita shyamale" is a Marching Song, which can be sung in a chorus, to the tune of "God save the King"!
The following is a complete list of kriti-s in this group (note that since all of these songs are in raaga sankarabharanam, I have provided the tala-s in this list):

Anjaneyam (tishra eka), chintayeham (chaturashra eka), dasharate (tishra eka), dhinabandho (tishra eka), guruguha sarasija (chaturashra ekam), guruguha pada pankaja (tishra ekam), gurumurte (rupakam), he maye (tishra eka), jagadisha (chaturashra ekam), kamalasana (chaturashra eka), kanchisa (tishra eka), maye chitkale (tishra eka), muchukundavara (tishra eka), pahi durge (chaturashra eka), pahimam (tishra eka), pankajamukha (tishra eka), paradevata (tishram), paradevate (rupakam), parvatipate (chaturashra eka), pitavarnam (tishra eka), rajivalochanam (tishra eka), ramachandram (chaturashra eka), rama janardana (tishra eka), sadashiva (chaturashra eka), sakalasuravinuta (chaturashra eka), shaktisahita (tishra eka), samaganapriye (chaturashra eka), shankaravara (rupakam), santanasaubhagya (tishra eka), santatam govinda (tishra eka), santatam pahi mam (tishra eka), somaskhandam (tishra eka), sri shankara (tishram), shyamale meenakshi (chaturashra eka), vagdevi (chaturashra eka), vande meenakshi (chaturashra eka), varadaraja pahi (tishra eka), varashivabalam (chaturashra eka).

The "western note" compositions are nice tunes that are attractive to the lay listener as well as the beginner. In my opinion a few of them can be taught as an intermediate between gita and varna, both for vocal and instrumental students.

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous said...

    Thanks for the info

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