Renowned Music Scholar T.A. Sambandamurthy Achari's Legacy

T.A. Sambandamurthy Achari, a renowned Indian music scholar and composer, made significant contributions to Carnatic music in Chennai, India, during the mid-20th century. He composed over 100 songs, taught notable musicians, and wrote several books on music, leaving a lasting legacy in the field.

author-image
Trim Correspondents
New Update
Renowned Music Scholar T.A. Sambandamurthy Achari's Legacy

Renowned Music Scholar T.A. Sambandamurthy Achari's Legacy

T.A. Sambandamurthy Achari (1913-1977) was a renowned Indian music scholar and composer who made significant contributions to Carnatic music during the mid-20th century in Chennai, India. He composed songs in various ragas, including Tiruppugazh, and taught many notable musicians such as D.K. Pattammal and T.K. Shanmugam.

Sambandamurthy's father, Appadurai Achari, was an authority on Tiruppugazh and sang at Naina Pillai's annual Thiruppugazh festival. Sambandamurthy himself composed over 100 songs, including a Revathi varnam and a Subhapantuvarali song 'Natanamadidum nayaka' with sollukattus instead of chittaswaras. He also set Thevaram verses to tune, such as Thirugnanasambandar's 'Mandiramaavadu neeru' in raga Abheri, which became popular in Thoothukkudi Siva temple.

In addition to composing, Sambandamurthy was a respected music teacher. His son Sahasranamam noted, "My father acquired a lot of knowledge by listening to my grandfather and through research." T.K.S. Kalaivanan, son of actor T.K. Shanmugam and a student of Sambandamurthy, recalled, "My teacher never began teaching with sarali. Instead, he taught us songs, and with his guidance, we soon acquired swara gnana."

Sambandamurthy was known for his musical knowledge and scholarship. He met with T.N. Rajaratnam Pillai (TNR) to discuss apoorva ragas and composed a song in Kharaharapriya raga at TNR's request. TNR later remarked, "It was the misfortune of Tamil Nadu, that it had failed to use the knowledge of Sambandamurthy." Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer described Sambandamurthy as a "musical genius."

Despite his accomplishments, Sambandamurthy felt that "Awards were not given to scholars, but to those who happened to be in the public eye." Nonetheless, he was known as "Asaikkonaa isai tamizh arignar" (unshakeable scholar of Tamizh music) by poet Bharatidasan. Sambandamurthy wrote several books on music, including "Isai Varidhi", "Thiruppugazh", "Tala Eri", and "Sruti Bheda Isai Nool". His swan song, dictated to his son Takkesi on his deathbed, was a song in Rishabapriya raga that begins with the word 'udavuvarillai' (there is no one to help).

T.A. Sambandamurthy Achari left an indelible mark on Carnatic music through his compositions, teachings, and scholarship. His contributions continue to be celebrated and his legacy lives on through the many musicians he influenced and inspired during his remarkable career.

Key Takeaways

  • T.A. Sambandamurthy Achari was a renowned Indian music scholar and composer.
  • He composed over 100 songs, including Tiruppugazh, and taught notable musicians.
  • Sambandamurthy was a respected music teacher, known for his unique teaching methods.
  • He was a musical genius, recognized by peers, but felt underappreciated.
  • His legacy continues through his compositions, teachings, and inspired musicians.