Vedic accent in taittiriya samhita

Harry Spier harryspier at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 19 03:06:52 UTC 2000

A chanting book I have of the Rudram from the Taittiriya Samhita with an
accompanying tape of Brahmin Priests from that school reciting the text
agrees with the description by Wayne Howard (in Vedic Recitation in Varanasi
page 191) of the musical realization of the Taittiriya school.  I.e. in
relation to the pitch of unmarked syllables the syllables that have an
underline are a major second below in pitch, and the syllables marked with a
verticle line above them are a minor second above in pitch.  But in the
introduction of the chanting book where it describes the names and meanings
of the vedic accents it names the accent indicated by a verticle line above
the syllable (which Wayne Howard and everyone else I've heard calls svarita)
as udAtta.  It names the unmarked syllables as svarita, and the syllables
with an underline as anudAtta.  The exact quote of the accents description
in the introduction (in Hindi) is as follows:

I'm using HK convention (& indicates chandrabindu,M anusvara):

udAtta [it shows a picture of akara with a verticle line above it here]
(sirapar khaDI) svar ke tIna bhedeM meM se ek ; U&cA svar |

anudAtta [it shows a picture of akara with an underline here] (nIce ADI
lakIr) udAtta kA ulaTA; nIcA svar |

svarita [it shows a picture of akara with no accent marks here] (cinharahit)
udAtta aur anudAtta ke bIc kA; madhyam svar |

Is the naming of the accents in this chanting books introduction an error or
by a vertical line above (and chanted as a high note) are called udAtta and
unmarked syllables (chanted as a midnote) called svarita?

My main interest is not so much the issues about these accents that Wayne
Howard discusses on pages 93 to 106 of "Vedic Recitation in Varanasi" i.e.
the original meaning of udAtta, anudAtta and svarita, but rather "Today what
would a Brahmin priest of the taittiriya samhita school call the accent
marked by a vertical line above the syllable and chanted by him as a high
note, and what would he call the unmarked syllable chanted by him as a
In other words "Is the naming of the accents in the introduction of this
chanting book an error?"

Many thanks in advance,

Harry Spier
371 Brickman Rd.
Hurleyville, New York
USA 12747

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