Tamil Nadu is synonymous with the Indian musical maestro of the 18th century, Tyagaraja. The land of Carnatic music, Tamil Nadu is the birthplace of many other music legends as well. Devotional songs in praise of religious deities are commonplace in Tamil Nadu. The main instruments used here are the Violin, Wooden Flute, Veena, Gottuvadayam, Mridangam, Nadaswaram and Ghatam.
History of Music of Tamil Nadu
Music is a very important aspect of the culture of Tamil Nadu, which has a long history and tradition dating back to thousands of years. Different dynasties ruled Tamil Nadu during various phases in history and their overwhelming patronage to art and culture gave the state a great diverse and rich cultural heritage. The classical Tamil literature of the early era called Sangam literature was set to music. Tamil Shaiva saints like Appar, Manikkavasagar used music in their compositions.
Categories of Music of Tamil Nadu
Music of Tamil Nadu can be categorised under classical, devotional and folk music.
Classical Music: Carnatic music is the classical music form of South India which has a long history in Tamil Nadu. This music has been handed down through generations of artistes. This divine art form is said to have originated from the Gods in ancient times and references have been made in various scriptures, epics and puranas. The three great composer saints popularly referred to as the ‘Trinity of Carnatic Music’; Tyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar and Syama Sastri were from Tamil Nadu.
Devotional Music: In ancient times, leaders or officers in the world of music called ‘Thevara Nayakams’ arranged the private worship of Kings and group singing. The devotional Thevaram songs were offered in the temples by Sthanikars, Odhuvars or Kattalaiyars. The saints, seers and composers composed the songs as an offering to God. The devotional songs established a direct connection between the spiritual and physical realms of the devotee.
Folk Music: Tamil folk music is famous for its tala intricacies and very ancient ragas. Some of them are Villu Pattu, Music of the Hill Tribes, Music of the Kulava and Nayyandi Melam.
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