Hindi Language Blog

Indian Classical Music Posted by on Nov 20, 2011 in Hindi Language

Tradition of music is very old in India. First description of music finds its mention in the oldest scriptures in the Hindu tradition called Vedas (in plural) which are thousands of years old.

Indian classical music is spontaneous, elaborate and expressive. It differ slightly from the Western classical music as it uses just-intonation tuning instead of equal-temperament tuning system that Western classical music uses. It has the same 7 notes and each octave is divided into 12 semi-tones. The 7 notes in Hindi are called “Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa”  in comparison to Western music’s “Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do”.  In Indian Classical music, a note is called स्वर (svar), melody is called  राग (raga) and beat is called ताल (tala).

Indian classical music can be broadly classified into Hindustani classical music which is found in North India and Carnatic classical music which is found normally in South India.

Hindustani classical music has two main form Khyal and Dhrupad and several other classical and semi-classical forms. There may be mix of instruments in composition where stringed instruments like Sitar provide the melody and percussion instrument like Tabla may provide the beats or an indicator of regular time interval. It mainly focus on the emotions. The expression of these emotions are composed as a raga by Hindustani classical musician. I have attached a link from one of my favorite and legendary Hindustani classical musician and instrumentalist, Ali Akbar Khan. (below)

Hindustani music uses following instruments which include Sitar, Sarod, Surbahar, Shehnai, Sarangi, Santoor, Tanpura, Bansuri,  Pakhavaj and Tabla.

Carnatic classical music in comparison is more complex than Hindustani classical music. It is highly structured in logical classification of ragas (melodies) into melakarthas (musical scales), similar to Western classical music. It tends to be faster in tempo and shorter as compared to Hindustani music. It has a distinct difference to the Hindustani classical music that the performance has a vocalist as principal performer,whereas Hindustani classical music express more through the instruments. I have attached below, a wonderful piece of composition of Carnatic classical music.

Carnatic classical music uses  following instruments which include Venu, Veena, Mridangam, Kanjira, Gottuvadyam, Harmonium, Ghatam and Violin.

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About the Author: Nitin Kumar

Nitin Kumar is a native Hindi speaker from New Delhi, India. His education qualification include Masters in Robotics and Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering. Currently, he is working in the Research and Development in Robotics in Germany. He is avid language learner with varied level of proficiency in English, German, Spanish, and Japanese. He wish to learn French one day. His passion for languages motivated him to share his mother tongue, Hindi, and culture and traditions associated with its speakers. He has been working with Transparent Language since 2010 and has written over 430 blogs on various topics on Hindi language and India, its culture and traditions. He is also the Administrator for Hindi Facebook page which has a community of over 330,000 members.


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