Musical trees and rivers?

Bharat Gupt abhinav at DEL3.VSNL.NET.IN
Sun Dec 10 01:13:16 UTC 2000

Christian K. Wedemeyer wrote:
> Dear Colleagues,
> Can anyone help me with the following words?   I am struggling to interpret a
> list of what ought to be various types of instrumental music (vaadya). The
> begins with two items which do not fit in an obvious manner.  The phrase
> runs: vanaspati-nady-ucchaTaa-taala-murajaadi-vaadya-zabda.h.  I take this to
> mean (roughly) "sounds of instrumental music such as vanaspati, nadi(i),
> snapping of fingers, clapping of hands, [and] drums."

Could we not read this line to mean as:

Vanaspati, Nadii, uccitikaa, taala are the s.abdah ( sounds,sound patterns
) produced on muraja and others (drums).

Does this fit in with the context of the line ? I am ammending ucchaTaa to
uccitikaa. I do not know of any reference in musicologicl texts to an
instrument or a musical term called ucchaTaa.

Nadii is a metre and hence a syllabic sequence produced on the drums, as given by
Bharata Muni and Naanyadeva. It is well defined and was in currency it seems
for more than a millennium. It was used as drum sound for joy as certified by

Uccitikaa is mentioned both by Bharata Muni and Abhinava to mean
a string of syllables or a phrase, present day term in Hindi 'bol', in
drums (pus.karavaadye) NS 31 and reiterated by Naanyadeva .

Taala is also a vaadyaprapandhah or a 'bol', says S.aarngadeva.

Vanaspati is a mystery. Yes, a melaraaga but that does not fit in here.

What is this text by the way from where your line comes ?
Does this help or is it confusion worse confounded ?
Bharat Gupt,  Associate Professor, Delhi University
PO Box 8518, Ashok Vihar, Delhi 110052  INDIA
tel 91-11-724 1490, fax 741-5658, email: bharatgupt at

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