Professsor P Sambamurthy contributed greatly to Carnatic music with his many volumes and books published on the various aspects of this art. His great works included his famous series South Indian Music, A Study of Music and Mathematics, Comparative music – country-wise comparison of music, Music and temples, Kutcheri Dharma, Careers in Music, Biographical sketches of composers, Raga and Rasa, History of Music, Mudras in musical compositions, and many more. Apart from authoring many books and papers, he also made disc recordings.
Born in Bitragunta in Andhra Pradesh to Parvati Ammal and Pichu Iyer, Sambamurthy trained in vocal and violin music under Manatthattai Doraiswamy Iyer and Walajahpet Ramaswami Iyer. He graduated in Law but chose to start his career in the field of music. He was appointed as the first lecturer at the Queen Mary’s College in Madras. He then studied comparative music at the University of Munich in Germany. He became the Head of the Department of Indian Music at the Madras University in 1937.
Sambamurthy also taught at the Sri Venkateswara University as a professor of musicology and received the Sangit Natak Akademi fellowship in 1963.
His tours took him to all corners of the world, giving lectures and meeting many musicians. The highlights were a lecture tour of Europe, leading a music delegation to Manila, the International Tchaikovsky Music Competition and the International Society for Music, Vienna and Paris. His contribution to the field even prompted a doctoral thesis titled Prof. P. Sambamurthy's Contribution to Music Theory. The Sruti article link below allows some peeks into the life of this great ambassador of South Indian music.