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TYAGARAJA (1767 - 1847)
Musical Background: Tyagaraja was born to Ramabrahmam and Seetamma, who were responsible for his interest in music. Sonti Venkataramana Das, a court musician of Tanjavur, was his Guru (teacher).

Region: He hailed from Tiruvarur in Tanjavur district but lived in Tiruvayyar. To this day, one finds a memorial erected in his honour, where music lovers and musicians gather in large numbers to sing his compositions and the Pancharatna kritis, in particular.


  • Musical concepts: Apart from the 2,000 plus compositions that he has composed, he is credited with developing and perfecting the kriti form. The concept of Sangati (melodic variations on a line in the composition to beautify it) is also his brainchild.
  • Rhythmic concepts: Though Tyagaraja composed mostly in Adi tala, he has used other talas like, Roopaka, Misra Chapu, Khanda Chapu, Desadi and Madhyadi talas also. He was the first composer to popularise songs with an anagata eduppu or compositions starting after the first beat. i.e., with a starting point of ¼ , ½ , ¾ and 1½ beats after the sama.
  • Compositions: He composed in uncommon and unusual ragas, including some of the lesser-used Melakartas. His Pancharatna kritis (Pancha means five and Ratna means gem), based on the five Ghana ragas, Nata, Gowla, Arabhi, Varali and Sri, are a class by themselves. Besides numerous kritis, he also wrote two major musical operas, Prahlada Bhakti Vijayam and Nowka Charitram. He has also composed special kritis under the categories, Utsava Sampradaya and Divyanama.

Theme: Devotion in various moods and forms, especially to Lord Rama and also philosophy. 

Language used: Telugu and Sanskrit.

Signature: He used his own name, Tyagaraja, as his mudra.

Popular compositions: Nagumomu (Abheri), Samajavaragamana (Hindolam), Bantureeti (Hamsanadam) and so on.

Tyagaraja's contribution to Carnatic Music, Part 3 - By Dr. V Raghavan
Tyagaraja's contribution to Carnatic Music, Part 2 - By Dr. V Raghavan

Tyagaraja's contribution to Carnatic Music, Part 1 - By Dr. V Raghavan

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