Let us Know about our Indian Muisc


Let us know more about our Indian Music
( Fundas of Indian Music)

Most of us enjoy listening to Music of some kind or other. Music is said to be universal, but there are bound to be some differences. Knowing the fundas of Indian music will make us appreciate it better.

There are major five varieties of music in India.
1. Carnatic
2. Hindustani
3. Filmi
4. Folk
5. Fusion

There are different forms dance and classifications are:

1. Kuchipudi
2. Bharat Natyam
3. Kathak
4. Odissi
5. Kathakali
6. Mainpuri
7. Mohini Attam.

The Carnatic style of singing is popular in southern states like Tamilanadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Both vocal and instrumental concerts are performed by these artists. The compositions or Krutis are composed by three eminent musicians of lore.

1. Sri Thyagaraju
2. Sri Shyam Sastri
3. Sri Mutthuswami Dikshitar
Recently, Sri Annamacharya sankirtnas have also become popular.

The vocal concert supported by Carnatic instruments:
Violin, Mrudangam, Tambura, Ghatam, Kanjira, Morsing, Flute also Veena

There are separate instrumental musical concerts on
Veena, Flute, Clarinet.
The sannai and dolu also form another combination of Carnatic instrumental music.

In a similar way, Hindustani music has both Vocal and instrumental music.
The vocal music is accompanied by two or more of these instruments.
Tanpura, Harmonium, Violin, Sarangi, Tabla, Pakwaj, etc., The popular instrumental music concerts are of Sitar, Sarod, Voilin, Bansuri, Sehnai, Santoor etc.,

The whole of Indian Music depends on seven Swaras. But the way they are brought out differs widely in the Carnatic and Hindustani. In fact, There are twelve Swaras including five mandra and tivra Swaras.

These are three most important things to know about in Hindustani Music.

1. Sur
2. Rag
3. Taal


Sur is nothing but the frequency or pitch of the sound. It is common to find before the concert that the instruments are tuned properly to the pitch of the vocal singer or the main instrument. Usually, harmonium is used for this purpose. But now a days electronic devices are also being used. If there is no proper tuning to correct Sur, it will not be melodious to the ear. This requires a great amount of experience and knowledge. If your ear is tuned to correct Sur, it will be great.
Here again, There can be comparison with western music:

Hindusatani Western

Safed 6 A
Safed 7 B
Safed 1 C,
Kali 1 C#
Safed 2 D
Safed 3 E
Safed 4 F
Safed 5 G
Kali 3 F#

The safed and kali are colours on harmonium keys.


From the time we get up hear, we hear many tunes; Like the waking up, Azam of Muslims, Haratis, Bajans and also some filmi songs.
There are based on Ragas. Raga is nothing but a permutation and combination of some of the twelve swaras, mentioned earlier.
It has aroh (ascending) Avaroh(Descending), Pakad, Chalan. The Raga is sung with a Khayal. The khayal will have sthayi and Antara. It varies from Raga to raga. Pandit Bhatkande was the first to document this enormous task. There are some legends and world famous singers and instrumentalists who have mastered this art form to a great extent. Their entire life time is spent in exploring a small part of the music. There are some Gharanas or singing styles in this . They are Mewati, Kirana etc.,. Some vocal and instrumental artists have popularized some Ragas. Even filmi music has many songs on popular ragas. The Drupad style of singing is now a days rare, but one must hear it at least once to understand its greatness. Dagar brothers have made it popular.

Let me explain how twelve swaras are formed from the basic seven Swaras.
Without going into intricacies of pronunciation, let me give the basic fudas.

Hindustani Western

Saa C
Ri D
Ga E
Ma F
Pa G
Dha A
Ni B

In the above 7 sawras, Ri, Ga, Dha, Ni have mandra (lower octave) swaras, while Ma has Tivra(Higer Octave) swara. Thus there twelve notes in all.


This also can be called as rhythm . This is the easiest of the three and comes by instinct to many. We clap our hands when we hear a good rhythmic music. Even our heart also beats in a rhythmic way. Even marching will follow it like left, right or a band etc., There are many instruments that are solely used for keeping rhythm or also can played as solo. The main instruments are Tabla, Mrudangam, Pakwaj, Dolak, Dolu, Morsing, symbols . Some of the instruments have very extensive Sastra behind them. There are cyclical patterns repeating intricately to create and play on the instrument. While the Raga is based on the twelve Swaras, The Taal is based on some syllables that are nearer to its basic sound.
These are:

Na, Ta, Tin, Dha, Dhin, Ka, Ta, Trak, Kat, Ri, Ga, Ge, Ti, Tit, Dhit , Tuna etc.,

These sounds are produced on beating the instrument with fingers as in Tabla or Mrudangam or with sticks and hands as in Dolu, Nagara etc., The tempo varies depending on the Laya. The tempo should match with the laya of the song or instrument.
The rhythmic patterns are divided into Taals. These Taals are usually known by clap of hands with clap or no clap i.e Tali or Khali.
Most popular taals are divided into

6 Dadra
7 Rupak
8 Kherwa
10 Jhap taal
12 Ektaal
16 Teen taal,

Let me illustrate a simple taal called Dadra. It has 6 beats with first beat is tali and 4th beat is khali.

1 2 3 4 5 6
Dha Dhin Na Dha Tin Na
+ O

The + at 1 indicates taali and O at 4 indicates Khali.

Let us understand a few more terms:

Taal: a group of beats.
Laya: an equal difference in between beat
Matra: The number of beats in a taal
Sum; The first beat of a taal
Vilambit: a low speed of rendering
Madhya: The medium speed
Drut: The fast speed
Dugun: Putting two letters in a matra
Chougun: Putting 4 letters in a matra
Vibhag: The divisions in taal

Some of the popular Tabla players at present :
Zakir Hussain
Samta Prasad

While Sur is a basic component of Raga and Tala, Raga and Tala can be independently studied depending on your choice.



2 Responses to “Let us Know about our Indian Muisc”

  1. rohit Says:

    OMG never knew there were so many!!

  2. swaralu Says:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: