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AN ANCIENT MUSIC SYSTEM

Vocal Hindustani Classical Music

Hindustani Classical music or North Indian Classical music is an ancient music system, possibly has a root to the Vedic age. It is believed that it branched off from Carnatic Music i.e. South Indian classical Music during the 12th century, but both music streams  are based on the same fundamental concepts.

There are three main learning elements in Hindustani Classical Music : 

  • Swara – A swara is nothing but a musical note. The Hindustani Classical music has 7 basic swaras and the octave formed is called the saptak. Like western music, there are also 5 half-notes. The base reference note (which does not have a standardized frequency, unlike western music) is called sa. The saptak is:
    • Sa (Shadja)
    • Re (Rishabh)
    • Ga (Gandhaar)
    • Ma (Madhyam)
    • Pa (Pancham)
    • Dha (Dhaivat)
    • Ni (Nishad)
    Also, there is another important concept in Hindustani Classical music that is Shruti. Shruti is defined as the smallest variation in pitch which can be distinguished by the human ear. Shrutis can be considered to be a superset. Out of all the (infinite) shrutis, some are chosen to be Swaras on an instrument.
  • Raga – A raga is a group of notes or swaras. Each raga is a melody and is much more than the sum of its constituent swaras. Raga has its own syntax and detailed pattern. Ragas are designed to convey a special emotion to create a very specific mood.
    Each raga is divided into two parts: Aaraoh and Avaroh (Ascent and Descent respectively).

    An important concept in Raags is that of a Bandish. A bandish is a type of fixed composition. The defining characteristics of a bandish are :
    • It has only two stanzas. One in the lower register (mandra) and the second in the upper register (taar).
    • It has to follow a specific beat cycle, or taal.
    Additionally, each raga uses at least 5 notes and are classified based on the number of notes they use (the Aaroh and Avaroh of the same raag can taal into different categories):
    • Oudav: 5 notes
    • Shadav: 6 notes
    • Sampoor: 7 notes
  • Taal – Taal is primarily related to the rhythm. As swara is defined as a musical note, a raga is defined as a melody, the taal is analogous to the rhythm. The Taal binds the music into a particular avartans(cycles) which defines the structure of the music. Taal is formed or developed by a percussion instrument, usually a Tabla or a Pakhawaj. According to the ancient text, there are 108 total taals, however, modern music uses only 10-20 taals. A taal is characterised by sam (the first bol), taali (indicated by clapping the hands and signifying the more impactful part of the taal) and khaali (indicated by waving a hand to the side and signifying a weaker, less impactful part of the taal) and its vibhag (parts) structure. Each taal has a specific number of matras (beats).

In a nutshell, Hindustani Classical music can be understood as two elements – Melody and Rhythm. Although, these qualities can be considered as the universal to music but one important feature which gives life to music that is – Emotion. Even if you don’t understand the lyrics, listening to a variety of songs would synchronize you to a range of emotions. Some pieces might make you feel sad for no reason, and some might you feel sad for no reason and some might make you calm.

The Hindustani Classical Vocal learning classes is a certificate level course program. Simply, you can enroll for the class by filling the enrollment form. Also, you can book the Tabla Online Classes by contacting Mr. Harvardhan Joshi Ji at given contact details. The Hindustani Classical Vocal learning fee can be paid through NEFT, RuPay, Bank Cheque, Demand draft, cash deposit at office / Bank at the given bank account number.

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