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What is the basis of intonation marks with respect to vedic chantings? Why does it not applicable in puranic or Geeta chanting?

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Vedic hymns are represented in various Chhanda (छंद). Which is sung in which way is determined by Vedic Swara (स्वर) (Vedic accent). In chanting of Vedic hymns, there are following main swara/accent used:

  1. Uddata (उदात्त)
  2. Anuddata (अनुदात्त)
  3. Swarit (स्वरित)
  4. Dheergha Swarita (दीर्घ स्वरित​)
  5. Prachaya: (प्रचय​)

Uddata swara is sung or rendered with medium/normal pitch i.e without any raise or lowering of pitch. Uddata latters are left unmarked. It is rendered/printed usually without any mark/sign.

Anuddata swara is sung/rendered with lower pitch/note than Uddata. Anuddata latters are marked with horizontal bar (_) below the latter.

Swaita is sung/rendered with upper pitch/note compared to Uddata. Swarita latters are marked with vertical bar (|) above the latter.

Deergha Swarita is the extension (elongation of time) of Swarita and is sung/rendered with upper pitch/note twice (in time scale) compared to Uddata. Deergha Swarita latters are marked with double vertical bar (||) above the latter.

In specific instances the swara of the previous letter is carried till the next occurring AnudAtta or till the end of that pada or mantra, that is Prachaya.


There are some rules of following Swaras during chanting of Vedic mantras. Vedic Swaras is defined and described in Sanskrit Vyakarana (Panini's Ashtadhyayi) and also explained in Samaveda and in Patanjali's Mahabhashya.

You can find the Vedas with accent on Sanskrit Documents & on Sanskrit Web.

Example screen shot of Rigveda 1.1.1 with Vedic accent in Devanagari:

enter image description here

It is highly recommended to learn and study vedas under the guidance of guru. Visit Start reading Hindu Vedas


Referance: Vedic accent and Basic of Swaras

  • 1
    Thank you very much for enlightening me with your illuminating reply. – Syam Kumar. V Jan 19 '17 at 11:15

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