Wednesday, August 15, 2007

ARUNAGIRINATHAR (15th century)

Musical Background: Although in his early years he was known to have led an immoral life, he later reformed himself and spent the rest of his life in music.

Region: He hailed from Tanjavur district, Tamilnadu. He is also believed to have travelled far and wide, to visit temples, singing in praise of many deities.

Contribution: He was the creator of Tiruppugazh, which means, "praise of God" in Tamil. He was a prolific composer, who is believed to have composed 16000 songs, of which only about 2000 remain today. His Tiruppugazhs are known for their beautiful, flowing lyrics coupled with complex rhymes and rhythmic structures. His Tiruppugazhs led to the invention of a new genre of tala called Chanda Tala. Thus he earned the title,"Chanda Pavalaperuman", meaning, "unequalled master of the verse". He also composed in many of the 35 talas, 175 talas, as well as 108 talas. He was well known for the rhythmic intricacies he wove effortlessly into his compositions. His work, Bhoota Vetala Vaguppu, contains information about some Ragas, Panns, the 108 talas and percussion instruments, making it invaluable from a historical point of view. All the Tiruppugazhs end with the word "perumale...", making it easy to identify the composer.

Theme: Devotion was the main theme. Although he composed mainly on Lord Subramanya, there are Tiruppugazhs on other deities like Lord Ganesha too.

Languages used: Tamil.

Popular Compositions: Vachana miga (Atana), Erumayileri (Hamsanandi / Mohanam), Tullumada (Hamsanandi) etc.

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