The Brahmanda Purana

by G.V. Tagare | 1958 | 319,243 words | ISBN-10: 8120838246 | ISBN-13: 9788120838246

This page describes notes on gramas, murcchanas and tanas of the English translation of the Brahmanda Purana: one of the oldest puranas including common Puranic elements such as cosmogony, genealogy, ethics, geography and yoga. Traditionally, the Brahmandapurana is said to consist of 12,000 verses metrical Sanskrit verses.

Notes on Grāmas, Mūrcchanās and Tānas

These notes are extracted from the Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa chapter 2.3.61.

Notes on Grāma:

Grāma means the group of seven notes. In the Purāṇas three Grāmas are mentioned. They are, the Ṣaḍjagrāma, the Madhyamagrāma and the Gāndhāragrāma. These three were the basic scales. The Sa-scale, the Ma-scale and the Ga-scale had the notes , Ma and Ga as the starting notes respectively. The Sa-scale would have notes, , Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni; the Ma-scale would have the notes Ma, Pa, Dha, Mi, Sa, Ri, Ga and the Ga-scale would have the notes Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Mi, , Ri. Out of these three basic scales, the Ga-scale fell into disuse afterwards. The ancient scholar Dattila states that it is not found in this world. The later scholars say that it went into heaven. The reason of its disappearance is given as it had extremely high and low notes. But from its description given by the later authors like Śārṅgadeva, it seems that it was not perfect in the aspect of consonance, which was vitally essential for the melodic music of India. Bharata in his Mātya-śāstra describes the Sa-scale and the Ma-scale on the basis of the consonance of the fourth (Sa-Ma Samvāda) and the consonance of the fifth (Sa-Pa Saṃvāda). In the Sa-scale the consonance of the fifth was more prominent (Sa-Pa, Ri-Dha and Ga-Ni) while that of the fourth in the Ma-Scale (Sa-Ma, and Ri-Pa). The number of śrutis (the microtones) in the Saptaka fixed by Bharata is 22.

The Śruti-intervals were distributed in the notes as follows:

Sa scale 4Sa 3Ri 2Ga 4Ma 4Pa 3Dha 2Ni=22

Ma-scale 4Ma 3Pa 4Dha 2Ni 4Sa 3Ri 2Ga=22

The Sa-Ma consonance has the interval of 9 śrutis and the Sa-Pa consonance that of 13 śrutis.

Notes on Mūcchanā:

The Mūrcchanā was the gradual ascent and descent of the seven notes of the basic scale. The word is derived from the root—Mūrcch-meaning to increase or to pervade. As the Mūrcchanās started from each note of the scale, there were seven Mūrcchanās of each scale. Thus the Mūrcchanās of the three Grāmas numbered twenty-one.

E.g. The Sa-scale Mūrcchanās would be:

(1) Sā Ri Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni...

(2) Ni Sā Ri Ga Ma Pa Dha...

(3) Dha Mi Sā Ri Ga Ma Pa... etc.

The Sāman-scale was descending having the notes Ma Ga Ri Sā Dha Ni Pa as per the Nāradīya-śikṣā (1.5. 1 and 2). Due to the influence of the Sāman-scale, there was the descending order followed in the case of starting notes of the Mūrcchanās. The Mūrcchanās served as the basis of different types of songs. They also brought in, the notes of the low (Mandra) and high (Tāra) registers (Sthānas).

If the first Mūrcchanā of the Ma-scale is rendered taking Ma as the Ṣaḍja and the remaining notes accordingly, then it would be indicated as—

4Sa 3Ri 4Ga 4Ma 2Pa 3Dha 2Ni=22 śrutis.

This gives the Gāndhāra of 4 Śrutis called Antara Ga. Its consonant note would be Ni of 4 śrutis called Kākali Ni. These two were called the Sādhāraṇa notes. Their use was restricted. Their employment was allowed when the songs had the two śruti Ga and the two śrutī Mi notes in small measure. The Mūrcchanās with these two Sādhāraṇa notes were called as Sādhāraṇīkṛta Mūrcchanās.

Notes on Tāna:

Tāna is like Mūrcchanā in which one or two specific notes are dropped. When one specific Svara (note) is dropped, it is called Ṣāḍava Tāna (one consisting of six notes) and when two specific notes are dropped, it is called Auḍuva Tāna (one consisting of five notes). According to Purāṇas, there were twenty Tānas of Madhyamagrāma, fourteen of Ṣaḍjagrāma and fifteen of Gāndhāragrāma. Thus the number of Tānas of the three grāmas is given as forty-nine.

According to Bharata (Nāṭyaśāstra (Baroda edition Vol. P. 27), when the single note Sa, Ri, Pa or Ni is dropped from the Mūrcchanās of the Ṣaḍjagrāma, there would take place twenty-eight Ṣāḍava Tānas (7x4=28). Similarly when the note Sa, Ri or Ga is dropped from the Mūrcchanās of the Madhyamagrāma, twenty-one Ṣāḍava Tānas would be effected (7X3 = 21). By dropping Sa, Pa, Ga, Ni or Ri, Dha from the Mūrcchanās of the Sa-scale twenty-one Auḍuva Tānas would be effected (7x3=21). When Ri, Dha or Ga, Ni are dropped from the Mūrcchanās of the Ma-Scale, there would take place fourteen Auḍuva Tānas (7 X2= 14). Thus the total number of the Tānas of two grāmas is eighty-four according to Bharata. These are given as Śuddha Tānas by later Ācāryas.

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