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Sangeeta Darpana

Sangeeta Darpana is a Sanskrit work on music and dance written by Damodar Pandita, the son of Lakshmidhara. He was a court poet of Tirumalaraya of Vijayanagara (1570 – 1573 CE). Sangita Darpana literally means the mirror of music, and it is  placed at the latter half of the 16th century CE.

Damodara was well versed in the music systems of both North India and South India. His work has seven chapters, including Svaradhyaya, Ragadhayaya, Prakirnakadhyaya, Prabandhayaya, Taladhyaya and Nrityadhyaya.

Svaradhyaya comprises the description of sound, notes, microtones, three types of gramas (septads), murcchana (s) (scales) and other basic terms related to notes. The author has adopted the male and female system of classification o melodies (raga-ragini (s) system). There are six male ragas, having five raginis each as wives. The time and season during which ragas and raginis are to be performed are mentioned.

In Ragadhyaya, the classification of melodies, their description and iconographic verses depicting ragas are given.

Prakirnaka means miscellaneous, and this chapter deals with the merits and demerits of music and musicians, characteristics of a composer (vaggeyakara), etc. Prabandhadhyaya describes prabandhas (the musical compositions)of that time. The author describes the types of prabandhas along with candas (the meter) and ganas (metrical formulae), and concludes with ten qualities of music.

Taladhyaya consists of margi (ancient classical) and desi (local) tala (rhythmic patterns). Nrityadhyaya is about mudras (the dance forms, poses and hand gestures). The author also describes ten good qualities and rules to be followed while dancing. He differentiates between nritta (organized rhythmic movements), nirtya (dance) and natya (performance, acting).