The world needed only two things to exist in peace : English literature – Shakespeare – and Carnatic music which cam express everything that humans wish musically to express. Carnatic music was the most essential music of humanity .
Around the seventh and eighth centuries South India saw also a great surge of devotionalism with the emergence of a number of devotee-poet singers who expressed their deep devotion in thousands of metered verse set to classical music. ...These poet singers were the Alvars and the Nayanmars, who to a great extent constructed the foundation on which the edifice of the future Carnatic music was built.
Purandara Dasa of the fitheenth-sixteenth century, who is said to be the father of present day classical Carnatic music, initiated a system of teaching Carnatic music and presented the initial scale of notes to be taught to a beginner. Purandara Dasa was a great devotee given to spending his whole life in meditation on God and singing his praises.
Classical Carnatic music is but the continuance of ancient Indian music as it was prior to the advent of Persian influence and the attendant evolution of the Hindustani style. The Tamil areas in the South had from pre-historic times a well-developed, scientific, distinct style known as Pann. The Indian (later called the 'Carnatic' from the days of the work Manasollasa) and the Tamil Pann had coalesced invisibly during the middle ages and presently the South has the Carnatic music and the North has the Hindustani music - of course, both raga -based with common and distinct features.
...invested Indian music, more particularly the Carnatic music of South India, with a tremendous range of nuances and aesthetic values retaining the basic religious and spiritual core...South Indian music belonged primarily to temples and gained its momentum from devotees of the Lord who often spurned royal patronage.
The contributions of these great people culminated in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century in a golden era of Carnatic music. Three great composers – Thyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikhsitir, and Shayamasastry - dominated the scene, and Carnatic music reached a pinnacle in both its aesthetic and its technical aspects. P. 453
Carnatic music as we know today can at best be traced to the early or middle of the eighteenth century. One of the most important reasons being the unbroken lines of guru-sisya (teacher–disciple) that have come down to the present day bringing with them compositions and musical practices of distinct traditions .
Carnatic music being not the family heirloom of isolated families, but rooted in the community spawned a lot of talent , largely people who could participate in group singing, and of equal importance, several generations of composers, all in all in and around the cultural centre of s South India - Tanjaavur (Anglicized as Tanjore)
...the robust health of the Carnatic music fraternity made the “golden age” of Carnatic music possible...became possible because of interaction in the music community , the “core” musical knowledge that the composers could take for granted and the intense awareness of the tremendous musical activity by the composers.
In Carnatic music, one can create new ragas (not just tunes) which have never been though of before. In that sense, raagas are open ended in Carnatic music.
Luxuriant Tamil music metamorphosed into Carnatic music. Someswara Bhooloka Malla Varman (1116-1127 A.D) of the Western Chalukyas who authored the prominent thesaurus Manasa Ullasa called the music of the South - of the Tamils included - as 'Karnataka Sangeetham and the term has turned immortal.
Music always transcends national , verbal , mental and philosophical limitations which account for its universal appeal beyond cultures ... (But) comparison requires common features or parameters of which few are shared between Classical Carnatic music and genuine Classical Western music.
Purandara Dasa is regarded widely as the father of Carnatic music, giving a structure to the teaching aspects. In p.35
Geetam means song . The simplest union of Dhatu (music or swara) and Matu (words or sahitya) is known as Geeta. Geetas are the simplest of Carnatic [[w:Melodies|melodies.
The sheer range of ragas and talas of these ‘simple’ divyanama compositions [of Tyagaraja] with their repetitive structure must have taught the people around the great composer the essence of Carnatic music.
Globalised Chennai is no longer the hamlet-tish Madras of slow days and early nights, quiet avenues and conservative lifestyles . And yet, beneath the gloss lies the old sheen of kapi-tipan [Coffee and Snacks] and Carnatic music.
...to learn the idioms and phrases that define the ‘ grammar ’ of the major ragas of Carnatic music is through learning the great compositions of these ragas....in Carnatic music, fixed texts are used to create the ‘ lexicon ’ of Carnatic music and ‘grammar’ of particular ragas
...the Carnatic music system is arbitrary in principle, even though some features may be conditioned by mathematical laws ....the only law of mathematics that Carnatic music adheres to is the law of doubling the frequency of the fundamental for the octave.
...the Carnatic music representation requires only a three (or at most four) levels of flat structuring (i.e. with no internal hierarchical structure), theorists of Western music have argued for the need for an enriched structure. Thus while Carnatic music seems to be satisfied with the limited structuring at the phonological /phonetic levels, Western Classical music seems to work from the syntactic end.
No room for innovation in Carnatic music
In South India, singing in popular religious genres was accompanied by drums often played by women . In Carnatic music, however, women were mainly singers, and sometimes played violin or vina , but very rarely played flute , and never I think the oboe like nagaswaram... one of the characteristics of South Indian classical music has been its tendency to absorb and adopt foreign, mainly Western instruments incorporating them into the sound ideal of Carnatic music. I am talking about the violin and the harmonium in the nineteenth century, and the saxophone , clarinet , guitar , and mandolin in the twentieth century.