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(Premalatha Nagarajan)

Grma, Mrcchan and Jti are technical terms that were used in the music of the ancient period. These terms which were used in the ancient musical tradition are known through the works like the Dattilam of Dattila and Nyastra of Bharata. These two works could be said to have been written sometime between the 1st or the 4th century A.D. The musical tradition described in theses works was called "gndharva". This gndharva" seems to have evolved closely after the arrival of the smagna tradition. Dattilam explains several aspects of the gndharva tradition in a brief manner. For instance, aspects relating to melody, time and (musical) forms of the gndharva are mentioned in this work. We could see that the same concepts are being dealt with in a detailed manner in Nyastra. Nyastra is an extensive and an exhaustive work not only on music but also nya or naka. In the nya of Bharata's time, music not only formed part of the naka but was also used in the "prvaraga" which was performed before the commencement of the drama proper. The music that was used in the naka was helpful in evoking the sentiment of the naka and was related to the theme of the naka. The music of the prvaraga was gndharva and represented the Art music of that period. Many musical forms are met with in gndharva, as for instance, the gtaka varieties like "madraka" and "aparntaka" and nirgta types like "rva", "rambha" etc. In most of the gtaka-s, the basis for the melody/music was the jti. Further, the basis for forms such as k, gth, sma etc. were the mrcchan-s. The aim of this lesson is to understand these mrcchan-s and jti-s. Mrcchan-s Mrcchan-s are defined as the sequential order of the seven svara-s which are treated as the bases for the melodic aspect of a song/composition. They are 14 in number. Their names are as follows: 1. Uttaramandr 2. Rajan 3. Uttaryat 4. uddhaaj 5. Matsarkt 6. Avakrnt 7. Abhirudgat 8. Sauvr 9. Hriv 10. Kalpanat 11. uddhamadhy 12. Mrg 13. Paurav 14. Hyak The differences among these 14 mrcchan-s were expressed on the basis of the

intervals in the svara sequence. The interval between two consecutive svara-s was measured by the unit called "rti". For example, in the mrcchan called uttaramandr, there existed an interval of three ruti-s, between the first svara namely, aja and the second svara, abha. The intervallic organisation of the 14 mrcchan-s is as follows: 1. uttaramandr 4sa 3ri 2ga 4ma 4pa 3dha 2ni 2. rajan 2ni 4sa 3ri 2ga 4ma 4pa 3dha 3. uttaryat 3dha 2ni 4sa 3ri 2ga 4ma 4pa 4. uddhaaj 4pa 3dha 2ni 4sa 3ri 2ga 4ma 5. matsarkt 4ma 4pa 3dha 2ni 4sa 3ri 2ga 6. avakrnt 2ga 4ma 4pa 3dha 2ni 4sa 3ri 7. abhirudgat 3ri 2ga 4ma 4pa 3dha 2ni 4sa -------------------------------------------------------------------8. Sauvr 4ma 3pa 4dha 2ni 4sa 3ri 9. Hriv 2ga 4ma 3pa 4dha 2ni 4sa 10. Kalpanat 3ri 2ga 4ma 3pa 4dha 2ni 11. uddhamadhy 4sa 3ri 2ga 4ma 3pa 4dha 12. Mrg 2ni 4sa 3ri 2ga 4ma 3pa 13. Paurav 4dha 2ni 4sa 3ri 2ga 4ma 14. Hyak 3pa 4dha 2ni 4sa 3ri 2ga

2ga 3ri 4sa 2ni 4dha 3pa 4ma

When we look at the order of the ruti-s in the above mrcchan-s, we observe two kinds of organisations/structures, The first structure is as follows: First 4324432 Second 4342432 (See tables 1.1 and 1.2 below) Table -1.1 aja-grma
Sa Ni Ri





(4) Sa (3) Ri (2) Ga (4) Ma (4) Pa (3) Dha (2) Ni

Table- 1.2 Madhyama-grma

Ma Ga Pa





(4) Ma (3) Pa (4) Dha (2) Ni (4) Sa (3) Ri (2) Ga

For example, in uttaramandr, the interval between the svara-s sa, ri, ga, ma, pa, dha and ni are 4 3 2 4 4 3 and 2 respectively. In the mrcchan rajan, the interval between the svara-s ni, sa, ri, ga, ma, pa and dha are 2 4 3 2 4 4 and 3 respectively. In this way, the order of the ruti intervals in the first seven mrcchan-s remains the same. But the commencing svara keeps changing in the descending order. That is, it occurs in the following manner.
uttaramandr rajan uttaryat uddhaaj matsarkt avakrnt abhirudgat
-3G -2G -2M -4M -4M -4P -4P -4P -4P -4D -3D -3D -3D -3D -3N -2N -2N -2N -2N -2N -2S -4S -4S -4S -4S -4S -4S -4R -3R -3R -3R -3R -3R -3G -2G -2G -2G -2G -2M -4M -4M -4M -4P -4P -4P -4D -3D -3N -2-

Since the first mrcchan namely, uttaramandr begins on madhya sthna aja, the successive mrcchan-s begin on mandra nida, mandra dhaivata etc. respectively. The group of the seven svara-s found in the above said seven mrcchana-s such as uttaramandr etc. is called "ajagrma". Thus, a Grma could be defined as a collection of the seven svara-s namely, aja, abha, gndhra, madhyama, pacama, dhaivata and nida. ajagrma - ajagrma refers to the collection of the seven svara-s namely, aja,

abha, gndhra, madhyama, pacama, dhaivata and nida, each encompassing a specific number of ruti-s. Thus aja has an interval of four ruti-s. (Four ruti-s here refers to the size the Interval that separates aja from its previous svara, namely, nida.) abha consists of three ruti-s, gndhra consists of two ruti-s, madhyama consists of four ruti-s, pacama consists of four ruti-s, dhaivata consists of three ruti-s and nida consists of two ruti-s. The commencing svara-s of the seven mrcchan-s are sa, ni, dha, pa, ma, ga and ri respectively. In these seven mrcchan-s having the svara-s of the ajagrma, the commencing svara-s alone change but the intervals between the svara-s remain fixed. An important aspect which we have to note is that in Dattilam and Nyatra, to indicate the svara-s, the names, aja, abha, gndhra, madhyama, pacama, dhaivata and nida alone are used and not their other names such as sa,ri, ga, ma, pa, dha and ni. The method of deriving mrcchan-s by changing the commencing svara-s, as mentioned above and at the same time keeping the intervals between the svara-s constant is called "Graha bhda" (Modal shift of Tonic) today. It was only through this method the mrcchan-s were derived from the grma-s. Madhyamagrma The fundamental intervals of the ruti values in the seven mrcchan-s sauvr etc. are 4 3 2 2 4 3 2. This is called the Madhyamagrma arrangement of svara intervals. The seven mrcchan-s of this grma are organised thus.
Sauvr Hriv Kalpanat uddhamadhy Mrg Paurav Hyak P
-3D -4D -4N -2N -2N -2S -4S -4S -4S -4R -3R -3R -3R -3R -3G -2G -2G -2G -2G -2G -2M -4M -4M -4M -4M -4M -4M -4P -3P -3P -3P -3P -3P -3D -4D -4D -4D -4D -4N -2N -2N -2N -2S -4S -4S -4R -3R -3G -2-

Even though the seven svara-s, namely, sa ri ga ma pa dha ni exist in both the grma-s (aja and madhyama), the order of their ruti intervals differs. Therefore the structure of the mrcchan derived from one grma is not obtained from the other.

Gndhragrma: Apart from these two grma-s, another grma is found mentioned in Dattilam. However there is no reference to this in Nyastra. In Dattilam too, there are no details regarding the mrcchan-s derived from it. But we get information about the names of the mrcchan-s and the ruti intervals of svara-s from texts like Nradyik and the Sagtaratnkara of rgadva. The names of the seven mrcchan-s of the Gndhragrma are: 1. Nand 2. Vil 3. Sumukh 4. Citr 5. Citravat 6. Sukh 7. lp The structure of the gndhragrma as given in Sagtaratnkara is -4-g-3- m-3- p-3- d-4- n-3- s-2- r (Please see table 1.3 below)
Table- 1.3 Gndhra-grma
Ga Ri Ma

Sa Pa



(4) Ga (3) Ma (3) Pa (3) Dha (4) Ni (3) Sa (2) Ri

More details on the Gndhragrma are found in the work called Sarasvatihdaylakrahra also called as Bharatabhya, written by Nnyabhpla. As mentioned earlier, the mrcchan-s were the basis for k, gth, sma and for some other musical forms which were derived from the smagna and the chanting of other vda-s. Further apart from the seven svara-mrcchan-s, there also existed some mrcchan-s, which were devoid of one or two svara-s and were called tna-s; these also formed the basis for the musical forms. ava-tnam: When one svara is omitted from a mrcchan, then it is called avatna. In the gndharva tradition, there were specific rules about the omission of the svara-s. These rules differed for the mrcchan-s of the aja and madhyama grma-s. avatna -s from ajagrma mrcchan In the ajagrma mrcchan-s, to bring about avatna-s (the tna-s wherein one svara is omitted), any one of the notes- aja, abha, pacama or nida can be omitted. Thus in each of the mrcchan-s, uttaramandr etc., when any one of the above said four

svara-s is omitted, 28 mrcchan-s (7x4=28) are obtained. avatna -s from Madhyamagrma mrcchan To bring about avatna-s, in the madhyamagrma, any one among the three svaras namely aja, abha and gndhra can be omitted. Thus in the seven mrcchan-s, when these three svara-s are omitted, 21 avatna-s are obtained. For example, when abha is omitted in the mrcchan sauvr, the tna that we get is "sa ga ma pa dha ni". Auuva-tnam: The tna-s that are obtained by omitting two svara-s from the mrcchan-s are called Auuvatna-s. In the mrcchan-s of the ajagrma, the svara-s, aja and pacama or abha and pacama or gndhra and nida can be omitted together. In this way, when three kinds of svara-pairs are omitted respectively in each of the mrcchan-s, we get 21 mrcchan-s. For example, in the mrcchan uttaramandr, when the svara-s abha and pacama are omitted, we get the auuvatna -sa ga ma dha ni. In the case of madhyamagrma mrcchan-s, to obtain auuvatna-s, the svara-s that are to be omitted are abha and dhaivata or gndhra and nida . For example, in the sauvr mrcchan, on omitting the svara-s, gndhra and nida, we get the auuvatna, sa ri ma pa dha. Thus in the seven mrcchan-s, 14 (7x2=14) auuvatna-s are obtained. In total, 35 (21+14) auuvatna-s are obtained from both the grma-s. In this way 84 tnas (49 avatna-s and 35 auuvatna-s) were in vogue in the gndharva tradition. Till now we looked into the structure of the mrcchan-s and the ava auavatna-s (mrcchan-s omitting one or two svara-s). Further there was also a practice of using one or two svara-s in a melody in addition to the seven svara-s in the mrcchan-s. These additional svara-s were called "Sdhraa Svara-s" Sdhraa Svara-s: The term "sdhraa" means common. To explain this, there is an analogy from season given in the Nyastra. When there is a change in season, as for instance, when the winter begins, it is cool when one sits in the shade (of a tree) and when one sits in the open sunlight it feels hot. At this time of the year it cannot be said that the winter has totally gone or the summer has fully arrived. This period of time is called the "kla-sdhraa". That is it is a time common to both summer and winter. With regard to music, in the mrcchan-s an additonal svara sounds in between two svara-s. For example, in the ajagrma mrcchan, in the four ruti interval existing between aja and nida, the additional svara, kkalinida can occur. The position of kkalinida would be two ruti-s higher than the ajagrma-nida and two ruti-s lesser than the position of aja. This kkalinida has a larger interval than the grmanida and is placed within the region of aja itself. Even then, it is considered as a variety of nida and not aja because kkalinida occurs only when the grmanida is a weak note. In the same way, another sdhraasvara called the antaragndhra occurs in between gndhra and madhyama. This gndhra is two ruti-s higher than the grmagndhra and two ruti-s less than madhyama. (See table 1.4)

Table- 1.4 Sdhraa svara-s








The two sdhraa svara-s kkalinida and antaragndhra occur in both the grmas. The following points are to be noted regarding these. 1. The number of svara-s that should normally occur in a mrcchan is seven. Those svara-s that occur in addition to these seven are the sdharaasvara-s. 2. The sdharaasvara-s are not individual svara-s, but are assigned names from the seven svara-s only. That is kkalinida is a variety of nida and antaragndhra is a variety of gndhra. 3. A sdhraasvara occurs in a mrcchan only when the respective grmasvara is weak. Thus in a mrcchan when the gndhra is weak, there is a possibility of the occurrence of antaragndhra. 4. The sdhraasvara is a weaker note that than the grmasvara; hence it cannot become the commencing svara of a mrcchan. The mrcchan-s discussed above can be described as svara phrases or scales of various kinds. The interval of any particular svara would not change in the mrcchan-s based on the grma. On the other hand, the commencing svara changes. For example, see the mrcchan-s uttaramandr - 4sa 3ri 2ga 4ma 4pa 3dha 2ni; rajan - 2ni 4sa 3ri 2ga 4ma 4pa 3dha. In the two mrcchan-s mentioned above, we can see that the interval between any two svara-s is constant. But the commencing svara of uttaramandr is aja whereas of rajan it is nida. Therefore both the scales are different. 4324432 2432443 The difference between the two scales lies in the variation between the intervals of the svara-s. Generally, two methods are followed in deriving different scales from an existing scale. Method-1 Mrcchan or the method of Modal Shift of Tonic In this the intervals of the individual svara-s do not change; but the commencing svara-s

change. Method -2 Fixed tonic methodThe commencing svara is constant but the intervals between the svara-s change. For example, the scale of akarbharaa is as follows sa ri ga ma pa dha ni sa b b s b b b s [Note: b- big interval; s-small interval] In order to derive the scale of kharaharapriy from this, the interval between ri-ga should be decreased and the interval between ga-ma and ni-sa should be increased. Thus the kharaharpriya mela would be Sa ri ga ma pa dha ni sa b s b b b s b Today this phenomenon is known as replacing the antaragndhra with sdhraagndhra and kkalinida with kaiikinida. If the same kharaharapriy scale had to be derived from the akarbharaa scale, according to the ancient method, i.e., without changing the intervals of the svara-s, the commencing svara should be made abha instead of aja. (See tables 1.5a and 1.5b below)
Table- 1.5a Modal Shift of Tonic Method

akarbharaa Kharaharapriy akarbharaa Kharaharapriy

s n s s

r s r r

g r g g

m g m m

p m p p

d p d d

n d n n

Table- 1.5b Fixed Tonic method

Thus the modern method of scale-derivation differs from that of the ancient. The method adopted in the ancient period is referred to as the mrcchan or the grahabhda method while the modern one is referred to as fixed tonic system. Two more aspects have to be mentioned about the mrcchan-s of the gndharva tradition. They are: 1. Mrcchan-s of one grma can be derived from the other. For this, the pacama of the ajagrma is to be lowered by one ruti and the madhyamagrma thus results. (See table 1.6a below)

Table-1.6a Conversion of aja-grma to madhyama grma: Method-1

Sa Ni Ri






Yet another method is also mentioned in treatises. In this method the gndhra of the ajagrma is increased by two ruti-s and is re-named as dhaivata, then that mrcchan would become a madhyamagrma mrcchan. In other words, when the gndhra with two ruti-s increased becomes dhaivata, the succeeding svara-s, namely madhyama pacama etc. would become nida, aja etc. in that order. (See table 1.6b below) Table-1.6b Conversion of aja-grma to madhyama grma: Method-2
Sa (Ma) Ni (Ga) Ri (Pa)

Dha (Ri)


Ga (Dha) Pa (Sa) Ma (Ni)

2. In the same way, if a mrcchan of madhyamagrma had to be converted to ajagrma, dhaivata should be lowered by two ruti-s and named as gndhra. If dhaivata is named as gndhra, then the following svara-s namely nida and aja would be called madhyama and pacama. (See table 1.7 below)


Table-1.7 Conversion of Madhyama grma to aja-grma

Ma (Sa) Ga (Ni) Pa (Ri)

Ri (Dha)

Dha (Ga)


Sa (Pa)

Ni (Ma)

There are two methods of converting the svara-s of the ajagrma into the svara-s of madhyamagrma. In the first case, paacama is lowered by one ruti and the svara-s of madhyamagrma are thus obtained. In the second case, gndhra is increased by two ruti-s and renamed as dhaivata; the svara-s following gndhra (i.e., madhyama and pacama etc. ) are treated as nida and aja etc. and thus the svara-s of madhyamagrma are obtained. The difference between these two methods lies in the position of aja. In the first method aja lies in its own position and in the second method, the svara madhyama falls in the position of aja. This method seems to have been used in the playing of v. Playing Tna-s on the V: Two methods have been described for playing the avatna-s and auuvatna-s. (mrcchan-s wherein one or two svara-s are omitted) on the v. According to the first method, the svara which is to be omitted, has to be tuned to the pitch of the neighbouring note. This is called "prava". In the second method, the svara which has to be omitted is to be avoided while playing the v. This is called "nigraha". Thus prava and nigraha are the methods of playing avatna-s and auuvatna-s on the v. The v of the gndharva period appears to have been a type of Harp or an instrument resembling the y. JTI Like mrcchan-s, jti-s also form the basic melodic structures of musical forms. Unlike mrcchan-s (which are based on the three grma-s), jti-s are based on two grma-s (aja and madhyama) only. Jti-s are eighteen in number. They are: 1. j 2. rabh 3. Gndhr 4. Madhyam 5. Pacam 6. Dhaivat


7. Naid 8. ajdcyav 9. ajakaiik 10. ajamadhyam 11. Gndhrdcyav 12. Madhyamdcyav 13. Gndhrapacam 14. Raktagndhr 15. Kaiik 16. Krmrav 17. ndhr 18. Nandayant Jti means a "class". Each Jti did not denote an individual melody or melodic type but encompassed several melodic types. The description of the various sub-jti-s constituting a jti-class was given through a number of characteristics of lakaa-s. Ten characteristics are specified in Nyastra and Dattila. 1. Graha 2. Aa 3. Tra 4. Mandra 5. Nysa 6. Apanysa 7. Alpatva 8. Bahutva 9. ava 10. Ouuva Before going into these characteristics, we should understand the svara patterns of these jti-s. As stated earlier, all the eighteen jti-s were classified under the two grma-s. The jti-s of the ajagrma are: 1. j 2. rabh 6. Dhaivat 7. Naid 8. ajdcyav 9. ajakaiik 10. ajamadhyam The other jti-s (serial numbers 3, 4, 5, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18) belong to the madhyamagrma. The first seven jti-s namely j, rabh, Gndhr, Madhyam, Pacam, Dhaivat and Naid were based on the names of the seven svara-s and hence were called "Svarajti-s" or "Nmasvarajti-s". Svarajti-s were of two kinds, namely uddhjti and viktjti. The eleven jti-s apart from the seven svarajti-s, i.e., ajdcyav etc., were called viktsasargaj jti-s.


uddh and Viktjti-s: As mentioned above, uddh and viktjti-s are the varieties of a svarajti. That variety of the svarajti is called uddh, which has the svara after which it is named, as its aa, graha, nysa and apanysa; the nysa not occuring in the tra-sthna and when it has all the seven svara-s (pra). For example, if in the svarajti called j, the svara aja is the aa, graha, nysa and apanysa, and when aja does not occur as the nysa in the tra-sthna and also when it is sampra (having all the seven svara-s), that variety of jjti is called the uddh variety of j. If any one of these conditions are changed (in the graha, aa), it is called the vikt variety. For example, in j, instead of aja, if gndhra is the graha or aa or apanysa or if nida is omitted, then it is called the vikt variety of j. An important aspect that we should note here is that excepting for the condition that the nysa should be the svara after which it is named, all the other conditions such as graha, aa, apanysa and pratva may change while forming a vikt-jti . That is in both the uddh and the vikt varieties of j, aja would be the nysasvara. Characteristics of Jti-s. 1. Graha Grha refers to the svara with which a melody commences. Normally, while speaking of the characteristics of jti-s, only the aasvara is indicated; the aasvara-s are the grahasvara-s too. For instance, in the j jti, aja, gndhra, madhyama, pacama and dhaivata are fit to be the aasvara-s. These svara-s are also the grahasvara-s. In case a svara which is not an aasvara becomes the graha, then it is indicated separately. For example, in the nandayant jti, the aasvara is pacama, whereas the grahasvara is gndhra and not pacama. And hence in the description of nandayant-jti aa and graha are separately mentioned. 2. Aa Aa is the svara on which the beauty of the song depends. The samvd and anuvd svara-s of the aasvara are prominent/principal svara-s. The range of the melody in the upper register is determined by the aasvara. Thus aa has many characteristics. Among all the characteristics of a jti, aa plays a dominant role. The scale or the sequence of svara-s of a jti is determined only by the aasvara. For example, in the j jti (since it is a jti of the ajagrma), of the five aasvara-s, namely, sa, ga, ma, pa and dha, if aja is the aa, then its scale would be thus: 4sa 3ri 2ga 4ma 4pa 3dha 2ni. If gndhra is the aa, then the scale is 2ga 4ma 4pa 3dha 2ni 4sa 3ri If madhyama is the aa, then the scale is 4ma 4pa 3dha 2ni 4sa 3ri 2ga In the same way, in the paacam jti, which belongs to madhyamagrma, when pacama is the aa, the scale would be 3pa 4dha 2ni4sa 3ri 2ga 4ma


Therefore aa is said to be an important characteristic of a jti. 3. Tra Tra denotes the upper limit of the range of the melody of a jti. Generally, the fifth svara from the aasvara is called the tra. But in works other than Nyastra and Dattila, instead of the tra being the fifth svara from the aa, the fifth svara above the aa svara in the tra-sthna. It should not exceed the fifth svara and at the same time, it is not necessary that it should extend upto the fifth svara. For example, in the jjti, if aja is the aa, then the fifth svara from aja, that is pacama would be the tra svara. Thus it (the melody) should not extend beyondpacama but it need not necessarily extend upto pacama. According some ancient scholars the upper limit for melodic movement was the aa-svara in the tra-sthna or the tra-sthna-pacama. If in a jti, one or two svara-s are omitted, then while calculating the tra svara, the omitted svara-s are also to be counted. For instance, in the dhaivat-jti, either abha or dhaivata could be an aasvara. A ava variety of this could be obtained by omitting pacama. If abha is the presiding aa, then the fifth svara from the abha in the tra region, namely, tra-dhaivata is the trasvara or the upper limit of the melody. In the ava variety of dhaivat, where pacama is omitted, when determining the trasvara, the same (pacama) should be included. Hence even when pacama is omitted, only the tradhaivata will be the trasvara or the upper limit of melody. 4. Mandra Mandra indicates the svara up to which the melodic movement can descend. There are three conditions for rendering the melodic movement in the mandrasthna. 1. the range up to the aasvara. 2. the range up to the nysasvara 3. the range extending up to abha or dhaivata beyond the nysasvara 5. Nysa Nysa is the svara on which the gta or the song finally concludes. 6. Apanysa Apanysa is the svara on which a section of a song concludes. 7. Alpatva Alpatva denotes the svara which is rendered weak in a melody. A svara could be rendered weak in two ways. 1. Laghana, 2. Anabhysa 1. Laghana Laghana means skipping a svara by just touching it. 2. Anabhysa Abhaysa means doing an action again and again or frequently. Anabhysa means doing an action infrequently. The svara which is not handled frequently is a kind of alpatva.


For example, in the madhyam jti, gndhra is the alpasvara. And in the rabh jti, pacama is an alpa-svara. Further, the svara which is being omitted in a jti, is usually the alpa-svara of the jti in its sampra form. For example, in the madhyam jti, gndhra is the alpasvara. To obtain the ava form, gndhra is to be omitted. Again in the rabh jti, pacama is an alpa-svara. And in this jti, aja is omitted to get the ava variety and aja and pacama are omitted for the auuva variety. Although aja is not mentioned as an alpasvara, since it is not one of the a-svara-s it could be taken to be weak., However in case, the avasvara (svara to be omitted) happens to be the samvdsvara of one of the aasvara-s and when that particular aa-svara is the presiding one, then that avasvara should not be omitted. For instance, jjti has five aasvara-s, namely, sa, ga, ma, pa and dha. In this jti, nida can be omitted to bring about the ava variety. But when gndhra serves as the presiding aa, nida, which is the samvdsvara to gndhra, should not be omitted. 8. Bahutva That svara which is very strong in a melody is called Bahutva. A svara becomes strong by two ways/methods - 1. alaghana, 2. abhysa. alaghana: This refers to a svara not being skipped. abhysa: this refers to the use of a particular svara more frequently. All aasvara-s in a jti and their samvd svara-s are "bahutva" in nature. 9. ava When a melody consists of six svara-s, it is called ava. The svara that is omitted is called among the seven svara-s, is called the avasvara. 10. Auuva When a melody consists of five svara-s, it is called auuva. The two svara-s that are to be omitted to make a jti ava are called auuva-svara-s. It cannot be said that one or two svara-s are omitted in all the eighteen jti-s. For example, jti-s like ajakaiik, madhyamdcyav, krmrav and gndhrapacam are always complete (sampra). They do not have the ava and auuva varieties. On the other hand, ndhr and nandayant can be rendered in the ava form by omitting one svara, but do not have the auava varieties. Nextly, as seen in the case of mrcchan-s in the jti-s too sdhraa-svara-s like anatara and kkali occur. The treatises mention that madhyam, pacam and ajamadhyam are the three jti-s in which sdhraa-svara-s figure. However in j too we come across the kkali-niada occurring. Till now, we looked at the details of mrcchan-s and jti-s. These details are based on the descriptions available in Bharata's Nyastra (28th chapter) and Dattila's Dattila. In the period later to these works, changes took place in describing the concepts of mrcchan-s and jti-s. These changes are known to us through Mataga's Bhadd,


Abhinavagupta's commentary on Nyastra and rgadva's Sagtaratnkara. Now let us look at the changes that took place in the concepts of mrcchan-s and jti-s in the later period.


GRMA, MRCCHAN, JTI Second stage in the History Mrcchan In the first stage of the history, mrcchan was explained as an ordered arrangement of the seven svara-s. Later it was projected as a arrangement of seven svara-s in ascent as well as descent. The method of deriving one mrcchan from another was described. In the next stage, another method has been described to derive the mrcchan-s. By this method, in order to obtain the nida mrcchan from the aja mrcchan :normally the nida mrcchan commences from the mandrasthna nida. But here, nida is placed on the position of aja and aja on the position of abha. Since the interval between nida and aja is of four ruti-s, abha is moved a little from its position, thereby increasing the interval between aja and abha from three to four rutis. Then aja is to be placed on the position of abha. [See Table 1.8 below.]
Table-1.8 Derivation of mrcchan -s: Ancient Period
20 21 22 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

n n

s s s

r r r

g g g

m m m

p p p

d d

Derivation of mrcchan -s: Medeival Period 1 2 d p 3 4 5 s n d 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 r g m p d n s r g m p n s r g m

This method of deriving mrcchan-s is known to be widely found in the medieval period. The commencing svara of each mrcchan was termed as the "grahasvara". Since nida was placed on the position of aja iteself, we come to learn that the pitch of the tonic note was not altered and had been established in the same position. In other words, the concept of altering the tonic note had changed. It seems that it was by this method, the lakaa-s of rga-s were described till the 15th and 17th centuries A.D. In some of the compositions of Muttusvmi Dkita, to the ciasvara passages, we find an alternative ciasvara passage based on the concept of the ancient grahasvara. For example, the songs commencing "gunijandi nuta", in the rga gurjari and "ruk dvi" in the rga kaaa have such svara passages with two versions. These passages can be seen in the notations given in Sagtasampradyapradarini of Subbarma Dkitar. The mrcchan-s were classified into the following four varieties. 1. uddh 2. sntar (sa + antar) 3. sakkali (sa + kkali)


4. sakkalyantar (sa + kkali + antar) uddh mrcchan - refers to the mrcchan-s of the grmasvara-s alone. Thus it includes the mrcchan-s of the aja and madhyama grma-s. sntar mrcchan - in this mrcchan, the grmagndhra is substituted with the antaragndhra. sakkali mrcchan - in this mrcchan, the grmanida is substituted with the kkalinida, which is a sdhraasvara. sakkalyantar mrcchan - in this mrcchan, the grma gndhra and the grma nida are replaced by antaragndhra and kkalinida respectively. In the two grma-s put together the total number of uddh-mrcchan-s is (7+7) 14. Thus in the same way, there are fourteen mrcchan-s under each category thus making a total number of 56 mrcchan-s. The following are to be noted in the above mentioned four kinds of mrcchan-s: 1. There are no sdhraasvara-s in the uddh mrcchan-s. 2. In the musical tradition that we saw earlier in the first stage, the sdhraasvara was an additional svara to the grmasvara. That is, the sdhraasvara occurs in a mrcchan, where a weak gndhra or nida exists. But here we see that the grmasvara is completely replaced by the sdhraasvara. In the same way, in the sakkali and sakkalyantar mrcchan-s, the grma gndhra and nida are replaced by the sdhraasvara-s. Another important aspect to be pointed out here is that in the gndhra mrcchan, (a mrcchan in which gndhra is the commencing svara) if antaragndhra occurs, then it can become the commencing svara. In the earlier tradition, a sdhraasvara could never function as a commencing svara. Thus by the arrival of these four kinds of mrcchan-s, we observe a wide deviation from the music tradition that we dealt earlier (the first stage). Moreover since antaragndhra and kkalinida can function as the commencing svara-s and grma gndhra and nida being omitted, the antaragndhra or kkalinida mrcchan-s of the ajagrma would not represent the ruti-intervallic arrangement of the ajagrma. For instance, in the antaragndhra mrcchan of the ajagrma intervallic arrangement changes as shown below. uddh-mrcchan 4sa 3ri 2ga 4ma 4pa 3dha 2ni sntar-mrcchan 4sa 3ri 4ga 2ma 4pa 3dha 2ni This intervallic arrangement 4-3-4-2-4-3-2 is same as the svara intervals of the madhyamagrma. Thus, among the 56 mrcchan-s, the mrcchan-s consisting of antaragndhra and kkalinida diverge from the aja and madhyamagrma-s. Hence the development of the concept of 56 mrcchan-s indicates the distortion of the grma system. uddhatna In the earlier part of the lesson we learnt that 84 tna-s are derived from the two grmas in the works like Nyastra and Dattila. In the later period, in texts like Sagtaratnkara, these were called as uddh-mrcchan-s. Further in Bhadd and Sagtaratnkara these tna-s were given the names of yaja-s (sacrifices). For example, of the 28 ava tna-s of the ajagrma, aja was omitted in a few. 1. agnihmam


2. atyagnihmam 3. vjapyam 4. as Likewise, the following are the five aavatna-s of the madhyamagrma, wherein aja is omitted. 1. svitr 2. ardhasvitr 3. sarvatpatra 4. ditya 5. anmaya It is also said that a singer who sings these tna-s, would be bestowed with the fruit of the corresponding sacrifice. Katna Mrcchan-s were described as seven svara forms presented through ascending and descending forms (rhaa and avarhaa). Different forms were derived from these mrcchan-s by permuting the seven svara-s in many ways. Among the varieties that resulted from the permutations the variety that had the seven svara-s in order was called "krama". The variety that in which the svara sequence was not in order was called "katna". For example, the permutation "ri ga ma pa dha ni sa", derived from the ajamrcchan was called krama; and the variety "ri ma ga pa dha ni sa" was katna. If one svara was omitted from a mrcchan, then it was called ava; if two svara-s were omitted, then it was called auava; if three svara-s were omitted then it was called svarntara; if four svara-s were omitted, then it was called smika; if five svara-s were omitted, then it was called gthika. And if six svara-s were omitted from a mrcchan, then it is called rcika. In each mrcchan, katna-s consisting of seven or six or five or less number of svara-s were computed. Thus from a mrcchan with seven svara-s, say, for instance the aja-mrcchan, 7 x 6 x 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1= 5040 katna-s are obtained. Of these the ordered varieties starting with sa, ri, ga, ma, pa, dha and ni, namely the seven varieties were called "krama". The remaining 5033 are katna-s. If we take into account the mrcchan-s starting from other svara-s and also those incorporating antaragndhra and kkalinida thousands of such forms would result. The krama and katna-s are computed in a logical order, which is called "prastra". Through prastra, one can compute tna-s containing svara-s ranging from one to seven. For example, if seven svara prastra is derived from the grma svara-s, we get 5040 katna-s from the aja mrcchan of the ajagrma. The method of finding the prastra from the serial number of the tna is called naha; finding the serial number of a particular tna from a given prastra is called uddhiha. For instance, finding the fifth prastra in a seven svara prastra is naha. In the same way, finding the serial number of a prastra, namely, "ni dha pa ma ga ri sa", is uddhiha. A table containing numbers to calculate naha and uddiha is found in texts like Sagtaratnkara. This table is called "khaamru". Works like Sagtaratnkara speak elaborately on katna-s and mru, although they had existed in the periods of Mataga and Abinavagupta. Sdhraasvara-s


In the second stage, apart from antara and kkali svara-s, a few more sdhraa svaras were specified for the mrcchan-s. This new sdhraa was called kaiikisdhraa. Kaiikisdhraa Through this sdhraa, new sdhraasvara-s are formed in between gndhra and madhyama, and nida and aja. The kaiikisdhraa that takes place between nida and aja is called ajasdhraa and the one that occurs between gndhra and madhyama is called madhyamasdhraa. ajasdhraa In this nida moves one ruti above from its position and at the same time aja moves one ruti below from its position. 22 ni 1 (ni) 2 3 (sa) 4 sa 5 6

this nida with three ruti-s is called "kaiikinida" and the aja with one ruti less is called "cyutaaja". Madhyamasdhraa As in the case of ajasdhraa, here the gndhra moves up by one ruti and madhyama goes down by one ruti. 9 ga 10 11 (ga) 12 (ma) 13 ma

The gndhra on the 10th ruti is called sdhraagndhra and the madhyama on the 12th ruti is called cyutamadhyama. We should not assume that the kaiikisdhraa occurs in both the grma-s. While the ajasdhraa occurs in both the grma-s, the madhyamasdhraa occurs only in the madhyamagrma. The reason behind is this. When madhyama is lowered by one ruti in the ajagrma, the interval of pacama increases to five. In the grma system, the interval between any two svara-s could be a maximum of four ruti-s and a minimum of two. Therefore madhyamasdhraa cannot occur in the ajagrma. JTI Now let us see the changes that took place in the concept of jti-s in the second stage. Details regarding the occurrence of kaiikisdhraa in mrcchan-s and jti-s are not clearly found in the musicological texts. However Abhinavagupta says that kaiikisdhraa occurred in jti-s like, kaiiki and ajakaiiki, when dhaivata and abha were weak notes. In ancient texts, ten characteristics were mentioned for the jti-s. The terms samnysa and vinysa were mentioned as varieties of nysa. Further the term antaramrga was also used. These three terms are mentioned as separate characteristics of jti-s in Sagtaratnkara, thus bringing the total number of characteristics to 13. nysa: It refers to the svara on which a song/melody ends. apanysa: It refers to the svara on which the first section of a song ends.


samnysa: It refers to the svara on which the first section or a portion within it ends. This portion is called as vidr. Vidr refers to the melodic part of a song. While apanysa refers to the svara on which the first vidr ends. The svara which is sanysa should not be the vivd svara of its aasvara. vinysa: This may be the aa-svara or any other svara which is not vivd to the aa-svara. Further the vinysa would be the svara on which a word (in the text of the song) occurring within a vidr would conclude. Antaramrga: This refers to the melodic movements formed by the varied combination of the svara-s. This involves handling of alpa svara-s, that is weak svara-s, in the middle, without using nysa and apanysa. This is generally seen in viktjati-s alone. Apart from the above mentioned 13 characteristics, a few terms are not mentioned in the lakaa-s (description) but have been used in the course of explaining the jti-s. Now let us study them. Mrcchan The term mrcchan generally refers to the svara organisations that formed the bases for the melody, being different from jti-s which also formed the melodic bases for songs. Let us now see how this term `mrcchan' has been used in the context of jti. In Bhadd and Rtnkara, each of the jti-s is specified a particular mrcchan. For example, it is said thus: 'the mrcchan commencing with dhaivata in the jjti'. But the relation between this and the jti is not stated. Generally trasvara (the upper limit of the range of the melody) is mentioned for the jti-s; but the lower limit (in the mandra region) has not been mentioned accurately. From the statement 'the mrcchan commencing with dhaivata for jjti' we can infer that the melody can extend upto dhaivata in the mandra region. In Sagtaratnkara, after the description of each jti, a song is illustrated. In all, there are 18 songs for 18 jti-s.These songs are not found in Nyastra and Dattila, but are seen in works like Bhadd and Sarasvathdaylakrahra of Nnyadva. A fundamental question arises here. Each jti is a class that has many members or sub-varieties under it. Each variety could individually form the melodic basis for a song. For instance, jjti has many varieties within it. In one aja could be the aa and in the other gndhra. A very fundamental question arises here. On which member jti is the jtisong given in notation based? With respect to the songs set to svarajti-s, the songs can be taken to be based on the uddh variety and in the case of others they must have been based on one of the sasargaj-jti-s. These jti-songs were set to tla-s like caccatpua and pacap (apitputraka). The text of these songs is in saskta language and in praise of iva. For example, the commencing words of a song in jjti set to the tla pacap is as follows: i] xxVvE [tambhavalala nayanmbujdhika] The music (melody) for this song seems to have been tuned in the period when the jti system came to an end. Because in the course of describing the jti prior to giving the notation of the songs, works like Bhadd and Sagtaratnkara mention names of rga-s that resembled the jti-s. Probably, to preserve the music of the jti songs, the music of the equivalent rga must have been quoted. These jti songs are called


"Jtiprastra" in Sagtaratnkara and "Jtigta" in Abhinavabhrat. The jti songs were considered to be endowed with spiritual value, similar to the smavda. It has been said that one who sang the jti song would be rid of many sins. It has been stressed that like smavda, the music and the text of these are not to be changed. In this way in the second stage of the jti-s, we come across the following changes: 1. Addition of three more characteristics to jti-s and thereby making them 13. 2. Use of the term "mrcchan" in the description of a jti 3. Composing of jtiprastra -s or jti songs. In this way, we find the decline of the grma, mrcchan and jti system. After this period we find that the rga-s were treated to be the melodic bases for songs. A question then arises whether the rga-s too were based on the grma-mrcchan system. In the beginning, as described in lakaagrantha-s from Bhadd and Sagtaratnkara, rga-s were considered as the janya-s of jti-s. But in due course, this connection between the rga-s and jti-s gradually ceased. In the same way, the svara-s which were the bases for the rga-s, came to be described in terms of uddha-vikta svara-s and not on the basis of grma-s.