Carnatic Music in the Hood of Compound Words

Some decoding of Compound Words

Sujatha R
2 min readApr 16, 2023

Here and there I would catch a familiar word.. Fluid comprehension was beyond me.

But Sometime last year, it felt that there is some simple magic of meta language governing these songs. There is no Gita like conversational sanskrit. No complex maze of verb endings and noun endings..

Ah.. It was compound words at play. Entire sentence like description packed into compound word. From the heartland of Tyagaraja, nouns shed away their endings and fused to form these longish words..

Amidst the many wonders of its Generative Grammar, the ability to pack Vivid Descriptions into a Singular Compound Word is absolutely phenomenal in Sanskrit.

In the world of music and poetry, it lends a kind of magic. Sounds fuse to ignite feelings, paint imageries and form longish words.

I was excited with my small finding, and listened to many lectures to learn about the mappings. Check out this post if you want to dive into the nuts and bolts of this topic.

And decoding word boundaries and the meaning of Classical Songs became much easier with this Intuition.. A series of posts to get an easy hang of compound words in these Tyagaraja kritis. Hope you find them useful.

Level 1: Simple Compound words: Sita Kalyanam Vaibhogame

Level 2: Longer Compound words: Nada tanum anisham

Level 3: More complex packing: Samaja vara gamana

Mixed Modes: Sanskrit song wrapped with Telugu endings: Omkara nada.. Shankarabharanam

Mixed Mode: Jana Gana Mana with a little Bengali

Mixed Modes: Telugu SONGS with naamas and descriptions in Sanskrit

MarugElara O Raghava
Rama Kodanda-Rama
Sarasa sama-dana-bheda-danda
Nee daaya raada
ChalamElara SaketaRama

Hope to write about interesting samasta padams from Gita, Bhajagovindam, Ayi Giri Nandini on some other day!



Sujatha R

I write.. I weave.. I walk.. कवयामि.. वयामि.. यामि.. Musings on Music, Linguistics & Patterns