Syllables per line of a gāthā

The gāthā is not a syllable-counting meter. It can vary from 30 to 56 syllables. But scribes still counted (and presumably charged) by the syllable. So one would like to have a good way of converting between a the number of verses in a text and the number of syllables represented by those verses. If you have a program that can count syllables in a text (like the validator for Prakrit gāthās that I posted some time ago) then this is pretty easy. For the Pāiyalacchī of Dhanapāla, I counted 9983 syllables over 279 verses, thus averaging 35.8 syllables per verse. But let’s say we want to see the distribution of numbers of syllables for the first line and second line of each verse (the second line being shorter). We can easily collect this information (I’ve updated the validator to produce CSV output for each line) and here it is:

Note that the weighted average number of syllables for the first line is 18.95, and for the second line, 16.83. When we multiply these by the number of verses, we get 9983, the total number of syllables I counted.

These distributions might be of interest for trying to go between the number of syllables/granthas and number of verses in an unknown text. They might also be of stylistic relevance.