Margadarsi Sesha Iyengar

Carnatic composers (other than performing vidwans)
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Joined: 30 Jun 2006, 03:08

Post by jayaram »
Fascinating article on 'Margadarsi' Sesha Iyengar. Found the following excerpt on his contributions especially interesting:
The Muhana prasa antya prasa vyavastha deals with the principles of using the Sabdalankaras - muhana, prasa and antyaprasa - in musical compositions in Sanskrit, a subject not met in any work on the theory of music. All the examples cited are from the kritis of Margadarsi Sesha lyengar. Muhana (called Monai in Tamil) is the Sabdalankara by which the same letter as in the beginning of an avarta or any of its substitutes occurs in the beginning of the second avarta. For example,
'Dinakara Kula dipa!
Dhrita divya sara chapa!'

Prasa, (called Edukai in Tamil) is the repetition of the second letter in the first avarta in the same position in the subsequent avarta in the same position in the subsequent avartas. This is concerned only with consonants, not vowels. The example given in the book from Sesha lyengar's Kriti is:
‘Tanuja sarana pa-
Vanaja mukha pari-
jana ! jagadahita-
danuja madahara!
manuja tanu dhara!
vanaja dala nayana!’

Antyaprasa is the repetition of a letter or group of letters at the end of the avartas. It differs from prasa. For instance, a word like netram can have antyaprasa only with words like gatram, sutram, etc. For examples,
Tavakina Charana Kisalaye

The most interesting part of the book deals with a feature called Antarukti, not mentioned at all in any other work on music. This is the use of one or more syllables between two words which are in muhana or Prasa, for the sake of tala. For example,
‘Hanumantam Chintayeham paVana'
Here the word Pavana is split to provide 'vana' as prasa to 'Hanu' The syllable 'pa' is therefore the 'antarukti'

The Muhana prasa antyaprasa vyavastha is thus a treasure-trove to musicologists and to those who wish to compose Kritis in accordance with time-honoured Saddalankaras. In the beginning the author says:
'The three Sabdalankaras used in composing Sahitya for music are muhana, prasa and antyaprasa. Although the rules for such compositions in Telugu and Tamil are well-recognized, there is no set of rules for compositions in Sanskrit. We have therefore, to accept certain norms that are found in the Kritis of the poet known as Sesha Ramanuja Kavi who has composed only in Sanskrit.'
Are there any renditions of Sesha Iyengar's compositions available? To be called a 'Margadarsi' by your contemporaries is indeed a great compliment and honour!

Posts: 1317
Joined: 30 Jun 2006, 03:08

Post by jayaram »

The same article also states the following:
[quote]Having spelt out the principles of employing Sabdalankaras in musical compositions in Sanskrit, following the patterns set by Sesha Iyengar, it is no wonder that Swati Tirunal himself followed them in his Sanskrit compositions. The Maharaja was a master of the language but he did not hesitate to borrow phrases like 'palita bhuvana samudaya' from Iyengar. But the unique tribute he has paid to his illustrious predecessor is the Kriti 'Bhogindra sayinam', which is entirely modelled after Iyengar's beautiful Kriti 'Sriranga Sayinam'. Let us compare the two Kritis :

Margadarsi Sesha Iyengar's Kriti:
Pallavi : “Sriranga Sayinam Sakala
Subha Dayinam Chintaye -
ham Sada Hridayeâ€
Last edited by jayaram on 13 May 2007, 19:47, edited 1 time in total.


Post by coolkarni »

I understand that Prema Rengarajan has done serious work with his compositions.Will try and find out more.


Post by thanjavur »

Famous Carnatic Composers - MSA

Maargadarshi SEsha Aiyyangaar
- A pre-Trinity composer of the 17th century, Margadarshi Sesha Iyengar composed mainly in Sanskrit. He had used brndAvana sAranga before many others. He is also known to have been among the earliest to use the raga bEgaDa. His kritis have triple charanams, and he experimented with the traditional pallavi-anupallavi-caraNam structure of kritis. Some of his manuscripts are still available on palm-leaves.

The famous musician Shatkala Govinda Marar brought with him a collection of the songs of Margadarsi Sesha Iyengar and sang many of them before the king, Swati Tirunal. Impressed by their novelty, Swati Tirunal adopted them as models for his own compositions and also wrote a tract on the verbal embellishments like assonance, alliteration and rhyme to be adopted in musical compositions. Because he paved the way for a systematic style of compositions for all composers that followed, his title Margadarshi (one who shows the direction), is appropriate.

Other compositions include: kannilaveno nija kaanaveno, jaya sugunalaya - bilahari, Vande Govindarajam


Compositions : shreerangashaayinam

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