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Home / Hinduism Perspective / Tamil Music | Thamizh Isai

Tamil Music | Thamizh Isai

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Tamiz in ancient time was divided into prose(iyal), music (isai), drama (n^Atakam). But today very less people even among Tamiz speaking know about the Tamiz isai. Tamiz music has a lot of similarities with carnatic music. There are people who argue that carnatic music came from Tamiz music. The reference to Tamiz music is there in ancient Tamiz literature like Silappadhikaram.

The following list gives the equivalent in Carnatic music

Tamiz Music – Carnatic Music:

paN – rAgam
padham – swaram
thALam – thALam
ArOhaNam – ArOchai
avarOhaNam – amarOchai
padham Ezu – saptha swaram –
kural – shadjam
thuththam – R^ishabham
kaikkiLai – panychamam
uzai – madhyamam
iLi – panychamam
viLari – dhaivatham
thAram – nishadham

In thEvAram the following paNs are used. The entire thevaram is arranged in sequence with respect to the pans. (The list below is not in the same sequence as that is followed in thirumurais). In the 9 th thirumurai a pan which is not used in other thirumaurai called salarapani is used.

paN – rAga

1. n^attapAdai – n^Attai
2. kolli – n^avarOs
3. in^dhaLam – n^Adhan^AmakriyA
4. kurinychi – arikAmbhOdhi
5. chen^thuruththi – madhyamAvadhi
6. yAzmUri – atAnA
7. chIkAmaram – n^Adhan^Amak kriyA
8. n^atta rAkam – pan^dhuvarALi
9. thakkarAkam – kAmbOdhi
10. pazan^thakkarAkam – sudhdha sAvEri
11. pazam panychuram – shaN^karAparaNam
12. thakkEsi – kAmbhOdhi
13. chevvazi – yadhukula kAmbhOdhi
14. piyan^dhaik kAn^dhAram – n^avarOs
15. kAn^dhAram – n^avarOs
16. kAn^dhAra panychamam – kEdhAra gauLai
17. kollik kauvAnam – n^avarOs
18. kausikam – bhairavi
19. panychamam – Akiri
20. sAdhAri – pan^dhuvarALi
21. puRan^Irmai – bhUpALam
22. an^dhALik kuRinychi – sAmA
23. mEkarAkak kuRinychi – n^IlAmpari
24. viyAzak kuRinychi – saurAshtram
25. sALarApANi

The following are structures and so no specific rAga assigned.
1. thiruk kuRun^thokai
2. thirun^Erichai
3. thiruviruththam
4. thiruth thANdakam
In the above table some of the pans have same carnatic raga equivalent. (like kolli, kolli kauvANam have equivalent as navaros). There should be some differences. People who have good knowledge on both music systems will be able to explain.

In the first seven thirumurais (thevaram as they are collectively called), ninth thirumurai and some portions of eleventh thirumurai (karaikkal ammaiyar) the pan for every padhikam is specified and it is supposed to be sung in only that specified pan. There is a pan thiruththandakam which is found in many of by thirun^avukkarasar ‘s thevarams and they are the oldest usage of that particular pan. So thirun^avukkarasar is also called thandaka ven^dhar.
As vina is the major music instrument in carnatic music, yaz was the most famous music instrument that gets mentioned in many of the ancient Tamiz literature. It is also a string instrument like vina. There were a lot of musicians called panar used to play the songs in the instrument yaz. A lot of san^gam literature were written with the panar as main characters.(perumpanarruppdai, chirupanarruppadai etc.). Thiru n^Ilakanta yazppanar of thiru erukkaththam puliyuur used to play the padhikams of thiru nyana samban^dhar in yaz. More information on this instrument yAz can be found in “yazn^ul” written by swami vibulanan^dha. Some of the other music instruments that are referred in thirumurai are vINA (string instrument), kokkarai, kudamuzA (thALa instruments). Some hymns in “kalladam” describe about these instruments.
All the thevarams were locked up in a room in the chithambaram temple for some centuries. When the “Shiva padha sekara” “thirumurai kanda choza” emperor rajarajan took them out, the pan for many of the padhikams were not known. He asked madhan^ka chula maniyar, a woman successor came in the yazpanar family specified the pan for all the padhikams and the padhikams are sung only in that specified pan.
The twelfth thirumurai periya puranam tells about the making of flute and playing on the flute in Anaya n^ayanar puranam songs 13, 24-28. kalladam has reference to lot of music instruments.

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