Gamaka is a form of music in Indian classical genre, used in Karnataka, India as a unique form of storytelling. One person sings a stanza of a poem, applying suitable ragas to it so that is will be melodious to hear. Another person then explains the meaning of the stanza with examples and anecdotes. Gamaka draws raagas from Karnataka Sangeetam. The singing itself is called Gamaka and the singer a Gamaki. The explanation of the rendering is called Vyakyana. Most noticeable thing in this art is that the singing has no rhythm. There is a misconception that gamaka and harikathe are same.

The poems are chosen mostly from old Kannada epics such as 'Karnata Bharatha Kathamanjari', Jaimini Bharatha, Harischandra Kavya, dEvi bhAgavata, and Torave Ramayana. Karnataka Gamaka kala Parishth is an organisation that is formed to support and encourage Gamaka Art.

Gamaka Gandharva and Rajyothsva Prashasti puraskrutha Hosahalli R KeshavaMurthy is a living legend of Gamaka.

Gamakakalanidhi Basavappa Shastri was one of the famous Gamaka singers. Among popular Gamakis are Rajyothsva Prashasti and Kanaka Purandara Prashasti puraskrutha Basavapatna Subbaraya Kaushik, Hosabale Seetharam Rao, Narahari Sharma, Raghavendra Rao, Kam Su Venkatadri Sarma etc.

"Gamaka" As Used in Carnatic Music

Gamaka refers to the microtonal variation of notes. Each Raga has standard rules on the types of gamaka that might be applied to specific notes, and the types that may not. Gamaka are also used to transit from one note to another smoothly, by producing tones that lie between the two notes. The equivalent word for "gamaka" in the Hindustani musical tradition is "gamak".

See also

Listen to Gamaka at iAdvaita - Mangala Tarangeni

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