Two: Description of the Metres


2.9 The measure metres, mattāchandas

These metres have a different method of organising the line: not by counting the syllables, but according to the total number of measures (mattā) there are in a line. In these metres a light syllable is counted as one measure, and a heavy one as two, and it is therefore possible to determine the exact amount of measures there are in a line. When this is done of course the syllabic count will vary.

What distinguishes the various metres that exist in this class is two things: the number of measures, and the pattern of the cadence. The openings are variable, but come in groups of 2 mattās. The odd lines having 3 such groups (i.e ⏔⏔⏔), the even 4 (i.e. ⏔⏔⏔⏔). The most common forms are outlined below.

Note that a syllable at the end of the line is normally counted as two mattā whether it is heavy or not, a light syllable counted in this way is called pādantagaru.