Two: Description of the Metres


2.15 The bar metres (gaṇacchandas)

Once a measure count was established, it was not long before a second structural principle was introduced, which was to organise the lines into bars, or gaṇas, normally having 4 measures to the bar, which may therefore take one of the following forms:

−− or ⏑−⏑ or ⏑⏑− or −⏑⏑ or ⏑⏑⏑⏑

The rhythm of these metres is defined by the alternation of two rhythmic structures:



In the descriptions that follow it should be borne in mind that resolution of a heavy syllable was always deemed acceptable, which means that any of the first three alternatives outlined above may appear as ⏑⏑⏑⏑. By applying the rule of resolution discussed in 1.15 above it is possible to identify the underlying structure, thus: ,⏑⏑ = ⏑−⏑ with resolution; ,⏑⏑⏑⏑ = −⏑⏑ ; ⏑⏑,⏑⏑ = ⏑⏑−. (Of course there would have to be double resolution for it to equal −−).