Did Indian music originate from the Samaveda?


Yes, Indian Music originated from the Sama Veda. This is a very prominent view of many, and is accepted by everyone who learns Carnatic Music.

The Rig Veda and Yajur Veda mainly use only three notes which correspond to modern Shadja, Rishabha and Nishada, with the occasional Gandhara svara.

But the Samaveda is sung with all seven svaras (which include in addition to the above four, Madhyama, Panchama and Dhaivata). The way Samaveda is sung resembles to an extent the scale of Raga Kharaharapriya, a major Raga in Carnatic Music, which corresponds to the Kafi Thaat of Hindusthani Music.

Almost all composers in Carnatic Music refer to music as originating from the Samaveda. Prominent among them are the Musical Trinity of Muttusvami Dikshitar, Shyama Shastri and Tyagaraja. Saint Tyagaraja has dedicated many songs to the glory of Music, and in one of his songs, titled 'Nada tanum Anisham Shankaram', (or, 'Lord Shiva, the Embodiment of Music), he proclaims,

Modakara Nigamottama Samaveda Saaram Vaaram Vaaram (Nada Tanumanisham)

"(I repeatedly worship the embodiment of music), which was born from the Samaveda, the foremost of Vedas."

He also says in another Kriti, 'Shobhillu Saptasvara', (or, 'The Seven Svaras Shine Brightly'),

Dhara Rig Samadulalo Vara Gayatri Hrdayamuna

"(The Seven Svaras shine), in the Vedas headed by the Rig and Sama Vedas, as well as in the core of the sacred Gayatri Mantra (or, in the sacred Gayatri Hridaya)".

In yet another song, 'Vidulaku Mrokkeda', (or, 'I salute the maestroes of Music'), he says

Mudamuna Shankara Krita Sama Nigama Vidulaku Nadatmaka Saptasvara (Vidulaku)

"(I salute the maestroes) who are aware of the knowledge of the seven notes, the embodiment of Music, found in the Samaveda, which was originated from Lord Shiva (as the embodiment of Music)."

Thus, we can understand that Indian Music has originated from the Sacred Sama Veda.

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