(Last Updated on : 12/06/2012)
During the pre-independence period, the royalty and Carnatic music went hand in hand in South India. The early rulers of South India like the kings of Chera, Chola, Pandya and Pallava dynasties patronised all kinds of artistes including those of the Carnatic music.
Mahendravarman Pallava was a king of 7th century AD, who was known to be a good player of the Parivadini Veena from the Kudumiyamalai inscription. He is also said to have achieved the title 'Sankirna Jati'. Another king named Rajaraja Chola I was a magnanimous patron of Carnatic music, who divided the land into sections titled Gita vinoda valanadu and Nritta vinoda valanadu. It is also said that four hundred dancing girls were assigned by him to the service at the Big Temple, Tanjavur. He also provided them land and houses.
The recent form of Carnatic music came into existence only in the 16th century. At that time, the Vijaya-nagar Empire was at the height of its glory under the reign of the king Krishnadeva Raya. The poem 'Amukta-malyada' on the life of Andal was written by the king himself. He had authored many other works besides this. He appointed the Carnatic music composer Lakshminarayana in his court, who composed the treatise 'Sangita Suryodaya'. The composer was honoured with the titles 'Abhinava Bharatacharya', 'Sukshma Bharatacharya' and 'Rayavayakara' for this work.
Another king called Rama Raya asked his court musicians to compose the work Swaramela Kalanidbi (1550 AD). During that period, Purandara Dasa was living in Vijayanagar, who later developed the present day structure of Carnatic music. Thus, under the patronage of Royal families of south India, the Carnatic music developed and reached its recent form. The Patronage of Kings in Tamil region, Patronage by the Kings in Telugu region, Patronage by the Kings of Malayalam region, and the Patronage by the Kings of Mysore also played great part in delineating the Carnatic music.