Since ancient times, music has been an integral part of Indian culture. Indian music has always had a rich and diverse tradition, from devotional songs to folk tunes. And at the heart of it all is classical music. Traditional Indian classical music is a unique and beautiful art form passed down through the generations. Today, this rich musical tradition is still alive and thriving, and can hear its influence in many different genres of music. With its intricate melodies and beautiful ragas, Indin music is truly the sound of tradition. It’s a genre steeped in history yet still relevant today. If you want to explore the world of Indian classical music, you are in the right place.
What is Indian Classical Music?
Indian classical music is a genre of South Asian music that has its roots in the Vedic traditions of the Indian subcontinent. The use of Raga characterizes the music. Melodic scales provide the foundation for the composition and improvisation of the music. Indian music is often on a drone, a sustained note offering background harmony. The music is built around Tala, which are rhythmic cycles providing the framework for the composition and performance of the music. Indian classical music has two main traditions. The North Indian tradition or Hindustani music, and The South Indian tradition or Carnatic music.
The History of Indian Classical Music
Indian classical music traces back to the Vedic period, the earliest Hinduism era. The Vedas are a collection of ancient Hindu scriptures that contain hymns, prayers, and rituals. The priests sang these hymns and prayers, often accompanied by music. The Vedic period first introduced the concept of Raga in the Vedic period. A raga is a melodic framework. To create a piece of music a musician should have knowledge about Raga. It typically consists of a scale, a set of notes, and rules. The earliest Indian music was probably monophonic, consisting of a single melody. A drone typically accompanied this melody. A sustained note played in the background. As Indian music evolved, it began to incorporate more complex harmonies and rhythms. Polyphonic music, which consists of multiple melodies played simultaneously, became more common.
In the 12th century, The great Indian musician and poet Amir Khusro developed a new style of music called qawwali. Qawwali is a form of devotional music still popular today in India. In the 16th century, the Mughal emperor Akbar patronized a new style of music called dhrupad. Dhrupad is a form of Hindustani classical music characterized by its slow tempo and emphasis on melody. The late 18th and early 19th centuries saw the rise of the khyal, a form of Indian classical music characterized by improvisation. In the 20th century, Indian music was influenced by Western music, particularly the works of Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart. Indian musicians began to experiment with Western scales, harmonies, and rhythms. Today, our music is performed all over the world. It is a popular genre of music in India and has a growing following in the West.
The Different Styles
The different styles of Indian classical music are
- Hindustani classical music – The music of North India
- Carnatic classical music – The music of South India
- Rabindra Sangeet – The theme of Bengal
The different styles are distinguished by the type of instrumentation, improvisation, and tone of the music. It is characterized by different styles developed over the years, each with its tradition, technique, and repertoire.
Indian classical music is used in film music, Sufi music, devotional music, and many other ways. Many Indian films and international films used these music. Used in Indian films like Guide, Pakeezah, Mughal-E-Azam, Aurat, and many others. International films like The Bengali Night, The Darjeeling Limited, The Namesake, Slumdog Millionaire, and many others. Also used in Sufi music, like Qawwali, Sufiana Kalam, and many different forms of Sufi music. Also present in devotional music like Bhajans and many other forms.
The Instruments of Indian Classical Music
Indian classical musical instruments are a significant part of Indian musical traditions. The musical instruments of us can be broadly classified into two categories, the melodic instruments, and the percussion instruments. Melodic instruments are the instruments used to produce the melody in the music. Percussion instruments are the instruments that are used to create the rhythm in the music.
The Melodic Instruments of Indian classical music is-
- Rudra Veena
The Percussion Instruments of Indian classical music is-
The Great Masters of Classical Music
The great masters of Indian music include them and many others.
- Pt. Ravi Shankar
- Pt. Bhimsen Joshi
- Pt. Bismillah Khan
- Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia
- Pt. Shivkumar Sharma
- Pt. Vikku Vinayakram
- Ustad Alla Rakha
- Ustad Ali Akbar Khan
- Pt.Kishan Maharaj
- Ustad Amjad Ali Khan
- Ustad Vilayat Khan
- Ustad Zakir Hussain
The Benefits of Listening to Classical Music
There are many benefits of listening to classical music.
- Relaxes the mind, body, and soul.
- Soothing and a stress buster.
- Concentration and memory enhancement.
- Promotes creativity and enhances self-esteem.
- A great way to relieve stress and relax.
Classical music also helps in the development of a child’s imagination. Classical music helps develop a child’s brain and makes them more creative. Assists in developing a child’s social skills and increasing their communication skills. Classical music is a great way to bond with your child and to make them feel special. It is also a great way to teach your child about different cultures and to make them more aware of various aspects of life.
Indian Classical Music in the Modern World
Indian classical music has developed by Indian musicians and influenced by western themes. But, classical music has been able to maintain its own identity because Indian classical music has been able to assimilate the best of western music without losing its own identity.
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