All about Indian Classical Music

India is said to be the birthplace of many world famous music, dance and art forms. The Indian classical music is one of the ancient musical traditions in the world and is the base for many other music genres. As per the Vedas, most of the Indian arts, music and culture are related to Hindu gods and goddesses. The most important thing about Indian classical music is that it is very detailed and revealing in nature. The two important genres of Indian classical music are Carnatic music and Hindustani music.

All About Indian Classical Music

Carnatic Music

Carnatic music is one of the oldest forms of classical music and is related to the Southern part of India. The states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu follow Carnatic style of music. It is one of the subclass of Indian classical music, which is mainly associated with the Hindu traditions and is free from other Islamic or Persian influences. Generally, Carnatic music is based on certain elements like Shruti, Swara, Raga and Tala.

  • Shruti: Shruti or pitch of the music is actually a central system from which all the other related sounds are produced. Shruti is the most important element to be noted while learning music because it is considered as the base for Carnatic music.

  • Swara: Swaras are the categories of musical sounds related to the music. There are mainly seven swaras namely Sa Ri Ga Ma Pa Da Ni which are the short forms of shadja, rishabha, gandhara, madhyama, panchama, dhaivata and nishada respectively. These seven swaras are again related to the sounds of certain animals and birds.

  • Raga: Ragas are basically the arrangement of these swaras in different sequences. All the ragas are categorized in such a way that there will be an increasing and decreasing array of swaras and are normally called arohanam and avarohanam . Most of the ragas have all the seven notes in the scale and they are called sampoorna ragas.

  • Tala: The rhythm element of Carnatic music is mainly known as Tala. It is actually a sequence of beats performed by the Carnatic singers using hands and fingers at fixed time cycles. Adi tala is the most common type of tala used in Carnatic music and it consists of 8 beats per cycle. Apart from this, there are Dhruva tala, Eka tala, Jhampa tala, Matya tala, Rupaka tala and Triputa tala, each use different number of beats per cycle.

Hindustani music

Hindustani music is related to the Northern part of India and is highly influenced by Islamic and Persian culture. The way of singing, musical instruments and ragas used in Hindustani music are very much similar to that of foreign styles. But both Hindustani music and Carnatic music shares the concept of raga and tala. Hindustani music starts with the alap, which is a slow detailing of raga and it may last for some time depending upon the performer. Instrumental music plays a very important role in Hindustani music. Khayal, Dhrupad, Tarana, Tappa, Thumri and Ghazal are some of the important forms of Hindustani music.

  • Khayl: Khayl or Khayal is the name originated from an Arabic word which means imagination and is the new style of singing in North India. It is a light form and provides opportunity for us to improvise according to our wish.

  • Dhrupad: It is the oldest form of Hindustani classical music and is still widely used. In this, a portion of the poem is used in a repeated manner and is mentioned as a refrain.

  • Tarana: Tarana is another form of Hindustani music that consist of fast paced songs, which will be chanted at the end of a concert.

  • Tappa: Tappa is famous for its rotating pace and the fast construction. It is a form of semi-classical Hindustani vocal music, which is originated from Punjab.

  • Thumri: It is another form of semi-classical Hindustani vocal music, which is very popular in UP and it creates a romantic mood.

  • Ghazal: Ghazal is a very popular form of Hindustani music, which is based on Urdu language poetry.
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