R. Rangaramanuja Ayyangar:

Sri R.R.Ayyangar

A man of unparalled dedication to the cause of Carnatic Music.

Endowed with compelling qualities of head and heart, the late Rangaramanuja Ayyangar had few peers during his lifetime. Music was not his profession or means of livelihood. It was a purposeful mission.

A school teacher by profession handling English and History, his fortuitous contact with music veterans of the early twentieth century spurred him on to decades of painstaking research in a relatively different line. Unremitting hard work backed by enormous mental grit further made possible the prodigious output that flowed from his pen subsequently.

His uncompromising, principled posture and outspokeness regarding matters musical naturally earned him hardly any patronage from the right quarters and he was, indeed, a much misunderstood man left to plod on single-handedly throughout his publishing career.

His magnum opus, the Kritimanimalai series started with notations for 100 songs of Saint Tyagaraja in 1947. Subsequently, the scope of the publications was expanded by 1952 to include nearly 700 compositions of the Saint, 400 compositions of Muthuswamy Dikshitar, 380 songs of Syama Sastri, Kshetragna and others. This enormous compilation remains unrivalled till today in the annals of Carnatic Music as an invaluable reference compendium.

In 1972, he published History of South Indian Music - an historical anthology covering a span of five centuries of evolution and provided vignettes on the pioneers of Carnatic Music from Sarangadeva to the musicians of recent vintage. A few years later came his penetrating, analytical study of the 13th century classic Sangitaratnakara. The revised editions of both these books have been published by the Trust recently.

His desire to promote Carnatic Music world-wide remained an unfulfilled dream, notwithstanding a two-year teaching stint in an alien enviromnet in the US in his late seventies. As a tribute to his memory, the first three volumes of Kritimanimalai were adapted and revised into a new English Edition by his daughter-disciple, Padma Varadan. It was her hope that the English adaptations would help interest in the Carnatic Music grow several fold to include music enthusiasts of different language affinities the world over.

A sampling of articles written by him and on him is available under the tab 'RR Ayyangar'.

Sri Rangaramanuja Ayyangar
(c. 1975)