Monday, January 31, 2011

Lecture Demonstration at Music Academy - 23/12/10

The topic I took up was "Textual Aspects in Margadarshi Seshayyangar's Compositions".

Margadarshi Seshayyangar was a pre-Trinity composer who lived in the mid-17th Century. He was a Sri Vaishnava Brahmin who lived in Srirangam and composed largely on Sri Ranganatha.

There were three pioneering composers who lived around this same time. Virabhadrayya left his mark on the musical form called Swarajatis, Govindasamayya on Tana varnams and Seshayyangar on Kriti form. All three were hence referred to as "Margadarshis".

The Muhanaprasa Antyaprasa Vyavastha of Maharaja Swati Tirunal is the primary reference that we have,regarding Seshayyangar's compositions. This treatise talks about Sabdalankaras in Sanskrit and there is a reference to 13 of Seshayyangar’s kritis by way of examples of prosody and alliteration. About 40 Kritis of Seshayyangar are available as on date. 13 others are unpublished and exist in manuscripts.

When we look at the melodic content in his compositions, we notice that most songs are of the pallavi-anupallavi-charanam type though some also have a pallavi followed by multiple charanams. There are some songs in which the melody of the last two lines of the charanam is the same as the anupallavi. A few Kritis have the anupallavi in madhyamakala. An example of this kind is rangapatE in Karnataka Kapi. Seshayyangar appears to have been an expert in Sanskrit for his songs indicate a vast vocabulary.

Seshayyangar was perhaps the first composer to modernise the previous structure of Kirthanas to Kritis and bring in the pallavi-anupallavi-charanam format into Kritis. There is also an extensive usage of Sabdalankaras in his compositions. These could have the reasons for the prefix "Margadarshi" to his name.

SabdAlankArAs and arthAlankArAs were taken up in detail for demonstration.

His compositions follow rules of
rUpaka alankAra,

These were illustrated through the kritis Rangapate (Karnataka Kapi), Ranganayaka Bhujangasayana (Kedaragowla), Vande Vakulabharanam (Mukhari), Sarasadalanayana (Surutti), Anjaneya Paripaalaya (Mohanam).

Seshayyangar seems to have had an influence on later composers like Maharaja Swati Tirunal and the Trinity too.
His compositions offer huge scope for musicians and musicologists to understand the grammar and language to a great extent.


Priya Ram said...

Very Informative post Gayathri ! I was looking forward to reading a new post in your blog....quite a long time since your last post.

Anonymous said...

This is very informative and useful.I regret that I missed this lecture-demo.Since he is pre trinity vaggeyakkara his form must have had an influence on the trinity

nagraj said...

Can you please include one piece of Margadarisi atleast in your future concert?!

Pl don't let his work die down

harini said...

Dear Gayathri, have you also worked on the prosody is his compositions? If so can I have that information?