Music has always been instrumental in defining Indian
culture. Form of music in India like classical, folk and tribal are
indispensably linked to Indian way of life. Here is brief information on
various styles of music in India.
Indian classical music can be segregated into two parts : Hindustani and
Carnatic. It is considered one of the most complex and complete musical
systems ever evolved. Origin of Indian classical music goes back to the
vedas. Samaveda, one of the vedas, describes music in detail. Hindustani
classical music is related to north India, while Carnatic music has its
roots in southern part of the country.
Hindustani classical music is based on 8 classical notes: Sa Re Ga Ma Pa
Dha Ni Sa. It can be divided into two types: instrumental and vocal. Outside
the Indian subcontinent instrumental classical music is more popular.
Dhrupad, khayal and thumri are some major vocal forms-cum-styles related to
Hindustani classical music.
In any signature performance of Hindustani Music, the musician usally
begins with a slow raga, known as alap. Once the raga establishes itself,
the ornamentation around the mode becomes rhythmical. And then, the tal
comes on the stage.
Carnatic music is the classical music of southern India. Different schools
of Carnatic music are based on the same ragas, numbering around 300.
Instruments mainly used are the veena, flute, violin and for rhyth, the
mridangam and the ghatam. In comparison to Hindustani classical music, the
Carnatic music is more influenced by theory and has follows the rules
strictly. It lays stress on the richness of voice rather than the
Thanks to extreme cultural diversity, India has an array of folk music
styles. This type of music is essential component of social events such as
weddings, birthdays and engagements. Plethora of songs are used on such
occasions. Instruments like dholak, ektar, dotar, saringda and santur are
used. Dance is often associated with folk music. Bhangra, Lavani, Dandiya
and Garba are few more popular forms of dance-oriented folk music. These are
associated with the states of Punjab, Maharashtra and Gujarat respectively.
Movies are very popular with Indian masses. And large number of music
lovers in India are fond of Indian film music. Few Indian films are without
songs which play to the preferences of the common people. Some well-known
playback singers on Indian movie stage are Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar,
Kishore Kumar, Mukesh and Asha Bhonsle.
The tribal music is associated with the tribals living in the hilly and
jungle regions. It is different from folk music, and shows tribal culture as
it was even thousands of years ago. It is sung mainly in the tribal areas of
Indian like Orissa and Chhatisgarh.
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