The characteristic of the Sangam period is that all creative expressions had been firmly founded on nature. The five landscapes (tinais) symbolised not only particular poetic themes, but also had their exclusive musical milieu, namely, raga and musical instruments on which these ragas were played.
The great epic called the Silappadikaram was composed in 2nd century AD. It was also considered as a musical and dance treatise. Unfortunately, most of the treatise mentioned in later literature has no existence now. During the Sangama period, the 'Tevaram' hymns (6th century-8th century) were sung to virtuous ragas, called 'pans' in Tamil. But it is only from the 15-16th centuries, the music which was till then the handmaid of hymns, developed into art music.
The 'kirthana' genre was also introduced by Muthuthandavar during the Sangama period in the Tamil country. The continuity of the Tamil musical tradition can be found from the Silappadikaram days. In this epic, the seven swarets, distributed over twelve swarasthatias and division of an octave into 22 srutis (alakus) are explained in an elaborate way. The harmony among the musical tones were also identified here as 'inai' (vadi), 'kilai' (samvadi), 'natpit' (annvadi) and 'pagai' (riradi). The 'kuralili' relationship (shadga-panchama bhava) was also identified at that time and new scales/ragas were formed employing kural-tiribu (grahabbedam).
The ragas are classified as 'tirattiram' (Janaka raga/ melakarta) and 'tiram' (janya raga) keeping similarity with the Indian musical system. Some of the unique features of recent Indian music could be traced back to the ancient Tamil music of Sangama period such as raga alapana (pannatti), use of drone, tuning drums to specific pitch, a unique feature of Indian music etc. For example, in tannumai, the right side is tuned to 'Shadgatu' and the left to 'Panchatnam' as is being done in the mridangam now.
The ancient Tamil music of Sangama period had some exclusive features such as the Yazfi, veena, a host of flutes and a number of drums were in use. The fundamental scale of Tamil music was the Kodippalai (Harikambhoji). The Sangama period works on music has the mention of the raga and tala like Paripadal and Paditruppattu. With its antiquity and rich origin Tamil music has contributed a lot in the Indian classical music.
|More Articles in Sangama Dynasty (4)|