Trinity of Carnatic music

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The Trinity of Carnatic music refer to the outstanding trio of composer-musicians of Carnatic music in the 18th century, being Tyāgarāja, Muthuswami Dikshitar and Syama Sastri. But 20 years before them,there have been three outstanding tamil singers who played pivotal role in the development of Carnatic music in that era.There are Thilaividangan Maarimutthapillai,Sirkazhi Arunachala Kavirayar and Sirkazhi Muthuthandavar. The trio mainly sang the praise of Lord Shiva in mellodious tamil language.The former, prolific in composition are known for creating a new era in the history of Carnatic music by bringing about a noticeable change in what was the existing Carnatic music tradition.[1] Compositions of the Trinity of Carnatic music are recognised as being distinct in style, and original in handling ragas.[2]


Muthuswami Dikshitar mainly composed in Sanskrit, while Tyagaraja and Syama Sastri mainly composed in Telugu.[3]

Ragas and talas[edit]

The Trinity of Carnatic music composed new ragas and talas, and had a remarkable ability to introduce innovations within the same raga.[4]

Compositions of Syama Sastri in 'apoorva' ragas like Chinthamani, and Kalagada evidence his originality and genius in discovering new forms in Carnatic music.[5] The creative ability of Syama Sastri is possibly best exampled in his concert-contest against Kesavvaya, a great Carnatic musician from Bobbili.[6] During this contest which took place at the court of the king of Thanjavur, although Kesavayya sang a rare raga followed by a tana in different jathis and gathis, Syama Sastri reproduced similar tana varieties, and to the delight of the audience, went further to introduce other varieties which were not known to Kesavvaya.[7] Purandaradasa is known as the 'Father of Carnatic music'.



  • Panikkar, K N (2002). Culture, Ideology, Hegemony: Intellectuals and Social Consciousness in Colonial India. London: Anthem Press – Wimbledon Publishing Company.