Indian Classical Music

Indian Classical music is one of the oldest and most complicated types of music in existence. It has its beginnings in the Hindu religion. Because it is tied so closely to Hinduism, this type of Indian music focuses on meditation and self-realization. Similar to Yoga, Indian Classical music is said to affect a person's energy zones, or chakras. Indian Classical music is also known as "raga sangeet," which means "melody music."

Characteristics Of Indian Classical Music
Like its Western counterpart, raga sangeet uses a seven-note scale, or a heptatonic. The notes in Western Classical music are Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti. In raga sangit, the seven notes are Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni. Each raga, or melody, consists of five or more of these notes. Raga sangit is intensely driven by melody. Songs in Indian Classical music focus around one melody. Ragas also focus around a particular time of day or season of the year. For example, some raga can be performed only at nighttime or during the monsoon. Due to the complexity of Indian Classical music, it's hard to grasp the concept of ragas. Ragas are not songs within themselves, but rather a guide for the song's melody and mood. There are over 700 ragas still in rotation.

Types Of Indian Classical Music
The two main types of Indian Classical music are Hindustani and Carnatic. Hindustani is related to Persian music. It represents the music of Northern India. Carnatic developed in Southern India. It is decidedly more structured than the Hindustani, but still relies on improvisation. Listen to any of the following performers to experience the full range of Indian Classical music:

  • N. Ravikiran
  • Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar
  • Allauddin Khan
  • Kesarbai Kerkar
  • Zia Mohiuddin Dagar
  • Gundecha Brothers
  • Satyasheel Deshpande
  • Sangeetha Katti
  • Surashri Kesarbai Kerkar
  • Bharati Vaishampayan

Instruments Used In Indian Classical Music
Hindustani uses instruments such as the sitar, tanpura (a lute) and tabla (drums). In Carnatic music, players use the violin, veena (another stringed instrument) and harmonium.

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