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Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini Archival Project

Objective

Audio archival of all musical compositions published in the Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini, a publication on Carnatic music (1904), in conformity with the musical notation provided by its author.

A brief historical background

Subbarama DikshitarThe Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini (henceforth referred to as SSP) was written by Subbarama Dikshitar (right), in the year 1904. Subbarama Dikshitar, a great composer and musician, was Muthuswami Dikshitar’s brother’s grandson. Muthuswami Dikshitar was one of the most influential composers in the history of Carnatic music, along with Thyagaraja and Shyama Sastri.

The idea behind the SSP is credited to A. M. Chinnaswamy Mudaliar, a superintendent of the then Madras Secretariat. A Roman Catholic and a Latin scholar, he acquired a great passion for Carnatic music and published a journal, Oriental Music. Compositions in Carnatic music were published in this journal using staff notation, with the words in the English, Telugu and Tamil alphabet. Though this journal was praised by many, the response was meager and Chinnaswamy Mudaliar had to discontinue its publication. But during this period, he came into contact with Subbarama Dikshitar and the Rajah of Ettayapuram (a place in Tamilnadu). This relationship was most significant, as it culminated in the publication of the SSP in 1904, with the patronage of the Rajah of Ettayapuram.

Significance of the Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini

The SSP was one of the first publications that attempted to notate Carnatic music. It contains 229 fully notated compositions of Muttuswami Dikshitar. The notation was developed by its author, who devised a self contained and consistent scheme to notate various gamakas. As mentioned earlier, the author of the SSP belonged to the musical and genealogical lineage of Muttuswami Dikshitar. It is generally accepted that Muttuswami Dikshitar was very particular in preserving the older forms of ragas through his compositions. Hence the SSP is a singularly valuable resource for analyzing and understanding the important musical tradition represented by Muttuswami Dikshitar. In addition to the compositions of Muttuswami Dikshitar, the SSP contains notated compositions of other composers, providing insights concerning the practice of Carnatic music 150 years ago.

Project Plan

We intend to audio archive all the compositions in the SSP, with the music in strict conformity with the notation provided by Subbarama Dikshitar. The SSP contains the following:

  • 229 Compositions of Muthuswami Dikshitar
  • 10 Prabhandas
  • 41 Chitta Tanas of Venkatamakhin
  • Ragamalikas
  • Compositions of Thyagaraja, Shyama Sastri, Ramaswamy Dikshitar, and other composers
  • Suladi’s Varnas
  • Swarajathis
  • Darus
  • Padas
  • Lakshana gitas

We owe a lot to Subbarama Dikshitar for this magnificent work. It is important to preserve such very specific and scientific work for the future generation. The best way to preserve the work on music is 'audio archiving' it.
In the first phase of this project, Jnanarnava trust intends to archive the 229 compositions of Shri Muttusvami Dikshitar found in the Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini, in the Raganga raga (Mela) order. These albums will be distributed to music colleges, departments of music at various institutions, and archival centers, and are not intended to be commercial releases.

Click here for details and to buy Audio Book 1

Click here for details and to buy Audio Book 2 and 3

Click here for details and to buy Audio Book 4 and 5