Indian classical music
The origins of Indian classical music can be found from the oldest of scriptures, part of the Hindu tradition, the Vedas. Samaveda, one of the four Vedas, describes musicat length. Indian classical music has its origins as a meditation tool for attaining self realization. All different forms of these melodies (Ragas) are believed to affect various "chakras" (energy centers, or "moods") in the path of the "Kundalini". However, there is little mention of these esoteric beliefs in Bharat's Natyashastra, the first treatise laying down the fundamental principles of drama, dance and music. The Samaveda, one of the four Vedas, created out of Riga-Veda so that its hymns could be sung as Samaganaestablished its first principles. Hindustani classical music has its origin as a form of meditation, though available mainly to an elite audience.
Indian classical music has one of the most complex and complete musical systems ever developed. Like Western classical music, it divides the octave into 12 semitones of which the 8 basic notes are Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa, in order, replacing Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Si Do. However, it uses the just intonation tuning (unlike Western classical music which uses the equal temperament tuning system).
Indian classical music is monophonic in nature and based around a single melody line which is played over a fixed drone. The performance is based melodically on particular ragas and rhythmically on talas. Instruments typically used in Hindustani music include sitar, sarod, tambura, bansuri, shehnai, sarangi, and tabla. Instruments typically used in Carnatic music include gottuvadyam, veena, mridangam, kanjira, and violin..
The two main streams of Indian classical music are: Hindustani classical music, originally from North India Carnatic music (Karnataka Sangeeth), originally from South India
Players of the tabla, a type of drum, usually keep the rhythm in Hindustani Music. Another common instrument is the stringed tambura (also known as tanpura), which is played at a steady tone (a drone) throughout the performance of the raga. This task traditionally falls to a student of the soloist, a task which might seem monotonous but is, in fact, an honour and a rare opportunity for the student who gets it.
In Hindustani Music, the performance usually begins with a slow elaboration of the raga, known as alap. This can range from very long (30-40 minutes) to very short (2-3 minutes) depending on the style and preference of the musician. Once the raga is established, the ornamentation around the mode begins to become rhythmical, gradually speeding up. This section is called the jor. Finally, the percussionist joins in and the tala is introduced.
Carnatic raga elaborations are generally much faster in tempo and shorter. The opening piece is called a varnam, and is a warm-up for the musicians. A devotion and a request for a blessing follows, then a series of interchanges between ragams (unmetered melody) and thaalams (the ornamentation, equivalent to the jor). This is intermixed with hymns called krithis. This is followed by the pallavi or theme from the raga. Carnatic pieces can also be fixed; these are famous compositions that are popular among those who appreciate Carnatic (especially vocal) music. The prime themes of Hindustani music are Rasleela (Hindu devotionals) of Lord Rama, Krishna and Nature.
Carnatic music is emphasizes the expertise of the voice rather than that of the instruments. Primary themes include Devi worship, Rama worship, descriptions of temples and patriotic songs. Sri Purandara Dasa(1480 - 1564) is known as the father of Carnatic music. Tyagaraja (1759 - 1847), Muthuswami Dikshitar (1776 - 1827) and Syama Sastri (1762 - 1827) are know as Trinity of Carnatic music.