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Hindustani (North Indian) Music

- Continuity back to Vedic times (6,000 BC) - Codified in a large number of ancient and medieval music treatises - Developed independently of folk music, albeit occasionally importing folk or regional elements, metamorphosing them suitably - Raga based music, hence almost entirely (99%) improvised - Capable of intense expression in very slow speeds - Vast range of ornaments, particularly during slow passages. Subtle use of microtones in slow passages - Steady, long-held notes, mostly approached and/or quitted by ornaments or little ornamental phrases - Gradual building up of tempo from very slow to very fast - Convention of time and season - Clear enunciation of rhythmic cycle by percussion accompanist (in dominant present day forms like Khayal, Sadra, Thumri, Bhajan etc.) - True to Hindu traditions: so-called Persian influences fully integrated within its essential and ancient grammatical format developed by Hindu scholars known as Gandharvas. There was an attempt at Islamisation when Amir Khusrau (12/13 century AC) forcibly imported some Persian rules. However, these Islamic influences were purged and the music firmly brought back to its Hindu roots by the great musician-musicologist Tansen (16 century AC). The one major change brought about by Amir Khusrau that remains today is the fixing of the tonic and the dominant (Sa and Pa) without assigning sharp or flat variations to them, the provision of flattened versions alone for the supertonic, mediant, submediant and leading notes (Re, Ga, Dha and Ni) and the provision of a sharpened version alone to the subdominant (Ma). The great Muslim musicians - from Sultan Hussain Sharki, Wajid Ali Shah, Haddu Khan, Hassu Khan, Bade Gulam Ali Khan, Abdul Karim Khan, Alladia Khan, Amir Khan, Nissar Hussain Khan, etc. down to present day exponents had/have their own unique style of performance known to and recognised by the qualified listener as the Muslim style (as opposed to the Hindu style), but the music in all essential respects strictly adheres to the grammatical tradition codified by the Gandharvas. The "Muslim style" of performance came into being because the early Muslim musicians in India could not learn formally from Hindu scholars and so they (the Muslim musicians) imbibed the music by careful listening and analysing it as best as they could. Also, unlike Hindu musicians for whom the introspective and spiritual element of the music was paramount, Muslims musicians performed primarily to please their patron and receive material rewards: so they concentrated more on the virtuositic and entertaining elements in the music.

ago. Even before the first influence of Islam across land in north India (the Arab invasion of Sindh occurred in 712 AC), there was a steady trade route across the Arabian sea from Arabia to the western coast of south India. The first village in the whole of India to convert to Islam was Kangalore, near Mangalore, in south India. Hyderabad and its sister city Secundrabad, in south India, were great Islamic centres from medieval times. There were many more such centres, all having a strong influence on south Indian culture.

The seven notes of the scale (swaras)

in Indian music are named shadja, rishabh, gandhar, madhyam, pancham, dhaivat and nishad, usually shortened to Sa, Ri (Carnatic) or Re (Hindustani), Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, and Ni and written S, R, G, M, P, D, N. Collectively these notes are known as the sargam (the word is an acronym of the consonants of the first four swaras). Sargam is the Indian equivalent to solfege, a technique for the teaching of sight-singing. Sargam is practiced against a drone. The tone Sa is not associated with any particular pitch. As in Western moveable-Do solfge, Sa refers to the tonic of a piece or scale rather than to any particular pitch. A dot above a letter indicates that the note is sung one octave higher, and a dot below indicates one octave lower. Or, if a note with the same name-Sa, for example-is an octave higher than the note represented by S, an apostrophe is placed to the right: S'. If it is an octave lower, the apostrophe is placed to the left: 'S. Apostrophes can be added as necessary to indicate the octave: for example, ``g would be the note komal Ga in the octave two octaves below that which begins on the note S (that is, two octaves below g). The basic mode of reference is that which is equivalent to the Western Ionian mode or major scale (called Bilawal thaat in Hindustani music). All relationships between pitches follow from this. In any seven-tone mode (starting with S), R, G, D, and N can be natural (shuddha, lit. 'pure') or flat (komal, 'soft') but never sharp, and the M can be natural or sharp (tivra) but never flat, making twelve notes as in the Western chromatic scale. If a swara is not natural (shuddha), a line below a letter indicates that it is flat (komal) and an acute accent above indicates that it is sharp (tivra). Sa and Pa are immovable (once Sa is selected), forming a just perfect fifth. In some notation systems, the distinction is made with capital and lowercase letters. When abbreviating these tones, the form of the note which is relatively lower in pitch always uses a lowercase letter, while the form which is higher in pitch uses an uppercase letter. So komal Re/Ri uses the letter r and shuddha Re/Ri, the letter R, but shuddha Ma uses m because it has a raised form-tivra Ma-which uses the letter M. Sa and Pa are always abbreviated as S and P, respectively, since they cannot be altered.

SA - C re - Db MA - F# PA - G

RE - D ga - Eb DA - A ni - Bb

GA - E NI - H

ma - F SA - C

Tala or Taal
(literally a "clap") is the term used in Indian classical music for the rhythmic pattern of any composition and for the entire subject of rhythm, roughly corresponding to metre in Western music, though closer conceptual equivalents are to be found in other Asian classical systems such as the notion of usul in the theory of Ottoman/Turkish music. Rhythm in Indian music performs the function of a time counter. A taal is a rhythmic cycle of beats with an ebb and flow of various types of intonations resounded on a percussive instrument. Each such pattern has its own name. Indian classical music has complex, all-embracing rules for the elaboration of possible patterns, though in practice a few taals are very common while others are rare. The most common taal in Hindustani classical music is Teental, a cycle of four measures of four beats each. A taal does not have a fixed tempo and can be played at different speeds. In Hindustani classical music a typical recital of a raga falls into two or three parts categorized by the tempo of the music - Vilambit laya (Slow tempo), Madhya laya (Medium tempo) and Drut laya (Fast tempo). In Carnatic Music, there are five categories of tempo namely - Chauka (1 stroke per beat), Vilamba (2 strokes per beat), Madhyama(4 beats per beat), Dhuridha(8 strokes per beat), Adi-Dhuridha(16 strokes per beat). But, although the tempo changes, the fundamental rhythm does not. Each repeated cycle of a taal is called an avartan. A tala is generally divided into sections (vibhaags), not all of which may have the same number of beats. There are two words for rhythm in India. One is "laya", which means basically "tempo". To say a performer has good lay, or is good with lay, is to say that they can keep an extremely steady beat and are good with polyrhythmic divisions of the beat. The other word is "tal", which requires more explanation. "Tal" or "tala", besides referring to the concept of rhythm in general, is also the name given to the rhythmic cycles which are the framewrok of all compositions in Indian music. A tal is a cycle of a fixed number of beats repeated over and over again. Theoretically, a tal of any number of beats is possible, including half-beat cycles like 6-1/2 and 8-1/2 beats. However, in North India only tals of between 3 and 108 beats are traditional. Only a very few of these tals are in common use.

Carnatic (South Indian) Music

- Of more recent origin - Codified in many texts written by musicologists, the influential ones among whom studied in North India and thereafter returned to South India to fashion Carnatic music out of the prevalent regional musical forms to be found in South India. In fact, many south Indian Ragas are rooted in north Indian ragas, such as "Baggisvari" (from Bageshri), "Begada" (from Bihagada) and many more. - Composition based music, hence very little improvisation, which usually occurs only in the Alapana and in the Kalpana Svaras towards the end. The main composition ("Kriti") or Varnam or Pallavi is fixed. - A fairly quick tempo from the start, so lacks the intensity, introspection, microtones and several ornaments found in Hindustani music - Notes are not held for long and are mostly quitted by a characteristic oscillation using indeterminate pitch - Constant and fairly fast tempo throughout - No convention of time or season - Percussion accompanist does not enunciate rhythmic cycle clearly, so a second percussionist and/or a timekeeper showing and/or clapping out beats (in which the audience joins) is necessary. Often, there is a main percussionist (Mridangam), a side percussionist (Ghatam or Jew's Harp) and a timekeeper in addition. - Contrary to advocated argument, has Muslim influences: witness Raga names like "Hejjujji" etc. In fact, the southern part of India, called Deccan (from the Sanskrit word "Dakshina" meaning south), was Islamised many centuries

Basic talas

stay away from a Vivadi note. 5. Verjit Suwar: These notes are not used in the Raag. They do not exist in the Aroh and the Avroh (ascending-descending) of a Raag. But in rare conditions some Verjit (forbidden) notes can be used as a passing note or a grace note. The old music scriptures state that the Vadi Suwar is like a king. The Sumvadi note is his Minister and Anuvadi notes are the servants to serve the king and the minister. A Vivadi note is said to be an enemy and the Verjit notes are the foreigners. Keep this formula in your mind, you will never be confused over this matter again.

Vivadi swara-s
A note, that is not one of the notes that comprise a raga, is vivadi. It is also called "varjya" (to be excluded), or, "varjita" (excluded). For example, the notes S-R-G-P-D comprise the raga Bhupali. So the excluded notes, 'm' and 'N', are vivadi notes. It is the vivadi notes that give rise to the three 'jati-s' (types) of raga-s, namely 'audava', comprising 5 notes; 'shadava', comprising 6 notes; and 'sampurna', comprising 7 notes. The concept of vivaditaa (exclusion) is more elaborate than is generally recognized. In this connection, we can distinguish the following types of excluded notes: 1. Those notes which are dissonant with the aesthetics of a raga. For example, Ma in Bhupali. 2. Those notes which are optional to a raga. For example komal Ni Tilak Kamod. 3. Those notes which are instinctively included in a raga, though known to be technically excluded. For example Ni in Bhupali, Ga in Kedar. 4. Those notes which are conventionally included. For example, komal Ni in Bhairava. 5. Those notes which are included for embellishment. For example, notes in Bhairavi, Pahadi, Piloo etc. 6. Those notes which the masters include, rarely, in a raga. For example, komal Ni: Salamat Ali Khan's dhamAr in the raga hameer -- see http://www.sawf. org/audio/hameer/salamat.ram. Also, Ustad Faiyyaz Khan's application of komal Ni in the raga maru Bihag -- see faiyyazkhan.ram

is a mode in Hindustani music. Thaats always have seven different pitches (called swara) and are a basis for the organization and classification of ragas in North Indian classical music. - A thaat must have seven notes. - The notes must be in sequence: Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni - A thaat, unlike a raga, does not have separate ascending and descending lines. - A thaat has no emotional quality (which ragas, by definition, do have).

The 10 basic thaats:

Bilawal (=Ionian mode): -------- S R G m P D N S' Khamaj (=Mixolydian mode): -- S R G m P D n S' Kafi (=Dorian mode): ----------- S R g m P D n S' Asavari (=Aeolian mode): ------ S R g m P d n S' Bhairavi (=Phrygian mode): ---- S r g m P d n S' Bhairav: ------------------------- S r G m P d N S' Kalyan (=Lydian mode): -------- S R G M P D N S' Marwa: -------------------------- S r G M P D N S' Poorvi: -------------------------- S r G M P d N S' Todi: ----------------------------- S r g M P d N S'

Raag categories
1. Shudh (pure): The Raag, which cannot be mistaken for any other Raag, and is created purely from unique notes, is a Shudh Raag. These kinds of Raags dont break easily even if some of the defined rules of the Raag are broken. 2. Chhyalug (shadowed): When a Raag is created by mixing two Raags, that is a Chhyalug Raag. Term Chhyalug is also used when while performing one Raag, a performer knowingly mixes another Raags flow into it. The new Raag comes under the real ones shadow. The word Salunk also means the same thing. 3. Sankeeran (Mixed): When mixing more than two Raags creates a new Raag, that is a Sankeeran Raag. These kinds of Raags are very difficult to keep unbroken, as with a little mistake or oversight, it can become (sound like) one of its parent Raags. Asharya Raag: (Primary Raag) This a special category of elite Raags. In northern Indian music, every Thaat is named after a main Raag from that Thaat. And the Raag, which shares its name with its parent Thaat, is called the Asharya Raag. Every Raag from any one Thaat does show a little bit of shadows of its Asharya Raag. In popular music, where a Raag is hardly considered when composing or performing, to learn the note structure of a composition, the Asharya Raag is normally noted on the top of the composition. That doesnt mean that the given composition is in that particular Raag, What that means is that composition is in that Thaat and the improvising can be done in that Raag or around it. All Asharya Raags (Total 10, one in every Thaat) are the first Raag in every Thaat. As always there are exceptions. Jhinjhoti is the Asharya Raag of Khamaj Thaat. Although the Khamaj Raag is the most famous Raag from Khamaj Thaat, but it is not a Sampooran/Sampooran raag. So Jhinjhoti take the crown. Raags with Komal R and D (second and sixth flat) These Raags are called Sandhi-prakash (dawn/dusk or twilight) Raags. As the name suggests, these Raags are sung in the early morning and early evening. Ma (the fourth) note plays a very big role to separate the morning Raags from the evening Raags. In the morning Raags, Ma is usually natural and in the evening Raags it is usually sharp. Another thing to remember about these Raags is that the third note (Ga) is always natural. If Ga is flat, then the Raags will go in the third category. Importance of Komal Dha (sixth) is not as high as Komal Re. If Re is Komal and Dha is natural, the Raag will still come under this category. But if it is the other way around, then it will go to the second category. Raags with Shudh Re and Dha (second and sixth natural) These Raags are sung right after the Sandhi-Prakash (twilight) Raags. So their time slot is around 7-10 a.m. and p.m. Again these Raags must have a Shudh Ga (third natural), otherwise they will go under the next category. Ma (fourth) plays a big role in these Raags too. The same rule applies here, the a.m. Raags have natural Ma and the p.m. Raags have Tivar Ma (fourth sharp). Raags with Komal Ga and Ni (third and seventh flat) These Raags have the next time slot in both day and night. In these Raags, the position Re or Dha does not matter. However, these Raags must have

is the most illusive and the most important concept of Northern Indian Music. In essence a Raag is a set of predefined rules to build a melodic composition. In general, the following are the basic rules or characteristics of a Raag. These rules are described in a logical order: 1. A Raag must belong to one of the 10 Thaats of Northern Indian Music. 2. A Raag must have an ascending (aroh) and a descending (Avroh). 3. Every Raags Aroh and Avroh (ascending and Descending) must not contain less than five or more than 7 notes. This rule defines the Jati of a Raag. 4. A Raags notes must sound pleasant to the ear. Although this rule may sound very vague, but it is always mentioned in the set of rules. The reason being that theoretically there are so many Raags possible in a Thaat, but all those set of notes do not sound great together. 5. A Raag must have a Vadi and Samvadi note. 6. A Raags Vikrat notes and the Vivadi note must be defined. 7. A Raag must have a main phrase (Pakad). 8. A Raags flow must be defined and it should be unique. This rule defines how the notes are used according to a Raags Aroh/Avroh and Jati. Two Raags may have the same notes, the same ascending, the same descending and the same jati, if they have different Vadi and Samvadi notes, then the Pakad and flow of notes will change. Thus making them two unique Raags. Once all the above rules are defined the following rules automatically come into effect: 9. According to the Time Theory of Indian Raags, Every Raag has a Time slot of at least 3 hours. 10. There are many similar Raags that share some of their properties. When performing a particular Raag, knowing the other related Raags is very important.

Importance of notes
1. Vadi Suwar: The most dominant note in a Raag is called Vadi Suwar. It is used again and again in phrases which make the Raags personality statement. 2. Samvadi Suwar: It is a helper to the Vadi Suwar. It is the second most important note in any Raag. It is mostly on the fourth or fifth place (up or down) from the Vadi Note. 3. Anuvadi Suwars: All the other notes, which are used in a Raag, are called Anuvadi Suwars. 4. Vivadi Suwar: This is a Raag breaker note. If you use it, generally speaking the Raag will be broken. The term breaking a Raag is used when any or some of the defined rules for a Raag are broken. But never mistake a Vivadi note as a Verjit (forbidden or omitted) note. Sometimes there are more than one Verjit notes in a Raag, but there is only one Vivadi Note. Some really expert singers and player do use the Vivadi note in their performance. In general, it is better to

Komal Ga (third flat). Importance of komal Ni (the seventh) is not as high as the position of the Ga (third). The above categorization is very useful to memorize a Raags appropriate time. As I stated earlier, this division is not perfect though. Indian music theory is over 5000 years old. Along the way it has acquired its fair share of exemptions. There are a few other things, which may or may not overrule the above categorization. Raag Yaman (name) is an evening Raag. Nevertheless, it is always the first Raag in a performance, regardless of the time of the day. Similarly, no matter it is day or night, Raag Bhairavi (name) is the last Raag performed. A few other Raags occupy bigger than a 3-hour time slots and a few are only sung during a special season. Parmail-Parveshak Raags: A Parmail-Parveshak Raag contains qualities from more than one category discussed in the last post. If you keep performing the Raags on their given time, you will see that there is no sudden change in notes. The Parmail Parveshak Raags make the gradual change form one time slot to the other. For example, when it is time to go from Shudh Re-Dha Raags to Komal Ga-Ni Raags, Raag Jai-Jai Vanti (name) fits right in there. It has Shudh Re and Dha and Komal Ga is introduced along with the Shudh Ga. So gradually, the change is made from the second category to the third. Poorvang-Vadi and Utrang-Vadi Raags: Once we are done with the basic theory, we shall discuss Poorvang and Utrang (upper and lower tetrachords) in detail. Here I am only discussing these in their capacity to affect a Raags time slot. This theory goes parallel with the above categorization. In this theory an octave is divided into two overlapping (only for determining the time of a Raag?) parts. (If the keynote is C): The first group is called Poorvang (lower half) The second group is called Utrang (upper half) We already know that the Vadi note is the king note of any Raag. If a Raags Vadi note is from the lower half of the octave, that Raag is called a PoorvangVadi Raag. If the Vadi Note is from the upper half of the octave, the Raag is called an Utrang-Vadi Raag. The Poorvang-Vadi Raags are performed from noon to midnight. And the Utrang-Vadi Raags are performed from midnight to noon. Once you know the Vadi note of a Raag, which is very important to know if you want to know a Raag, you already know which half of the day it goes to. It is also true that a Raags Vadi and Samvadi suwars reside in the opposite halves of an octave. So switching a Raags Vadi and Samvadi notes will in fact, change a Raags time by 12 hours. Normally, Poorvang and Utrang are not overlapped. That is a very widely accepted concept and makes a lot of sense when explaining the advance Thaat system. But here, when a Raag has Pa Vadi and is considered a Poorvang-Vadi Raag, we run into problems. There is no other solution but to overlap Poorvang and Utrang. When divided this way, both parts share three notes (S, M, P). And whenever one of these notes is the Vadi note of the Raag in question, do not rely on Poorvang-Utrang theory and check it otherwise. There are many Raags, which have a Ma Vadi and are performed in the morning and with Pa Vadi performed in the evening. So once again Sa, Ma or Pa, if any one of these notes is Vadi, check the Raag for its Komal (flats) and Shudh (natural) notes, check the flow of the Raag. If Raag seems to stay in the upper half regardless of its Vadi note, then it is an Utrang type (upper half) Raag and will fit into midnight to noon time slot or vice versa. The confusion has been created by continuous change in the popular style of Raags. The time theory divides a day into 8 pehars, morning and evening Raags overlapping two pehars.

Kampan (Vibrato in western music) Here the note is articulated

with a quiver so that instead of a steady or unwavering tone the note sounds tremulous or undulating, adding an emotional dimension to it. What is the precise mechanics of the ornament? Let us analyse it in detail: 1. The ornament spans two distinct pitches the note itself (we will call this the true note) and another tone (we will call this the supporting tone). The supporting tone is not in itself a true musical note (i.e., it is not a tone that qualifies to be a musically acceptable note by being related in frequency to a predetermined tonic note , 2/3, , 4/5, 8/9 etc.) 2. The supporting tone is very close to the true note in pitch so close that if the performer had sounded the supporting note in place of the true note the qualified listener would have justifiably commented that the performer played the true note but erred very slightly in intonation while doing so (that is, was just a little bit out of tune) 3. The supporting tone is higher in pitch than the true note 4. The ornament comprises sounding of the true note and the supporting tone alternately, starting with the true note 5. The speed of alternating between the true note and the supporting tone is rapid varying between 5 or 6 times and 9 or 10 times a second, with an average of about 6 per second.

Gamak Here too there are two tones involved, namely, the true note and the supporting tone, with meanings as above. As in vibrato, so in Gamak, the ornament comprises alternating between the two. However, there are differences: 1. The supporting tone in a Gamak is farther away from the true note than it is in a vibrato or Kampan. The distance between the true note and the supporting tone is large enough to qualify the supporting tone as a distinct musical note, except that this is not possible because the supporting tone is of indeterminate pitch because it is not related to the tonic in a recognised musical relation , 2/3, , 4/5, 8/9 etc.
2. The supporting tone may be either higher or lower in pitch as compared to that of the true note 3. If the supporting tone is higher in pitch than that of the true note, the ornament starts with the supporting note and descends to the true note (Gamak from above). But if the supporting tone is lower in pitch than that of the true note, the ornament starts with the true note (Gamak from below) 4. The speed of alternating is slower than in a vibrato. In a Gamak the speed ranges between 2 and 8 times a second 5. The ornament can be executed with varying force or weight slow Gamak are generally heavier and more guttural with more body while fast ones are much lighter and throaty.

Andolan As in Kampan or in Gamak, so too in Andolan, there are two tones

alternated the true note and the supporting tone, with meanings as above. The distinguishing chatacteristics are:

1. The distance between the supporting tone and the true note is either the same as that in a Gamak or even greater 2. The supporting tone is always higher in pitch than the true note the distance may be as much as a full whole tone, on occasion. However, the supporting tone is always of indeterminate pitch 3. The ornament starts with the supporting tone 4. The speed of alternating between the supporting tone and the true note is much slower than in Gamak a single set of supporting tone and true note in an Andolan may span as long as a good 2 seconds or may be as short as a second. 5. The supporting note is never held for the same time duration as the true note the supporting note always acts as a grace note (Sparsha or Kan), with a glide down to the true note, which is held for a longer time 6. The supporting tone is never approached from the true note in a glide: each set of a single supporting tone followed by the true note is distinct from the next set it is really sounding the true note repeatedly, each time starting anew from the supporting tone 7. Each supporting tone in the Andolan may be a different indeterminate pitch as compared with every other supporting tone in the same Andolan

Achal - Achal Swaras are the fixed swaras of the seven musical notes. Sa and Pa are the achal swaras of the Indian classical music. Arohi - The term Arohi, also known as Arohana and Aroh, is used to define the ascending melody in music. Avirbhav - Avirbhav is that technique of presenting the raga, in which the raga is noticeably expanded and exhibited Abhoga - The last stage of a musical composition, especially in the Drupad music. Alaap - Alaap is the free flow of the Raga, in which there are no words and no fixed rhythm. It is the purest from of melody. Andolan - Andolan refers to a slow alternation between the notes and shrutis that are next to each other. Ang - The term 'Ang' refers to the root to which a particular raga belongs. For example, Tantrakari Ang (instrumental style of music) Alankar - Alankaras are those notes and features that differentiate one raga from the other. Antar Gandhar - One of the variable forms of the third note 'Ga' of Indian Classical Music. Antara - Antara is the second stage of a musical composition that emphasizes the upper half of the octave-range. Antya - Antya is the last section of a musical composition, after which the recital ends. Anuvadi - Those notes of a raga that are neither highlighted nor downplayed are known as Anuvadi notes. Asthai - Asthai is the first as well as the fundamental part of a composition, which is repeated during the entire alaap. Asthan - The octave region of a raga is known as its Asthan. For example, the lower octave region is known as the Mandar Asthan. Ati - The term Ati refers to an extreme in a raga. For example, Ati Vilambit Laya means extremely slow tempo. Audava - Audava is a raga that has only five notes i.e. 'Paanch Swaras'. Avarohi - The term Avarohi, also known as Avarohana and Avaroh, is used to define the descending melody in music. Bhajan - A devotional song eulogizing Indian Gods and Goddesses. Sung in light classical style, it is usually set to 6, 7 or 8 beat cycles. Bol - The term 'Bol' refers to the words making up a vocal composition. Carnatic - Ancient classical music of South India is known as Carnatic Music Chakra - As per the Melakarta table of raga classification, Chakras are the twelve groups according to which the ragas are categorized. Chalan - Chalan is the makeup of a musical composition, which embodies the movement of a particular raga. Chautalaa - Chautalaa is the musical cycle that consists of fourteen beats. Dadra Tal - Dadra Tal is the common cycle in the lighter forms of music, comprising of six or three beats. Deepchandi Tal - Deepchandi Tal is the tabla composition with fourteen beats Dhamar Tal - Dhamar Tal is the fourteen beat Tal that has a '5+2+3+4' vibhag pattern. Dhaivata - Dhaivata is the sixth of the seven swaras or notes of the Indian classical scale. Drut - Drut is the term denoting the fast tempo or speed of the Tal. Ektal - Ektal is that Tal of the Indian classical music in which the 12 matras are divided into 6 vibhags, each of them having two matras. Gandhar - Gandhar is 'Ga', the third musical note of Indian Classical Music. Gayaki - Gayaki is one of the several styles of singing. Geet - Geet is the Indian term for a song or composition. Ghazal - Ghazal is a poetic-cum-musical form of Hindustani light music, with Persian and Urdu poetic influences. Grama - Gramas are the basic notes employed in musical tradition. Initially there were three gramas - Shadaja, Madhyama and Gandhar. Hindustani - Hindustani Classical Music is the form of Indian classical music that developed in northern parts of India. Jati - Jati refers to the classification of musical compositions as per the tones. Jhaptal - Jhaptal is an Indian rhythmic form with a ten-beat cycle. Jhumra Tal - Jhumra Tal is a slow Indian rhythmic form of 14 (3+4+3+4) beats. Kan - Kan is the grace note of a musical composition. Keharwa Tal - Keharwa Tal is the one of the rhythms of the Indian classical music, which has an eight beat cycle. Komal - The flat form of a note or swar in the classical music of India. Kriti - Kriti is a format of a musical composition that characterizes the Carnatic form of music. Lakshan - An introduction to the ragas is known as Lakshan. It comprises of a set of rules and principles. Laya - Laya can be described as the tempo or speed of the Tal. Madhya Saptak - The basic saptak, with middle octave region, is known as the Madhya Saptak. Madhya Laya - Madhya Laya is the medium tempo or speed of the Tal. Madhyama - Madhyama is 'Ma', the fourth musical note of Indian Classical Music. Mandra - Mandra refers to the lower scale notes of the raga, written with dots underneath them. Meend - Meend is an unbroken flow of a musical progression, from higher to lower notes. Mela - Mela is the basic organization of the notes in aroha and avaroha melody. Mishra - A Mishra melody is that melody which has features of more than one raga. " Mridangam - Mridangam is a drumming instrument, used in the Carnatic music of South India. Nada - The raga or musical notes in music are known as nada vibrations. There are basically two types of Nadas - Ahata (struck) and Unahata (un-struck). Nada Brahma - The concept of Nada Brahma means that the whole universe was created from the energy of sound. Nataka - Nataka is the Hindi term used for defining a theater performance. Nyasa - Nyasa is the last note of a specific phrase of notes, which leads to its ending. Nishadha - Nishadha is 'Ni', the seventh musical note of Indian Classical Music. Pakad - Pakad is the catch phrase of note combinations, which normally comprises of five notes. It characterizes the flow of a raga. Panchama - Panchama is 'Pa', the fifth musical note of Indian Classical Music. Pandit - Pandit is a term of respect, used to refer to the masters or scholars in the field of Indian Classical Music. Poorvang - The lower region of an octave, from Sa to Ma (Sa Re Ga Ma) is known as the Poorvang. Prati - The term Prati is used to define a sharp musical note i.e. a musical note that is higher in pitch by a semitone. Raga - Raga is the basic organization of the thirteen musical notes in a composition, as per specific rules. Ragini - Ragini is the feminine form of raga. It is usually described as a summary of the main theme of the melody. Rasa - Rasa is the term used to define the emotional state or quality of the raga and ragini. There are nine rasas in classical music. Rasik - Rasik is name given to the composer of a Rasa. Rishabha - Rishabha is 'Re', the second musical note of Indian Classical Music. Rupak Tal - Rupak Tal is an Indian rhythmic form, which comprises of seven beats. Sanchari - Sanchari is the third subsection of a musical composition that comprises of all the regions of the octave. Sangeet - Sangeet is the Hindu term used to define music. Sampooran - Sampooran ragas are those ragas that comprise of all the seven notes. Samvadi - Samvadi is the second most important class into which the notes in the basic musical gamut are divided. Sandhi Prakash - The ragas that are performed during the hours of twilight or dusk are called Sandhi Prakash Ragas. Saptak - Saptak means the set of seven swars or seven notes of the Indian Classical Music. Sargam - Sargam is the term used to define the scale of notes used in the composition of music. Shadaja - Shadaja is 'Sa', the first musical note of Indian Classical Music. Shastra - Shastra is the treatise or text that explains the timeless rules and principles behind music. Shaudava - Shaudava Raga is the raga that comprises of six notes in its ascending or descending movement. Shruti - Shruti is the sound interval between recognized notes or swaras. Shudha - The pure and natural notes or swaras are known as Shudha Swaras. Swara - Swaras are the musical notes of a composition. Swaroop - The term Swaroop refers to the image of a raga. Tabla - Tabla is a North Indian drum set, which comprises of the Dagga (bass drum) and the Tabla (Treble drum) Tal - Tal is a predisposed arrangement of beats, in a certain tempo Tan - An improvised vocal or instrumental musical phrase Tanpura - String instrument used for drone; Tanpura means to fill the void behind the music; to complete or assist a tan; a. k. a. Tamboora Tar - Tar is a fast-paced musical and melodic amplification of vocal as well as instrumental classical music. Tamboora - Tamboora is a musical instrument made from a gourd (Tumba). It is also known as Tanpura. Thaat - Thaat is Pandit Bhatkande's classification of all the ragas into one of ten parent scales. Thumri - Thumri is a form of 'light-classical' vocal music. It does not follow the tala and raga rules of music very rigidly. Tintal (Teental) - Tintal is an Indian rhythmic tal with sixteen beats, in four equal divisions. Tirobhav - Tirobhav basically means the process of concealing a raga on a temporary basis. Tivra - Tivra means the highest state (pitch) of the two notes, madhyama and nishad. Uttarang - Uttarang is the higher tetra-chord of an octave, which comprises of Pa, Dha, Ni and Sa notes. Vadi - Vadi is the note that holds the maximum importance in a raga. Vakra - Vakra Raga is one of the four Janya Ragas and has swaras in a non-sequential order. Varana - The four Varanas are the four basic ways, on the basis of which musical tones are organized. Varjit - Varjit note is the note that is deleted from the Arohi or Avarohi of its derivative Ragas. Vikrit - Vikrit notes are the modified notes used in the raga. Vilambit - The term Vilambit is used to denote the slow speed or tempo of the Tal. Vivadi - Vivadi notes are those notes that are either not included in a raga or are used very rarely.

Practicing Scales or Alankaars

The literal meaning of the word Alankaar in hindi is 'ornament'. These are exercises based on scales and rhythm. Most Indian musicians spends many hours practicing alankaars everyday. Alankaars are also called paltas. Alankaars can have varied levels of difficulty. In this lesson we will practice some simple alankaars. This will help us in getting a better hold of our instrument. These scales require a lot of patience and practice and can sometimes take many days or even weeks to master. If you find you cannot play an alankaar, do not go to the next one till you are confident of the previous one. If you find the tempo of the recorded clips to be too fast you can start by playing slower and build up speed gradually. The audio clips accompanying the instructions have been played with a G-medium bansuri. It is advisable for you to get a bansuri of the same scale if possible. We will start by playing the sargam but this time we will play each note twice. Aaroh(ascent): SaSa, ReRe, GaGa, MaMa, PaPa, DhaDha, NiNi, Sa'Sa'. Avroh(descent): Sa'Sa', NiNi, DhaDha, PaPa, MaMa, GaGa, ReRe, SaSa. Similarly you can play each note four times. Aaroh: SaSaSaSa, ReReReRe, GaGaGaGa, MaMaMaMa, PaPaPaPa, DhaDhaDhaDha, NiNiNiNi, Sa'Sa'Sa'Sa'. Avroh: Sa'Sa'Sa'Sa', NiNiNiNi, DhaDhaDhaDha, PaPaPaPa, MaMaMaMa, GaGaGaGa, ReReReRe, SaSaSaSa. Please note that being able to play all the notes in succession is not enough, it is important to maintain a rhythm while playing. Listen to the audio clips carefully and notice that there is a fixed rhythm on which the pattern is played. If you can't keep up pace with the recording you can play at a slower pace. Now we are ready to begin with our first real alankaar. In this we will play three notes starting from a particular note (say Sa). Then we will play three notes starting from the next note(Re) and so on. Aaroh: SaReGa, ReGaMa, GaMaPa, MaPaDha, PaDhaNi, DhaNiSa'. Avroh: Sa'NiDha, NiDhaPa, DhaPaMa, PaMaGa, MaGaRe, GaReSa. Your target should be to be able to play this as in the faster pace audio clip. It is absolutely normal for you to take a lot of time on this. It can take many days for one to be able to play this comfortably. Just go at your own pace. In the next palta that we will practice, we will play alternate notes. We will start with Sa and then play Ga(instead of Re), then start with Re and play Ma and so on. Aaroh: SaGa, ReMa, GaPa, MaDha, PaNi, DhaSa'. Avroh: Sa'Dha, NiPa, DhaMa, PaGa, MaRe, GaSa. Once you are able to play these paltas you should start feeling confident about the instrument. And it generally becomes a lot easier learning more advanced stuff after you overcome this initial hurdle.