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Glossary

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  • (Bhumi )Namaskāraha
    The act of prostration; In Bharathanātyam, a short sequence of gestures and postures performed as a ritual of obeisance before and after dancing.
  • abbreviation for kural (1)
    abbreviation for kural kaikilai
  • Abhinaya
    The meaning of lyrics of the song that the dancer dances to is conveyed to the audience with the help of hand gestures and facial expressions called Abhinaya. Abhinaya is a concept in Indian dance and drama derived from Bharatha's Nātya Śhāstra. Although now, the word has come to mean 'the art(...)
  • Abhinayadharpaṇa
    It is a treatise on Bharathanātyam written by Nandikeśhwara in 2nd century AD.
  • Abhyāsa
    Practice
  • Abhyāsagānam
    A type of music which is often used in practice or musical exercise. This includes the varisais, gīthams, swarajathis, jathiswaramsand also varṇams.
  • Achalaswara
    Also known as Prakruthiswara, it means a fixed note without any variables or ornamentations. The two fixed notes in Karnātic music are Ṣhaḍja (Sa) and Panchama (Pa).
  • Aḍavu
    A basic unit of dance technique in Bharathanātyam, combining standing position, foot and leg movement, and hand gestures. Aḍavus are the building blocks of the nruttha, or abstract dance aspect of Bharathanātyam,, in which the movements are decorative and convey no meaning.
  • Adhbhutha
    It means awe or amazement and is one of the nine emotions in Bharathanātyam, (Navarasa). The other rasas are Śhringara (love, eros), Vīra (valor, heroism), Karuṇa (sadness), Raudhra (fury), Hāsya (laughter, humor), Bhayānaka (fear), Bībhathsa (revulsion), and Shāntha (peace).
  • Adhbutha
    A particular rasa or feeling of surprise or awe in a song or rāga
  • Adhhama
    Of low stature. One of the classifications of characters in Bharathanātyam. Others are Utthama (divine) and Madhyama (human).
  • Adhhomukha
    It is one of the Śhiro bhedhas(head variations). It means to face downwards.
  • Adhhomukhaśhwānāsana
    A posture in Yoga resembling a dog facing downwards.
  • Ādhi
    A common thāḷa, which is chathuśhra jāthi thripuṭa thāḷa. It has 8 beats, with a chathuśhra laghu (beat and 3 finger counts = 4) and then two dhruthams (beat and wave times 2 = 4). It may be also performed with double the beats per cycle, giving 16 beats.
  • Ādhi thāḷa
    It is the most common rhythmic pattern (thālam) with eight counts. The technical name is Chathurashra-jāthi Thriputa Thālam.
  • Ādhithya
    The 12th and last chakra, with meḷakarthās that have Ma2, Ra3, and Ga3, comprising numbers 67-72
  • ādhitya
    the 12th and last chakra, with melakartas that have M2, R3, and G3, comprising numbers 67 to 72
  • Adho
    Downward
  • Adhomukha
    downward facing
  • Adhomukha Shvānāsana
    Downward Facing Dog
  • Afternoon rāga
    A rāga to be performed in the afternoon between 1pm - 4pm such as mukhāri or begaḍa.
  • Agni
    Fire; Agni dheva is the God of Fire. In Hastha mudhrā, it is depicted by holding thripathāka hastha in the right hand and Kangula hastha in the left hand.
  • Agrathala
    It is one of the foot positions used in Bharathanātyam. In Sanskrit, Agra means tip and Thala means bottom.
  • Ahankāra
    Ego
  • Āhārya, Āhārya Abhinaya
    It is one of the four aspects of Abhinaya (the art of expression) that relates to expression through costume, jewellery, and make-up.
  • Āhatham
    A gamaka or decoration of a note which takes the form of 2 consecutive notes, such as Sa Ri Ri Ga Ga Ma Ma Pa ...
  • Ahimsa
    Non-violence
  • Ahobala
    The seventeenth century author of the treatise Sangītha Pārijātha. He was the first one to calibrate the value of swaras in terms of the lengths of stretched strings.
  • Ajāḍya
    In Sanskrit, it means lack of sluggishness.
  • Ajapa japa
    Repetition of 'Soham' manthra.
  • Ājna chakra
    Energy center located behind the forehead or between the eyebrows; state of intuitive wisdom consciousness.
  • Akāra
    Exercises in Carnatic music where vowel extension "A" is used and all the swaras are sung in this vowel. In notation, akāra is indicated by dots. For example, ‘Kā…mā…kshi…’ One may also use ‘e’, ‘o’, ‘aye’ and ‘hūm’ when singing.
  • Ākāra
    Using the vowel 'aaa'... to sing rāga or a musical phrase instead of words or swaras. One may also use vowels like eee, ooo, ayyy, aii, ohhh, etc. Ākāram is usually indicated by dots, ex: kā...mā...kṣhi...
  • Akāra-Sādhhakam
    Vocal practice, employing only the sound 'aaa'. This is done as part of the voice-culture exercises and results in richness of tone, timbre, clarity and strength of the voice.
  • Ākāsha
    Sky
  • Ākāśha
    In Sanskrit, it means Sky or Space.
  • Akṣhara
    It means Syllable.
  • Akṣharakāla
    The amount of time it takes for 1 akṣhara or one swara to be performed. So PaDhaPaMaGaRiSa is 7 akṣharakālas.
  • Alankāra
    In Sanskrit, It means ornaments and adornments. In the context of Indian classical music, the application of an Alankāra is essentially to embellish or enhance the inherent beauty of the swara or a note. The earliest reference to the term Alankāra has been found in Bharatha's Nātyaśhāsthra(...)
  • Alaṅkāram
    (1) - meaning a beautiful arrangement of swaras, it used to be a term for gamaka in the times of Bharatha (from AḍukkuAṇi) (2) - refers to the sapthaalaṅkārams, where the students are introduced for the first time to intricate thālas (SulādhiSapthathālas) and exercises in three speeds in(...)
  • Alapadhma
    It means a Fully Bloomed Lotus in Sanskrit. In dance, it is shown by the following instruction: Spread all the fingers and slightly bend sideways towards the palm.
  • Ālāpana
    One of the forms in manodhharma sangītha wherein a beautiful picture of the rāga free of rhythm is created by the performer in different octaves, starting from slow phrases to faster phrases gradually building the climax. Phrases used while rendering are Aa, Ee, Thanna, Thadharinna etc.
  • Alarippū
    Usually the first dance item in a Bharathanātyam, recital, the alarippū is a abstract dance item that begins with movements of just the eyes, and then progressively involves more of the body and increase the rhythmic pace. It symbolizes awakening, sanctification of the performing place, and(...)
  • Alārippu
    A dance style, which uses solkaṭṭu swaras - it is a beginning piece, often the first taught to dance students. It allows for expert gestures and intricate footwork coordinated in a strict manner in a fast-paced performance. Typically, the songs have no actual words, only solkaṭṭus.
  • Ālasya
    Laziness
  • Ālīḍa
    It is one of the foot positions in Bharathanātyam.
  • Ālolitha
    It is one of the Shiro bhedha(head variations). It means that which is shaken. In this variation, the head is rotated in a circular movement in a clockwise and anti clockwise direction.
  • Alpanyāsa
    A swara that is just touched and not stressed within a rāga or phrase. For example, in sāveri, Ri is only touched in some phrases
  • Alpathvam
    One of the 13 lakṣhaṇas of a rāga.
  • Alto
    The second highest voice in Western harmony.
  • Ambalam
    Ambalam means Temple; It also means a stage for performing arts.
  • Amśham
    One of the 13 characteristics (lakshaṇas) of a rāga.
  • Anāgatha
    A viṣhama graham in which the music begins after the start of the thāḷa. For EgMāJānaki – Kāmbhoji- Thyāgarāja ;Marugelara – Jayanthashri - Thyāgarāja
  • AnāhathaNādha
    Sanskrit term for the sound (Nādha) that is not heard except in the heart. Abstract sound which can be perceived by yogis and meditators. It is the opposite of ĀhathaNādha, which is the heard sound, or sound that can be perceived by human ear.
  • Ānandha
    Bliss
  • Anchitha
    It is one of the Foot positions in Bharathanātyam. It means curved or arched.
  • Āndhoḷana
    Sanskrit word for one of the ten Gamakas (ornamentations) mentioned in the text, 'Sangītha Makarandha'. It produces a specific stress and emotional quality in the note and consists of a long amplitude vibrato that bends the note in relatively quick succession but not at a speed that would make(...)
  • Āndhra Pradeśh
    It is one of the states in the southern part of India. It’s capital is Hydherābadh and the language spoken there is Thelugu.
  • Aṅga
    limb
  • Aṅgas
    The major parts of the body, such as head, chest, hands, and legs. One of three groups into which body parts are classified for the assignment of movements. The others are the prathyaṅgas or intermediate parts of the body, and upāṅgas, which include the extremities and facial features.
  • Āngika, Āṅgika Abhinaya
    The aspect of the art of expression (abhinaya) that relates to expression through body movements, including hand gestures and facial expressions.
  • Aṅgushta
    toe
  • Anjali
    Salutation
  • Annamāchārya
    He is one of the leading composers from Āndhrapradeśh in Carnātic music.
  • Annapūrṇa
    She is the Goddess of food. The temple for Annapūrṇa is in the city of Kāśhi.
  • Antharagāndhāram
    The highest of the 3 types of Ga - Ga3. It corresponds to E natural of the Western key of C.
  • Antharamārgam
    One of the 13 lakṣhaṇas of a rāga (see mārgam).
  • Antiphony
    A system where one person sings and a chorus of voices follow. This is often used in Indian music especially with bhajans. Palanquin bearers, tribes of Africa, New Zealand, North America, and Egypt also use antiphony.
  • Anubandha
    The final and concluding section of an Ālāpanā.
  • Anubhava
    Experience
  • Anudhhrutham
    One of the rhythmic patterns in Carnatic music, consisting of a single beat. Denoted by “U” in the conventional shorthand.
  • Anudhrutham
    A type of thāḷa movement which is a single beat of the hand on the thigh. Its symbol is U. Considered a small (anu=small) dhrutham, it is equivalent to 1 akshara.
  • Anuloma-viloma
    Anuloma Viloma is a type of breathing technique. In Sanskrit, ‘Anuloma’ means with the ‘natural order’ and ‘Viloma’ means ‘going against’. This is also called the ‘Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique’.
  • Anumandhrasthāyi
    The octave below the mandhrasthāyi (two octaves below the middle octave). Indicated by 2 dots below the note.
  • Anunādha
    The name given to the hushed Gāndhāra that is heard when the Mandhra string of a thambūrā is tuned to the bass tonic. This note arises from the fifth harmonic. It is also called SwayambhuGāndhāra.
  • Anupallavi
    Usually the second section of a song, after the pallavi and before the charaṇam, often of 2 lines. After this, the pallavi is repeated. Since anu means small, this is like a small pallavi. Generally it is believed that the idea which is introduced in the pallavi is elaborated more concretely(...)
  • Anuswara
    Graces or decoration of a note. The small (anu=small, atom) anuswaras bring out the beauty of arāga. These can be better described as small inflections around a swara to embellish it. The Rāga gets its identity only when swaras are sung with gamakās and their attendant anuswaras.
  • Anuvādhi
    All ragas have two pivotal Swaras, which are the Vādhi and Samvādhi notes, while the other Swaras are neither. The assonant notes in a Rāga that are neither Vādhi nor Samvādhi are called its Anuvādhi notes. They are often addressed as companion or attendant notes.
  • Anuvruttha
    In Sanskrit, it means to follow. It is one of the driṣhṭi bhedha (eye variations). The pupil quickly glances up and down.
  • Anya
    Notes taken from the scale of a different rāga. Example: Ma1 in sāraṅga. Arāga may have up to three anya swaras and no more. Anya swaras are indicated by an asterisk Ma*. They are also called bhāshāngaswaras
  • Apanyāsam
    One of the 13 lakṣhaṇas of arāga.
  • Aparigraha
    Non-greediness
  • Apaswara
    A note with a pitch that is poorly focused (false note), or out of tune with respect to the ideal and true pitch (off-key note). It has a jarring effect on the ears.
  • Apūrvarāgas
    Rāgas which are uncommon or rare.
  • Apūrvathāḷa
    A thāḷa that is not in the sūḷādhi saptha thāḷa system and that which uses the other aṅgas, such as guru plutha,etc.
  • Araimanḍi
    A signature posture of Bharathanātyam, with erect torso, bent legs, knees outward, heels together, and toes outward. Also call ardhhamanḍali.
  • Arāḷa
    It is one of the Asamyutha hasthas. In Sanskrit, it means Petal/ bent. From the pathāka hasthā, when the index finger is bent, arāla hastha is formed.
  • Aramanḍi
    It is the most important position in Bharathanātyam. Here, the knees are bent forming oblong shape.
  • Araṅgam
    A Tamil word meaning stage, raised platform, or island.
  • Araṅgéṭram
    The debut performance of a Bharathanātyam, dancer, marking his or her readiness for performing a full solo recital. A Tamil word meaning to step onto the stage, from of araṅgam (stage) and éṭram (ascent).
  • Ārathi
    A song or ritual performed with a flame and/or turmeric to drive away evil spirits. Ārathi songs are usually in maṅgaḷa rāgas
  • Archika
    It refers to recitation in one fixed note. This is indicated for some passages of the RgVedha, where the entire hymn is to be recited in one note.
  • Ardha
    Half
  • Ardhhabhekāsana
    The word ‘Bheka’ is derived from Sanskrit, meaning ‘Frog’. This Yoga pose is so called because, when done, it resembles a frog. Another name for it is ‘Maṇḍūkāsana’ that has many variations. Maṇḍūka also means frog
  • Ardhhachandra
    It means Half Moon. It is an Asamyutha hastha and is indicated as follows: From the pathāka hasthā, when the thumb is released and brought to a right angle, the ardhachandra hasthā is formed.
  • Ardhhakampitha rāga
    A rāga in which only some swaras can have kampitha gamaka, ex: kunthalavarāḷi, compared to mukthāṅga kampitha rāgas
  • Ardhhamanḍali
    A signature posture of Bharathanātyam, with erect torso, bent legs, knees outward, heels together, and toes outward. Also call araimanḍi.
  • Ardhhanārīśhwara
    It is the concept in Indian mythology where Shiva and his consort Śhakthi are depicted as two equal portions of the body. The deity is the Lord who has both feminine and masculine traits.
  • Ardhhapathāka
    It is an Asamyutha hastha. This means ‘Half a flag’. From the thripathāka hasthā, when the little finger is bent, ardhapathāka is formed.
  • Āroha
    The ascending scale of a rāga (Sa Ri Ga ...), consisting of 4, 5, 6, or 7 notes.
  • Ārohaṇa
    The ascending scale of notes in a rāga is referred to as the ārōhanam.
  • Āsana
    In Sanskrit, it means seat or Posture.
  • Ashta
    Eight
  • Ashtāṅga Yoga
    Eight fold path of Yoga
  • Aṣhtāṅga yoga
    "Ashtaṅga Yoga" ("Eight-Limbed Yoga"). This eight-limbed concept derived from the 29th Sutra of the 2nd chapter of Pathanjali’s Yoga sūthras is a core characteristic of practically every Rāja yoga variation taught today.
  • Aṣhtāṅganamaskāra
    It is a salutation where the eight limbs of the body touch the ground.
  • Aṣhtapadhi
    Literally "eight steps," this is a musical form, a type of sabhāgānam, also used in dance. Each has eight stanzas, plus one. The most famous is by Jayadheva and composed in devotion to Kriṣhṇa.
  • Aṣhṭapadhi
    Literally means "eight steps", from Sanskrit aṣhṭa (eight) and padhi (steps), but refers to musical compositions with eight lines. Popularly it refers to the Gita Govinda, 12th century compositions of Sanskrit poems written by Jayadheva depicting the life of Kriṣhṇa and Rādha and on(...)
  • Aśhwasanchalanāsana
    It is a posture in Yoga which resembles the movement of a horse. Aśhwa means horse and sanchalana means moving.
  • Assām
    It is one of the states in the eastern part of India. It’s capital is Dispur(in Guwahati) and the language spoken there is Asomiya (commonly referred to as Assamese).
  • Astheya
    Non-stealing
  • Aṭa Thāḷa
    It is one of the seven basic thāḷas in Carnatic music system.
  • Athikruthrathamamārgam
    A thāḷa path used in krithis which has 1 swara or 1/4 māthra.
  • Athimelivu
    It is the same as anumandhrasthhāyi. (this nomenclature is used in the Dravidian or Thamizh tradition)
  • Athītha
    A viṣhamagraha in which the music starts before the beginning of the thāḷa (Also spelt as ateeta) For eg :Ninnuvinā – Poorvikalyāni – ShyāmaShāstri ; ChedebudhiMānura – Attāna - Thyāgarāja
  • Athithārasthāyi
    The octave above the thārasthāyi (two octaves above the middle octave), indicated by 2 dots above the note
  • Athivalivu
    It is the same as athithārasthāyi (this nomenclature is used in the Dravidian or Thamizh tradition)
  • Āthman
    Soul
  • Aṭṭa
    One of the sapthathāḷas, which has the form laghu, laghu, dhrutham, dhrutham with the symbol - ||00.With the varying 7 laghus, this gives seven forms. When the laghu number is not specified, it is chathuśhrajāthiaṭṭathāḷa, which is laghu(4), laghu(4), dhrutham(2), dhrutham(2), for 12 beats.
  • Aṭṭami
    The graceful movement of the neck from side to side is known as Aṭṭami in Tamil. In Bharatanàtyam, Aṭṭami serves several purposes including that of indicating time cycle as well as maintaining the tempo. It enhances the quality of both Nrittha and Abhinaya.
  • Aṭṭathāḷavarṇam
    A varṇam set iṇ aṭṭa thāḷa which usually has the same structures of other varṇams for example the pallavi, anupallavi and mukthāyiswara in the poorvānga or first half and the charaṇam and chittaswaras in the utharāngam. The edduppu in most starts at the ring finger. This may be due to the fact(...)
  • Āṭṭavarṇam
    Another name for a padha varṇam
  • Auḍava
    Meaning 5, this indicates rāgas which use only 5 notes instead of 7 in either the ascending or descending scale (or both), leaving out 2 notes. Mohana is an auḍava-auḍava rāga because it uses only Sa Ri Ga Pa and Dha going both up and down.
  • Auḍava rāga
    The rāgas which use only 5 notes instead of 7 notes in either the ascending or descending scale (or both), leaving out 2 notes are known as Auḍava ragas.
  • Auḍavam
    One of the 13 lakshaṇas of a rāga dealing with whether it is an auḍava rāga in either the ascending or descending scale.
  • Aum
    Primordial sound; also known as ‘Om
  • Avahitha
    It is one of the Samyutha hastha mudhrās in Bharathanātyam. When both hands held in alapadhma are crossed at the wrists and placed near the chest, we get the Avahitha hastha.
  • Avalokitha
    It is one of the Driṣhṭi bhedhas. It is the downward gaze of the eyes.
  • Avanāddha Vādya
    Percussion Instruments covered with stretched skin, e.g. Mridangam.
  • Avaroha
    The descending scale of a rāga (Sa Ṇi Dha ...), consisting of 4, 5, 6 or 7 notes.
  • Āvarthana
    One cycle/bar of the particular rhythmic meter or thāḷa. For example, in ādhi thāḷa in madhya laya (medium tempo), one āvarthanam is 8 beats. Two āvarthanas are 16, etc.
  • Avathār
    Incarnation
  • Avidhya
    Ignorance
  • Āyatha
    It means to spread over. This is the most important position in Bharathanātyam also known as Aramandi.
  • Āyurvedha
    It is the science of life. It is one of the systems of Indian medicine.
  • baani
    bAni means mould, but refers to a particular style of playing, characteristic of a pedigree of musicians, similar to the Hindustani gharana
  • Baddha
    Bound
  • Baddha Koṇāsana
    Bound angle posture
  • Balam
    It means Strength in Sanskrit.
  • Balarāma
    He is the elder brother of Kriṣhṇa. Orthodox Hindhus consider him also to be an incarnation of Lord Viṣhṇu.
  • Bālāsana
    In Sanskrit, Bāla means child and Āsana means posture. It is a pose in Yoga resembling that of a child.
  • bana
    the 5th cakra, with melakartas that contain M1, R2, and G3, comprising numbers 25-30
  • Bāndhava
    The word means Relative in Sanskrit. In Hastha mudhras, we have specific gestures to depict relatives.
  • bass
    the lowest voice in Western harmony
  • bhaashaanga
    refers to raagas which take swaras (anya swaras) from raagas other than the parent mElakarta. For example, saaranga takes a M1 which is not in its parent raga kalyaaNi. A raaga may take up to 3 such swaras.
  • bhaashaanga kanDam
    the 3rd section of a raagaanga raaga lakshaNa geetam, in which the names of the bhaashaanga raagas of the melakarta in which the geetam is sung are given in the saahitya
  • bhaava
    bhaava refers to a raaga or song's general expression, a collection of mood, tone, and the gamakas, which create a unique effect. In combination with prayogas, sancaarams, and other aspects of raaga, it allows two raagas to be distinct even when they have the same swaras in their scales, ex:(...)
  • Bhāgavatha Meḷam
    • A group form of dance drama from Tamil Nadu, with all roles performed by men, and themes based on mythology. The tradition of Bhagavata Mela natakams of Tamil Nadu employed the art of music and dance in rich flavour using themes from "Srimad Bhāgavatam" and other "Purāṇams" to extol the(...)
  • Bhāgavatham
    Also called Bhāgavatha Purāṇa or Śhrimad Bhāgavatham. An ancient Hindu scripture in which stories of the incarnations of Viṣhṇu are told, eliciting bhakthi or loving devotion to Viṣhṇu or Kriṣhṇa as the Supreme being.
  • Bhagawān
    The word is used to denote God in Sanskrit.
  • bhagutvam
    one of the 13 lakshaNas of a raaga
  • Bhairava
    The Sanskrit meaning of the word ‘Bhairava’ is ‘Terrible’ or ‘Frightful’. Bhairava is a fierce form of Lord Shiva. There are several legends about the origin of Bhairava. Lord Bhairava is considered to be the incarnation of Lord Śhiva.
  • Bhairavi
    Another form of Pārvathi or Śhakthi, the consort of Lord Śhiva. It is also the name of a rāga in Carnātic music.
  • bhajan
    a devotional song, often sung in groups and in religious settings.
  • Bhajana / Bhajan
    A devotional song often sung in groups and in religious settings.
  • Bhakthi
    A Sanskrit word meaning devotion. In Hinduism or Bharathanātyam, refers to loving devotion to a particular deity. A high form of spiritual expression emphasized in Bharathanātyam, by Rukmini Devi.
  • bhakti
    a rasa, or feeling, of devotion to a god portrayed in songs or raagas, usually. Most Carnatic songs have bhakti rasa.
  • Bharatha muni
    The name of the sage who wrote the text named Nātyaśhāsthra.
  • Bhasthrika
    Bhasthrika means bellows. Bhasthrika Prāṇāyāma is called the bellows breath. Air is forcibly drawn in & out as if using the bellows.
  • Bhasthrika Prāṇāyāma
    Bellows breathing technique
  • Bhāthi
    Shining, illuminating
  • Bhāva
    The art of expression, the outer manifestation of an inner experience. Bhāva is a key feature of Bharathanātyam.
  • bhayanaka
    a rasa, or feeling, of fear in songs or raagas, shown in raagas such as punnaagavaraaLi
  • Bhayānaka
    Fear, one of the nine emotions in Bharathanātyam. The others are Śhringāra (love, eros), Vīra (valor, heroism), Karuṇa (sadness), Adhhbhutha (awe, amazement), Raudhra (fury), Hāsya (laughter, humor), Bībhathsa (revulsion), and Shāntha (peace).
  • Bhedha
    It means variations in Sanskrit In dance it indicates the various eye, neck, head and hand movements.
  • Bherunda
    A mythical two headed eagle.
  • Bhramari
    It means Bee. It is also one of the prāṇāyāma where Musicians are recommended to practice. Bhramari also means whirling around. In Bharathanātyam, the Bhramari Aḍavu is also called the Suttru aḍavu. The body in this Aḍavu swirls round with the help of one foot while the other rests on the(...)
  • Bhramari Prāṇāyāma
    Breathing softly that sound like ‘Humming bee’
  • bhu
    the 4th combination of da and ni in a cakra, with D2 and N2 or dini, representing the 4th melakarta in any cakra
  • Bhujaṅga
    The word means a Serpent/Cobra in Sanskrit. In Yoga we have a pose resembling a cobra and it is called Bhujaṅga.
  • Bhujaṅgāsana
    Cobra posture
  • Bhūmi
    This word refers to the Earth in Sanskrit.
  • Bhuvanam
    The world is called Bhuvanam in Sanskrit.
  • bibatsa
    - a rasa, or feeling, of disgust in songs or raagas, shown in raagas such as aThaaNaa
  • Bībhathsa
    Revulsion, one of the nine emotions in Bharathanātyam. The others are Śhringāra (love, eros), Vīra (valor, heroism), Karuṇa (sadness), Adhhbhutha (awe, amazement), Raudhra (fury), Hāsya (laughter, humor),Bhayānaka(fear)and Shāntha (peace).
  • Bindhi
    The round (dot shaped) mark worn on the forehead in India by girls and women, mostly Hindhus.
  • Bindhu
    A dot.
  • Brahma
    The god of creation; One of the Hindhu trinity of Gods.
  • Brahmāchārya
    Self-Control, Self-discipline
  • Brahman
    Supreme consciousness
  • Brahmin
    Also Brāhmaṇa. In ancient India, one who attained highest spiritual knowledge. One with suitable traits for spiritual advancement. After the caste system came into being, one who was born in the Brahmin or priestly caste. More recently associated with educated classes of society.
  • briga
    a type of moorcanai gamaka, in which the aarOhana and avarOhana are combined and sung VERY fast
  • Bruhaspathi
    The preceptor of the Gods. Bṛuhaspathi is the name for the planet Jupiter, which is one of the Navagraha (the nine planets). He is also known as Guru.
  • Buddha
    The founder of the sect known as Buddhism; accepted later as one of the Avathāras of Viṣhṇu.
  • Buddhi
    It indicates Intellect, Intelligence in Sanskrit
  • Budha
    Name of the planet Mercury in Sanskrit.
  • caapu
    a group of taaLas which traditionally consisted of a beat and a wave. It can be in counts of 3, 5, 7, or 9. The most common is mishra caapu (3+4=7 beats, takiTa takadimi), and khanDa caapu (2+3=5, taka takiTa) is also used occasionally. When no number is specified it is mishra caapu
  • cakra
    a grouping of the melakarta raagas into groups of six raagas. They are grouped according to which combination of ri and ga they have. Within a cakra, the first raaga has D1 and N1, the second has D1 and N2, the third has D1 and N3, the fourth has D2 and N2, the fifth has D2 and N3, and the(...)
  • caraNam
    literally meaning "foot," it is the root of the song (which is like a tree). This is the end section of a song, sung after the pallavi and anupallavi. A song may have multiple caraNas. In songs which have no anupallavi, there is often a samaashTi caraNa, which combines the two
  • caraNam swaras
    another name for citta swaras in a varnam
  • Carnatic
    pronounced kar-naa-tik, it is the South Indian form of classical music
  • catshruti
    meaning the little shruti, this is lower than satshruti but higher than shudda types of ri and da.
  • catshruti dhaivatam
    this is D2, the second of the 3 types of da. It corresponds to A natural of the Western key of C.
  • catshruti rishabam
    this is R2, the second of the 3 types of ri. It corresponds to D natural of the Western key of C.
  • catush kalai
    kalai of 4, where there are 4 swaras per kriyaa or movement
  • catusra
    refers to the number 4. catusra jaati is 4 beats in the laghu
  • cents
    a unit of relative frequency, used to show relative pitches of notes
  • chaaya
    another name for the swaroopam of a raaga, but which describes the general sound or look of a raaga (its character)
  • chaayaalaga
    raagas in which you can find the chaaya of another (one other) raaga at times, such as sowraashTram which may have the chaaya of cakravaakam, or saaranga, which may have the chaaya of kalyaaNi
  • Chakra
    In Sanskrit, chakra means Discus. It is one of the Samyutha hasthas in Bharathanātyam. When the palms holding the ardhhachandra mudhrā touch each other vertically and horizontally, we get the chakra mudhrā. The right palm is vertically held and the left palm is horizontally placed over it.
  • Chāmara
    In Sanskrit, it means Fan. Lord Ganapathi has ears resembling a fan or as broad as a fan.
  • Chandhra
    In Sanskrit, Chandhra means ‘The Moon’.
  • Chandhrakalā
    In Sanskrit, Chandhrakala means ‘The crescent moon’.
  • Chāpu
    One of the qualifiers with which a thāḷa or rhythmic meter is identified. Chāpu corresponds to the number of beats in the laghu, and is also known as jāthi.
  • Chāri
    The Chāris are the movements of the legs and feet. It is one of the important components of aḍavus.
  • Chathura
    In Sanskrit, it means clever. It also indicates the four sides, a square. It is a single hand gesture. When the thumb in mrgaśhīrṣha hastha, is held at the base of the Index, middle and ring fingers we get the chathura hastha.
  • Chathuraṅga
    Four limbs
  • Chathuraṅga dhanḍāsana
    In Sanskrit, Chathura means four, Aṅga means limbs; Dhanḍa means rod or staff and Āsana means posture. In Yoga it is a pose resembling the plank.
  • Chathuraṅga Dhaṅdāsana
    Four-Limbed Staff Posture
  • Chathuraśhra
    This refers to the number 4. Chathushra jāthi refers to 4 beats in the Laghu of a thālam.
  • Chauka kāḷa
    Thāḷas can be reckoned in Chauka Kāla or slow tempo, when every beat of the thāḷa is reckoned twice. For example Ādhi Thāḷa which when put in the madhyama Kāla has a count of 8 and has a count of 16 in Chauka Kāla. Chauka Kāla is also called Viḷamba Kāla. (2nd kāla)
  • Chauka varṇa
    It is another name for a padha varṇam - a varṇam that has rhythmic elements like a padham, meant for classical dance.
  • Chidhambaram
    Chidhambaram is a major pilgrimage site (240 kms south of Chennai) for Śhaivites as well as Vaiṣhṇavites, where one of the holiest and most ancient temples of Hinduism, the Chidhambaram temple is located. Chidhambaram is the birthplace of the sculpture and bronze image representation of Śhiva(...)
  • Chin Mudhra
    Chin means consciousness; Mudhra means hand gesture; Hand gesture commonly used in Prāṇāyāma.
  • Chinna Méḷam
    Another name for Sadhir Nāṭyam, combining the Tamil words, chinna (small) and méḷam (performance)
  • Choḷa
    Chola dynasty is one of the main dynasties that ruled South India. Under Rajaraja Choḷa I and his son Rajendra Choḷa I, the dynasty became a military, economic and cultural power in South Asia and South-east Asia. The Choḷas left a lasting legacy. Their patronage of Tamil literature and their(...)
  • chromatic scale
    a Western musical scale, which uses ALL the swarastaanas. It usually begins at C and has the following note sequence: C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B C (backwards in the descending), and would be equivalent to a scale in Carnatic that was: s r1 r2 g2 g3 m1 m2 p d1 d2 n2 n3 S
  • citra maargam
    a taaLa path which uses 8 swaras or 2 maattirais
  • citratama maargam
    a taaLa path which uses 2 swaras or 1/2 maattirai
  • citratara maargam
    a taaLa path which uses 4 swaras or 1 maattirai
  • citta pallavi
    another name for the caraNam in a varnam
  • citta swara
    a section of swaras set in taaLa sung after the anupallavi before singing the pallavi and again after the caraNam. In a varnam, many citta swaras are sung only after the caraNam, usually with the form that the 1st and 2nd take 1 aavartanam, the 3rd and 4th take 2, and the 5th take 4 (also(...)
  • comma
    a comma indicated 1/4 eDuppu or one aksharakaala. Thus if srgm becomes s,rg then sa is extended from one to two counts
  • cowka kaala
    a slow speed or kaala
  • cowka varnam
    another name for a pada varnam
  • da (1)
    abbreviation in singing, same as dhaivatam
  • da (2)
    an abbreviation for shuddha dhaivatam (D1)
  • daaTu
    a gamaka which involves jumping from one note to another, ex: sg rm gp md pn dS
  • daaTu varisai
    a series of phrases for singing and playing for early music practice, which uses daaTu (taaTu) gamaka style swara combinations, in a jumping or non regular fashion. It is also called taanDu varisai
  • daivika kOmali
    a divine Joker, who supposedly sings the kONangi Daru
  • dakshina maargam
    a taaLa path that is equal to 32 swaras or 8 maattirai, used only in pallavi
  • Ḍamaru
    A type of drum that is narrow in the middle and wide at the ends.
  • Damaru yati
    a type of rhythmic pattern of swaras or words resembling a Damaru, a type of drum that is narrow in the middle and wide at the ends. It is a combination of srotovaaha and gOpucca yati. ex: sndp-ndp-dp-p-dp-ndp-sndp, or srgrsrsrgm (matya taaLa)
  • Ḍamaruyathi
    This refers to a type of rhythmic pattern of swarās or words resembling a Ḍamaru, a type of drum that is narrow in the middle and wide at the ends. In carnatic music, an example of the Damaru Yathi is: sndp-ndp-dp-p-dp-ndp-sndp, or srgrsrsrgm. In Bharatanātyam, an example is : thei thei(...)
  • dana
    the pa (2) combination, the first mela in any cakra having D1 and N1
  • dani
    the sri combination, the second mela in any cakra having D1 and N2
  • danu
    the go combination, the third mela in any cakra having D1 and N3
  • Daru
    same as Daruvu
  • Daruvu
    a particular type of musical form (sabhaa gaanam), which relates a historical or puranic incident or ancient story, expressing love or the greatness of a generous person. It is often in madhyama kaalam, with pallavi, anupallavi (not always), and more than on caraNam, with a mixture of jatis.(...)
  • dasavida gamaka
    10 forms of gamaka, listed here
  • deergha
    swaras that are often long and extended (with a comma) in a raaga, such as ri and ma in aarabi, often corresponding to the jeeva swaras
  • dEshaadi
    originally a taaLa with 3 beats and a wave, this is now performed as aadi taala which begins after 1/2 beat
  • dEsya (1)
    a raaga whose swaroopam is brought out by just aalaapanai, for example kaanaDaa, hameer kalyaaNi, hindustaani behaag
  • dEsya (2)
    raagas that were brought to South India from North India, for example paras, maanD, jhinjoTi, and shenjuruTTi
  • Dhaithya
    In Sanskrit, it means Demon.
  • dhaivataantya
    raagas that range only up to the madhya staayi dhaivatam, without touching ni or the taara sa
  • dhaivatam
    the 6th note, equivalent to la of Western do re mi syllables. It occurs in 3 types: shuddha dhaivatam, catshruti dhaivatam, and satshruti dhaivatam, which correspond to G#, A, and Bb respectively in the Western key of C
  • Dhakṣhiṇāmūrthi
    Dhakṣhiṇāmūrthi is an aspect of Śhiva as a guru (teacher) of all type of knowledge, particularly the Gnyāna. This aspect of Śhiva is his personification as the supreme or the ultimate awareness, understanding and knowledge. This form represents Śhiva in his aspect as a teacher of yoga, music,(...)
  • Dhānava
    In Sanskrit, it means Demon.
  • Dhaṅda
    Stick
  • Dhanurāsana
    Bow Posture
  • Dhāraṇa
    Concentration
  • Dharma
    Righteous path
  • Dhāru varṇa
    It is interspersed with Jathis. The style is lively and sung in Madhyama kala. It is most suitable for dance performances. A famous example for this type of Varnam is “Māthe malayadhhwaje pānḍya…” in Rāga Khamach.
  • Dhāsa
    In Sanskrit, it means servant.
  • Dhaśhāvathāra
    In Sanskrit, dasha means ten and avathāra means incarnation. The scriptures speak of the Dhasha Avathārās of Viṣhṇu - different incarnations that were taken by Viṣhṇu at various stages of human evolution. The “Dashāvathāra”, the ten incarnations are meant to re-establish dharma or(...)
  • Dhāsi Āṭṭam
    The dance of the dhevadhāsis or the servants of God. In Tamil, āṭṭam means dance.
  • Dhāṭṭu varisai
    It is a series of phrases for singing and playing for early music practice, which uses dhāṭṭu (gamaka) style swara combinations, in a jumping or non regular fashion. This refers to one of the initial exercises taught in music wherein the notes in the phrases jump in an irregular fashion. This(...)
  • Dhevadhāsi
    They are the female servants of the deity. Girls dedicated to dance in front of the deity in the temples of South India were called Dhevadhāsis.
  • Dhevaranāma
    The song of the gods is the literal meaning of the word Dhevaranama. It refers to the group of compositions made in lucid style in Kannada by the devotional saints of Karnataka, mainly the Dhāsa saints like Purandharadhāsa, Kanakadhāsa and others.
  • Dhevasthhānam
    It means the abode of the Goddess/God in Sanskrit.
  • Dhevathā
    In Sanskrit, Dhevatha means Goddess/God. In Bharatanatyam, Dhevatha hasthas are the hand gestures depicting gods and goddesses.
  • Dhothi
    A men's garment consisting of a rectangular piece of cloth tied around the waist, covering the legs. There are various ways to tie it.
  • Dhruṣhṭi
    In Sanskrit, it means vision. In Bharathanātyam, Dhruṣhṭibhedha is the variations in the eye movements which are seven in number.
  • Dhrutha
    This is one of the angās of a thālam. Dhrutham refers to the beat and wave of the hand. The symbol ‘0’ is used to denote it.
  • dhruva
    one of the sapta taaLas, which has the form laghu, drutam, laghu, laghu (symbol |0||). With the 7 types of laghus, there can be 7 forms of this raaga. For example, sankeerna jaati dhruva taaLa is laghu(9), drutam(2), laghu(9), laghu(9) for a total of 28 beats
  • Dhruva thāḷa
    This is one of the Saptha Thāḷas. Dhruva thāḷa has the aṅgas - Laghu Dhrutham Laghu Laghu (1 0 1 1). Chathuśhra Jāthi Dhruva Thāḷa consists of 14 beats. The number of beats in the thāla will vary according to the Laghu
  • Dhurgā
    She is another form of Goddess Pārvathi; She is a symbol of strength.
  • Dhūtha
    In Sanskrit, it means a messenger.
  • Dhwi Sthāyi
    Literally translated this means ‘two octaves’. In Carnatic music, there are some exercises where two octaves are covered.
  • Dhyāna
    Meditation
  • di
    an abbreviation for catshruti dhaivatam (D2)
  • dini
    the bhu combination, the fourth mela in any cakra having D2 and N2
  • dinu
    the ma combination, the fifth mela in any cakra having D2 and N3
  • disi
    the 10th cakra, which uses M2, R2 and G2, comprising melas 55-60
  • Divine Art
    music is often referred to by this term because it is considered linked to God
  • divya prabhandam
    a musical form, a type of sabhaa gaanam, see nalayira divya prabhandam
  • do
    in the Western do re mi system, the first note or swara, equivalent to sa
  • Dola hastha
    In Sanskrit, Dola means Swing. When the inner palm of the Pathāka Mudrā is placed to the sides of the thigh we get the dōlā hasthā. The most important aspect of this is how the elbows are held. Keep the shoulders and the mudhrās relaxed.
  • dOlakam
    a gamaka, same as aandOLam
  • dot
    dots are used in notation. A dot over a swara indicates it should be sung in the next higher octave (taara staayi), 2 dots indicate an even higher octave (ati taara staayi), a dot below indicates the lower octave (mandra staayi), and 2 dots below indicate the even lower octave (anu mandra(...)
  • druta laya
    a fast, quick speed or tempo
  • drutam
    a taaLa movement which includes a beat and a wave (or a beat with the palm and a beat with the back of the hand), counting for 2 beats
  • du
    an abbreviation for shatshruti dhaivatam (D3)
  • dunu
    the sha combination, the sixth (and last) mela in any cakra having D3 and N3
  • durbala
    swaras that are not good to lengthen or dwell upon in a raaga, for example ga in aarabi
  • durita kaala
    this is the 2nd speed or kaala, which can hold half the number of swaras of the same speed as in 1st kaala if the taaLa is changed. Since the taaLa is held constant within a song, when one changes from madhyama kaala to durita kaala, double the number of swaras will be sung because they are(...)
  • dwi kalai
    kalai of 2, where each kriyaa takes 2 swaras
  • dwitiya pancaka raaga
    a type of ghana raaga, including raagas such as kEdaaram, naaraayaNa gowLa, saaranga naaTTai, bowLi, and reeti gowLa
  • early morning
    ghanakaala raagas meant to be sung in the early morning before sunrise (4-6 am), such as bhoopaaLam and bowLi
  • eDuppu
    the place in a taaLa from which a song or a line or phrase from a song is begun. Songs may take sama eDuppu, starting at the beginning of the cycle, or (vishama graham) start a few swara counts (usually 2, 4, or 6) before (atita) or after (anaagata) the start of the taaLa cycle. A comma ,(...)
  • Eka
    In Sanskrit, Eka means one.
  • Eka kalai
    the 1st kalai where there is 1 swara for each kriyaa or movement
  • Eka Pādha
    One - legged Posture
  • Eka thāḷa
    This is one of the Saptha Thāḷās. Éka thālam has the anga Laghu (1). Chathushra Jāthi Éka Thāḷam consists of 4 beats. The number of beats in the thālam will vary according to the Laghu.
  • Ekāra
    Exercises in Carnatic music where vowel extension "E" is used and all the swaras are sung in this vowel.
  • equal temperament
  • Étram
    A Tamil word meaning ascent, climbing, or to step on to.
  • Eṭṭaḍavu
    Eṭṭu means to reach out. This set of Aḍavus gets its name from the movements of the hands and the body. There are 3 variations of Ettaḍavu.
  • ettukaaDi pallavi
    another name for the caraNam of a varnam
  • ettukaaDi swaras
    another name for the cittai swaras of a varnam
  • evening raaga
    a ghanakaala raaga suitable for singing at the end of the day in the evening (4-7 pm), such as shhanmugapriyaa, kalyaaNi, aananda bhairavi, vasantaa, naaTTai kurinji, and poorvi kalyaaNi
  • Ezhisai
    a term for god as the incarnation of sounds, as is often considered
  • fa
    in the Western do re mi, the 4th note, equivalent to ma
  • fifth
    a jump from one note to the fifth note above it (8 half steps, inclusive). sa to pa is a perfect fifth, as is C to G
  • first speed
    the 1st kaala, usually using 1 swara per beat in musical practice. However, it may use more swaras per beat (usually 4 in concerts and for kritis), thus changing subsequent speeds (each successive number doubles the number of swaras per beat)
  • flat
    a note that is lower in pitch by a half-step, in Western music. Thus B is equal to C-flat (Cb). The opposite of sharp
  • forenoon
    raagas meant to be sung before noon, from 9am up to noon, including such raagas as asaavEri, saavEri, and dEva manOhari
  • fourth speed
    the 4th kaala, usually using 8 swaras per beat in musical practice (32 in concerts). If first kaala uses 4 swaras per beat, for example, 4th speed uses 32 in relation)
  • ga (1)
    - an abbreviation of gaandhaaram
  • ga (2)
    abbreviation for shuddha gaandhaaram (G1)
  • gaandhaaram
    the 3rd syllable, which is of 3 types, shuddha, saadhaaraNa, and antara. It corresponds to mi of the Western do re mi system.
  • gamaka
    a shake or oscillation of a note, also known as bending the pitch. It is a deliberate decoration of wavering of a note to add grace and beauty. There are over 10 types of gamaka, listed here
  • Gaṇa
    They are the attendants of Lord Śhiva.
  • Gāna
    In Sanskrit, it means Music; In Carnātic music – it is another term for Thānam.
  • Gaṇapathi
    He is the elephant faced God, the son of Lord Śhiva and Pārvathi and the remover of obstacles.
  • Gāndhāra
    This is the 3rd note in the Saptha Swarā scale. This is of 3 types: Śhuddha Gāndhāram, Sādhāraṇa Gāndhāram and Anthara Gāndhāram.
  • Gandharva
    They are semi divine beings, who are well versed in the art of music and dance.
  • Garuḍa
    In Sanskrit, it means Eagle. He is the vehicle or Vāhana of Lord Viṣhṇu.
  • Garuḍamanḍala
    It is an important foot position in Bharathanātyam
  • Garuḍāsana
    It is a pose in yoga which resembles the eagle.
  • Gathi
    The number of counts per beat of a thāḷa. Also called naḍai. Each beat may be divided into 3, 4, 5, 7, or 9 counts (default is 4), with the names Thiśhra, Chathuśhra, Khanḍa, Miśhra, and Sankīrṇa, respectively, for the gathi
  • gati
    the gait, or the number of subdivisions or swaras per beat. There are 5 types: tishra, catushra, kanDa, mishra, and sankeerna. It may also take 11, 8, etc. and is formed by taking the beat and multiplying by the number (ex: aadi taaLa in catushra gati is 8 times 4 = 32 beats). Not to be(...)
  • Gāyana
    In Sanskrit, it means singing.
  • geetam
    an abhyaasa musical form or "song" considered the simplest musical form, created by Purandara Daasa in order to introduce taaLas in combination with lyrics. Geetams have no absolutely defined divisions of pallavi, anupallavi or caraNam though these may be observed in many cases. Geetams last(...)
  • Gejje
    In Kannada language, it means anklet.
  • ghana pancaka raagas
    one type of ghana raaga (as opposed to dwitiya pancaka raagas), which is heavy and elaborate. It has five members: naaTTai, gowLa, aarabi, shree, and varaaLi. These 5 raagas are often used in pancaratna kritis
  • ghana raaga
    a heavy and important raaga, in which the swaroopam is brought out by taanam (ghanam) or madhyama kaalam. They can be ghana pancaka or dwitiya pancaka raagas
  • ghanakaala
    raagas meant to be sung at a particular time of day. Each raaga is associated with at least one time of day (some are sarvakaalika - any time). The times are early morning (4-6am), morning after sunrise (6-9am), forenoon (9am-12pm), midday (noon-1pm), afternoon (1-4pm), evening (4-7pm), and(...)
  • ghanam
    another term for taanam
  • gharaana
    literally "house," this is the house of the musician-teacher and his style of performing, in Hindustani music
  • Ghungru
    A Hindi term for a dancer's ankle bells. Also called Salangai in Tamil and Gejje in Kannada. The sounds produced by the anklet vary greatly depending on the metals used and their size. Ghungrus are worn in the performances of Indian classical dances and theatre forms.
  • gi
    abbreviation for saadhaaraNa gaandhaaram (G2)
  • Gītham
    This is considered the simplest musical form. Gīthams fall under the Abhyāsa Gānam category. Gīthams were created Purandhara Dhāsa. Gīthams have no absolutely defined divisions of pallavi, anupallavi or charanam though these may be observed in many cases. Gīthams have around 10-12 āvathanams.(...)
  • gO
    part of the mela mnemonic, a word to represent the 3rd combination of danu (D1 and N3) in the 3rd melakarta in any cakra
  • Go Mukha
    Cow face
  • Gomukha
    In Sanskrit, Go means cow and mukha means face. Gomukhasana is one of the postures in yoga. It resembles the face of the cow.
  • Gomukhāsana
    cow's face posture
  • gOpucca yati
    a rhythmic pattern or swaras or words meaning cow's tail (go=cow), which has a broad beginning and narrows at the end. For example: pera bhayam, abhayam, bhayam
  • Gopuchhayathi
    This refers to rhythmic patterns, swaras or words which are broad in the beginning and constantly narrow down like that of a cow’s tail. An example of Gōpucha Yathi is ‘Pérabhayam Abhayam Bhayam’.
  • graha bEdam
    the act of shifting the tonic note (sa) to another shruti (another note) in the middle of a song. It is usually done briefly to show the ability of one raaga to become another by this shift but is not done for long enough periods that the audience forgets the original raaga. Also, the gamakas(...)
  • graha swaras
    these are swaras with which a kriti in a certain raaga may begin. For saavEri, for example, a song or section of a song may begin on sa, pa, or da (rarely, ga as well)
  • graham
    same as eDuppu, it can be sama graham or vishama graham. One of the 13 lakshaNas of a raaga
  • gu
    abbreviation for antara gaandhaaram (G3)
  • Guṇa
    Qualities
  • Guru
    1. In Sanskrit, it means remover of darkness or ignorance. Guru means a teacher. 2. In music - this is a Thāḷa movement which has the symbol 8 and has eight beats. It is formed by a beat of four counts and a wave of the hand for 4 counts (or by a sarpini, making a looping eight with the(...)
  • guru (1)
    this is a taaLa movement which has the symbol 8 and has eight beats. It is formed by a beat of four counts and a wave of the hand for 4 counts (or by a sarpini, making a looping eight with the hand horizontally)
  • guru (2)
    a teacher of music or any other learning
  • Gurukula
    A system of schooling in ancient India in which the students live with, or near the teacher. From Sanskrit guru (teacher) and kula (extended family).
  • gurukula vaasam
    the system in which students of music (or any other learning) stayed with their guru to learn, rarely in wide practice today with the advent of music schools and easy transportation
  • Half-sari
    A variation of the sari with reduced width, about one meter wide. When worn it extends just below the knees, and is worn over pyjamas for dance practice. In common usage, a long skirt teamed with a blouse and a veil worn across the left shoulder, resembling a sari is also called half sari.
  • half-step
    in Western music, the smallest distance from one note to the next (for example, on the piano), or the distance from one swarastaana to the next. s to r1, r1 to r2, m1 to m2, etc. are all half-steps. Two half-steps are equivalent to a whole-step. Half steps in Western notes are, for example,(...)
  • hampitam
    a rarely-used gamaka which uses the sound hoom (oo as in good) repeatedly
  • Hamsa
    In Sanskrit, Hamsa means Swan.
  • Hamsapakṣha
    The Swan’s Wing is indicated thus: From Pathāka hasthā position, bend the middle three fingers out.
  • Hamsāsya
    It is one of the Asamyutha hastha mudhra. It means the Swan’s bill. In Bharathanātyam, in the Hamsāsya hasthā, the thumb and the index finger touch each other at the tips, while the other fingers are straight, separated and stretched. It is also known as Chin mudhra in yoga.
  • Hanumān
    He is the god of strength. He is a monkey faced God in Hindhu mythology.
  • Hara
    It is another name for Lord Śhiva.
  • Hari
    It is another name for Lord Viṣhṇu.
  • harmonic minor
    in Western classical, a scale that is equal to the minor scale but that the 7th note is increase by a half-step in both the ascending scale and descending scale. This converts N2 to N3, making this scale equivalent to gowri manOhari
  • harmony
    often used in Western music and other music forms, it is the practice of singing in parts, where each person has a part (often of different pitches) and sings or plays that part. The sounds become blended together though of different pitch to give a uniform, beautiful sound. Harmony usually(...)
  • Hasthā
    Hand
  • Hastha, Hastha Mudhra
    Hastha means hand in Sanskrit. It is a symbolic gesture using the hands and fingers, used for decoration as well as expressing meaning in Bharathanātyam.
  • hasya
    a rasa, or feeling, of laughter in a song or raaga, seen in raagas such as mOhanam, kEdaaram, and hamsadwani
  • Hāsya
    Humour or laughter, one of the nine emotions in Bharathanātyam. The others are Śhringāra (love, eros), Vīra (valor, heroism), Karuṇa (sadness), Adhhbhutha (awe, amazement), Raudhra (fury), Bhayānaka(fear),Bībhathsa (revulsion), and Shāntha (peace).
  • hecu staayi varisai
    phrases for practice singing up to the taara staayi pa
  • Himsa
    Violence
  • Hindhu
    Originally the word indicated the people and culture indigenous to the Indian sub-continent. Now it has come to indicate those who practice the faith of Hindhuism.
  • Hindhuism
    Way of life
  • Hindi
    the primary language of India. Few Carnatic songs are in this language
  • Hindustaani
    the main system of Classical music performed in North India
  • Hūmkāra
    A vocal exercise in Carnatic music where the vowel extension "hūm" is used and all the swaras are sung in this vowel.
  • Ida Nādi
    One of the main energy channels running on the left side of the spine from the base of the spine (Mūlādhāra chakra) to the center of the forehead (Ājna chakra).
  • ili
    an ancient Tamil term from Silappadigaaram for pancamam (abbreviated yi)
  • Indhirā
    She is the goddess of wealth. She is the wife of Lord Viṣhṇu.
  • Indhra
    He is the king of Gods.
  • Indhu
    It means The Moon.
  • indu
    the 1st cakra, with melakartas that contain M1, R1, and G1, comprising melakarta numbers 1-6
  • iraical
    the opposite of isai, it is a Tamil term for sounds that are not beautiful and are disorderly
  • irangu niral
    a Tamil term for avarOha
  • iraTTai kOvai varisai
    another term for janTa varisai
  • iraTTai kural
    another term for taara sa
  • iravu paNN
    in the PaNN system, an evening raaga
  • isai
    a Tamil term for music, a system with beautiful sounds in an orderly fashion which is pleasant to hear
  • Īśhānya
    It is the direction of North – east.
  • Īshvara prāṇidhāna
    Surrender to the divinity with-in us
  • Īśhwara
    He is the supreme lord. Lord Śhiva is also known as Īśhwara.
  • jaaru
    a gamaka which involves a slide or glide from one note to another
  • jaati
    refers to the number of beats in the laghu (a division of the laghu). It can be tishra (3), catusra (4), khaNDa (5), mishra (7), or sankeerna (9). These varieties of laghu make the sapta taaLas into 35
  • jaavali
    a musical form (sabhaa gaanam), a type of song that is usually a love story with the characters naayaki (heroine), naayaka (hero), and tOzhi (close friend) and performed as classical dance (bharatanaaTyam). The compositions are often lively in madhyama kaala, expressing love through colloquial(...)
  • Jagannātha
    In Sanskrit, Jagannātha means 'Master/ Lord' (nātha) of the 'World, Universe' (Jagath). He is The Lord of the world. He is another form of Lord Viṣhṇu. The oldest and most famous Jagannāth deity is established in Puri, in Orissa. The temple of Jagannāth in Puri is regarded as one of the sacred(...)
  • jakkini Daru
    a Daruvu or song where the first part of the saahityam is full of jatis and THEN the words are given. It also contains madhyama kaala prayOgams. Sometimes apoorva taaLams like guru jhampa are used
  • Jala
    Water
  • janaka raaga
    same as mElakarta, opposite of janya
  • janaka raaga lakshaNa geetam
    a lakshana geetam in a melakarta raaga, which can tell about the swaras of the raaga and the janyas of the raaga in the saahitya. It was previously known as raagaana raaga lakshaNa geetam (which has 3 parts, see raagaanga raaga lakshaNa geetam)
  • Janaka rāga
    This is another name for the Meḷa Karthā Rāga. A Meḷa rāgam also known as a parent rāga must have all the seven notes in both the ārōhaṇa and avarōhaṇa. The notes must be the same in both scales and must follow the regular order. The Thāra Sa must be present in both scales. There are a total(...)
  • janTa varisai
    a series of musical phrases for early musical practice, in which swaras are sung in pairs, ex: ss rr gg mm pp dd nn SS. Also called iraTTai kOvai varisai
  • Jānu
    Knee
  • Jānu Shīrshāsana
    Head to Knee Posture
  • janya
    a raaga derived from a melakarta, but which does not have the exact characteristics of the melakarta. It may be missing swaras (varja), have a crooked scale (vakra), have additional notes from another melakarta raaga (bhaashaanga), or even have some small change in the way it is performed
  • janya raaga lakshaNa geetam
    a lakshaNa geetam in a janya raaga, which tells about the swaras of the raaga and the melakarta from which the raaga is derived in the saahitya
  • Janya rāga
    This refers to a rāga that has been derived from a Méla rāga. A janya rāga may not have all the swarās from its parent rāga. Its ārōhanam and avarōhanam may not follow an orderly fashion and sometimes swarās from other rāgās may feature in a janya rāga.
  • Japa
    Chanting
  • Jari
    It refers to an embroidery using metal threads, usually silver, gold, or copper and often for decoration of borders of the cloth.
  • Jathi
    Drum syllables, or sequences of drum syllables, describing units of percussion. Also sequences of syllables intoned by the dance conductor (naṭṭuvanār), during abstract dance passages
  • Jāthi
    One of the qualifiers with which a thāḷa or rhythmic meter is identified. Jāthi corresponds to the number of beats in the laghu, and is also known as chāpu.
  • Jathiswara
    The Jathis (rhythmic syllables) are combined with swaras (musical notes) in a particular raga and thāḷa. It is similar to a Swarajathi but does not contain any Sāhithyam. Only the names of notes are sung. Jathiswarams are used in dance recitals. Some jathiswarams are found in chauka kāla and(...)
  • jati
    a phrase used in place of swaras or words (alongside them), usually such as dheem, takita, taam, tOm, often used in tillaanaas and dance-related songs
  • jatiswaram
    a type of abhyaasa gaanam, similar to a swarajati, often called a swara-pallavi. It has no saahityam at all, but instead combines jatis. It is used often in dance. Some jatiswarams are in cowka kaalam or are raagamaalikas
  • Jāvaḷi
    They are one of the special compositions that are sung in the concerts. This type of song usually tells a love story. The Nāyaka, Nāyika and the Sakhi feature in Jāvalis. Jāvalis are performed at Bharathanātyam recitals. The compositions are usually found in Madhyama Kāla and use colloquial(...)
  • Jayanthi
    The Sanskrit word for anniversary and often refers to celebrations of the birthdays of religious figures and deities.
  • jeeva
    swaras that are vital to a raaga (give it life). For saavEri the jeeva swaras are ri, ma, and da
  • jhampa
    one of the sapta taaLas, with the form laghu, anudrutam, drutam (symbol |U0). With the 7 varieties of laghu, it has 7 forms. For example, khaNDa jaati jhampa taaLa, which is laghu(5), anudrutam(1), drutam(2), has 8 beats.
  • Jhampa thāḷa
    This is one of the Saptha Thālās. Jhumpa thālam has the angās Laghu Anudhrutham and Dhrutham (1 U 0). Mishra Jāthi Jhumpa Thālam consists of 10 beats. The number of beats in the thālam will vary according to the Laghu.
  • Jhanṭi
    This Means joint. It is one of the basic exercises in Carnātic music. It involves double and triples of a single swara. These should be sung with force and emphasis from the first note to the second: sa sa ri ri ga ga etc. The use of one plain note followed by a forceful one.
  • Jithendriya
    The one who has control over his senses is known as Jithendriya in Sanskrit.
  • Jnāna
    This could also be spelt as Gnyāna. It means Knowledge and wisdom.
  • Jnāna yoga
    Jnana yoga is the path of knowledge that leads to an experience of absolute truth.
  • just intonation
  • kaakali nishaadam
    the third ni (of 3), N3 (the note just below high Sa), which corresponds to B natural in the Western key of C.
  • kaakapaadam
    a taaLa movement of 16 beats, with a beat (4 counts), a wave upward (4 counts), a wave to the left (4 counts), and a wave to the right (4 counts). Its symbol is + and it is equivalent to 4 maattirais
  • kaala
    this refers to the speed at which a song or portion of a song (or swaras) is performed. For singing in 1st speed, there can be 1 note per beat in practice (4 notes in concerts and when singing kritis). In second speed, there are 2 notes per beat in music practice and 8 in concerts, in 3rd(...)
  • kaarvai
    a pause or sustaining of a note while performing
  • kadinava
    the first line in the katapayaadi formula, which has 9 letters ka kha ga gha nga ca cha ja jha nya
  • kaikilai
    ancient Tamil term from Silappadigaaram for gaandhaaram
  • kaisiki nishaadam
    the second ni of 3, N2, which corresponds to Bb (B flat) in the Western key of C.
  • Kalā
    It means fine arts.
  • Kāla
    It means time. The tempo of the rhythm. It is independent of the thāḷa pattern or rhythmic meter. Three speeds are used for dance: slow (viḷamba), medium (madhya), and fast (dhrutha), each double the speed of the previous.
  • kalai
    a fractional unit of an aksharakaala, the number of beats per movement of a taaLa, or the number of swaras per kriyaa. Thus if aadi taaLa is sung in kalai 2 in 2nd speed (kaala), it still has 4 swaras per beat but instead of eight beats there are now 16 (each movement doubled). It can be Eka(...)
  • Kālapramāṇa swarāvaḷi
    Exercises in classical vocal music, which enable the student to learn to hold notes over long interval of time and gives the student ability to culture the voice and Shruthi.
  • Kalaripayattu
    It's a traditional martial art form from Kerala, where artist move with a grace of dancers at the same time wielding deadly weapons in their hands.
  • Kaliyuga
    Kali Yuga is the last of the four stages the world goes through as part of the cycle of yugas described in the Indian scriptures
  • Kalki
    The last of the avathāras, Kalki is expected to appear at the end of Kali Yuga, the current time period. This avathāra will appear seated on a white horse with a sword blazing like a comet. It is believed that he shall finally come to destroy the wicked, to start new creation and to restore(...)
  • kalpana sangeetam
  • kalpanaa swaram
    the part of a performance or song when swaras are improvised to fit the taaLa and return to the pallavi or first part of another section of the song. It is usually done at the end of a song, but may also be done in the middle. The main performer and non-percussion accompanists take turns doing(...)
  • kalpita sangeetam
    music that is written in notation or generally fixed in how it should be performed (as opposed to kalpana sangeetam). Created music instead of creative music
  • kampa vihina raaga
    a raaga with no swaras that have kampita gamakam (opposite of sarva swara gamaka vaarika raaga). Examples are katanakutoohalam and sindu raamakriyaa
  • kanam
    another name for kshanam
  • kanDam
    a section or part of a raagaanga raaga lakshaNa geetam (also see khaNDika)
  • KannaDa
    a South Indian language spoken especially in the state of KarnaaTaka. Many South Indian songs are in this language
  • Kapāla
    Skull
  • Kapālabhāthi
    Kapālabhāthi is a combination of two Sanskrit words. 'kapāla' meaning 'skull,' and 'bhāthi' meaning 'light' or 'lustre.' This breathing exercise is done to cleanse the body. Kapālabhāthi is essentially performed to clear the respiratory passages by forceful expiration.
  • Kapittha
    It means wood apple. It is a favourite of Lord Ganesha. In dance, it is a single hand gesture.
  • Kapotha
    It is Samyutha hastha mudhra. It means pigeon. When the Anjali Mudhrā is made to bulge at the knuckles of the palm we get the kapōtha hastha. In this gesture the palms touch each other only at the tips and the base of the palm. The centre is cupped.
  • Karkaṭa
    It is Samyutha hastha mudhra. It means crab in Sanskrit.
  • Karma
    It denotes the actions of the individual.
  • Karma yoga
    Karma Yoga is the path of service, for in this path, it is believed that the present situation is based on one’s past actions. Karma Yoga is the path of action, service to others, mindfulness, and remembering the levels of our being while fulfilling our actions or karma in the world. Karma(...)
  • Karṇa
    In Sanskrit, it means Ear. It is also name of one of the greatest warriors, Karna who is one of the central characters in the epic Mahābhārata.
  • KarnaaTaka
    one of the states of India, this is where the name karnaaTic or carnatic came from, because many prominent composers, such as Purandara Daasa came from this state. The word is still used to refer to the Carnatic tradition
  • karnaaTaka sampradaayam
    refers to the traditions and culture of Carnatic music
  • Karnātaka
    It is one of the states in the southern part of India. The capital is Bengaluru (Spelt & pronounced Bangalore till recently) and the language spoken is Kannada. Many a famous composer hailed from this state.
  • karpanai isai
    another term for manOdharma sangeetam, or creative music
  • karpanai swaras
    another name for kalpanaa swaram
  • kartaraagam
    - same as mElakarta
  • Karthari aḍavu
    In Sanskrit, Karthari means scissors. This aḍavu is called the Karthari aḍavu as the mudhrā held in this aḍavu is the Kartharimukham mudhrā. Also, the dancer leaps from the aramanḍi to swasthikam with the foot crossed in front.
  • Kartharimukha
    It is an Asamyutha hastha. Karthari means scissors. From the ardhapathāka hasthā, the little and the ring fingers are pressed against the thumb, while the index and the middle fingers are stretched to show a scissor.
  • Karthariswasthika
    It is a Samyutha hastha. It means Crossed scissors gesture. When both hands are crossed holding the in kartharimukha mudhrā we get the karthariswasthika hastha.
  • Karuṇa
    The sentiment of pathos is called Karuṇa rasa. It is generally caused by separation or loss of something.The others are Śhringāra (love, eros), Vīra (valor, heroism), Adhhbhutha (awe, amazement), Raudhra (fury), Hāsya (laughter, humor),Bībhathsa (revulsion), Bhayānaka(fear)and Shāntha (peace).
  • karuNaa
    a rasa (or feeling) of kindness and generosity in a song or raaga, found in the raagas sahaanaa, naadanaamakriyaa, and kaanaDaa
  • Katakāmukha
    One of the single hand gestures in dance. Kataka means a Bracelet or link.
  • Katakavardhhana
    It is a double hand gesture in Dance. It indicates Crossed katakāmukha. When both the hands are crossed holding the kaṭakāmukha mudrā, we get the kaṭakāvardhana hastha.
  • katapayaadi
    the formula used to determine the number of a melakarta from its name or vice versa. The first two syllables of the melakarta name are used, each representing a digit, and the number that results is reversed to give the melakarta number. It has four lines, the first line starting with ka(...)
  • Kathak
    Kathak is one of the eight forms of Indian classical dance and originated from Uttar Pradesh, India. This dance form traces its origins to the nomadic bards of ancient northern India, known as Kathakas, or storytellers. The term Kathak is derived from Kathā meaning story.
  • Kathakali
    Kathakali is a classical dance form of India that originates from Kerala, the south-western part of India. It is a unique form of dance with a marvellous combination of elaborate gestures, picturesque costumes, grand make up and vigorous music. Kathakali is a group presentation in which(...)
  • Kati
    Waist
  • kaTTai
    the pitch at which a performer performs. A kaTTai of 5, for example, is G in Western notation
  • Katthi aḍavu
    Katthi refers to a knife in Tamil. The dancer, in this Aḍavu swiftly jumps from the Aramanḍi to Garuḍamanḍalam. The hand movements in this Aḍavu look like the piercing of a knife, and therefore its name.
  • Katva
    It means cot. In Bharathanātyam, it is indicated as follows: Hold the simhamukha hastha in both the hands at chest level and turn the hand so that the palm is facing upwards. Join the tips of the middle and ring fingers of both the hands.
  • Kavi
    It means poet.
  • Kāvya
    It is a Sanskrit literary style. It means poetry.
  • keertana
    a sabhaa gaanam, a Carnatic song, usually of a devotional nature (vaidika gaanam). It has a saahitya to praise god or beg pardon, sometimes connected with puraanic incidents. The saahitya is more important in keertanas and it is said to have existed before the kriti. It has a pallavi, may or(...)
  • keezh staayi
  • keezh staayi varisai
  • Kethu
    He is one of the nine planets in Indian astrology. He is the serpent tailed Lord of the Descending/South lunar node.
  • khaNDa
    refers to 5, as in khaNDa jaati (5 beats in the laghu)
  • Khanḍa
    In Carnatic music, this refers to the number 5.
  • khaNDa caapu
    a caapu taaLa with 5 beats (2 + 3), a beat and a wave, counted as taka takiTa
  • Khanḍa chāpu
    This refers to a Chāpu thāla with 5 beats (2 + 3). A beat constitutes the angās in the thāla.
  • Khanḍa Jāthi
    Khanda jāthi refers to 5 beats in the Laghu.
  • khaNDika
    - the division of a song into sections such as pallavi, anupallavi and caraNam. Each section may be called a khaNDika
  • Kīlaka
    It is a Samyutha hastha mudhrā. It means a cord / Friendship. Hold the Muṣhṭi mudhrā in both the hands and release the little finger. When both the little fingers interlock each other we get the kīlaka hastha.
  • Kīrthanam
    An expressive Bharathanātyam item, usually devotional in sentiment, with lyrics in praise of a particular deity. A medium tempo item with some abstract dance elements included for interest. The sāhithya which plays an important role in this form is usually in praise of god or one that(...)
  • kOlaaTTa Daru
    a Daruvu that is a song sung during the time of dance
  • Koṇa
    Angle
  • kONangi Daru
    a Daruvu that is a song supposed to be sung by a daivika kOmali (a divine Joker)
  • koodal
    one of the 4 musical forms of isai-tamil (see tEvaram)
  • kOrvai
    a rhythmic phrase of several taaLa cycles, usually having a repetition of 3 within it, which may be sung, played, or performed on a percussion instrument
  • Korvai aḍavu
    The word Korvai means to compile, join or thread together. The Korvai Aḍavu is a combination of Thattu, Pàichal, Nāttu, Bhramari and Mandi aḍavu.
  • kOvai
    an ancient Tamil term for swara
  • kOvai varisai
    another Tamil term for sarali varisai or swaraavali
  • Kovil
    In Tamil, the word for temple is Kovil.
  • Krishna
    an incarnation of Lord Vishnu (preserver of the universe), known as a cowherd, beautiful flautist, a great King of Dwaaraka, and for his mischief around the gopis, his many female admirers
  • Kriṣhṇa
    Krishna appeared in the Dwāpara Yuga along with his brother Balarāma. Krishna is one of the most worshipped deities in the Hindu faith. He played a huge role in the battle of Kurukshétra and helped the Pandavās defeat the Kauravās. He is also a significant character in the epic the(...)
  • kriti
    a type of sabhaa gaanam, one of the most important types of songs with broad scope for neraval, kalpanaa swaras. They have a pallavi, anupallavi and at least 1 caraNam (or may have a samaashTi caraNa) with the same or different swara patterns in the caraNas. They can be either about God or(...)
  • Kriya
    Activity
  • kriyaa
    meaning action, it is any single movement within an anga, such as a beat or a movement of a finger, or a wave. Thus a khanda jaati laghu will have 5 kriyaas
  • Kruthi / Krithi
    Kruthi is the format of a musical composition typical to Carnātic music, an Indian classical music style. Krithis form the backbone of any typical Carnātic music concert, and is the longer format of a Carnātic music song.
  • kshanam
    the smallest unit of time, the time a needle takes to pierce one petal in a pile of 100 lotus petals together (also kanam)
  • Kṣhathriya
    Those who were into defence and warfare were called Kshatriyas in the past. Today it refers to those born in the community which once engaged in warfare.
  • ku
  • ku-ta
    abbreviation for kural taram
  • ku-tu
    abbreviation for kural tutam
  • ku-u
    abbreviation for kural uzhai
  • ku-vi
    abbreviation for kural vilari
  • Kūchipūḍi
    Kūchipūḍi is the classical dance form from the South-Eastern state of Andhra Pradesh. It derives its name from the village of Kuchelapuram, a small village about 65 kms from Vijayawāda. It is known for its graceful movements and its strong narrative dramatic character.
  • Kudhitta meṭṭaḍavu
    Kudhi means to jump and meṭṭu is to strike the floor gently on the toes with the heels raised up.
  • Kumbhaka
    Breath retention.
  • Kummi
    A women's folk dance from Tamizh Nāḍu, done in a circle with clapping.
  • Kunchitha pādha
    A foot position in dance where the foot is bent or curved.
  • Kuṅdalini
    The supreme Power, the primordial energy, which lies coiled at the base of the spine, in every human being.
  • kural (1)
    an ancient Tamil term from Silappadigaaram for sa
  • kural (2)
    an ancient Tamil term from Silappadigaaram for notes that are of lower pitch (such as shuddha notes)
  • kural kaikilai
  • kural taram
    an ancient Tamil term from Silappadigaaram for kaisiki nishaadam
  • kural tutam
    an ancient Tamil term from Silappadigaaram for shuddha rishabam
  • kural uzhai
    an ancient Tamil term from Silappadigaaram for shuddha madhyamam
  • kural vilari
    an ancient Tamil term from Silappadigaaram for shuddha dhaivatam
  • Kuravanji
    A group dance by women, interpreting literary or poetic compositions typically on the theme of fulfilment of the love of a girl for her beloved.
  • Kūrma
    In Sanskrit, it means a tortoise.
  • Kūrmavathāra
    This is the second incarnation of Lord Viṣhṇu. As the dévās(gods) and the asurās(demons) fought over the nectar of immortality, Viṣhṇu took the form of a tortoise that held the mountain Mandhara which was used as a churning staff.
  • Kurthā
    A loose shirt worn by men and women, reaching to just above the knees or somewhat below the knees, and worn over dhothis, churidhārs, salwārs or other pants.
  • kutcEri
    the name for any Carnatic concert
  • Kuṭṭaḍavu
    It is one of the footwork variations in Bharatanātyam. Kuṭṭanam means the striking of the ground with the foot.
  • la
    in the Western do re mi system, the 6th note or swara, equivalent to da
  • laghu
    a taaLa movement that involves a beat and then counts on the fingers starting from the little finger and moving inward (when the counts are more than five the counts go back to the little finger). They can be tisra (1 + 2), catusra (1 + 3), khaNDa (1 + 4), mishra (1 + 6), or sankeerna (1 + 8).(...)
  • lakshaNa
    an essential characteristic of a raaga. There are 13 such lakshaNas for every raaga (see triOdasa lakshaNa)
  • Lakṣhaṇa
    Lakṣhaṇa means grammar/rules. Apart from being good in creativity, the student should also strictly adhere to the grammar and rules of the music portion.
  • lakshaNa geetam
    a type of geetam which tells about the raaga in which it is sung, as opposed to samanya geetam. They are of the type janaka raaga lakshana geetam and janya raaga lakshana geetam
  • Lakṣhmi
    She is the Goddess of wealth and the wife of Lord Viṣhṇu.
  • lasya
    the female or feminine aspect of dance and music (usually associated with the goddess Paarvati). Its complement is taaNDava
  • Lāsya
    It refers to abstract dance with graceful, lyrical and tender movements, usually ascribed to feminine qualities.
  • Lāvanya
    In Sanskrit, it means like beauty, loveliness or grace.
  • laya
    the speed or tempo, another name for taaLa or rhythm. It has 3 forms, vilambita (slow), madhya (medium), and druta (fast) laya
  • Laya sadhaka
    Laya means rhythm and sādhana is practice. These exercises are designed to strentghten the rhythm ability of the student, whether a musician or dancer.
  • lines
    sometimes lines are placed over swaras or words to indicate that they should be performed faster. A single line doubles the speed of the swaras, and a double line quadruples the speed of the swaras. (see also vertical line)
  • ma (1)
    an abbreviation for madhyamam
  • ma (2)
    the 5th combination in a cakra, corresponding to the 5th raaga within a cakra, which has D2 and N3 (dinu)
  • maargam
    meaning path, there are 6 ways to render taaLa correctly (the shanmaargams): dakshina, vartika and citra maargams, used only in pallavi, and citratara, citratama and aticitratama maargams used in kritis. One of the 13 lakshaNas of a raaga
  • maataa
    meaning mother. Shruti is often called the Maataa, the mother of music
  • maattirai
    - a unit for reckoning musical time. The anudrutam is 1/4 maattirai, laghu is 1 maattirai, and kaakapaadam is 4 maattirais
  • Madhya
    The middle tempo of the three used in Bharathanātyam. Madhya is double the speed of viḷamba, and half the speed of dhrutha.
  • madhya laya
    medium speed or tempo
  • madhya staayi
    the middle octave (as opposed to the lower or higher ones), also known as sama mandilam. This is the octave in which most of a performance will take place. Madhya staayi swaras usually have no dots accompanying them, and are often lowercase
  • madhyaadi
    a taaLa originally composed of 3 beats and a wave, but which has become aadi taaLa that begins after 3/4 beat
  • Madhyama
    Of human or ordinary stature; One of the classifications of characters in Bharathanātyam. Others are utthama (divine) and adhhama (base).
  • madhyama kaala
    - the 1st speed or kaala, with 4 swaras per beat
  • madhyama shruti
    singing without the pa, so that the tambura or shruti box is set to play only sa, ma, and Sa (instead of s P S). This can be done with raagas that have no pa but which have a ma in their scales. In singing, ma is taken instead of sa as the basic note (rare)
  • madhyamaantya
    raagas that range only up to madhya staayi madhyamam, not going up to pa, da, ni or taara sa
  • madhyamam
    ma, the 4th note, equivalent to fa in the Western do re mi system. There are two types of ma, shuddha madhyamam and prati madhyamam.
  • maguDa saahitya
    words for the maguDa swara
  • maguDa swara
    swara that comes after every part of a raagamaalika, sometimes with saahitya
  • Mahābhāratha
    A major Sanskrit epic of ancient India, immensely important to Indian culture and a key source of themes for classical dance compositions.
  • major diatonic scale
    the predominant scale used in Western music, with approximately the notes of shankaraabharaNam. It can begin at any pitch, but for example, a starting pitch (sa) that begins with the note F (shruti of 4) is F major. Thus C major, F major, D major etc. will all be in the same raaga
  • major scale
  • MalayaaLam
    a South Indian language, spoken especially in the Indian state Kerala. Some compositions are written in MalayaaLam
  • Mallari
    A Mallari is played as the first musical item, by the Nādhaswaram (a wind instrument), during temple festivals before the temple deity is taken out in procession. A Mallari is performed in the first three speeds (Tisra naḍai), and is usually set in Raga Gambhīra Nāṭṭai. The other Ghana Pancha(...)
  • Manḍala bhedhas
    The positions or postures of the feet can either be static or dynamic. The static postures are called Manḍala Bhedhas. There are 10 variations in Manḍala bhedha.
  • Manḍi
    It means knee in Tamil and Kannada. In Bharthanātyam we have postures such as muzhumanḍi and aramanḍi as also some aḍavus. Muzhumanḍi is the full seated position. Aramanḍi is the half seated position.
  • mandilam
    an ancient Tamil word from Silappadigaaram for staayi
  • mandra staayi
    - the lower octave, below the main octave (madhya staayi). It is indicated by a dot below the note (or to the right of the note here, n.)
  • mandram
    one of the 13 lakshaNas of a raaga
  • mangaLa
    a raaga suitable for singing invocations and benedictory verses (aarati, mangaLam), such as sowraashTram, shuruTTi, madyamaavati, or yadukula kaambhOji
  • Maṅgaḷa / maṅgaḷam
    Benediction. A short benedictory item of music or dance performed at the end of the last performance of the day.
  • mangaLam
    a song that is an invocation to the gods thanking them for a good concert and to remove the evil eye and any bad karma caused by improper singing of raagas (for example, singing a morning raaga at an evening concert, etc.). It is sung at the end of a concert
  • MaNipravaaLam
    a language that uses a combination of other languages such as Sanskrit, Tamil, Telegu, KannaDa, or other ancient languages, used almost exclusively in compositions and not in actual conversation
  • Maṇipūri
    It is one of the classical dances of India from the state of Maṇipūr. Maṇipūri is a very graceful form of dance. It has very little facial expressions but its body movements are beautiful and graceful.
  • Manmatha
    In Sanskrit, the word refers to Cupid: the God of Love.
  • manOdharma sangeetam
    literally creative music (also kalpana sangeetam), as opposed to created (kalpita) music. It is created by the artist instantaneously on stage without precise preparation beforehand. There are 5 types of this creative, improvisational music (usually improvised during the performance, requiring(...)
  • Manthra
    Subtle sound vibrations, which through repetitions expands one's awareness or consciousness.
  • Mārgam
    The sequence of items in a Bharathanātyam recital. The literal meaning in Sanskrit is ‘the way or path’.
  • Mārjari āsana
    This is a pose in Yoga which resembles a cat. The cat is called mārjara in Sanskrit.
  • Mārutha
    This word in Sanskrit indicates the wind.
  • Māruthi
    The son of the Wind God. Another name for Hanumān.
  • Mathsya
    In Sanskrit, it means Fish. In yoga, we have a posture resembling the fish. In dance, when the right palm is placed over the back of the left palm, while both hold the Ardhhachandra hastha, Mathsya is formed.
  • Mathsyāsana
    The name comes from the Sanskrit word mathsya which means "fish". Since the posture of the body looks like that of a fish, it is called the Fish pose.
  • Mathsyāvathāra
    The first incarnation of Lord Viṣhṇu, who took the form of a fish. Mathsya means fish and avathāra means incarnation.
  • matya
    one of the sapta taaLas, with the form laghu, drutam, laghu (symbol |0|). It can be made into 7 forms by varying the counts of the laghu. For example, tishra jaati matya taaLa will be laghu(3), drutam(2), and laghu(3), for a total of 8 beats
  • Matya Thāḷa
    It is one of the seven main thāḷas in carnatic music system. It starts with a Laghu and is followed by 1 Dhrutam and. 1 Laghu.
  • Mayūra
    It means Peacock. It is a single hand gesture-asamyutha hastha – in Bharathanātyam, it is described as: From the thripathāka hastha, the ring finger and the tip of the thumb touch each other while the other fingers are held straight without any gap.
  • mEla
    (or mElam) abbreviation for mElakarta
  • mela mnemonic
    a useful set of phrases to remember the order of the raagas within a cakra. The combinations are pa (dana, 1), sri (dani, 2), go (danu, 3), bhu (dini, 4), ma (dinu, 5), and sha (dunu, 6). Their numbers are according to the katapayaadi formula
  • mElakarta
    a main raaga, consisting of all seven notes in order in both the descending and ascending scales. There are 72 such raagas. To qualify as a mElakarta, a raaga must have all 7 swaras ascending and descending, they must be in the regular order, they must be of the same type (swarastaana)(...)
  • melivu mandila varisai
    same as takku staayi varisai, varisais to get to the mandra staayi pa
  • melivu mandilam
    ancient Tamil for mandra staayi
  • melodic minor
    in Western music, the minor scale with the 6th and 7th notes shifted upwards by a half-step (one swarastaana) in the ascending scale only. This gives a scale with the aarOha of the mela varuNapriyaa and the avarOha of kharaharapriyaa
  • melody
    the singing of a tune, without harmony or part singing, where all voices and instruments perform the same relative pitch (a pitch or its octave)
  • mElstaayi varisai
  • men's shruti
    usually a man's shruti is at a pitch of 1 to 1 1/2 (equivalent to C or C# in Western notation)
  • mi
    in the Western do re mi system, the 3rd note, equivalent to ga
  • midday raaga
    a raaga suitable for performing in the middle of the day (around noon to 1 pm), such as madyamaavati, maNirangu, or shree raaga
  • minor scale
    the second most common scale in Western music, it is the equivalent of kharaharapriyaa raaga. It corresponds to the major scale by shift of sa downwards by 2 notes (4 swarastaanas, sa to d2), or a minor third. It is also called the Aeolian mode of the major scale
  • minor third
    in Western music, the interval between 4 notes or swarastaanas. This would be, for example, the jump from s to g2
  • mishra
    meaning 7, it is used in mishra jaati (3 + 7) in the laghu or as mishra caapu (a taaLa of 7 beats)
  • mishra caapu
    a taaLa of 7 beats, 3 plus 4, with the sound taka takiTa, formed by two quick beats (2) with the back of the hand, a pause (1) and then two slow beats (2 + 2)
  • mishritam
    using a mixture of different types of gamakas
  • mode
    a Western classical concept, in which at least one of the 7 notes of the major scale is changed (raised or lowered) to create a new scale. In this way, different scales can be formed, creating a subset of scales similar to raagas. There are many modes. The Aeolian mode of the major scale gives(...)
  • moorcanaakaaraka
    such a raagam's tonic note (sa) can be shifted to another note (such as ri, ga, ma, pa, da, or ni) to give a different raaga. For example, dhanyaasi is a moorcanaakaaraka raaga, because its ni can be taken as sa, and if its sa is taken as ri, ri taken as ga, etc. it becomes salagabhairavi (a(...)
  • moorcanai
    a gamaka that involves using the proper shaking required in the raaga that is being performed
  • morning raaga
    a raaga suitable for performing in the morning (6-9 am) after sunrise (after the early morning raagas), such as bilahari, kEdaaram, or dhanyaasi
  • Mouna
    Silence
  • mridanga yati
    - opposite of Damaru yati, this is a rhythmic pattern of swaras or words which is narrow at the ends and wide in the middle (a combination of srotovaaha and gOpucca yatis). ex: pdn-mpdn-gmpdn-mpdn-pdn
  • Mrudhaṅgam
    A double-sided Indian drum used mainly in South India, in Carnātic music. It is the main percussion instrument used in Carnātic concerts and is known as the “King of percussion” instruments. It is used as an accompaniment, as the lead instrument in thāḷa vādhya ensembles and is also played as(...)
  • mudal naDai
    - one of the 4 musical forms of isai-tamil (see tEvaram)
  • Mudhra
    Gesture
  • Mudhrā
    A symbolic gesture using the hands and fingers in thanthra. This term has also been used to refer to hand gestures in Bharathanātyam, where they are used for decoration as well as expressing meaning. Hastha mudhrās or hand gestures are the most important element of dance.
  • mudra
    - the signature(s) a composer may use in compositions, woven into the song. It may or may not have anything to do with the composer's name. Not all composers have mudras. For example, Dikshitar's mudra is "Guruguha"
  • mudritam
    a gamaka which involves humming, as in mmmm...
  • Mukha
    Face
  • muktaanga kampita raagas
    raagas in which all swaras can be sung with kampita gamaka, also known as sarva swara gamaka vaarika raagas. These include kalyaaNi, mOhanam, and tODi
  • muktaayi swara
    a section of swaras sung after the pallavi and anupallavi of a varnam
  • Mukula
    In Sanskrit, it means a flower bud. In single hand gestures, Asamyutha hastha, when all fingers are brought together and touch each other at the tip, we get the mukula hastha.
  • Mūla
    Root
  • Mūladhāra Chakra
    It is the lowest energy centre in the human body where the kundalini Shakti (serpent power) resides. It is situated in the perennial floor in men and the cervix in women.
  • Muni
    Sage
  • munnar baagam
    from Silappadigaaram, an ancient Tamil word for poorvaangam
  • Murugan
    also known as Lord Subramanya or Shanmuga, he is a son of Lord Shiva (destroyer of the Universe), famous for his quick quips as a young boy and for his perseverance and love for music. He emerged from the forehead (fire from the third eye) of Shiva and was raised by 6 young women Shiva(...)
  • Muṣhṭi
    It means Fist in Sanskrit. From Shikhara hastha,if you place the thumb on the four fingers, it is the muṣhṭi gesture in Dance.
  • music
    English, from the Greek word MOUSA, for Muses, music was thought to be inspired by 3 Muses. However, music is thought to originate in India because the Greek Strabo says that the famous scientist and mathematician Pythagoras learned music from Indians
  • musical force
    a force which uses breath and sound to add emphasis to a note, for example to the second note of an identical pair (ss') or to a note in a string of notes (ni in pdn'd)
  • Muthuswami Dhikṣhithar
    One of the Carnātic music trinity, Muthuswāmi Dhīkṣhitar was a master of the Thāḷa system. He is the only composer to have krithis in all the seven basic Thāḷas of Carnatic Music. For their Rāga Bhāva, grandeur of the Sāhithya and philosophical content, Muthuswāmi Dhīkṣhitar’s krithis remain(...)
  • Muzhumanḍi
    In Tamil, Muzhu- Complete. Mandi- Squat. From the aramanḍi position, squat into a sitting position. The balance is placed on the balls of the feet with the heels pointed up. The pelvis should rest on the heels. The knees should point outward and should be off the floor. The back should be(...)
  • Muzhumanḍi Prenkhaṇa
    Prenkhaṇam indicates Swing. First, sit in the Muzhumandi position. The right leg is then outstretched to the right with the toes pointing up. This position can also be held with the legs the other way round.
  • na
    abbreviation for shuddha nishaadam (N1)
  • naabhitam
    a gamaka that involves swelling a note in volume and roundness, like a crescendo
  • Naada Brahmam
    Brahmam is god, and naadam is sound, so god is often considered the same as music
  • naadam
    Sanskrit for isai or even oli, or any sounds that are orderly, beautiful and pleasant
  • naDai
    refers to the tempo at which a song is sung, especially of how many aksharas are in a beat. Tishra naDai means that in each beat, there are 3 swaras or aksharas. Not to be confused with gati
  • Naḍai
    • In Bharatanatyam, the term 'Nadai' means to walk. Hence, this aḍavu involves walking either sideways, to the front, backwards or diagonally, while employing various hand movements. Owing to its simplicity in execution, it is not practiced like the other aḍavus. This aḍavu is used at the(...)
  • Nādha
  • Nādi
    Energy channels in the body
  • Nādishodhana Prāṇāyāma
    Alternate Nostril breathing technique
  • Nāgabandha
    This is a hastha mudhra used to denote Nāgabhandha or Twining Snakes. The nāgabandha is placed at chest level.
  • nalayira divya prabhandam
    a type of sabhaa gaanam which is a collection of 4000 hymns composed by 12 Vaishnava saints (Pogai Alwar, Bhutatalwar, Peialwar, Perialwar, Tirumazhisai Alwar, Tirupanalwar, Tirumangai Alwar, TinDaradipodi Alwar, Nammalwar, Madurakavi Alwar, KulasEkara Alwar, and AaNDaaL and compiled by(...)
  • Namasthe/Namaskār/Namaskāra/Namaskaram
    The most popular form of greeting in India, especially the elders, is to say Namasthe with the hands joined at the chest level. It is also used at the time of farewell.
  • Namasthe/Namaskāra
    I bow to you.
  • Nandhi/Nandikeśhwara
    Nandhi or Nandhikéshwara, is the lord of joy. He is Śhiva’s vehicle and embodies inner strength, acquired through control over violence and physical strength. He is Śhiva and Pārvathi’s gatekeeper. Some purāṇas state that Nandhi was born out of the right side of Viṣhṇu and resembled Śhiva(...)
  • Nara
    In Sanskrit, Nara means Human.
  • Narasimha
    He is the fourth incarnation of Lord Viṣhṇu. He is half man and half lion.
  • Narthaka
    In Sanskrit, it means a Male dancer.
  • Narthaki
    In Sanskrit, it means a Female dancer.
  • NaTaraaja
    god of dance (bharatanaaTyam), who dances the taanDavam and shakes the worlds when he dances. An incarnation of Shiva, he is said to have killed demons by dancing upon their heads
  • Natarāja
    The term 'Natarāja' means 'King of Dancers' (In Sanskrit, Nata means dance; Rāja means king). A form of the Hindhu god Śhiva, whose divine dance creates and destroys the universe. Natarāja is most often depicted through a bronze statue and is popularly used as a symbol of Indian culture.
  • Nāṭṭaḍavu
    In Bharatanātyam, Nāṭṭu means to stretch. From the basic Aramanḍi position, one leg is stretched outward either to the side or to the front striking the floor with the heel and is brought back to the Aramanḍi position.
  • Naṭṭuvanār
    One who wields the cymbals/Thāḷam and conducts the performance; one who does Naṭṭuvāṅgam.
  • Naṭṭuvāṅgam
    The practice or art of reciting rhythmic syllables and striking cymbals on particular beats that follow the foot work of the dancer; The art of conducting Bharathanātyam, a dance recital.
  • natural minor
    same as the minor scale
  • Nātya
    The dramatically oriented aspects of dance are called Nātya, including spoken dialogue and mime, to convey meaning and enact narrative.
  • Nātya Śhāsthra
    A scripture attributed to the sage Bharatha that deals with theatre arts and dance. The Nātya Śhāsthra is about 2,000 years old. Written by Sage Bharatha.
  • Nātya vedha
    According to religious history, the gods and goddesses pleaded with Lord Brahma to create a Védha which would make it simple for the common man to understand. Thus, Brahma created the fifth Védha known as the Nātya Védha. It is believed that he took Pathya (words) from the Rig Vedha, Abhinaya(...)
  • Nātyārambha
    This the basic hand position in Bharatanātyam.
  • Naukāsana
    Nauka in Sanskrit means a boat. Naukāsana in Yoga, helps reduce the size of the belly due to the contraction of the abdomen from both the sides.
  • Nāva / Nouka
    Boat
  • navagraha
    meaning 9 planets, the navagraha kritis are 9 songs, each composed on a different planet. The most famous are by Dikshitar
  • Nāvāsana / Noukāsana
    Boat posture
  • naya
    a raaga in which the swaroopam is brought out both by aalaapanai and taanam, for example tODi, bhairavi, kaambhOji, shankaraabharaNam, and kalyaaNi
  • Nāyaka
    In Sanskrit, Nāyaka means the hero. He is the male protagonist.
  • Nāyaki
    In Sanskrit, Nāyaki means the heroine. She is the female protagonist.
  • neraval
    singing a single line or phrase from a song with varying tunes. This is usually done in the middle of a song, taking a particular phrase and expanding it, while still keeping the words split properly. It may also be performed in various raagas as a raagamaalika
  • nEtra
    the second cakra, which has 6 melakartas that contain M1, R1 and G2, numbered 7-12
  • ni (1)
    abbreviation for nishaadam
  • ni (2)
    abbreviation for kaisiki nishaadam (N2)
  • ni-kai
    abbreviation for nirai kaikilai
  • ni-ta
    abbreviation for nirai taram
  • ni-tu
    abbreviation for nirai taram
  • ni-u
    abbreviation for nirai uzhai
  • ni-vi
    abbreviation for nirai vilari
  • Nidhra
    Sleep
  • night raaga
    a raaga meant to be sung only at night time, from 7-10 pm. This includes raagas such as neelaambari and kEdaara gowLa
  • Nimīlitha
    It means half closed in Sanskrit. It is one of the Driṣhṭi bhedhas. The eyes are kept half closed in this variation.
  • nirai
    refers to a higher pitch of swaras relative to one another, an ancient Tamil term from Silappadigaaram
  • nirai kaikilai
    an ancient Tamil term from Silappadigaaram for antara gaandhaaram
  • nirai taram
    an ancient Tamil term from Silappadigaaram for kaakali nishaadam
  • nirai tutam
    an ancient Tamil term from Silappadigaaram for catshruti rishabam
  • nirai uzhai
    an ancient Tamil term from Silappadigaaram for prati madhyamam
  • nirai vilari
    an ancient Tamil term from Silappadigaaram for catshruti dhaivatam
  • Nirbhaya
    Bhaya indicates fear and with the prefix ’ni’ it indicates ‘without fear’.
  • Nirruthi
    The south west direction is Nirruthi. In the Vedhic times, it was depicted as a female goddess. Later it denotes a male god in charge of the directions. In dance, it can be depicted as follows: Hold khatva in the left hand and śhakata in the right hand.
  • nishaadaantya
    raagas which range only up to the madhya staayi nishaadam, without touching the taara sa
  • nishaadam
    ni, the 7th swara, corresponding to ti of the Western do re mi system. There are three types of ni, shuddha, kaakali, and kaisiki
  • nissabda
    as opposed to sasabda, these taaLa movements make sounds (beats, for example the anudrutam). It is found in sapta taaLas
  • Niyama
    It consists of the five "observances": purity, contentment, austerity, study, and the surrender to god.
  • nonvivaaDi
    32 melakartas are not vivaaDi
  • note
    a note or "English note" is a composition usually composed in the raaga shankaraabharaNam and created with swaras (some also have saahitya). They are called such because the melody sounds very Western. In fact, some are simply Western tunes with Indian lyrics
  • notes
    in Western music, there are 7 basic notes: A B C D E F G, which can be increased by a half-step (sharp, #) or decreased by a half-step (flat, b) to give the full range of notes. A B C D E F G are the white keys on the piano, while intervening notes (A#=Bb, C#=Db, D3=Eb, F#=Gb, G#=Ab) form the(...)
  • Nruthya
    Interpretive dance, using facial expressions, hand gestures and body movements to portray emotions and express themes is termed Nruthya.
  • Nruttha
    Nruttha is the set of abstract dance movements with rhythm but without expression of a theme or emotion. It is also called pure dance.
  • Nruttha Hasthas
    A sub-set of the hasthas (hand gestures) that find use in nruttha (abstract dance).
  • nu
    abbreviation for kaakali nishaadam (N3)
  • nyaasa
    swaras on which a phrase in a kriti in a certain raaga may end. sa is a universal nyaasa swara for any raaga. For saavEri, for example, nyaasa swaras are ma, pa, and da
  • nyaasam
    one of the 13 lakshaNas of a raaga that describes what nyaasa swaras the raaga has
  • octave
    same as staayi, the jump or the range from one note to the same note (same pitch) but sung higher. Thus sa ri ga ma pa da ni Sa is one octave
  • Odisha
    The way in which the name of the state of Orissa is pronounced in the native language.
  • Odissi
    The classical dance form which is from the state of Orissa. . It is the oldest surviving dance form in India on the basis of archaeological evidence.
  • oli
    Tamil word for sound
  • Om
    The universal mantra; cosmic vibration of the universe
  • one-fourth eDuppu
    symbolized by a comma , it is starting a song 1/4 beat after or before the samam
  • one-half eDuppu
    symbolized by a semicolon ; it is starting a song 1/2 beat after or before the samam
  • pa (1)
    an abbreviation for pancamam
  • pa (2)
    part of the mela mnemonic, a word to represent the 1st combination of dana (D1 and N1) in the 1st melakarta in any cakra
  • paana
    a MalayaaLam poetic style written in couplets
  • pada varnam
    a varnam that has rhythmic elements like a padam, meant for classical dance. It has cowka kaala (some madhyama kaala) swaras suitable for footwork, and saahitya for abhinayam at the muktaayi swaras as well as all the caraNas. Performed in aadi taaLa, roopakam and others. Also called cowka(...)
  • padajati varnam
    a varnam which contains some jatis in it, often meant for classical dance
  • padam
    a particular type of musical form or composition (sabhaa gaanam), meant for dance, that brings out the relationship of naayaka-naayaki (hero and heroine) as well as tOzhi (close friend) to tell important truths. The words are written through the mouth of the naayaka, naayaki or tOzhi,(...)
  • Pādha
    In Sanskrit, it means feet.
  • Padha varṇam
    This refers to a varnam that has rhythmic elements like that of a padham and that is meant for classical dance. It consists of chauka kāla swaras suitable for footwork, and sāhithya suitable for abhinaya at the mukthāyi swaras as well as all the charaṇas. This is also called chauka varṇam or(...)
  • Padham
    The deepest expressive item of Bharathanātyam,, narrating divine love or the pain of separation from the beloved, usually using the device of a nāyikā (heroine) talking to her sakhi (friend), about her love for the nāyaka (hero), symbolizing the human soul yearning for union with the divine.(...)
  • Padhmakośha
    It is one of the Asamyutha hastha. It means lotus bud. Turn the hand so that the palm is facing upwards. All the fingers are stretched and bent slightly to form the padmakośha hastha. It looks like holding a ball or a fruit.
  • Padhmāsana
    It is one of the sitting postures in yoga. In Sanskrit, Padhma means lotus. This āsana has been given a great importance as it is best suited for Prāṇāyāma, Meditation & concentration. This excellent posture encourages proper breathing and foster physical stability.
  • padipanca
    the 3rd line in the katapayaadi formula, with 5 letters, pa pha ba bha ma
  • pagal paNN
    ancient Tamil name (in PaNN system) for morning raagas
  • Pāichal aḍavu
    In Tamil, Pāichal means to leap. In Sanskrit, it is ‘Uthplavana’. This Aḍavu involves leaping movements, covering space either to the sides or front with horizontal or through vertical jumps.
  • pallavi (1)
    meaning sprout or bud (or leaf) in the comparison of a song with a tree, it is usually the first section of a song, which may be repeated again after the anupallavi and caraNas. It is usually short (1-2 lines)
  • pallavi (2)
    a musical form (sabhaagaanam) in which a phrase or line is taken in raagamtaanampallavi (RTP) for expounding the raaga and words, to do neraval and manOdharmasangeetam
  • pancamaantya
    raagas whose scales range only up to madhyastaayipancamam, without touching da, ni, or taarasa. It also refers to raagas such as naadataarangini, which have scales like spmrgrs - Spndpmgrs that return to the madhyastaayisa
  • pancamam
    pa, the 5th swara, used as a drone note along with sa (a perfect fifth). It has only one form like sa and unlike the other swaras. It corresponds to so in the Western do re mi system
  • pancamashruti
    the standard shruti setting in which sa is the basic note, with pa being played along with sa
  • pancaratna
    means 5 gems, referring to 5 songs set in ghanaraagas, they are 5 songs on a specific subject or deity. The most famous pancaratnakritis are by Tyaagaraaja
  • PaNN
    the forerunner of raaga, before the split of Hindustani and Carnatic raaga. It consisted of audava, shaadava and sampoorna types with bhaashaanga types as well (with anyaswaras). Formerly there were 103, with 23 used in TEvaram
  • paNNirunilam
    ancient Tamil name for swarastaana
  • paNNiruveeDu
    ancient Tamil name for swarastaana
  • Parabrahman
    It is a term often used by Vedāntic philosophers about the "attainment of the ultimate goal". It is a Sanskrit word - para meaning beyond and Brahman meaning universal self or spirit. Parabrahman is That which is beyond Brahman - The self-enduring, eternal, self-sufficient cause of all(...)
  • Parakīya
    The married woman in love with another man. One of numerous categories of nayikās, or heroines, in Bharathanātyam.
  • Paramāthma
    Supreme Being
  • Paraśhurāma
    He is the sixth of the ten incarnations of Lord Viṣhṇu and is the son of a Brahmin father Jamadhagni and mother Reṇukā in Hindhu mythology. In Daśhāvathāra hasthas he is depicted as an angry man holding the axe. Hold Muṣhṭi hastha in left hand and Ardhhapathāka hastha in the right hand to(...)
  • Paraval aḍavu
    Paraval in Tamil means to spread. The feet are spread from the position of Aramanḍi to Preritham.
  • Paravrittham
    It is one of the Śhiro bhedhas (head variations). It means turning. The face is turned away either to the right side or the left side. Alternately, the head is also moved from a side to side like a pattern of alphabet S.
  • Parivahitha
    It is one of the Śhiro bhedas(head variations). It means moving widely. The head is moved from side to with ears touching the shoulders alternately.
  • Parivarthitha
    It is one of the grīva bhedhas (neck variations). It means revolving round. Move the neck from side to side resembling the shape of a half moon.
  • Parivruttha thrikonasana
    Parivruttha means to turn around or revolve. Trikoṇa means thrī angles or a triangle. This is a revolving triangle posture.
  • Pārṣhni pārshwagathi
    It is one of the foot positions. Pārṣhni means Heel and Pārśhva means near/Side. a. In Aramanḍi b. In Samapādha
  • Pārshva
    Side
  • Pārśhwasūchi
    It is one of the Foot positions. Pārśhva means side and Sūchi means Triangle.
  • Pārśhwasūchi Prenkhaṇa
    It is one of the foot positions. Pārśhva means Side; Sūchi means Triangle; Prenkhaṇam means moving towards.
  • Paschima
    West
  • Paschimotthānāsana
    Back stretching posture
  • Paśchimotthānāsana
    In Sanskrit, paśchima means "west" or "back" or "back of the body", and utthāna means "intense stretch" and āsana means "posture" or "seat". It stretches the spine, shoulders, and hamstrings.
  • Pāśha
    It is one of the Samyutha hastha. It means Bond or enmity. When both the hands holding the thāmrachūḍa hastha are interlocked with one another with the index fingers, we get the pāśha hastha.
  • Pathāka
    It is one of the Asamyutha hasthas. It means Flag. All the fingers are kept closer to each other with the tip of the thumb bent and placed at the base of the index finger.
  • Pathanjali
    author of the Yoga Sutras and preacher of the eight-fold (Ashtānga) yoga
  • perfect fifth
    see fifth
  • perfect third
    see third
  • Peri aḍavu
    Periya means big. These steps are used to cover big space. This is also known as Usi aḍavu. Usi means off beat.
  • Piṅgala Nādi
    - One of the main energy channels running on the right side of the spine from the base of the spine (Mooladhara chakra) to the center of the forehead (Ajna chakra).
  • pinnarbaagam
    ancient Tamil name from Silappadigaaram for poorvaangam
  • plutam
    a taaLa movement which has 12 beats, a beat, then a wave to the left and a wave to the right. Its symbol is ^8.
  • podupaNN
    ancient Tamil name (in PaNN system) for midday raagas
  • poorvaangam (1)
    the first four swaras S R G M of the octave (as opposed to uttaraangam 1)
  • poorvaangam (2)
    the combined set of pallavi, anupallavi and muktaayiswaras in a varnam
  • poorvamelakartas
    the 36 melakartas (1-36) that use shuddhamadhyamam, the shuddhamadhyamammelakartas
  • Prakampitha
    It is one of the grīva bhedha (neck variation). It means shaking. The neck is moved back and forth like the neck of a male pigeon.
  • Prakrithi
    Nature
  • Pralokitha
    It is one of the Dhriṣhṭi bhedhas. It means wide glance. The pupils are moved to the corner of the eyes from right to left and vice versa.
  • Prāṇa
    Vital energy force sustaining life and creation
  • Prāṇāyāma
    It is a Sanskrit word meaning "extension of the prāṇa or breath“. That is "extension of the life force". The word is composed of two Sanskrit words, Prāṇa, life force or vital energy, particularly, the breath, and "āyāma", to extend, draw out, restrain or control.
  • prastaaram
    - meaning spreading out, it is a splitting of an anga into all of its possible component parts. For example, catusralaghu can be split the following ways: 1. | 2. U0 + U 3. 0 + 0 4. 0 + U + U 5. U + U0 6. U + 0 + U 7. U + U + 0 8. U + U + U + U
  • Prathyāhāra
    Sense withdrawal
  • Prathyālīḍa
    Taking a particular stance when shooting, also meaning extended towards the left.
  • Prathyaṅgas
    The intermediate parts of the body, such as shoulders, stomach, thighs, and elbows. One of three groups into which body parts are classified for the assignment of movements. The others are the aṅgas or major parts of the body, and upaṅgas, which include the extremities and facial features.
  • pratimadhyamam
    the higher ma, M2, used in the second 36 melakartas and their janyas, which corresponds to F# of the Western key of C
  • pratimadhyamammelakartas
    the uttaramelakartas
  • pratyaavatam
    a gamaka using paired notes in succession in the descending scale ex: Snnddp pm mg gr rs, often considered one of the most important gamakas
  • pravEshikaDaru
    a Daruvu that is sung for introducing the actors and actresses of a musical play at the very beginning
  • prayOga
    a particular phrase that is characteristic of a raaga. It helps show the uniqueness of the raaga when performed and may also contain anyaswaras not present in the raaga scales
  • Prenkhana
    It is one of the foot positions used in