The origins of Music can be found in the Vedas, which are the oldest scriptures in the India. Indian classical music has also been significantly influenced by, or syncretised with, Indian folk music and Persian music. The Sama Veda, one of the four Vedas, describes music at length. The Sama Veda was derived from the Rigveda so that its hymns could be sung as Samagana; this style evolved into JATIS and eventually into RA GAS.


GANDHARVA Veda is an UPAVEDA associated the SAMA VEDA. Here is a look at the meaning of the term GANDHARVAS and a note on the musical instruments and music mentioned in the GANDHARVA Veda. According to ancient tradition, Gandharvas were semi-divine class of musicians and their music was denoted by the term Gandharva. They sang to the accompaniment of the Veena (Lute). The saman’s denoted Gandharva as music outside the sphere of Vedic music. The word ‘SAMAN’ is explained in Vedic literature as the musical rendering of Rig Veda verse.


Acharya Bharata was an ancient Indian theatrologist and musicologist who wrote the Natya Shastra, a theoretical treatise on ancient Indian dramaturgy and histrionics. Bharata Muni is considered the father of Indian theatrical art forms. He had been revealed the rules of dramatic art appearing in the fifth Veda, called Gandharva-Veda or Natya-Veda. He is the author of a work on the dramatic arts, cited by its commentators, that some manuscripts are known but which only have been published some fragments. The work of Bharata muni, which was believed to be fabulous, long, is a true theatrical encyclopedia which is the formation of the theatre, from the analysis of the dramatic passions, metrics, style, mimicry, vocal and instrumental music and choreography. He is dated to between 200 BCE and 200 CE, but estimates vary between 500 BCE and 500 CE.


The ya Śāstra is an Ancient Indian treatise on the Performing arts, which has encompassing theater, dance and music. The Natya Shastra is Based upon the much older Gandharva Veda Which Contained 36000 Slokas. It is also notable for its aesthetic “RASA” theory, which asserts that entertainment is the desired effect of performance arts but not the primary goal and that the primary goal is to transport the individual in the audience into another parallel reality. The Natya Shasta text consists of 6,000 Sutra incorporated in 36 Chapters. All the Classical dances of India Have Originated from the Natya Shastra only.


Rasa theory blossoms beginning with Nātyashāstra (Nātya meaning “Drama” and Shāstra meaning “Science of“), Nātyashāstra presents the aesthetic concepts of Rasas and their associated Bhāvas in Chapters Six and Seven respectively, which appear to be independent of the work as a whole. Eight Rasas and associated Bhāvas are named and their enjoyment is likened to savoring a meal: rasa is the enjoyment of flavors that arise from the proper preparation of ingredients and the quality of ingredients.


Acharya Nārada is a Vedic sage, famous in Vedic traditions as a travelling musician and storyteller, who carries news and enlightening wisdom. He is also referred to as the king of all sages or rishis, meaning Rishiraj. He was gifted with the boon of knowledge, past, present and future. He is depicted carrying a KHARTAL (Musical Instrument) and Tanpura with the name Mahathi and is generally regarded as one of the great masters of the ancient musical instrument. This instrument is known by the name “MAHATHI“, which he uses to accompany his singing of hymns, prayers and mantras.


Naradiya Shiksha written by the Narada Maharshi, Shiksha is a branch of Veda lore (Vedanga); and, it deals with elements of chanting and phonetics. According to Taittereya Upanishad (1. 2), the elements of chanting includes six factors: VARNA (syllable); SVARA (accent or note); MAATRA (duration); BALAM (articulation or stress); SAMA (even tone) and SANTANA (continuity). The first four deal with correct pronunciation of individual syllables; and the last two with the recitation of the entire line or the verse.


Naradiya Shiksha, composed, for the most part, in the Anustubh Chhandas; and based, mainly in the theories and practices of singing  Sama Veda, is an ancient text that deals mainly with the musical notes and the pronunciation of the words in the Vedic language.  It is regarded as an authentic source of references on the development of Indian Music from the Vedic times to the period of the Shiksha literature.  The Naradiya Shiksha, is believed to pre-date Bharatha’s Natyashastra (second century BCE). Some scholars also believe that Bharat might have been familiar with Naradiya Shiksha.

Narada identifies the seven SAMA SVARAS (Vaidika) as: Prathama; Dvitiya, Triya; Chaturtha; Mandra; Krusta; and Atisvara.


Acharya Dattila is the Author of DATTILAM is an ancient Indian musical text. It is believed to have been composed shortly after the Natya Shastra of Bharata, and is dated between the 1st and 4th century AD. But Bharathamuni had given reference of the treatise “DATTILAM” in his celebrated work “Natyashastra”(1-26) so there is a belief that Dattilam may be a work composed before Bharata Muni. Some Scholars has Indentified it is one of the earliest works after Natyashastra, belonging to 2nd Century. Dattila is counted as one among the five-Pancha Bharathas (or Sata putras of Bharata): Nandikesvara, Kohla, Dattila, Bharat and Matanga. Dattila Kohaleeyamu is written by Dattila and Kohla.


Dattilam is a fairly short text of about 244 Karikas or Stanzas claims to be a synthesis of earlier works on music. Dattilam Text is said to be written in ‘Anushtup Chandassu’ marks the transition from the Sama-Gayan (Ritual chants as in the Samaveda), to what is known as Gandharva music, after the Gandharvas. It is the bridge between the Sama Gana the ritual music of Yajna , and the pious Gandharva songs Dattilam discusses scales (swara), the base note (sthana), and defines a tonal framework called grama in terms of 22 micro-tonal intervals (sruti) comprising one octave. It also discusses various arrangements of the notes (murchhana), the permutations and combinations of note-sequences (tanas), and alankara or elaboration. later its transformed into the Desi Sangita that has come down to us through series of transformations. These seven notes of the Gandharva (Svara-saptaka) are in use even today.


Dattilam says Svaras are seven, starting with Shadja (Svarah shadjadyah sapta gramo shadja madhyamo); and they are of four types:  Vadi (sonant); Samvadi (consonant); Anuvadi (assonant) and Vivadi (dissonant). He is described as the ordered or the sequential arrangement of the seven Svaras. The Svaras of the Murchanas of the Shadja Grama are seven (Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, and Ni).


Acharya Matanga Muni or Matanga-Bharatha (as he is regarded one among the five-Pancha Bharathas (100 Sataputras of Bharatha): Nandikesvara, Kohla, Dattila, Bharatha and Matanga) takes a very important position between Bharatha (Ca.2nd century BCE) and Sarangadeva (Ca. 13 th century). He is the Author of “BRIHADDESHI” is a Classical Sanskrit text, dated ca. 6th century CE, on Indian classical music, It is the first text to speak directly of the raga and to distinguish Marga (“classical”) from Desi (“folk”) music. It also introduced Sargam Solfège (or solfa), the singing of the first syllable of the names of the musical notes, as an aid to learning and performance.


Matanga’s Brihaddeshi is discussed mainly on Bharata Muni’s Natya Shastra. The author based his work on Bharata Muni’s Natya Shastra. His discussion of musical scales and micro-tonal intervals clarifies Bharata’s work, and also clarifies Bharata’s terse presentation of many issues related to śruti. It carries forward the tradition of Natyashastra and Dattilam; and at the same time it establishes the Desi Sangita on a firm pedestal. Brihaddeshi bridges the Marga and the Desi class of Music; and also provides the basis for the emergence of the Mela system of classifying the Ragas.


Brihaddeshi as it has come down to an incomplete text. Only about five hundred of its verses are available. Those available verses and chapters deal only with Music; and conclude with the remark that the next Chapter will deal with Musical instruments (Vadya). Text uses a two-dimensional Prastāra (Matrix) to explain how the 7 notes of the octave map into 22 Śrutis, with varying distances between notes. It also says that a finer subdivision in microtones has 66 śrutis; and that, in principle, the number of Śrutis is infinite.

Vedic Music and Theater is treatise on the Vedic arts.

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