#66. Sangītaśiromani

TITLE: Sangītaśiromani01_o-v-e-r-t-u-r-e_edgerton_sangitasiromani_01-border
CAT# (YEAR COMPOSED): 66 (2002)
INSTRUMENTATION: 7 strings (vl, vla)
PREMIERE PERFORMANCE: Still unpremiered in concert, Stefanie Heilmann recorded all parts at the Humboldt-Universität Berlin.
NOTE: originally titled Overture as this piece was intended as the opening music to an experimental music theater environment titled CREATION OF THE WORLD (now dormant…). This was influenced by ancient north Indian treatises (SANGITASIROMANI, and the RG VEDA), while exploring the decoupling of sound production by strings.



Still unpremiered in concert, Stefanie Heilmann recorded all parts at the Humboldt-Universität Berlin.

SANGĪTAŚIROMANI, refers to a medieval handbook of Indian Music, the “Crest-Jewel of Music”, written in 1428 A.D.

Ancient north Indian treatises, such as the SANGITASIROMANI, and the RG VEDA have influenced the musical language and form of the overture. These ancient texts were concerned with developing relationships between human existence and those elements of the world that affected the life within our bodies, spirits and intentions. Therefore, ancient structures of affect that ruled the planets and our expressions are of interest in this project. The result of the systems that were developed had a robustness whether the stimuli encompassed words, music, movement or theater, within cultured or pedestrian environments. Some of these expressions will interface with ancient techniques within a multidimensional complexity of observed performance. In this way the reference to the creation of the world is seen to take place on the local level, suggesting a personal responsibility of the world within and around us. The music is exploring the multidimensional parameter space outside of fundamental frequency obsession. The drama is not based upon a linear narrative in any of the sections, but will attempt to dramatize the elements of performance on more or less equal perceptual levels. As well, interactivity may factor into the performance and construction of the event.


Sadja Rsabha Gandhara Madhyama Pancama Dhaivata Nisada
Sage-poet Agni Brahma Soma Visnu Narada (1,2) Tumburu (aka viradha Tumburu (aka viradha
Deity Brahma Agni Bharati Siva Indra Ganesa Bhanudeva
Being Ancerster,


Semi-divine being Cattle Human being Deity Demon Sudra class
Animal Peacock Cow Goat Heron Cuckoo Horse Elephant
Finger Ring-finger Middle finger Index Thumb Top of thumb Little finger Top of little finger
Sentiment Heroism, fury wonder Heroism, fury wonder Compassion Humor, love Humor, love Disgust, fear Compassion
Color Red Orange Golden White Dark blue Yellow Multi-colored
Poetical meter Anusthubh Gayatri Tristubh Brhati Pankti Usnih Jagati
Community Gods Seers Gods Gods Ancestors Seers Demons
Veda Rgveda Rgveda Yajurveda Yajurveda Samaveda Samaveda Atharvaveda
Application Divine act Contemplation Adoration Recitation Festival Royal act Amusement
Pitch Med Lo Hi Med Med Lo Hi
Part of the body Throat Head Nose Heart Palate Vocal cords Vocal cords

The system of tonal associations as described in the SANGĪTAŚIROMANI is shown in the table above.  The correspondence between the elements are regulated according to prominent tonal centers within music.  In this composition diatonic tonal centers are not utilized, but centers of attraction are suggested.  These centers are identified according to the distribution of the svara over 22 śruti.