- 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:
- Svara, or the solfa passage. Ex:- srgmpdn
- 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”.
- Pada, or words
- Tenaka or auspicious phrases like tena, tena
- Patam, the rhythmical sounds associated with Rudra vina, the conch and certain drums.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Udgraha, the introductory section (corresponding to pallavi).
- Dhruva, the essential or the constant section (corresponding to charana).
- Melapaka, the section that links up or unites the above two (corresponding to anupallavi).
- 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:-
- 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
- Tridhatu Prabandhas had Udgraha, Dhruva and Abhoga
Ex:- A kriti like ‘Prakkala Nilabadi’ of Kharaharapriya ragam by Tyagaraja has Pallavi, Anupallavi & Charanam
- 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:-
- Niryukta Prabandhas, i.e., those which conforms to the rules of chandassu, raga talas etc. and
- 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.