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The Tunes of Divinity (Sankirtana Laksanamu) (An Old and Rare Book)

The Tunes of Divinity (Sankirtana Laksanamu) (An Old and Rare Book)
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Item Code: NAJ608
Author: Tallapaka Cina Tirumalacarya
Publisher: Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, Tirupati
Language: Telugu and English Text
Edition: 1990
Pages: 228
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 10.0 inch x 7.5 inch
weight of the book: 580 gms

About the Book


Critically edited with the help of original 16th century copper plates. Sankirtana Laksanamu revives the pada-niryukta of Natya Sastra and is the only extant work of its kind on hymnody. It introduces the reader to the various kinds of padams in Telugu and their modes of composition.


An extensive commentary in Telugu and English seeks to acquaint the reader with the hither -to-remote information from Telugu literature and musicological treatises in Sanskrit. An historically important work as it mentions pallavi, Sikhapadam and mudra it is a classical text of absorbing interest to all lovers of South Indian Music.




Vibrations, in a medium like air, cause the generation of sound. If a tuning fork is beat with a stick it starts vibrating creating wave-like formations in air and sound is heard. Sound needs a medium to originate and travel.



A sound impression is said to last for 1/10 of a second. If a surface has to reflect the sound waves and cause an echo, it has to be at a minimum distance of 110ft. from the point of origin of the sound and also be equal in measurement to the wave-length of the sound. Reverberation occurs in big halls and mansions. Sound gets augmented by reflection on the surface of the walls etc. as it also gets diminished by absorbents and loss through windows etc. It acquires a balanced state after its profit and loss work themselves out. After the original sound stops, some energy will still lie towards the walls of the hall and the ear of the listener. Because of this, the pulse of the vibration emits sound. This results in reverberation which is only a long echo.



Sound needs a medium to travel. It cannot be heard in vacuum. If we make a sound in a bottle wherein vacuum is created, the sound cannot be heard. Sound travels through gases, liquids and even solids as in air and earth. The velocity of sound changes according to the climatic conditions. It travels faster in damp air.



The range of human ear is said to be between 30 to 38,000 vibrations per second. Sounds within the range of 30 to 4,000 vibrations per second are considered fit for musical notes.



Musical sounds are different from the ordinary sounds which are harsh. While musical sounds are said to be within the frequency range of 30 to 4,000 the upper limit gets much lowered in the case of vocal singing (gatra).


Musical sounds differ from one another in (1) pitch -(2)intensity and (3) timber. The pitch is what we call sruti and it differs according to the frequency of vibrations per second of the sounding body. Intensity depends on the amplitude of vibrations. Mild or strong plucking of a string on vina causes difference in the amplitude of vibration and the note also differs accordingly. Timber is the distinguishing characteristic of a musical sound such as a vina sound, violin sound and flute sound. It is dependent on the mode of vibration and the importance of the overtones are upper partial tones generated.



When a tuning-fork is sounded and pressed against a wooden table the latter's particles are forced to vibrate with the frequency of the fork. These forced or induced vibrations create their own waves in the air. These waves strengthen the vibrations of the tuning fork and because of this the sound is heard louder up to some distance. When the frequency of the free vibrations and the frequency of the impressed periodic force are equal the induced frequency is called 'resonant vibration'. This is resonance or nada in music. Again sympathetic vibrations also create resonant vibrations or resonance. Violin has a resonance box.



Musical notes have certain frequencies. But while the pitch of a note is determined with a certain frequency in western music, it is the ratios of the frequencies that are important in Indian music. The differences between the pitches or 'srutis' are called 'intervals' or 'antaras'. When two musical notes of different frequencies are sounded simultaneously, the resulting wave lengths of the vibration being different, strengthen or oppose each other at certain points of time, when they hinder each other the 'beats' are heard. When the first and the second reeds of a harmonium are pressed simultaneously the beat is clear. When the process is continued into the third, the fourth and the fifth, the speed of the beats appears to increase. When the fifth reed is included the speed of the beats appears to become sonorous to the ear. Speedy and orderly beats seem to give rise to a new note. The sonorousness of these beats appears only after the frequency of 33.


The Western music belongs to the harmonical system; it may be called 'svarasampradaya paddhati'; obviously it is the harmony of the musical notes that is important in this system. The musical notes are of two groups; concords and discords. The first, the third and the fifth chords played together makes for concord. If the seventh chord is also added on to the concord (1-3-5-7) then it makes for discord. The concords are called common chords. If the third note of concords is of higher pitch it is called common chord of C major; if the third note is of lower pitch (komala ) it is called common chord of C minor. Similarly if the seventh note of the Discord is of lower pitch (komala) it is called the 'chord of the dominant seventh'. Harmonical Major scale, Harmonical Minor scale and Melodical Minor scale are the three scales used in this system. These are said to be similar to Dhira Sankarabharana, Kiravani and Gaurimanohari melakartas of karnatic music.


Indian music has 'raga sampradaya Paddhati'. One of the definitions of 'Sangita' says raga, svara and tala constitute sangita [ragassvarasca talascatribhissa- ngitamucyate'). While the svaras and tala' are there it is the raga that is more important in this system. Singing of certain svaras of ascending and descending order with gamaka is called raga. A certain pleasant quivering of the svaras is called gamaka and these are the raison d' etre of this system.


Indian Music is said to have originated from the vedas, beginning with the Udatta, anudatta and svarita of Rgveda. By the time of Samaveda, seven musical notes krsta, prathama, dvitiya, trtiya, caturthimandra and atisvarya were recognised in the descending order. These correspond to the present day ma-ga-ri-sa-ni-da-pa. Discovery of the origination of svaras in the ascending order and its rakti led to the recasting of the svaras as sa-ri-ga-ma-pa-da-ni. These are called sadja grama (the group of notes beginning with sadja svara 'sa'). The svaras ma-ga-ri-sa-ni-da-pa in the descending order (of Sama Veda) are called Madhyama grama (the group of svaras beginning with madhyama svara or 'ma').


Twenty two srutis (pitches) are recognised in Indian Music and the distribution of the sapta svaras on the srutis and their antaras and frequencies in the three octaves are as follows:














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