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Perur Subramanya Dikshitar – Composer – Author Of Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini

Perur Subramanya Dikshitar (1839 – 1906) was a composer and author of Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini. He was an immediate successor of the great composer Sri Muttuswami Dikhshitar 91775 – 1835). His Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini can be compared to a huge, permanent dam, which impounded and preserved the music of the Golden Age of Carnatic music. Practicing musicians, theorists, editors and publishers of recent times have been continuously drawing sustenance from it. This book is in two volumes, with 1700 pages. It comprises 76 biographies of persons noteworthy in the history of music from the time of Sarangadeva (13th century) to those of Subramanya Dikshitar himself. It includes the information on lives of writers of scientific treatises, composers and musicians. Two sections are devoted to the science of music – ‘Sangita lakshana prachina paddhati’ and ‘Sangita lakshana sangraha’.

In the main portion, among the compositions given, are about 170 gitas of Venkatamakhin, about 229 kritis of Muttuswami Dikshitra, 10 prabandhas and 41 cittatanas of Venkatamakhin, some ragmalika’s and other compositions of Ramaswami Dikshitar, the father of Muthuswami Dikshitar. It has also a few pieces of Tyagaraja and Shyama Shastri, and over one hundred other pieces suladis, varnas, svarajatis, darus and padas, including some in Tamil. In addition to the two volumes of the main work, Subramanya Dikshitar wrote and compiled for beginners an introductory work (230 pages) called Prathama-abhyasa-pustaka. While maintaining the high style of Muthuswami Dikshitra, he displayed greater versatility and produced, in addition to kritis, many varans, svarajatis and ragamalikas all studded with swarakshara beauties.

He had planned to publish another work containing 100 kritis (songs) of Shyama Shastri and 500 kshetrajna padas and kritis of Tyagaraja collected by Chinnaswamy Mudaliar from the Walajahpet School. The project was incomplete, but he accomplished the Tamil translation of the Telugu Mahabharata.