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Brihaddeshi is a Classical Sanskrit (dated ca. 6th to 8th century) text on Indian classical music, attributed to Matanga Muni. It is the first text that speaks directly of the raga and distinguishes the (marga) and the (desi). It also introduced sargam notation (full names for notes already existed like in Natya Shastra). In Matanga's discussion of musical scales and micro-tonal intervals he clarifies Bharata Muni's Natya Shastra on which the author based his work. It clarifies many issues related to shruti that were presented tersely by Bharata.

The text uses a two-dimensional prastāra (matrix) to explain how the 7 notes of the octave map into 22 śrutis, where the separation between the notes has varying distance. It also says that a finer subdivision in micronotes has 66 śrutis, and, in principle, the number of śrutis is infinite.

The text also speaks of the division of the octave into 12 svaras. According to Prem Lata Sharma, this is the first known text to speak of 12 notes.[1]


The text of Brihaddeshi was edited by Prem Lata Sharma for the Indira Kalakendra series of original texts on the Indian arts and was published as a book "Matanga and His Work Brihaddesi" in 1992. Dwaram Bhavanarayana Rao published a Telugu translation and paraphrase in 2002.[2]


  1. ^ Brhaddesi of Sri Matanaga Muni, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1992.
  2. ^ Treatise on music in The Hindu.


  • Jonathan Katz. "Mataṅga". In Deane L. Root (ed.). Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. (subscription required)