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


taaLa - the beat set for a particular composition (a measure of time). taaLas have cycles of a defined number of beats and rarely change within a song. taaLas have specific components, which in combinations can give rise to the variety of taaLas that exist (over 108), allowing different compositions to have different rhythms

taaLam - (same as taaLa) from taal and am, indicating that taaLam was played originally with the legs

taaLamaalika - a type of sabhaa gaanam, a garland of taaLas, a composition in which each section is performed in a different taaLa. The taaLamudra of each taaLam is found in the saahityam of a taaLamaalika. It is also used in manOdharma sangeetam especially in pallavi. TiruvOtriyoor Tyaagaiyyar is said to have been well-versed in taaLamaalika

taaLamudra - the name or abbreviation for a taaLa. It may be expressed in words in the saahitya of a song or section of a song set in that taaLa

taanam - the second section in a raagam taanam pallavi in which the raaga is elaborated rhythmically (traditionally without rhythmic accompaniment) using the word "aananta." Taanam may be performed as a raagamaalika as well.

taana varnam - a varnam, named as such for it's taanam-like rhythmic qualities. It has saahitya only for the pallavi, anupallavi and caraNam. It is practiced in 2 to 3 speeds in aadi and sometimes other taaLas, often used in beginning training but also sung in concerts

taaNDava - the male or masculine aspect of dance and music (usually associated with the god Shiva). Its complement is lasya

taanDavam - the cosmic dance of the Universe, danced by NaTaraaja or Shiva

taanDu varisai - same as daaTu varisai, so named because taanDu means to play, and one jumps during play, so these swaras jump around as if in play

taaram - one of the 13 lakshaNas of a raaga, which indicates its ability to reach higher octaves

taarangam - a type of sabhaa gaanam, a musical form

taara sa - the high sa above the middle sa, also called iraTTai kural or uyar kural

taara staayi - the higher octave in which a composition is sung (as opposed to the mandra staayi, the middle octave), indicated by a dot above the note (or, here, as a capitalized note, as in pdnS)

taaTu varisai - same as daaTu varisai

taay - same as a melakarta

tadinava - the second (ta) line in the katapayaadi formula, which has 9 letters, Ta Tha Da Dha Na ta tha da dha na

takku staayi - also known as keezh staayi, this is the lower octave or mandra staayi

takku staayi varisai - phrases (varisais) to practice in reaching the low mandra staayi pa

tambura - an instrument used as a drone to set the pitch for a performance. Its (often) 4 strings are tuned to the mandra staayi pa, middle sa, middle sa, and taara sa

Tamil - also tamizh, this is a language of South India, particularly the state of Tamil NaaDu. Many compositions are in Tamil, and several great poets of Tamil literature exist

tani aavartanam - literally a separate taaLa cycle, which is a section of a concert when the percussion instruments perform alone, without melodic accompaniment. If more than one percussion instrument is present, they first perform long solos then come together in beat and alternate to create intricate rhythms. It usually occurs after kalpanaa swaras of a main song. When it is done, the main performer picks up the melody and finishes the song entirely

taram - ancient Tamil term from Silappadigaaram for nishaadam Telugu - a language of South India, particularly the state of Andhra Pradesh. Composers such as Tyaagaraajaa composed primarily in this beautiful language, and so there are many compositions in Telugu

tenor - in Western harmony, the 3rd highest voice, higher than bass but lower than alto

tEvaram - a musical form, a type of sabha gaanam. These are a group of hymns in Tamil composed by 3 Saivite saints Appar, Sambandar (both 7th century), and Sundarar (9th century). It means a divine song, considered one of the 4 musical forms of Tamil (mudal naDai, varnam, koodal, and tiral). These songs were composed and sung by their composers and considered the earliest musical compositions of India, from a time when there was no division of North and South Indian music.

third - in Western music, the jump from one note to another 5 half-steps away (covering 5 swarastaanas). For example, C to E, or in Carnatic, s to g3. Also called a perfect third (as opposed to a minor third)

third speed - 3rd kaala, which typically uses 4 swaras per beat in musical practice. If the first speed uses 4 swaras per beat (as in concerts and kritis), the third speed becomes 16 swaras per beat in relation

three-fourths eDuppu - symbolized by ;, it is a gap of 3/4 beat before beginning the song (or starting the song 3/4 beat before the sama)

ti - a Western note in the do re mi system, the 7th and last note, equivalent to ni

tillaanaa - a type of sabhaa gaanam, a musical form or composition that uses jatis (such as dheem, takiTa, taam, jham) as rhythmic phrases instead of words. It is composed to create a sense of enthusiasm and joy (the meaning of tillaanaa), and said to have originated from another composition called "tri-tillaanaa." It has crisp, attractive swara patterns, with saahitya containing both jatis (solkaTTus) and words, performed in madhyama kaalam. Some contain only pallavi and anupallavi, while others have only pallavi and caraNam, each section with different swara patterns. Pallavi and anupallavi have jatis, while the caraNam may have swaras, words, and jatis. Tillaanaa is usually the 7th or last piece in a bharatanaaTyam dance performance and one of the last pieces in a vocal or instrumental concert, giving a dramatic flourish to the end of the performance

tiral - one of the 4 musical forms of isai-tamil (see tEvaram)

tiruaruTpa - a musical form, a type of sabhaa gaanam

tirukkuraL - a musical form, a type of sabhaa gaanam

tiruppugazh - a type of sabhaa gaanam, a musical form. One of the most famous is by Arunaagirinaatar which introduces many taaLas of the 108 taaLa system

tishra - meaning 3, this is one of the jaatis for the laghu, so that the laghu is one beat with the palm and then 2 finger counts. It may also be tishra caapu (rare), which would be 1 + 3=4 beats

tribhinnam - a gamaka which uses chords (simultaneously played notes, usually 3), restricted to instrumental performers such as violinists

triOdasa lakshaNas - the 13 lakshaNas (essential characteristics) of a raaga. These are graham, amsam, taaram, mandram, nyaasam, apanyaasam, sanyaasam, vinyaasam, bhagutvam, alpatvam, antara maargam, shadavam, and audavam

tripuccam - a gamaka which uses triples of notes, such as sss rrr ggg mmm ppp ddd nnn SSS

tripuTa - one of the sapta taaLas, which has the form laghu, drutam, drutam (symbol |00). With the 7 laghu varieties, it has 7 forms. When no laghu is specified, it is catushra jaati, whcih is laghu(4), drutam(2), drutam(2), for eight beats.

tutam - ancient Tamil term from Silappadigaaram for rishabam

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updated on 03/20/2009