Music is a universal art apt to transcend national boundaries. Karnataka
can be proud of its contribution to Indian music. Gopala Nayaka traveled
all the way from the south to become the court musician of Allauddin Khilji
(1295-1315) in the north. He cultivated the friendship of the Persian
musicologist, Amir Khusrau. Their discussion led to the development of
new Ragas. These were incorporated in the treatise on music by a South
Indian composer of the 16th century-Pundarika Vittala. The intermingling
of the two cultures gave rise to the two modes of singing-Uttaradi
and Dakshinadi or Hindustani and Karnatic.
Karnatic music has a deeper understanding of 'notal'
values and their inter-relations. This relation is established by Gamaka.
Thus, taste for Karnatic music has to be cultivated. Tyagaraja is
the most popular among the composers of Karnatic music. The music compositions,
'Tyagaraja Gana', 'Valmikiya Kavana' and 'Agumbeya Astamaya' are said
to be unique for enrapturing the human heart. Tyagaraja has very respectfully
mentioned Sri Purandara Dasa as one of the great composers of Karnatic
The credit for starting the Dasa-Kuta system goes to
Sripadaraya Swamy of Mulabagal. He popularised Kannada songs all over
the country as far as Maharashtra or Greater Karnataka. It is said that
Gnaneswar has incorporated three Kannada songs. This system was continued
by Sri Vyasaraya Swamy of Sosale. Purandara Dasa's compositions mark the
crowning glory of this system. He composed four lakh and twenty-five Kirtanas,
besides hundreds of peculiarly Kannada modes of songs known as Uga-bhoga
and Suladi. The tradition so gloriously established by him is being continued
to this day by his admirers and disciples.
Karnataka has the unique distinction of being able to
produce an unbroken succession of both composers and exponents. Kannada
Musicians like Basavaraj Rajaguru, Mallikarjuna Mansur, Bhimsen Joshi,
Hanagal Gangubai, etc have won an all-India reputation.