• Prabandham is a very old familiar word for linguists. It is said that every musical composition is a Prabandham.
  • Venkatamakhi in his “Chaturdandi Prakasika” mentioned about prabandham in a chapter.
  • During 5th Century, Matangamuni, in his “Bruhaddesi” he has written about 471 Desi Prabandhams.
  • During 12th Century, Sarangadeva in his “Sangeetha Ratnakaram”, has a written a specific chapter about Prabandham. He has mentioned about 75 other prabandhams.

Prabandham has 6 Angas & 4 Dhatus.

The 6 angas are:

  1. Svara, or the solfa passage. Ex:- srgmpdn
  2. Biruda, exclamation or words of praise, addressed to the prabandha nayaka expatiating on his valour, skill, courage etc.

They are with 3 angas & 4 angas by the names “Bhavini Jathi”, “Deepini Jathi”.

  1. Pada, or words
  2. Tenaka or auspicious phrases like tena, tena
  3. Patam, the rhythmical sounds associated  with Rudra vina, the conch and certain drums.
  4. Tala, raga is not specifically mentioned here, because no prabandha can be thought of without a raga.


According to the number of angas present, prabandhas were classified into:

  1. Medini Jathi prabandha which contains all the above 6 angas.

Ex:- Ramaswamy Dikshitar’s prabandha in Hamsadhvani raga, Matya tala, “Chanda sela “ is an example of the Medini Jathi prabandha.

  1. Anandini jathi Prabandha, which has 5 of the above angas.

Ex:- Pallavi Seshayyar’s tillana in Dhanyasi raga, Adi tala affords a modern parallel for an Anandini Jathi Prabandha.

  1. Deepini Jathi Prabandha, which has 4 of the above angas.

Ex:- The Viriboni varna in Bhairavi raga furnishes a good modern parallel of a Deepini Jathi prabandha.

  1. Bhavini Jathi Prabandha, which has 3 of the above angas.

Ex:- A kriti like Nimadi Challaga in Anandabhairavi raga furnishes a good example of a Bhavini Jathi prabandha.

  1. Taravali Jathi Prabandha, which has 2 of the above angas.

Ex:- A composition like the jatiswaram gives an example of Taravali Jati Prabandha.

Tala is a constant anga in all the prabandhas.

The four dhatus of prabandha are:

  1. Udgraha, the introductory section (corresponding to pallavi).
  2. Dhruva, the essential or the constant section (corresponding to charana).
  3. Melapaka, the section that links up or unites the above two (corresponding to anupallavi).
  4. Abhoga, the concluding section (corresponding to the madhyama kala sahitya or the chitta svara of a kriti).

Of these four sections, the Melapaka and Abhoga were dispensable angas. The Udgraha and Dhruva were indispensable angas.

Based on number of dhatus, Prabandhas were classified into:-

  1. Dvidhatu Prabandhas had Udgraha and Dhruva or Dhruva and Abhoga or Udgraha and Abhoga.

Ex:- Divyanama Sankeertanas of Tyagaraja, Ashtapadis of Jeyadeva have Pallavi & Charanams

  1. Tridhatu Prabandhas had Udgraha, Dhruva and Abhoga

Ex:- A kriti like ‘Prakkala Nilabadi’  of Kharaharapriya ragam by Tyagaraja has Pallavi, Anupallavi & Charanam

  1. Chaturdhatu Prabandha had Udgraha, Melapaka, Dhruva and Abhoga.

Ex:- A Pancharatna Kriti like ‘Sadinchene O Manasa’ of Arabi ragam by Tyagaraja has Pallavi, Anupallavi, Charanam & Chitta swarams.

There ought to be minimum of 2 dhatus to constitue a prabandha.

Prabandhas were also classified into:-

  1. Niryukta Prabandhas, i.e., those which conforms to the rules of chandassu, raga talas etc. and
  2. Aniryukta Prabandhas, i.e., those which do not conforms to the rules.


  • Bhulokamalla has composed many prabandhas.
  • Gopala Naik has composed a Graha svara prabandha, a talarnavam and a raga kadambakam.

Raga kadambakam and Talarnavam stand for the modern ragamalika and talamalika.

Talarnavam is also the name of the work on Tala.

  • Matanga in his Brihaddesi, mentions all the compositions under the heading of Desi Prabandhas.
  • Sarngadeva classifies prabhandas as:
    • Suda Prabandhas, Alikrama Prabandhas and Viprakarna Prabandhas.
    • Sudha Prabandha has divisions of Suddha Suda and Salaga Suda or Chayalaga Suda.
    • There are many types of Prabandhas bearing the names of some of the 108 talas.

Ex:- Chachchari, Hamsa lila, Turaga lila, Haya lila, and Gaja lila.

  • Sarngadeva mentions other types of compositions like: Akshiptikas, Kapalas and Kambalas.

The prabandhas paved the way for the development of later musical compositions.

Varna means a composition in the varna tala.

  • Pancha taleswaram was a tala malika in five talas.
  • Srivilasa was a raga tala malika in five ragas and five talas.
  • Sriranga prabandham was a raga tala malika in four ragas and four talas.
  • Umatilaka Prabandham was a raga tala malika in three ragas and three talas.
  • Panchabhangi and Panchanana had 2 ragas and 2 talas.
  • Sarabha lila was in 8 ragas and 8 talas.
  • Svarartha was a composition containing svaraksharas.

Kaivara Prabandham: Major part of matu consists of jatis and mnemonical syallables associated with instruments.

Kafai Prabandham: similar to gitam

Vichitra was a Prabandham, wherein words were from different languages in the sahitya.

Thayam, is a composition resembling gitam in its general structure.

Tenikaranam, is similar to gitam.