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Sangita Sara Of Vidyaranya

Sangita Sara is a treatise on music belonging to the 14th century CE. Reference to this work for the first time was found in Sangita Sudha of Govinda Dishitar. Dikshitar adopts many statements made by Vidyaranya, the author of Sangita Sara. Vidyaranya was a native of Vijayanagar and is believed to have been 1320 CE. He was an eminent musician and musicologist. He completed the work at the request of his patron and king, Narapati Thakura. In the work he quotes many of his predecessors, like Bharata and Tumburu. This work is one of the important lakshana granthas of music produced during the medieval period of music history.

Sangita Sara is, perhaps, the earliest work to discuss ragas in detail. It deals with the time-honored concept of raga and time theory. Vidyaranya attaches much importance to raga alapana (improvisation of raga). Raga Alapana has six angas, like akshipta, ragavardhini, vidari, sthayi, vartani and nyasa.

Sangita Sara describes mainly fifteen melas, and janyas derived from them. Many of these melas have been adopted in the seventy two mela-karta scheme. The work makes use of sixteen svara names, that is, three varieties of rishabha, three of gandhara, two of madhyama, three dhaivatas and three nishadas. Of course, sadaja and panchama are inseparably there.

Nattai, Gurjari, Varatika, Sriraga, Bhairavi, Sankara-bharana, Ahiri, Vasantha Bhairavi, Samanatha, Kambodhi, Mukhari, Suddharamakriya, Kedara, Gaula, Hejuji, and Desakhi are the melas mentioned by the author. Fifty janya-ragas are classified under them. Sangita Sara is important because it is the pioneer work that underlines the importance of raga.