Yakshagana music is an interesting and complex subject. It has a long history, its own style and a rich repertoire and range. It needs to be examined in detail – one such attempt was made by Prof. Rajagopalacharya in the book”Yakshagana Sangeetha”.
This book begins with a brief historical survey of Indian music, in the northern and the southern styles and the special features of Yakshagana music. The author examines the Yakshgana prasangas (episodes written in lyrics) and their relation to music. Then he moves on to the history and the development of ragas (melodies) with details of Swara and Shruthi, the Pitch, Octave, the concept of Janaka (basic) and Janya (derived) ragas, with the examination of their classification. Here he gives the old and and the new names of ragas and explains how ragas, have over a period, changed names, personality and style. Through their historical view the Yakshagana ragas and matter are related to the older school of Karnatic music. This analysis points out the need for examining the stylish specialty of Yaksgagana music in the light of the variety inside what we call south Indian music.”
In the Tala Prakarana (Rhythm Chapter – Time Scale Chapter) first Prof. Acharya explains the concept of Tala, Laya, Matra and types of Talas. In the chapter on Ragas, he narrates the special features of ragas in Yakshagana. Then he narrates the notations of the ragas used in this system of music.
This important book on Yakshagana music gives us a clear understanding of the system on firm classical footing. However, the applied aspect of the music and the musical instruments of Yakshagana are not explained here.
‘YAKSHAGANA SANGEETHA’ By Prof. M Rajagopalacharya, Udupi, Published by Rastrakavi Govinda Pai Research Centre Udupi 1977, PP 202 + 11 (Late Prof. Matapady Rajagopalacharya was a great scholar in Sanskrit, Kannada, philosophy and music. He was a Professor at Poornaprajna College Udupi. He has about 10 books and many articles to his credit. He was a musician and composer also.)
– Dr. M.Prabhakara Joshy