Music of India

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11 Questions

Which form of classical music from India emphasizes on vocal music and has compositions that are predominantly meant to be sung?

Carnatic Music

What is the essential melodic element of Indian classical music called?

Raga

Which type of music from India is primarily vocal-centric and has its origins in North India?

Hindustani Music

In Indian classical music, what is the elaborate metric system called?

Tala

What aspect of Indian classical music involves using nasal techniques in vocal singing and sympathetic strings in melodic instruments?

Timbre

Which type of Indian classical music places emphasis on instrumental music and starts with slow melodic elaboration before speeding up?

Hindustani Music

Which traditional Indian musical instrument is known for being a transverse flute with 6-7 finger holes?

Bansuri

What type of instrument is a Shehnai in Indian music?

Oboe

Which drum in Indian music is derived from the Arabic word 'tabi'?

Tabla

What is the primary function of Ghungroo in the context of Indian music?

Rhythmic accompaniment

What distinguishes Jal Tarang as a musical instrument in India?

Tuning using water

Study Notes

Music of India

  • Indian music is an essential part of India's culture and identity.
  • Vocal music is a way for humans to communicate and engage with gods, and singing involves vocalization, transforming into a form of worship.

Characteristics of Indian Music

  • Timbre: Indian vocal singing uses nasal techniques, while melodic instruments have sympathetic strings, adding resonance and fullness to the sound.
  • Rhythm: Indian music has an elaborate metric system called "Tala", which is a complex system.
  • Harmony: Tonal blending is heterophonic and highly ornamented, resulting in a texture from simultaneous performances of melodic variants of the same tune.
  • Melody: Indian classical music has a complex modal system, with melodies ornamented with added notes that are not vital to the overall line.
  • Raga: The essential melodic element of Indian classical music is called "Raga", which is the basis of Indian classical music.
  • Texture: Sound is organized using melodic or drum accompaniment, and drone accompaniment, supplied by string instruments.

Types of Indian Classical Music

  • Hindustani Music: Originates in North India, primarily vocal-centric, and instruments are designed to emulate the human voice.
  • Carnatic Music: Originates in South India, emphasizing vocal music, with songs addressing Hindu deities, and focusing on love and social issues.

Musical Characteristics

  • Hindustani Music: Based on the Raga system, sometimes uses Tala, practices non-metric system, emphasizes instrumental music, and starts with a slow melodic elaboration.
  • Carnatic Music: Emphasizes vocal music, performed with a small ensemble, faster and shorter in tempo, and includes "Temple Music".

Vocal Music of India

  • Songs are a way for humans to communicate and engage with gods, and the singer feels the presence of Brahma through the clear presentation of rasa (dynamics).
  • Singing involves vocalization, transforming into a kind of worship, and includes the use of raga in their composition.

Sample Songs of India

  • Tamil Nad: Describes the natural beauty of a specific region in India.
  • Vijaya: A farewell song in India.
  • Hymn to Shiva: A song with spiritual content, usually sung in a slow tempo using nasal voice with a narrow range in melody.

Traditional Musical Instruments of India

  • Bansuri: A transverse flute with 6-7 finger holes.
  • Pungi: Played by snake charmers in street performances.
  • Shruti Upanga: A type of bagpipe often used to supply a drone.
  • Shehnai: A wooden oboe with metal at its end.
  • Ghatam: An earthen pot played by tapping its outer surface.
  • Ghungroo: Small metallic bells, used as a musical anklet tied to the feet of the dancer.
  • Khartal: A hand clapper commonly used in religious songs.
  • Jal Tarang: A set of ceramic bowls tuned using water, stuck on their edges.
  • Tabla: A pair of drums derived from the Arabic "tabi" or drum.
  • Mridanga: A Carnatic ensemble's rhythmic accompaniment.
  • Damaru: A small two-headed drum made of wood and leather.
  • Chande: A drum used in Carnatic music mainly in Yakshagana theatre art.
  • Tambura: A string instrument used in Indian classical music.

Explore the rich cultural significance of Indian music and its role in communication between man and god. Learn about how Indian vocal music serves as a form of worship and a means of engaging in spiritual practices.

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