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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Indian or Hindustani music?

The classical music of North India is called Hindustani Classical Music.

What is North Indian music?

North and South Indian music are based upon common concepts such as raga and taal. North Indian music, also known as Hindustani sangeet and has many elements in common with the Persian music. 

What is South Indian music?

The South Indian music, known as Carnatic Sangit, shows many regional influences peculiar to the deep South. Now there has been a lot of mixing of ragas and other musical elements. In Carnatic musicthe names of ragas are also different. However, there are some ragas which have the same scale as Hindustani ragas but have different names; such as Bilawal, Malkauns and Shankarabharanam. South Indian music does not adhere to time concepts and instead of thaats, South Indian music follows the Melakarta concept.

How is Indian music different from Western music?

Melody and rhythm are the common grounds for music in Western or Indian music systems. Indian music is in single melody format  while Western music is polyphonic and multiple notes are played in a way that harmony is produced.  Swar and Taal are the two basic components of Indian classical music while Western music is based upon equal tempered scale and rest upon harmony. Western music produces harmony and Indian music produces melody.

What is a Thaat?

Thaat  is known as the parental scale in Indian music and many ragas are categorized under them. There are ten thaats under which most of the Indian ragas can be categorized. These Thaats have the names of ragas and they are  Khamaj, Poorvi,  Bhairavi,  Bhero, Kalyan, Marwa, Asavari, Bilawal, Kafi and Todi.

How important is 'Thaat' in classical music? Is it relevant in other types of music too?

Thaat has a great significance for a student of Indian music whether it is classical or filmi. Student get a great help to understand the classification of different ragas. On the other side thaat has a little significance for a performer.

What is a raga?

E very Raga has its own scale consisting of minimum five and maximum seven notes. A raga has specific ascending and descending movements. Its dominating notes are called vaadi and less dominating notes are called samvaadi. Pakad is the characteristic phrase of a raga and it establishes raga mood and identity. Ragas are used in semi-classical and light music as well.

How many ragas are developed?
Originally, there were six ragas and thirty six raginis. A ragani is female while raga is male.  With these six ragas and thirty six ragnis hundreds of ragas were created  many of which have become obsolete now. These days there 120-130 ragas in use.

How tanpura helps classical singers?

Tanpura is a drone instrument and consists of four to six strings tuned to pa, ma, ni and sa. The tanpura sets the scales of the singers and it resonates to create a musical atmosphere.

Why Harmonium is a popular instrument  as compared to other instruments.
 

The origin of Harmonium is from the West. The Harmonium is easy to master because all the notes are laid in front of performer. Its sound touches the heart and due to this reason became very popular in the sub-continent. It is not very ancient instrument and usually ghazals, geet and qawalis are  performed with it.
 

What are the main percussion instruments used for accompaniment in Indian music?

Tabla is used in all forms of Indian music. Tabla was invented by Hzrat Amir Khusro. Tabla is the most popular percussion instrument in Indian music. All other forms of Hindustani classical music use tabla, which came into being with the evolution of Hindustani classical music. Tabla is very popular in Indian film songs. Indian music is essentially, solo music. The training of a tabla player is not complete till he masters the art of accompaniment. Tabla  provides support by keeping the beats Tabla player follows the mood of the performer.
 

What is a Khayal?

There are two forms of Khayal, bada khayal and Chhota-Khayal . Bada khayal is in slow tempo while chota khayal is in fast tempo. Khayal is a form of rendering a ragas. The essential component of a khayal is bandish and the expansion of the text of the composition within the framework of the raga. 

Does Indian music have chords?

The answer is no for Indian classical music. However, in Indian film songs chords are being used with western instruments. These days Indian film music is the mixture of classical and western.  Presently most of the Indian film songs rely on chords because chords produce harmony.

Like western musical notations is there any Indian music notation?

 

Indian classical music resists notation for the same reasons that Western jazz music resists it. Since the classical music of North and South is so heavily dependent upon improvisation, then a strict notation is somewhat irrelevant.  Indian music is always said to be an oral tradition; this is not hundred percent true.  Indian musical notation stretches back to the Samaveda, which is several thousand years old. We can say that Indian music has one of the oldest traditions of music notations but not like staff notations like western music.

 

What is a key note in Indian music?

 

Every songs is composed from a specific key note or starting note and every vocalist pitch is different. Vocalist can sing by changing the key note of the music according to his own voice pitch. Vocal pitch varies from artist to artist and artist can also change his pitch according to mood of song.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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