muraja drum

Bharat Gupt abhinav at DEL3.VSNL.NET.IN
Thu Jul 1 23:23:57 UTC 1999

arul kumaresan wrote:
> >If it is granted that the Natyasastra is the oldest text of musicological
> >terms, that older that Sangam literature and Silapaddikaram ( I have
> >demostrated that Natyasastra preceded in
> >its earliest versions the the Valmikiya Ramayana , pl see
> >my book ,  Dramatic Concepts Greek and Indian, DELHI, D.K.
> >Printworld, 1994, MURAJA is the most important drum instrument of the
> >ancient times. Chapters 28, 33, 34 and 36 all mention its playig in detail.
>   Thanks, Prof. Gupt. I read that the Natya Sastra in its available
> form is around 4-5th centuries A.D. "muraja", *the most
> important drum instrument of the ancient times*, and
> classical Tamil "muracam/muracu/muraicu" - do people like
> Burrow, Kuiper or Mayrhoffer say anything on muraja?
> > > Seeking Sanskritists' help on the drum/big drum `muraja'.
> > > Is it from Indo-Iranian heritage? Or,
> > > Is Skt. muraja from Dravidian muracam? Classical Tamil
> > > texts have royal drum, muracam/muracu/muraicu.
> > > Usually, these muracam-s were kept on a decorated cot
> > > in the palace. Sangam texts portray muracam-s being
> > > carried by elephants and royal commands proclaimed.
> > > Any comments on Skt. muraja and Ta. muracam?
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I do not know if the scholars you have named have written on the subject.
My work has been mainly, rather entirely, based on the Sanskrit texts of the Natysastra.
and the Valmikiya Ramayana and later musicological texts .

The playing of  drums as I said is detailed in the NS. The NS mentions that that
the same kind of patterns of strokes can be played on mrdanga, panava, muraja, and other
drums.  This holds true till date.  Some changes are made to suit the specific nature of
certain drums.

The date of NS is a big controversy.IT is a text that has grown over centuries
but which lines/ portions are later  additions, is not possible to point out.
The medieval texts describe the size and making of muraja. Muraj may have had a South
Indian  origin  and could have been incorporated in the NS list of drums. There is no
reason to believe that NS was not written viewing the musical practices all over India.
But muraja like nearly all Indian drums is non medieval Iranian. Even a precursor of
modern tabla is found in 9th century sculpture.

Bharat Gupt

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