The Carnatic music is south- Indian origin and is attributed to classical music. It is characterized by a very original style, the arrangements with many melodic and rhythmic variations are based.
Carnatic music is recited vocally usually. As the South Indian music in general already own, it is based on the human voice. It is used to communication of melody, melisma, rhythm and expression.
A clear demarcation between the vocal and the instrumental music is difficult to drawn. Even if it is recited instrumental, it is always originally written for a solo voice.
The instrumentalization in the Carnatic music usually follows constructed principal lines. So true to the song mostly a melodic companion ( usually in the form of a violin ), a, a rhythmic companion (usually an Indian drum mridangam ), and a supportive instrument in the form of a flute or similar. The oldest known compositions with notation in South India are stone inscriptions from the 7th century AD in Pudukkottai, Tamil Nadu.
To date, Carnatic music basically in oral traditions ( sampradāya ) is passed from the teacher to the student. The traditions set their own priorities to their composers and musical and stylistic peculiarities.
It is common that a student makes today familiar with several traditions. Previously, he was usually in a single tradition. Through various acquisitions influence but also the differences between the traditions and regions are becoming increasingly blurred.
There are a thousand year old tradition that continually lives on in the south Indian music. It goes back to scriptures such as the Vedas and Upanishads, as well as in an anonymous way ( Rishis ) and sacred musicians such as the Nayanmars, Alvars, Jayadeva, Tiruvalluvar, Kabir, Mira Bai, Purandara Dasa and especially Tyagaraja ( 1767-1847 ). Significant pioneer in this regard were:
- Srīpadaraya ( ಶ್ರೀಪಾದ ರಾಯರು ) = Lakshminarayana Tirtha ( 1404-1502 ).
- Vyāsatīrtha ( ವ್ಯಾಸತೀರ್ಥ ) = Vyāsaraya ( 1460-1539 )
- Vadirājatīrtha ( ಶ್ರೀ ವಾದಿರಾಜ ತೀರ್ಥರು ) ( between 1480-1600 )
- Purandara Dasa ( ಪುರಂದರ ದಾಸ ) ( 1484-1564 )
- Kanaka Dasa ( ಕನಕ ದಾಸ ) ( 1509-1609 )
- Sri Tallapaka Annamācārya ( శ్రీ తాళ్ళపాక అన్నమాచార్య ) = Annamayya ( 1408-1503 )
- Pedda Tirumalayyangar, the son of Sri Tallapaka Annamācāryas
- Tallapakam Chinayya, grandson Annamācāryas
- Kancherla Gopanna = Bhadrādri Rāmadāsu = Bhadrācala Rāmadāsu ( భద్రాచల రామదాసు ) (ca. 1620-1680 )
They all proclaimed the insight that good music is the key to self-discovery, and thus salvation of the individual from its inner and outer conflicts.
Of these saints Purandara Dasa occupies a special position, since he introduced the still valid teaching system of South Indian classical music.