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Carnatic Glossary P - listed here are terms beginning with P. If you find a Carnatic term that isn't listed, just send a note.


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

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, explaining the joy, sorrow, and other feelings of love. They indirectly refer to god, since the naayaka is said to represent the "paramaatma" (Great Soul, God), the naayaki represents the jeevaatma (human soul, man), and the tOzhi represents the guru (teacher), so the words of each is thought to help the audience reach mOksha (heaven). In Telugu, padams often have Lord Krishna as the naayaka, while Tamil padams often have Lord Subramanya (Murugan) as their naayaka. Padam has pallavi, anupallavi and at least one caraNam (all with the same pattern of swaras), with few sangatis and with easy prayOgams, while still bringing out the swaroopam of the raaga. Some padams begin from the anupallavi. Performed mainly in dance concerts, they may also be at the end of vocal and instrumental concerts. The first padams in Sanskrit were composed by Vasudeva kavi who adorned the court of king Sarfoji of Tanjore. In dance, padams include more graceful movement than footwork. They require slower-moving grace, expression, and emotion, involving the hand gestures, eyes, and face for expression rather than fancy steps.

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 varnam or aatta varnam

padajati varnam - a varnam which contains some jatis in it, often meant for classical dance

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

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 (sabhaa gaanam) in which a phrase or line is taken in raagam taanam pallavi (RTP) for expounding the raaga and words, to do neraval and manOdharma sangeetam

pancamaantya - raagas whose scales range only up to madhya staayi pancamam, without touching da, ni, or taara sa. It also refers to raagas such as naadataarangini, which have scales like spmrgrs - Spndpmgrs that return to the madhya staayi sa

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

pancama shruti - 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 ghana raagas, they are 5 songs on a specific subject or deity. The most famous pancaratna kritis 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 anya swaras). Formerly there were 103, with 23 used in TEvaram

paNNiru nilam - ancient Tamil name for swarastaana

paNNiru veeDu - ancient Tamil name for swarastaana

perfect fifth - see fifth

perfect third - see third

pinnar baagam - 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.

podu paNN - 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 muktaayi swaras in a varnam

poorva melakartas - the 36 melakartas (1-36) that use shuddha madhyamam, the shuddha madhyamam melakartas

prastaaram - meaning spreading out, it is a splitting of an anga into all of its possible component parts. For example, catusra laghu 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

prati madhyamam - the higher ma, M2, used in the second 36 melakartas and their janyas, which corresponds to F# of the Western key of C

prati madhyamam melakartas - the uttara melakartas

pratyaavatam - a gamaka using paired notes in succession in the descending scale ex: Sn nd dp pm mg gr rs, often considered one of the most important gamakas

pravEshika Daru - 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 anya swaras not present in the raaga scales

pushpaanjali - literally an offering of flowers, it is a traditional dance or song that is used as an offering, invocation, and welcome to the lord (usually Ganesha), gurus/teachers, and the audience. Flowers are offered and the performers begin the concert

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updated on 03/20/2009