Indian Classical Music

Indian Classical Music

Indian classical music is the classical music of the Indian subcontinent. It has two major traditions: the North Indian classical music tradition is called Hindustani, while the South Indian expression is called Carnatic.

Hindustani music emphasizes improvisation and exploration of all aspects of a raga, while Carnatic performances tend to be short composition-based. However, the two systems continue to have more common features than differences.

The roots of the classical music of India are found in the Vedic literature of Hinduism and the ancient Natyashastra, the classic Sanskrit text on performance arts by Bharata Muni.

Indian classical music has two foundational elements, raga and tala. The raga, based on a varied repertoire of swara (notes including microtones), forms the fabric of a deeply intricate melodic structure, while the tala measures the time cycle. The raga gives an artist a palette to build the melody from sounds, while the tala provides them with a creative framework for rhythmic improvisation using time. In Indian classical music the space between the notes is often more important than the notes themselves, and it traditionally eschews Western classical concepts such as harmony, counterpoint, chords, or modulation.

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