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Rāmaswāmi Dīkshitar

The Oxford Encyclopaedia of the Music of India

Rāmaswāmi Dīkshitar (b. Virinjipuram near Kanchipuram, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, 1735; d. Thanjavur, c. 1817) 

Well-known composer and vocalist, father and guru of Muthuswāmi Dīkshitar.

Rāmaswāmi's gurus were Melattur Veerabhadrayya and Venkata Vaidyanatha Dīkshitar, a grandson of Venkaṭamakhi. He was conversant with the theoretical aspects of music through Venkaṭamakhi's Chaturdanḍi Prakāśikā (17th cent.).

Rāmaswāmi served in the Thanjavur durbars of Amarasimha (r. 1787–98) and Tulaja II (r. 1763–87). He is well-known for his rāgamālikā in 108 rāgas and tālas, the longest one of its kind. He composed varṇams in rāgas including Hindōla, Ritigauḷa, Śankarābharaṇam, and Poorṇa Chandrikā. Rāga Hamsadhwani, popular both in Karnatik and Hindustani music, is believed to be his creation, but there is the other view that the rāga existed earlier and that he was the first to create a composition in it, which made the rāga popular. However, Rāmaswāmi's Hamsadhwani composition has been almost eclipsed by his son Muthuswāmi's evergreen ‘Vātāpi Gaṇapatim’ in the same rāga.