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Hindustani Classical Music Theory

Hindustani Classical Music

Hindustani Classical Music is also known as North Indian classical music. This traditional North Indian classical music has been evolving since the twelfth century in northern India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Afghanistan. The tradition was born from a cultural synthesis of several musical streams- the Vedic chant tradition, the equally ancient Persian tradition of Musiqi-e-assail, and also folk traditions prevalent in the region. The terms North Indian Classical Music or Shastriya Sangeet are also occasionally used.
A typical Hindustani performance lasts for an hour. The Hindustani music begins with an extended, nonmetric improvisation (Alapa) by the singer, followed improvisation with a perceptible pulse, and eventually by the jhala. Finally follows the composed piece, that is performed with improvised variations- mostly khayal in vocal music and gat.
During the 21st century, the cities of Delhi, Kolkata (Calcutta), Varanasi, and Mumbai were the centres of Hindustani music. And the best-known practitioners of Hindustani music outside the subcontinent in the early 21st century were Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan, and Bismillah Khan.

Hindustan music instruments

The most pre-eminent instruments of Hindustani music are -
  • Sitar
  • Sarod
  • Sarangi
  • Shehnai
  • Tabla
  • Tambura

Hindustani classical music ragas

Hindustani classical music, for the sake of convenience of relating ragas, has been divided into ten basic 'thaats' which are like ten major heads. Most of the north Indian ragas find their place in the confines of these ten thaats. These are Bhairav, Yaman, Bilawal, Todi, Marwa, Purvi, Kaafi, Bhairavi, Asavari & Khamaj. Ragas have been created by omitting or taking one note or other from ascending or descending notes of these basic ragas. For example raga Bhupali has been derived from raga 'Yaman Thaat' by omitting Ma & Ni notes making the ascend as Sa Re Ga Pa Dha Sa*and descend Sa*, Dha Pa Ga Re Sa. Now one more exciting feature arises. There may be two ragas using the same notes. In this case, the stress on a particular note changes the raga. Stress notes are called Vaadi & Samvaadi. Concerning the importance, these two notes are like King & Queen in chess. In raga Bhupali, Ga & Dha are main stress points whereas stress on Dha & Ga changes the raga to Deshkar.

Carnatic and Hindustani music

Indian music can be classified into two categories:
1. Carnatic music or The Dakshinatya Sangeetha.
2. Hindusthani music or The Uttaradi Sangeetha.
Both the paddati's have similarities as well as differences.

1. Both the musical forms have 7 swaras. (i.e. S-Shadjam, R-Rishabham, G-Gandharam, M-Madyamam, P-Panchamam, D-Daiwatham and N-Nishadham)
2. The concept of Sruthi remains the same in both the musical forms.

1. Forms of compositions - In Carnatic music the compositions are named Varnam, Kriti, Tillana, Javalis etc. but in Hindustani music, they are titled Khayal, Dhrupad, Tarana, Thumri, Dhamaar divide into parts like -Sthayi, Antara, Snachari and Abhog.
2. Raga classifications - Carnatic music uses the Janaka Raga and Melakartha raga method. The ragas in Hindusthani music are classified based on 10 Thaats and 32 Ragang Ragas.
3. The concert setup - In Carnatic music usually a vocal concert is supported by a Violin, Mrudangam and Ghatam or Kanjira. While in Hindusthani music the vocal concert is supported by Harmonium and Tabala.
4. Raga names - Even though the ragas structure remains the same the way they are rendered remains different in both the forms. The ragas are also given different names for example : Bilawal(Hindustani)- Dheer Shankarabharnam(Carnatic).

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