[INDOLOGY] metrical melodies

Matthew Kapstein mattkapstein at proton.me
Mon Mar 4 18:18:35 UTC 2024

I don’t imagine that the melodies can be definitely dated, unless approximate indications are found in the Sanskrit musicological literature. The melody to which MS Subbalakshmi famously chanted the
विष्णुसहस्रनामस्तोत्रम् is reputed to be very ancient. I imagine that some other chant melodies are as well..
I don’t know if the considerable ethnomusicological work on India has extended to these types of chant. I’d be interested if anyone knows of such resources. I recently read an interesting summary of work on an early form of Christian litugical chant, that argued for its predating by some five centuries, the earliest transcriptions.


Matthew Kapstein, EPHE, Paris

On Mon, Mar 4, 2024 at 18:54, Madhav Deshpande via INDOLOGY <[indology at list.indology.info](mailto:On Mon, Mar 4, 2024 at 18:54, Madhav Deshpande via INDOLOGY <<a href=)> wrote:

> What I know from my personal experience is that the same meter is recited with slightly different melodies in different regions, and occasionally the same meter is recited differently in the same region depending upon the context. A good example of this is the meter Śārdūlavikrīdita. It is recited in the region of Maharashtra at least in two different styles in different contexts. There is one style of recitation of verses in this meter that are part of the so called Maṅgalāṣṭaka verses recited during weddings, and a different style in other contexts. One can get a sense of this variation from recordings available on resources like the YouTube. It is not clear to me how one would go about finding traces of such variation in pre-modern periods.
> Madhav M. Deshpande
> Professor Emeritus, Sanskrit and Linguistics
> University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
> Senior Fellow, Oxford Center for Hindu Studies
> Adjunct Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, India
> [Residence: Campbell, California, USA]
> On Mon, Mar 4, 2024 at 9:01 AM Reich, James David via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
>> Dear colleagues,
>> I'm wondering if anyone is aware of any resources related to the history of the simple melodies that are attached to various Sanskrit and Prakrit meters. Is anything known about this? Do we know how old the melodies are, or when or how they originated, or how they have changed over the centuries? Secondary material would be particularly helpful, but if there is any primary material that would be helpful as well. Or simply if anyone knows anything about this or has any thoughts on it, I would be very curious.
>> Thanks very much,
>> James Reich
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