The influential sixteenth-century Sanskrit treatise Svara-mela-kalānidhi describes a novel system of naming tones, of organizing rāga-s by pitch content, and of reckoning svara-s on 12 fret positions rather than 22 śruti-s. Contrary to its common construal as a sudden rupture in tradition, we highlight the rhetorical means by which the treatise systematically grounds its authority (and that of its ambitious patron, Rāmarāya) in the canon of saṅgīta-śāstra. We also offer a new translation and a new (non-Pythagorean) interpretation of its svayambhu-based tuning system.


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