Geethams are the simplest musical from in Carantic music that introduce students to the synthesis of melody, rhythm and lyrics. The form was first pioneered by Purandara Dasa, whose geethams are still very popular today.
Broadly speaking, geethams are of two types:
1) Samanya geethams
2) Lakshana geethams
Samanya geethams have fairly simple lyrics and melodic structure. They are also usually set in common talas like trishra triputa, adi or rupakam.
Lakshana geethams, like their name suggests; contain the technical details of the raga that they are set to.
Both types of geethams generally don’t have well defined sections. However, a few have sections similar to pallavi, anu pallavi and charanams. These are referred to as khandika-s.
Apart from Purnadara Dasa, other composers have also dabbled with this form. Foremost among them being Pydala Gurumoorthy Shastri, who was a prolific composer of both Samanya and Lakshana geethams. Interestingly, Shyama Shastri has also composed a few simple geethams; some of which he would render during his daily worship.
These simple yet elegant compositions are ideal for students to perfect concepts like tunefulness, fidelity to rhythm and breath control; which are absolutely essential for further musical development. (Writeup contributed by Akshay Vaidyanathan)