Technical Terms – II


Bharata muni called music ‘Gaandharvam’ because Celestial musicians in the heaven are said to be Gandharvas.

He further divided Gaandharvam into 3 streams. i.e., Swara, Tala and Paadam.


Bha, ra, ta are abbreviations of Bhaavam, Raagam and Talam, hence the acronym for music is Bharatam.

As also the pioneer of musicology in India is Bharata Muni.


A melody embellished by swaras and ornamented with varnams is known as Ragam.

“Ranjayiti iti raga” is the etymological definition of raga.

Raga is that which pleases the mind and heart through the inner ear.

Varjya ragam:

‘Varjya’ means missing or ommitting.

If in a raga, a swaram is missing either in arohana or avarohana or both such a raga is called as a ‘Varjya ragam’.


Bilahari ragam – s r g p d s / s n d p m g r s

m, n are missing in arohana.


A composer who writes a lyric and sets its music is known as a ‘Vaggeyakara’.

It is derived from ‘vak’ meaning sound and ‘geyam’ meaning lyric.

Hence a vaggeyakara must have command over music in addition to literary talent.

Examples: Annamacharya, Tyagaraja swamy, Muthuswamy Dikshitar, Syama Sastry.


Mudra is a signature of a composer

‘Tyagaraja’ is the mudra of Sri Tyagaraja Swamy.

‘Guruguha’ is the mudra of Muthuswamy Dikshitar.

‘Syama Krishna’ is the mudra of Syama Sastry.

Murchanakaraka Mela/Raga:

A new mela or raga that can be obtained by Graha Bhedam is known as Murchanakaraka mela or raga, here Graha Bhedam means the new Murchana arrived at when each swara is taken as Shadjam.