The Musical Genius of the Tanjavur Quartet

Ten centuries ago, South Indian music and dance had reached high levels of sophistication in Tanjavur, where royal patronage of three dynasties (Chola, Nayaka, Maratha) and the connoisseurship of the people, had nurtured the arts with love and discernment.

Among the galaxy of poets, musicians and composers of that green belt, the Tanjavur Quartet of the brothers Chinnayya, Ponniah, Sivanandam and Vadivelu (early 19th century) stand out for their attainments in both dance and music. They are credited with having systematized the “margam” of what we know as Bharatanatyam today.