The sāma veda is a compilation of ṛk mantras of the ṛg veda set to music. Unlike the hymns of the ṛg veda which are chanted, the hymns of the sāma are sung using certain rules by sāma vedic priests known as udgātri’s.
The word ‘sāma’ can loosely be translated as peace or melody. Indian classical music derives its roots from the sāma veda, the fundamentals of the seven notes are to be found within the veda. Dhrupada, the oldest form of Indian classical music acknowledges sāmagāna (The singing of Sama) as the root of Dhrupada music.
Originally the sāma veda had one thousand divisions but due to time only three schools of sāma veda remain, jaiminiya, rāṇāyanīya and kauthumīya. As each school is separated geographically it is interesting to note that the style of recitation also differs.
The saṁhitā portion of the sāma veda is divided into two main sections purvārcika and uttarārcika. The purvārcika section contains six chapters namely for agni, indra, pavamānaand āraṇyaka. The uttarārcika contains twenty chapters pertaining to various other deities.
jaiminiya – gujarāta, uttara pradeśa and orissa
rāṇāyanīya – tāmil nādu and keralā
kauthumīya – mahārāṣṭra
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