(In the Natya Sastra) The rhythmical aspects of music have been dealt with at both an intellectual level and at the level of execution. Ghana instruments (cymbals) were directly related to maintaining of Tala. Talas had three basic time units Laghu, Guru and Pluta. A notional time interval known as Matra is given and defined on the basis of the time taken to utter five short syllables. Each part of the Tala mentioned above was measured on this basis. Lagu was one Matra, Guru was two Matras and Pluta was three Matras. Laya is defined as the period of rest or the time duration between two actions. Talas were divided by Kriyas that were the divisions of the Tala shown through hand and finger movements of both the silent and non-silent types. The length of the Tala was defined by Marga, which is the total duration covered by the Tala, determined by the duration of each Kriya in the Tala, This obviously would affect the speed of the Tala. Bharata mentions three Margas. He also deals with extensions of Talas. This is a process of increasing Kriyas (divisions) in the Tala from its basic Kriya equals syllable form. This extension increases the total duration of the Tala but does not create any change to the Laya of the Tala, as the duration between every Kriya remains the same.
As we can see, the music of the Natya Sastra was highly evolved, defined and sophisticated and definitely centred on theatrics being the heart and soul of its presentation even though Gandharva as a form did exist. There were few more texts post the Natya Shastra that enumerate this same form of music
(TM Krishna in ‘December ragas’, The Hindu Magazine, Dec 12, 2010)

The oldest rock-edict referring to Devadasis in Kerala is that of Chokkoor temple in Ponnani taluk, which is believed to be of AD 932. Evidences are also there at the temples of Nedumpram Tali (1218) Tiruvalla (11th century) and Kandiyoor (1200). Sculptures showing the dance forms prevalent in those days are seen in the temples of Thirukkulasekharapuram, Thrivikramamangalam, Kidangoor, Ettumanoor, Thrikkodithanam and Thirunavaya.
- P J Cherian, Essays on the Cultural Formation of Kerala

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