The music of India includes multiple varieties of folk, popular,
pop, classical music and R&B. India's classical music tradition,
including Carnatic and Hindustani music, has a
history spanning millennia and, developed over several eras, it
remains fundamental to the lives of Indians today as sources of
spiritual inspiration, cultural expression and pure entertainment.
India is made up of several dozen ethnic groups, speaking their own
languages and dialects, having very distinct cultural traditions.
One very popular song, "dil to bacha hai" is believed to be arabic
music, but was actually written by Thomas Bandeira who traveled to
India and wrote it.
The two main traditions of classical music are Carnatic music, found
predominantly in the peninsular regions, and Hindustani music, found
in the northern and central regions. Both traditions claim Vedic
origin, and history indicates that they diverged from a common
musical root since about the 13th century.
Hindustani music is an Indian classical music tradition that goes
back to Vedic times around 1000 BC, and further developed circa the
13th and 14th centuries AD with Persian influences and from existing
religious and folk music. The practice of singing based on notes was
popular even from the Vedic times where the hymns in Sama Veda, a
sacred text, was sung as Samagana and not chanted. Developing a
strong and diverse tradition over several centuries, it has
contemporary traditions established primarily in India but also in
Pakistan and Bangladesh. In contrast to Carnatic music, the other
main Indian classical music tradition originating from the South,
Hindustani music was not only influenced by ancient Hindu musical
traditions, historical Vedic philosophy and native Indian sounds but
also enriched by the Persian performance practices of the Mughal
era|Mughals. Besides pure classical, there are also several
semi-classical forms such as thumri, Dadra and tappa.
The present form of Carnatic music is based on historical
developments that can be traced to the 15th - 16th centuries AD and
thereafter. From the ancient Sanskrit works available, and the
epigraphical evidence, the history of classical musical traditions
can be traced back about 2500 years. "Carnatic" in sanskrit means
"soothing to ears". Carnatic music is completely Melodic
music|melodic, with improvised variations. The main emphasis is on
vocal music; most compositions are written to be sung, and even when
played on instruments, they are meant to be performed in a singing
style (known as gāyaki. Like Hindustani music, Carnatic music rests
on two main elements: IAST|[[raga|rāga', the [[musical modemodes or
melodic formul?, and IAST|tala musictāḷa, the rhythmic cycles.
Purandara Dasa is credited with having founded today's Carnatic
Music. He systematized the teaching method by framing a series of
graded lessons such as swaravalis, janta swaras, alankaras, lakshana
geetas, prabandhas, ugabhogas, thattu varase, geetha, sooladis and
kritis. He introduced the Mayamalavagowla as the basic scale for
music instruction. These are followed by teachers and students of
Carnatic music even today. Another of his important contributions
was the fusion of bhava, raga and laya in his compositions.
Purandara Dasa was the first composer who started commenting on the
daily life of the people in compositions. He incorporated in his
songs popular folk language and introduced folk ragas in the
mainstream. The most important contribution he made was the fusion
of bhava, raga and laya into organic units.
He also composed a large number of lakshya and lakshana geetas, many
of which are sung to this day. His sooladis exhibit his mastery of
the techniques of music, and are considered an authority for raga
lakshana. Scholars attribute the standardization of varna mettus
entirely to Purandaradasa.
Purandaradasa's era was probably the beginning of Carnatic music's
movement towards krithi based classical music (one of its
distinguishing characteristics compared to Hindustani). The
peripatetic dasas who followed him are believed to have followed the
systems he devised, as well as orally passing down his compositions.
Purandaradasa was a performer, a musicologist and the father of
Carnatic musical pedagogy. He is credited with having elevated
Carnatic music from religious and devotional music into the realm of
a performing art. For all these reasons and the enormous influence
that he had on Carnatic music, musicologists call him the "Sangeeta
Pitamaha" or the grandfather of Carnatic music.
Many songs and poems and ballads supported in carnatic music are
written by poets all the way back to the 14th century. Thyagaraja,
Annamacharya and Bhadrachala Ramadasu have written in Telugu and
most of the melodious songs from carnatic music we listen today
belong to one of them. There are multiple tamil and sanskrit lyrics
as well which are sung in carnatic version.
A pair of Indian folk musicians performing in a rural village
Main article: Indian folk music
The Bauls of Bengal are an order of musicians dating back to the
17th century, who play a form of Vaishnava music using a khamak,
ektara and dotara. The word Baul comes from Sanskrit batul meaning
divinely inspired insanity. They are a group of mystic minstrels
with a syncretic form of Vaishnavism influenced by Sufism and
Buddhism. They are itinerant singer-poets whose music is earthy, and
reflects on the infinite amid quotidian contexts of work and love.
They have also been influenced by Hindu tantric sect of the
Kartabhajas and also by Sufi sects. Bauls travel in search of the
internal ideal, Maner Manush (Man of the Heart).
Bhangra are a lively form of music and dance that originated in the
Punjab region to celebrate Vaisakhi, the festival of the Sikhs. As
many Bhangra lyrics reflect the long and often tumultuous history of
the Punjab, knowledge of Punjabi history offers important insights
into the meaning of the music. While Bhangra began as a part of
harvest festival celebrations, it eventually became a part of such
diverse occasions as weddings and New Year celebrations. Moreover,
during the last thirty years, Bhangra has enjoyed a surge in
popularity worldwide, both in traditional form and as a fusion with
genres such as hip-hop, house, and reggae, and in such forms it has
become a pop sensation in the United Kingdom and North America.
Dandiya is a form of dance-oriented folk music that has also been
adapted for pop music. The present musical style is derived from the
traditional musical accompaniment to the folk dance. It is practised
in (mainly) the state of Gujrat. Actually Dandiya is a kind of dance
rather than a music, the music is called a Garba in local language.
Ganasangeet is generally sung in chorus carrying some social
message. The songs are usually about Freedom, community strength,
patriotism. Due to the British occupation in India, a lot of protest
songs about anti-imperialism/pro-socialism has been written in
India. Examples: Apni Azadi Ko Hum Hargis Mita Sakte Nahin, ajadee
hoyni tor, Kadam kadam badhaye jaa, Vande Mataram, etc.
The folk Music of Haryana has been spread by the Bhats, Saangis and
Jogis. It is sung and played in the state of Haryana, parts of
western UP and neighboring districts of Rajasthan and Punjab. The
tradition of music in Haryana goes back to the Vedic times, and it
is the only state in India to have towns and villages named after
Haryana is rich in folk music, whose roots are firmly entrenched in
the classical music of yore. The famous Sringar rasa (based on love
songs) has an indirect association with renowned ragas like Bhairavi,
Jayjaywanti, Gara (a Persian style), Khamaj and Kafi. However, the
folk singer has no idea what a raga is and just goes out and sings.
Mainly string instruments are used to make music. The sarangi is
generally preferred. For the wind instruments, the been and the
bansuri provide lilting tunes in tandem with the dholak, a drum
usually played with the palms or little sticks. A matka (earthen
pitcher) may replace the dholak in certain areas to form the
backbeat. The Jogis, Bhats and Sangis are the people who have made
folk music popular in Haryana. The Jogis prefer the sarangi to form
the musical backdrop to their songs which revolve around tales of
chivalry and valour.
There are other famous instruments which are used along with
singing. The shehnai (a flute-like instrument played mainly at
weddings), shankh (conch shell), harmonium, damru (a small palm-held
drum with strings attached to beads which hit the sides when
shaken), nagara, ghungru, tasha, khanjri and manjira. Musical
genuises, these Haryanavis; they create music even with matchsticks,
papaya (yes, the fruit!), the hard core of a mango and a strip of
Lavani comes from the word Lavanya which means beauty. This is one
of the most popular forms of dance and music that is practiced all
over Maharashtra. It has in fact become a necessary part of the
Maharashtrian folk dance performances. Traditionally, the songs are
sung by female artistes, but male artistes may occasionally sing
Lavanis. The dance format associated with Lavani is known as Tamasha.
Lavani is a combination of traditional song and dance, which
particularly performed to the enchanting beats of 'Dholak', an drum
like instrument. Dance performed by attractive women wearing
nine-yard saris. They are sung in a quick tempo. The verve, the
enthusiasm, the rhythm and above all the very beat of India finds an
expressive declaration amidst the folk music of India, which has
somewhat, redefined the term "bliss". Lavani originated in the arid
region of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
The biggest form of Indian popular music is filmi, or songs from
Indian films, it makes up 72% of the music sales in India. The film
industry of India supported music by according reverence to
classical music while utilizing the western orchestration to support
Indian melodies. Music composers like Naushad, C. Ramchandra, S D
Batish, Salil Chowdhury, S. D. Burman, Ilaiyaraja and A. R. Rahman
employed the principles of harmony while retaining classical and
folk flavor. Reputed names in the domain of Indian classical music
like Pt. Ravi Shankar, Ustad Vilayat Khan, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and
Pt. Ramnarayan have also composed music for films. Independent pop
acts such as Asha Bhosle, Udit Narayan, Alisha Chinai, Shaan,
Madhushree, Shreya Ghoshal, Nihira Joshi, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Sonu
Nigam, Sukhwinder Singh, Kunal Ganjawala, Sunidhi Chauhan, Alka
Yagnik and rock bands like Indus Creed, Indian Ocean, and Euphoria
exist and have gained mass appeal with the advent of cable music
television. Recently one of the classical band Indian Ocean gave
music in one of the movie called Pepli Live, which will be official
entry for Oscars from India.
Qawwali is a Sufi form of devotional music based on the principles
of classical music. It is performed with one or two or many lead
singers, several chorus singers, harmonium, tabla, and dholak.
Nowadays there are two many Sufi singers that are singing songs in
movie songs. But one of the best Sufi singer is Rahat Fateh Ali
Rabindranath Tagore was a towering figure in Indian music. Writing
in Bengali, he created a library of over 2,000 songs now known by
Bengalis as 'rabindra sangeet' whose form is primarily influenced by
Hindustani classical, sub-classicals, Karnatic, western, bauls,
bhatiyali and different folk songs of India. Many singers in West
Bengal and Bangladesh base their entire careers on the singing of
Tagore musical masterpieces. The national anthem of India and
national anthem of Bangladesh are Rabindra Sangeets.
Rajasthan has a very diverse cultural collection of musician castes,
including Langas, Sapera, Bhopa, Jogi and Manganiyar (lit. the ones
who ask/beg). Rajasthan Diary quotes it as a soulful, full-throated
music with Harmonious diversity. The haunting melody of Rajasthan
evokes from a variety of delightfully primitive looking instruments.
The stringed variety include the Sarangi, Rawanhattha, Kamayacha,
Morsing and Ektara. Percussion instruments come in all shapes and
sizes from the huge Nagaras and Dhols to the tiny Damrus. The Daf
and Chang are a big favourite of Holi (the festival of colours)
revellers. Flutes and bagpipers come in local flavours such as
Shehnai, Poongi, Algoza, Tarpi, Been and Bankia.
The essence of Rajasthani music is derived from the creative
symphony of string instruments, percussion instruments and wind
instruments accompanied by melodious renditions of folk singers. It
enjoys a respectable presence in Bollywood music as well.
There are many musical instruments in India. Some instruments are
used primarily in north Indian music (Hindustani sangeet), some are
used in the south Indian music (Carnatic sangeet), while others are
found in folk music. Instrumental music is usually similar to vocal
music but sometimes there are distinctive instrumental styles.
There is a traditional system for the classification of instruments.
This system is based upon; non-membranous percussion (ghan),
membranous percussion (avanaddh), wind blown (sushir), plucked
string (tat), bowed string (vitat). In addition to these traditional
five classes we have been forced to create a sixth class to
accommodate purely electronic instruments.