SatyaVeda: All about the Veda

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Vedic Swaras or Variations in Pitch

As per my Veda Guru :

  • Unmarked letters are udaata.
  • If you see a horizontal line below a letter, you have to drop the pitch – anudaata
  • If you see a vertical line above a letter, you have to raise the pitch – swarita.
  • If you see a double vertical line above a letter, you to raise and the pitch and stretch it – dIrgha swarita.
  • In specific instances the swara of the previous letter is carried till the next occurring anudata or till the end of that pada or mantra, that is prachaya. This is a rough rule.
  • There are variations between Vedic Chanting between North and South India as well as across the various mathams. Each sampradayam (tradition) is correct in its own context.

As Per Panini’s Siksha :

  • There are 3 svaras : udAtta, anudAtta and svarita and 3 kinds of time hrasva (short), dirgha (long), and plupta (?) (11)
  • udAtta niSada, gAndharva; anudAtta RSabha, dhaivata; svarita SaDja, madhyama, pancama (12)

Image below from Source. It’s different from what’s described above.

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Written by 1 2 Next Change!

January 20, 2010 at 8:31 pm

11 Responses

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  1. Could you provide us with more information on the ‘prachaya’ – the rules as to when a group of syllables is treated as prachaya, and hence pronounced with the swara of the syllable preceding the group?

    Also, when looking for information on prachaya, I see ‘nighata’ as another such group….any idea what that might represent?

    Thank you!


    February 17, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    • When the swara of the previous letter is carried till the next occurring anudata or till the end of that pada or mantra, that is prachaya. This is a rough rule.


      February 19, 2010 at 10:14 am

  2. Thanks for the response!

    I see what you are saying about the prachaya. What is unclear to me though is when a prachaya occurs…I mean, is there some rule to say “if condition A is satisfied, then this group of aksharams are treated as prachaya, i.e. the swara of the first aksharam is maintained for all the aksharams uptil the end of pada/next anudatta”

    Perhaps by rough rule you mean that no distinct/clear rule exists for the above, and we must go solely with the guidance of those we learn from (they will know when to pronounce a prachaya)?

    Thank you!


    February 19, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    • I am looking for that condition – it might be found in Naradiya Siksha!


      February 20, 2010 at 7:14 am

      • Great…I’ll keep an eye out too, and if I find anything that will help, will be sure to pass it along.



        February 20, 2010 at 10:41 pm

      • Found something that may help – there is a worked called Svaramanjari – think you can get it from

        This describes the prachaya [I have a copy here, but is a little too complicated for me to unravel yet]

        Hope that helps!

        PS: If you are unable to find it, let me know and I’ll upload a copy for you/send you one by email.


        February 20, 2010 at 10:46 pm

      • I couldn’t find it on please do send me a copy by e-mail..


        February 21, 2010 at 6:15 am

  3. Please find svaramanjari at –

    Excerpt from the document containing the definition of Prachaya –

    “All AnudAttas (in a string) following a Svarita are known as Prachaya”.


    June 1, 2011 at 11:08 am

  4. I try to answer to my best ability.
    There are only 3 types of accent in Rig veda. Udatta, Aunudatta and Swaritha. By positions there are another two swaras called Sannathara and Prachaya.
    Udatta is an independent swara. There can be atmost one Udatta in a word.
    Anudatta is a dependent swara on the udatta. The preceding swara of an Udatta is always Anudatta.
    In a word ( not compound word) there there can be only one udatta. That is, a word can have no Udatta.
    A Swaritha is a swara immedialy following the udatta. However, if the swaritha is immediately followed by an Udatta of anther word, then that swaritha converts into an Anudatta.
    Now consider a samhitha patha, which is a chain of words. We can apply the above rule successively.

    All swaras preceding first Udatta in the starting of a line of a rik are anudattas and are called Sannathara(pronounced with a low/grave pitch).

    All swaras after a Svaritha but before the next Anudatta are prachayas and are pronounced at a pitch slightly lower than Udatta but above that of an Anudatta.
    Hope this helps.


    April 23, 2012 at 4:18 pm

  5. Can someone explain this in the context of ghaNa pATha recitation? I applied the rule as laid out by Ganesha in his post above mine, but I cannot seem to be able to work out this example correctly:


    July 18, 2012 at 10:24 pm

  6. Pluta is tree matras


    August 28, 2012 at 2:09 am

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