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Classical music of India

India has a long legacy of music and dance. One can see these forms in the sculptures of temples and palaces of the subcontinent. Indian Classical Music (Instrumental and Vocal) is rooted in antiquity, with traces of its origin found in ancient books, tradition and the Vedas. The Indian classical music can be further distinguished into two main streams viz. Hindustani (North Indian) have influence of Persian, Arabic music and Carnatic (South Indian). The prime form of music here is the ancient complex patterns of melody called raga merged with Talas or rhythm that affects energy centres laying emphasis as a tool of meditation for self-realization. Indian classical music can be divided into two broad categories :

1. Hindustani music :

Hindustani music is mainly found in North India. Khyal and dhrupad are its two main forms, but there are several other classical and semi-classical forms. There is a significant amount of Persian influence in Hindustani music in terms of the instruments, style of presentation, and ragas such as Hijaz Bhairav, Bhairavi, Bahar, & Yamen. 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. Besides pure classical, there are also several semi-classical forms such as thumri, Dadra and tappa.

2. Carnatic music :

Carnatic music, from South India, tends to be significantly more structured than Hindustani music. Carnatic raga elaborations are generally much faster in tempo and shorter than their equivalents in Hindustani music. 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 epigraphically 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, 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 gayaki). Like Hindustani music, Carnatic music rests on two main elements: Raga, (musical mode or melodic formula), and Tala music (the rhythmic cycles).

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