The article ‘Art and science converged here' ( Friday Review, July 2) which paid rich tributes to Vidya Shankar was timely. Vidya was a family friend and was considered the ‘mother of Carnatic music.' During the mid-1970s, I had organised a live telecast of a mridangam concert by my son Arcot Krishnan for Chennai DD. In this connection, I had requested Vidya Shankar to allow her students to participate, to which she readily agreed. Her tireless service to the world of music will always be recalled.
I also remember her progressive mother-in-law, the educationist-reformer Subbulakshmi, who encouraged Vidya to teach and perform. She was a great scholar in English and Sanskrit and had written many books on music.
Anna Nagar West
Her perception of nuances
The passing away of Vidya Shankar is a great loss to the Carnatic music world. Her book entitled ‘The Art and Science of Carnatic Music' alone is enough to ensure her place in the history of Indian fine arts.
Whenever I have any doubt in the course of my writing on Carnatic music I have often found it cleared by referring to the book. She had a fine perception of the nuances of sahityas. For example, in relation to ‘Alakalalla,' she has pointed out how the rishabha oscillates in kampita gamaka at the place where Tyagaraja refers to the sage Viswamitra gazing at Rama whose beautiful locks in the forehead swayed at the time of subjugation of Maricha, and, later when he broke the Siva Dhanush at Sita's swayamvara. The artha bhava of the sahitya, i.e., the swaying of the curly hair, is reinforced by the raga bhava brought out by the oscillation of the gamaka, typical of Madhyamavati that distinguishes it from Sri.