Different Notes in Indian Classical Music

Different Notes in Indian Classical Music

Indian classical music has its roots since Vedic period and even before that. Indian classical music has some basic elements known as swara, raga and tala, Shruti. Indian music is based upon the concept of seven notes (sapta swar).  Theses notes are: Shadj, Rishabh, Gandhar, Madhyam, Dhaivat, and Nishad; yet they are commonly abbreviated to Sa, Re (Ri), Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, and Ni.  The positions of these notes may vary considerably, therefore there should be a way to describe these scales.

A raga is not a tune but many tunes are developed from the same raga. It is basic element of music.  These seven swara are the basic and fundamentals of raga. Without this there is no music. There can be variations in these swaras which are known as Komal svara and Tivra svara. If there are no variations then it is called shuddh svara.

Raga also spelled as Raag is the most important melodic framework in any music. A raga is based on the scales with a given set of notes. Raga is just not a tune but many tunes can be made from the same raga. It is believed that a raga can evoke feelings in the audience and can also change the mood of the person. Raga is the most important concept in Carnatic music while ragas in Hindustani are classified according to the moods, season and time. The main goal of raga and the artist is to create feelings with the audience.

Tala is a musical measure with clapping or raising one’s hand for the music. The number of beats may differ from 3 to 128 in the musical performance. The concept of tala is also different in Carnatic and Hindustani music. In the Hindustani music tala appears in two three and four by quickening the tempo of music into Vilambit, Vilamb (2 strokes per beat) and Madhyama (four strokes per beat). The most commonly used tala is carnatic music is Adi tala and while in Hindustani it is teental.


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