Smitha K. Prasad

Carnatic Classical Vocalist

The following articles have appeared in a monthly publication over the years- I have reproduced the articles in their entirety in an effort to make this information accessible to students as well as those interested in Carnatic music.

  1. A Gentle introduction to Carnatic Music

This set of articles (2,3) introduces some basic terminologies used in Carnatic Music

2. Basic Principles of Carnatic Music- Part I

3. Basic Principles of Carnatic Music- Part II

4. FAQ about learning Carnatic Music

5. Format of a Carnatic Music Concert

Evolution of Carnatic Classical Music

The next set of articles (6-33) discusses the evolution of Carnatic music and its response to the changing social and political environments through the centuries. The evolution discussion starts with the Veerashaiva movement of the 11th and 12th centuries and then looks at the Bhakti movement in both North India (Surdas and Meerabai) and South India.

6. Veerashaiva Movement

7. Bhakti Movement- Surdas

8. Bhakti Movement- Meerabai

The main proponents of the Bhakti movement in South India were the Haridasas including composer saints such as Purandaradasa, Kanakadasa among others.

9. Bhakti Movement in South India

10. Bhakti Movement Purandara Dasa - I

11. Bhakti Movement- Purandara Dasa- II

12. Bhakti Movement- Kanaka Dasa- I

13. Bhakti Movment- Kanaka Dasa - II

Continuing the journey in time, we reach a point in time where India was ruled by the British and observe the influence of the British Raj on Carnatic music. 

14. Influence of British- Introduction of violin

15. Influence of British- Carnatic Compositions

16. Influence of Hindusthani Music and folk music on Carnatic Music

In the pre-independence era in India, Carnatic music enjoyed great patronage in the royal courts of South India. Apart from being patrons, a number of kings were also composers of repute, the most famous perhaps being Maharaja Swathi Tirunal and Sri Jayachamaraja Wodeyar.

17. Influence of Royal Patronage on Carnatic Music

18. Influence of Royal Patronage on Carnatic Music - Mysore Kings

19. Influence of Royal Patronage on Carnatic Music- Sri Swathi Thirunal

20. Changes in Kutcheri Paddhathi (format of a concert)

The next segment in time leads to a discussion on Indian independence and the influences that it brought about in Carnatic music. Composers such as Subramanya Bharatiyar and Carnatic musicians such as Smt. D.K. Pattammal are synonymous when discussing Indian independence.

21. Indian Independence and Carnatic Music

22. Gandhiji and Carnatic Music

Role of Women in Carnatic Music

It is interesting to observe the role that women have played in Carnatic music and how that role has undergone its own revolution as a response to societal changes. Women, both composers and performers, have contributed richly to Carnatic music. A number of women such as Bangalore Nagarathnamma, D.K. Pattammal among others were trail-blazers in Carnatic music and contrary to expectation, quite revolutionary!

23. Women Composers- Aandal (Godai)

24. Women Composers- Bhakti Saints

25. Contemporary Women Composers

26. Women Performers- M.S. Subbulakshmi

27. Women Performers- M.L. Vasanthakumari

28. Women Performers- D.K. Pattammal

29. Changes in Carnatic Music in the Post-Independence Era

Despite being a traditional art form, Carnatic music has been extremely responsive in adapting to technology- be it the introduction of a sound system or the electronic tanpura or the use of Skype which has revolutionized the world of teaching.

30. Technology and Carnatic Music

31. Technology and Carnatic Music- Impact of the Internet

Along with a changing landscape, newer formats in Carnatic Music presentations such as thematic concerts, jugalbandhis have gained popularity among audiences.

32. Newer Presentation Formats in Carnatic Music - I

33. Newer Presentation Formats in Carnatic Music - II

This concludes the series on the evolution of Carnatic Music and its response to changes in the socio-political landscape. 

34. Readers Questions Answered- I

35. Readers Questions Answered - II

36. Readers Questions Answered - III

37. Classification of Ragas - Mela and Janya

38. Classification of Ragas - Upanga Raga and Bhashanga Raga

39. Classification of Ragas - Ghana Raga and Rakthi Raga

40. Classification of Ragas - other classification criteria

41. Mudras in Musical Compositions

42. Carnatic Music- Role in Indian Independence

43. Importance of Listening

44. Nobility in Giving

45. Hindusthani music in Karnataka

46. Thyagaraja Aradhana

47. Components of a Carnatic concert

48. Sahitya in Carnatic music- Part I

49. Swara Kalpana


To a large extent, my reference texts have been the volumes of "South Indian Music" by Prof. P. Sambamoorthy. 

Additionally, "Theory of Music" by Vid. Vasanthamadhavi

Notes and snippets that I have picked up while attending various lecture-demos, music magazines and of course the Internet!