Danielou and Tamil Musicology

Srinivasan Pichumani srini at engin.umich.edu
Tue Apr 1 22:08:29 UTC 1997

	Since the Danielou produced this book, there has been considerable progress in
	Tamil musicology. However, due to the separation of language studies and
	music/musicological studies in the present day Tamilnadu, one side does not
	know what is happening on the other side. Dr. S. Ramanathan's work in his
	dissertation on music of cilappatikaram at Wesleyan was further advanced by
	Dr. V. P. K. Sundaram currently at Bharatidasan University in Tiruchirappalli. 

Ramanathan's seminal work goes back to the 50s and was published, 
presented in Tamil as "cilappatikArattu icai nuNukkam"... his work 
builds on the research of Abraham Pandithar and Vipulananda's Yazh 
nUl.  The above dissertation (1979) seems like a recast of that 
material into English.

	The 82-year old Dr. Sundaram has cleared many obscurities and errors with 
	regard to ancient Tamil musicology and is in the process of completing his 
	third volume of the Musical Encyclopedia of Tamil, published by the university. 

I just went thru the 2nd vol (k thru ~n) of this alphabetically 
ordered compendium ("Tami_licaikkalaikkaLa~niyam") ; it is very 
fascinating and richly detailed, including as it does musical 
details from the Cankam texts, from the CilappatikAram, and from 
the works and times of the Caiva saints.  It has a few musically 
irrelevant entries too !

In any case the time is ripe, and has been so for a while, for 
scholars of Indian music to take a good, hard look at the wealth 
of _musicological_ detail described in Tamil literature and possibly 
in other regional literatures too, in addition to that described in 
the Sanskrit treatises... and discuss their relevance, morphing, 
etc in detail... rather than leaving alone the former with just a 
polite mention.

	He has also explained the two different processes of paNNup peyarttal 
	(in Tamil) or grahabeda (in Sanskrit) and clearly established the basic 
	musical scale of ancient Tamils as 'cempAlaip paN' or present rAga harikAmbodi. 

The exact modern equivalents of these terms were clear from earlier 
work...  VipulAnanda, Ramanathan, etc agreed on cempAlaippAN as
HarikAmbodi... Ramanathan further established the crucial fact that
the pentatonic mullaippaN was the same as Mohanam.

V.P.K.Sundaram's efforts, as you note, seem to be directed at resolving 
the disparities between the results of Abraham Pandithar, VipulAnanda, 
and S.Ramanathan... he criticizes S.Ramanathan's reverse cyclical method 
of deriving the pAlais (modes) starting off with cempAlai, arriving first
at paDumalaipAlai (Kalyani) and so on, and prefers VipulAnanda's regular
cyclical method (i.e. moving the tonic forward from kural (S) to tuttam
(R)) on the basis of further literary evidence.  

VPKS also explicitly identifies the 5th tone of mullaippaN as G based 
on the CilappatikAram evidence itself... S.Ramanathan had identified 
the kural-tuttam-iLi-viLari of mullaippaN with the S-R-P-D of Mohanam 
and had extrapolated the G based on later evidence from Sekkizhar's 

	I may be wrong on this, but my cursory impression is that the new translation
	of cilappatikAram by Parthasarathy does not pay much attention to the music
	and dance aspect of cilappatikAram. 

Yes.  I don't remember reading very much of musicological detail 
in Danielou's translation either... did he publish anything else
based on his CilappatikAram research ?   


ps: By two different processes of paNNup peyarttal, are you referring
to the modal change of tonic, and the change of intervals with a fixed
tonic ?

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