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  • Aditi Chopra

Indian Classical Music- The Music of our Roots

“Music gives a soul to the Universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”

– Plato

As Indians, we must recognize and appreciate our culture and heritage. We must identify with pride, something that truly belongs to us.

The origins of Indian music may be traced back to the Vedic period. Brahma, the heavenly creator of the universe, is claimed to have sent music down to the world through his son, sage Narada, in order to usher in a period of peace and consolation among people.

According to new historical and cultural studies, Indian music has evolved through a complex exchange of ideas between individuals who practised many traditions and cultures. Sacred hymns were recited using a method called 'Ek Swari Gaayana,' which means singing with only one note, throughout the Vedic period. The single-note hymns evolved into the 'Gatha Gaayana' form of singing with double notes throughout time. The Vedic chants of single notes, double notes, and other systems eventually gave birth to the commencement of the 'Saptaswara' seven-note system.

Music was considered as a highly privileged art form in every household throughout the Vedic period, according to modern Vedic research, since it had been passed down to them by the Gods themselves. In this sense, the splendour of the Gupta period reverberates throughout Indian music history as one of the most significant contributors to its growth. Through many improvements, the evolution of modern-day Indian music, or 'Sangeet,' as it is generally called in the nation, has streamlined the art form. Indian music has traditionally been performed in three modes: vocal music, instrumental music, and dance. All three musical media are common in the two major types of Indian classical music, namely North Indian classical music or Hindustani classical music and South Indian classical music or Carnatic music, as well as various folk music.

Musicians such as Tansen, Amir Khusrou, and others have made significant contributions to the advancement of Indian music, the reputation of which is still being upheld in the modern era by musical legends such as Pandit Ravi Shankar, Bhimsen Gururaj Joshi, Pandit Jasraj, Aruna Sairam, Bombay Jayasree, Zakir Hussain, Begum Parveen Sultana, and others.

‘Raga’ is an Indian classical music style. It is the foundation of all musical compositions. By recognising the ‘swar’ (musical note), even a modern song may be linked to a raga. Raga is the beauty, and ‘taala’ (beats) is what brings it out. It is the system's euphonic base. The melodic mode, or raga, is performed in conjunction with a rhythmic cycle, or ‘tala’. The numerous types of rhythmic patterns form the foundation of the entire rhythmic structure. These are the essential seven notes that make up a raga. They are the pivot, causing the entire musical pattern to spin around them. These seven notes will be used to sing any composition or piece of music. ‘Sa’ (Shadhaj), ‘Re’ (Rishabh), ‘Ga’ (Gandhar), ‘Ma’ (Madhyam), ‘Pa’ (Pancham), ‘Dha’ (Dhaivat), and ‘Ni’(Nishad) are their names.

Music is the expression of life.

Melodious Khayal vocal by Smt. Kaushaki Chakrabarty based on Raga Bhimpalasi:

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