Vedic accent in taittiriya samhita

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Jan 25 18:04:38 UTC 2000

Bharat Gupt <abhinav at DEL3.VSNL.NET.IN> wrote:

>Let me put it this way: If the Vedic svaras or tones are to be called or
>defined as
>svaras, then they cannot  be defined as a units of three  (as in Rk
>paath.a) or four but
>only as a saptak (in western terms the octave where the tonic is counted
>twice). There

Perhaps, but this is not theoretically impossible.

>can be no Shadja unless there are six other notes or no Madhyama if there
>are no three
>notes on its either side.  Similarly, the three tones called Udaatta etc.,
>were located
>on to the Gandharva scales (muurcchanaas) to give their descriptive nature.
>This was
>never an exact description as the pitch of Udaatta etc., varied from
>Shaakaa to Shaakaa
>( as you yourself pointed out).

And that is precisely why a musical interpretation of the Paninian
"samaahaaras svarita.h" sounds very problematic to me. The idea that the
samaahaara refers to svarita being a three Sruti note can apply only to some
of the recitation traditions around. In south Indian tradition, where the
notes correspond to ni, sa and ri of Ahir Bhairav rather than Kafi, the
svarita becomes a 2 Sruti note. And there are recitation schools where no
musical pitches can be properly assigned to the actual sounds. The
interpretation of samaahaara according to musical intervals then becomes
quite unsatisfactory, does it not?

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