Clarice Mae B.

Dacasin III - Helium MUSIC OF INDIA The music of India includes multiple varieties of folk, popular, pop, classical music and R&B. India's classical music tradition, including Carnatic and Hindustani music, has a history spanning millennia and, developed over several eras, it remains fundamental to the lives of Indians today as sources of spiritual inspiration, cultural expression and pure entertainment. India is made up of several dozen ethnic groups, speaking their own languages and dialects, having very distinct cultural traditions. The basis for Indian music is "sangeet". Sangeet is a combination of three art forms: vocal music, instrumental music and dance. Although these three art forms were originally derived from the single field of stagecraft. Today these three forms have differentiated into complex and highly refined individual art forms. Many musical instruments are peculiar to India. The most famous are the sitar and tabla. However there are many more that the average person may not be familiar with. All of this makes up the complex and exciting field of Indian classical music. Its understanding easily consumes an entire lifetime. CHARACTERISTICS Indian music is often based around several things: a) Raga scale b) Pentatonic scale c) Drones d) Melismatic singing Instrumental wise Indian music uses the Sitar frequently, which is guitar like instrument with 12 strings, only some of which are plucked, the others vibrating sympathetically. The player traditionally maintains a drone while playing, and improvises around the raga scale and pentatonic scale. There exist other Hindustani treatises which prescribe rhythms to be used in song, consult Messiaen for more information about this. Indian rhythms are often polyrhythmic and use complex time signatures and syncopation. Remember also the use of the tabla, which is a small drum played with the tips of the fingers. It has a mellow hollow sound and often accompanies a sitar. Finally, Indian music often has a meditative or spiritual meaning. IMPORTANCE India was colonized by the British but was able to retain its culture. Their music was used to portray what they were thinking of at that time and at other events to come. The music was said to be originated in the Vedas (ancient scriptures of the Hindus). However the advent of modern historical and cultural research has also given us a good perspective on the field. This has shown that Indian music

has developed within a very complex interaction between different peoples of different races and cultures. mode. Both systems are fundamentally similar but differ in nomenclature and performance practice. They are called the swar. The prominent instruments of the Vedic era include veena. It is these characteristics which define the rag. The era starting from 1500 BC to 500 BC witnessed the Vedic music. melody. which refers to the musical notes. Therefore rag may be thought of as an acoustic method of colouring the mind of the listener with an emotion. There is a system of seven notes which are arranged in a means not unlike Western scales. The rag is the most important concept that any student of Indian music should understand. There is the north Indian and the south Indian tradition. The Hindi/Urdu word "rag" is derived from the Sanskrit "raga" which means "colour. Both the streams of classical Indian music rest on two basic elements which are the raga which refer to the melodic formulae made up of constituent musical notations. The Samaveda states that music originated as a tool for meditation and spiritual awakening. It appears that the ethnic diversity of present day India has been there from the earliest of times. It is linked to the Sanskrit word "ranj" which means "to colour" (Apte 1987). MUSICAL ELEMENTS The present system of Indian music is based upon two important pillars: rag and tal. Here are the characteristics. Many common rhythmic patterns exist. scale. Samaveda is supposed to be the origin of Indian music. This is called that in North Indian music and mela in carnatic music. Vedic music was mainly played for two reasons – please the Gods and as an accompaniment to the sacrificial offerings in the Vedic rituals. The Rigveda contains the richa which are the recited Vedic hymns. tunav. The Samaveda which is one of the four Vedas (scriptures) that includes hymns and describes the Indian music. Rag is the melodic form while tal is the rhythmic. However when we look closely we see that it is quite different what we are familiar with. There must also be a modal structure. The North Indian tradition is known as Hindustani sangeet and the south Indian is called Carnatic sangeet. This concept is similar to the Western solfege. The tal (rhythmic forms) are also very complex. . and the tala which are the rhythmic cycles in Indian classical music. It is instead a combination of different characteristics. Jati is the number of notes used in the rag. bhoomi-dundubhi and talav. dundubhi. Rag may be roughly equated with the Western term mode or scale. Today there are two major traditions of classical music. . or any concept for which an English word exists. Vedic music was supposed to be closely intertwined with the Vedic religion. The word sama is actually a compound word made up of sa that refers to the hymns and ma. They revolve around repeating patterns of beats. since music was an imperative element of the religious Vedic rituals. or passion" (Apte 1987). The interpretation of the rag and the tal is not the same all over India. There is also the jati. There must be the notes of the rag. This is fine as a general concept but what is it musically? It is not a tune.

gandhara (Ga). There is a tendency to downgrade the importance of these aspects due to their irrational and unscientific nature. dhaivat (Dha). we find that we are actually dealing with 12 swar. or piano (chromatic scale).). etc. In Hindusthani sangeet (North Indian system) the movable notes have two forms. Some are important and others less so. Indian Swara (Hindustani) Shadj Sa Komal Rishabh Re Shuddha Rishabh Re Komal Gandhara Ga Shuddha Gandhara Ga Shuddha Madhyam Ma Tivra Madhyam M'a Pancham Pa Komal Dhaivat Dha Shuddha Dhaivat Dha Komal Nishad Ni Shuddha Nishad Ni The situation in Carnatic sangeet (the south Indian system) is a bit more complex. Dha. However Hindusthani sangeet (North Indian system) and Carnatic sangeet (south Indian system) take different views as to how many. These are roughly comparable to the keys on a harmonium. This is called either pakad or swarup. rishabh (Re). The important notes are called vadi and samavadi There are often characteristic movements to the rag. Every other note has various forms.There must also be the ascending and descending structure. Therefore. This extended concept is shown in the table below. This forms our perfect fifth. ether natural or augmented position (sharp). Ga. the English month "September" was original the seventh month in the old Roman calendar). The word "saptak" in Sanskrit means "containing seven" and is derived from the Sanskrit word "sapta" which means "seven". They have also been anthropomorphize into families of male and female rags (raga. To understand the nature of the saptak we must return to our concept of the swar. the notes. ragini. and what these positions shall be. . Therefore. and nishad (Ni) may be either natural (shuddha) or flattened (komal). putra raga. For instance rags have traditionally been attributed to particular times of the day. there are some other less important ones. The second meaning translates to the English word "gamut" or "the series of seven notes". The first is the English word "register". In the South the movable notes Re (Ri). This note is called tivra ma. This is called arohana /avarohana. In addition to the main characteristics of rag. Another characteristic is that the various notes do not have the same level of significance. Remember that Sa and Pa are immovable. Ma however still only occupies two positions. (Incidentally. and Ni may occupy one of three positions. Madhyam (Ma) is unique in that its alternate form is augmented or sharp. SCALE The word "saptak" has two meanings.

However. String instruments have gained popularity because strings are considered to be the best accompaniment to singing. a prime element of Indian music. TABLA The tabla is a very popular percussion instrument of India. INSTRUMENTS SITAR Probably the most popular string instrument from India is the sitar. The skin is wrapped around the wood frame with the help of leather strings (wadi ) and round wooden blocks (gatta). To produce the distinct treble sound of the tabla. It used to be called "setar" which means three strings. the modern sitar as we know it was developed in India in the 18th century. a brilliant innovation which helps the artist to play different scales and vary the pitch while playing the instrument by pulling the strings on the sides. The frets in a sitar are curved. The tuning is . however. the artesan has to make a hard mixture in the center of the tabla ( shahi ). It consists of seven main strings and 11 sympathetic strings. This is not exactly correct. The pumpkin acts as a resonator or a sound box. We must not forget that the Western scale is based upon the equal tempered scale while the Indian scale is based upon pure tones.Indian Swara (Carnatic) Shadj 1st Rishabh 2nd Rishabh / 1st Gandhara 3nd Rishabh / 2nd Gandhara 3rd Gandhara 1st Madhyam 2nd Madhyam Pancham 1st Dhaivat 2nd Dhaivat / 1st Nishad 3nd Dhaivat / 2nd Nishad 3rd Nishad In the previous tables we evoked a model which is somewhat similar to the Western chromatic scale. The origin of sitar actually goes back to Iran. Therefore the exact level of intonations will vary. A main body of the sitar is made of wood. The treble drum (tabla) is generally made of wood and the top is covered with a stretched skin. the main gourd (toomba) is made of pumpkin. It consists of two drums called tabla & dagga (bayan) respectively. Its pitch range is three or more octaves.

The musician can sit comfortably on the floor playing it. The shehnai is about 20 inches long. called chabi in Hindi. which are a series of valves that controls the way in which air flows. is like that of the piano. using both his hands. It is played with the fleshy parts of the fingers rather than the tips of the fingers. It consists of a wooden shell approximately 27 inches long. The harmonium is a portable instrument in the shape of a rectangular box. Mythologically it is believed that God himself created tabla and dagga by cutting the mridangam into half. It has a pitch range of two octaves. one could also sling this instrument across their shoulder and play it as they walk. There are normally two to . covered with stretched skins on each side. The shehnai is capable of producing a sound very similar to the human voice. The melody of shehnai forms a integral part of music at Indian marriages. which push the air through the instrument. SHEHNAI The shehnai belongs to the woodwind family of instruments. There are also drone stops that determine the flow of air over the reeds that do not have keys. This instrument has its origins in Europe. minus the chords. are controls made from wood. It is the bass accompaniment of the Tabla. HARMONIUM Peti or baja are the Indian names for the harmonium. The tabla is about 11 inches long while the dagga is about 10 inches long. It is famous for its distinctive buzzing sound and is used extensively for dance performances. There are external bellows that are pumped manually and the internal ones that are reservoirs for the air pumped by the external ones. This musical instrument is a blend of the east and west. It has double reeds to produce that characteristic vibrating sound. However. The keys. The body of the harmonium houses bellows that are the pumps. The harmonium belongs to the wind family of instruments. When the harmonium is not in use it is protected by a cover either made from wood. The outer body of the shehnai is made of wood with a metal bell at the tip of the instrument. cloth or glass. The dagga pot is generally made of brass or copper. The harmonium is most commonly played while sitting. MRIDANGAM ( PAKHAWAJ ) The mridangam belongs to the percussion family and has been played by Indians for more than 2000 years. This instrument has stops. One hand dances along the keyboard and the other is engaged in pumping the instrument. as mentioned earlier. and ever since it came to India in the 19th century it has become an essential part of Indian musical compositions. The basic working of a harmon-ium is a wooden box in which air is trapped with the help of bellows. Its keyboard is similar to that of the piano and the body with its other parts creates sounds for Indian classical compositions. The keyboard.done with the help of a hammer which is struck on the gatta to tense or relax the skin.

It has four strings and comes in two pitches. Nobody would feel the necessity of having a Tanpura till the time he would listen to any performance without it. and later Ustad Ali Akbar Khan modified the shape of the original instrument thereby improvising the tonal quality. SARANGI The name derives from Sau Rangi meaning 100 colors. the sound is produced when the air is forced out of the reeds. SANTOOR The santoor is a musical instrument that originated in the beautiful lands of Kashmir. A tanpura is made of wood and has a larger base (toomba) than a sitar. The history of Indian classical music claims that the famous musician of the 13th century. SAROD The sarod is a stringed instrument that is generally carved out of a single piece of teakwood. soothing sound that has a very relaxing effect. Its belly is covered with goatskin. This instrument is played with plectrum made from coconut shell. The top and bottom of the instrument’s framework is covered by either veneer or plywood. This instrument was formerly known as the Shatatantri Veena since it had a hundred strings. It is generally used to accompany singers but can also be a solo instrument. male and female. It is also gaining popularity in meditation centers because of its beautiful. The working of the reeds is controlled by the white and black keys on the surface of the instrument. It is used to produce deep resonating sound to give continuity to the music and a sense of balance. is made of pumpkin. like that of sitar. This is probably one of the oldest instruments of Indian music. rich. He or she has to bear in mind that the wide side should be facing them and the narrow . The modern day instrument has eighty-seven metal strings that are strung across a hollow trapezoidal box carved either from walnut or maple wood. also known as heaven on earth. The ancient or rather original santoor had over a hundred strings and was considered the forerunner of the piano. thus there are 29 sets of strings. Sarangi is played with a bow and has four main strings and as many as forty resonant strings. It is a constant companion for most ghazal singers. While playing the santoor the musician is required to keep the instrument in a particular manner. Amir Khusrao had modified the sarod. The strings are clubbed together in sets of three.three chambers in which metal reeds are fixed. TANPURA A tanpura is always conspicuous by its absence. creating the sitar. The toomba. Carvings of it have been found in the Champa temple that was constructed in the 1st century. One also comes across paintings and carvings of this stringed musical instrument in the Ajanta caves. Steel tuning pegs are fixed on the right side of the instrument.

WHAT MAKES IT DIFFERENT FROM OTHERS Indian music shows the thoughts of Hindus and their religion through music. It is generally played in the vertical position.end should be towards the audience or listeners. . which is generally carved into a strange figure that resembles the head of a dragon. which are fixed on the neck. This makes it different from others in a way that it presents religion as its main message. pillangrovi. VEENA The veena is probably the most ancient of all the Indian stringed instruments. pava. bansi. murali. kolavi. Venu is a south Indian variation of this flute and has eight holes. kukhl. According to Hindu mythological texts and certain scriptures Lord Shiva chose the bansuri to play the role of goddess of destruction. The musician plays this instrument by being seated on the ground. They then place the instrument in front of them resting the neck on one of their shoulders. the musician could either place this musical instrument on their lap or on a stand. It basically has a large body with a hollow belly. BANSURI Bansuri is a type of flute that is carved from bamboo. which is of comfortable length. and some of them have additional one or two holes for tuning. Also. This Indian music instrument is known by varied names such as algoza. Apart from that is was the musical instrument of Lord Krishna. it is presently used in the west too. pillankuzhal. They are used as rhythmic accompaniments. and the neck. The other three are attached to the side. nar. Four of them are the main strings that are attached to the pegs. Radha and the gopis are known to have danced to Lord Krishna’s tunes. a stem. The bansuri is mainly played in north India. kolalu. Apart from being one the oldest Indian musical instruments. This instrument has seven strings. pulangoil and vamsi. A large number of fusion bands as well as musicians belonging to other genres of music use this variation of the flute. The music from this instrument is soothing and relaxing. It has six to seven finger holes. The right hand is generally used for plucking the main strings and the left hand for tuning the pegs as per requirement.

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