Sāmavedic Chant

(Sans. "song of wisdom")
   Singing of one of the four collections of ancient Hindu Vedic texts: the Rig veda, the {}Yajur veda, the Sama veda, and the Atharva veda, a late addition to the canon. About 90 percent of Sämavedic chants derive from the {}Rig vedas but have acquired a more precisely musical connotation (sāman meaning "music"). The principal collection is the Sāmaveda {}Samhitā, containing verses and their notated melodies (sāmans), although for many centuries the only transmission was oral. The oldest written source dates from the 11th century.
   Chants are divided into sections (parvans) for breathing, indicated in the manuscripts by vertical strokes. Individual words may be repeated or otherwise altered in precisely specified ways to conform to the melodies. The melodies are of narrow melodic range, sometimes as small as a minor third, and are based on a tonal pitch set similar to the hypodorian mode.

Historical dictionary of sacred music. . 2006.

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