Fundamentals of Indian Music

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About the Book Indian music is like an ever-willing spring, which has become an ocean. It has passed through different periods primitive, prehistoric, classical, mediaeval and modern. Throughout the ages, the education in the fine art of Indian music has imparted through Guru-Shishya-Parampara or Gharana system. Indian music being entirely melodic has been conceived in terms of the human voice and is forwarded on relationships between sounds and is based on certain universal physical laws with ...
About the Book

Indian music is like an ever-willing spring, which has become an ocean. It has passed through different periods primitive, prehistoric, classical, mediaeval and modern. Throughout the ages, the education in the fine art of Indian music has imparted through Guru-Shishya-Parampara or Gharana system. Indian music being entirely melodic has been conceived in terms of the human voice and is forwarded on relationships between sounds and is based on certain universal physical laws with an infinite variety of substitutes. Raga is the fundamental element of Indian music, which helps a musician to reach the prime goal, realization of Atman and the culture of Indian music is fruitful with this meaningful quest for eternal truth that lies in the art of music. The Indian musician brings an exalted personal expression of union with the infinite.

Indian music originated on the shadowy past, underwent gradual transformation through the process of evolution, making adjustment with the environment manners and customs of different human societies. Taste and temperament of the people of different countries are the cause for the variation on the forms of music. But in the ultimate analysis we find that music of all countries bear the same significance, the same idea with the pious motive of enriching the treasure of human knowledge.

This work covers some of the fundamental aspects of Indian Music-Sangeet, Hindustani and Karnatic music, sound, swara, shruti, thata, Raga, Raga-Ragini scheme, Classification of instruments, formation of thatís in Karnatic and Hindustani Music, Layakaries origin of Sitar, Tanpura, Tabla different forms of music, Bibliographical studies of different musicians and description of few Ragas etc.

About the Author

Dr. (Mrs.) Swatantra Sharma is a well known educationist and scholar of Indian Classical Music. She has written a number of books on Indian Classical Music, mainly, Bhartiya Sangeet: Ek Vaiganik Vishleshan and Pashchatya Swarlipi Paddati Evan Bhartiya Sangeet and these books have been widely popular in various universities, institutions of Music, Teachers, Research Scholars as well as Music lovers and even recommended in syllabus of Western countries to teach Indian Classical Music in foreign. Dr. Sharma has done her D.Phil. in Music on Comparative Study of the Evoluation of Indian and Western Music and has published a number of articles. She is a regular A.I.R., T.V. and stage artist.

Dr. Sharma has to her credit a rich administrative experience of organising Programmes of Music, dance and drama at National level for a period of five years in the Deptt. of Cultural Affairs, U.P. Govt. and North Central Zone Cultural Centre, Govt. of Indian directly selected by Public Service Commission, U.P.

St present Dr. Sharma is teaching in the Deptt. of Performing Art in Allahabad University, with her specialization in Indian Classical Music.


Music of any culture, east or west, is founded on relationships between sounds and is based on certain universal physical laws. It is mainly based upon melody or Raga with an infinite variety of subtlities. Raga is the fundamental element of Indian music which is made of a scale, a mode, Shruti, Swara, gamaka, grace, notes and other embellishments of music. Throughout the ages, the education of this Raga system was imparted through indigenous way called Guru-Shishya-parampara or Gharana system. After independence, the introduction of music at School, College and University levels resulted in a great demand for degrees on music; and a better literature was the utmost need for a systematically arranged music for the use of music scholars, and students at institutional level.

The present work Fundamentals of Indian Music fills this gap and deals with the origin and history of Indian classical music. The book mainly deals with the origin of Sangeet, two main systems of musicó Kamatic and Hindustani, musical and unmusical sound, Nad, Shruti, Swara, Saptak, Thata, Vamas aid Alankaras. The next part of the book is devoted to classification of Ragas among thatas, Alap, Tan, vibration, frequency, relation of pitch with vibration and other fundamental aspect's of Indian classical music.

It further analysis the formation of thatas in Karnatic as well as Hindustani music, division and classification of Ragas, qualities and defects of musician, Rag-Ragini-scheme, classification of instruments, prevalent forms of Alap, Tan, Gan, Prabandh, Shuddha, Chayalag, Sankeema Raga, com-parison of North Indian and South Indian Swaras, and significance of Tirobhava and Abirbhava as well as the place of Alpatva and Bahutva in Indian Raga Music. The present work also covers the different Layakaries of Tals, Ten prans of Tala, Tabla explanation of various forms, brief history, origin and tuning of the different instruments like, Tanpura, Tabla, Sitar, with a detailed description of their various parts and manner of holding the instruments while playing.

There is a vivid description of all the forms of compositions like Dhrupad, Dhamar, Khyal, Thumari, Tarana, Chaturang, Dadra, Thappa etc. in the book and the information contained in over 25 bibliographical entries with a detailed life-sketch is useful. Different basic Alankars and at least twenty-five basic Ragas with a description of Alap, Tan and details have been given in the book. To the perceptive reader, this directly and lucidly written book should be a clarifying and edifying experience. I would like this book to go forth and perform its very vital task for those students of music and teachers in India and abroad who wish to know about the fundamentals of Indian classical music.

I owe my gratitude to Late Prof. Vinay Chandra Maudgalya, Director Gandharva Sangeet Mahavidyalaya, Delhi, Prof. Vidyadhar Vyas, Head Deptt. of Music, Bombay University, Dr. Krishna Bisht, Prof. and Dean, Faculty of Music and Fine Arts, University of Delhi, Prof. Debu Chaudhri, Deptt. of Music, Delhi University, Prof. N. Rajam Head Deptt. of Music Banaras Hindu University, Dr. S. S. Awasthi, Prof. U.S. Kodiak, Pt.R.A. Jha, Dr. (Km.) Geeta Banerjee, presently the Head Deptt. of Music, Allahabad University for their guidance and inspiration rendered to me from time to time. I am also thankful to my colleagues and students for they have been the source of inspiration and encouragement.


Indian Music : The Historical Background

Indian music is artistically fully developed, has a strong theoretical basis and has a glorious history, extending over a span of 2000 years. It possesses all the varieties. viz., Art Music, Sacred Music, Dance Music and Folk Music. The beginning of Indian music is lost in the beautiful and fanciful legends of gods and goddesses, who were supposed to be its authors and patrons. The goddess Saraswati is always represented as the goddess of Art and learning. The god Shiva is supposed to have been the creator of this three-fold art, viz., vocal, instrumental music and dancing. The Rishi Narada, who wanders about on earth and heaven, singing and playing on his veena, taught music to men. The inhabitants of Heaven like Gandharvas, Apsaras, Kinnaras were all musicians, who sang, danced and performed musical instruments.

Now from the history of India, we know that culture and civilization of India were created by the merchant class of people, known as Pani. These Panis had developed the art of Music and dancing like all other branches of art and science. They had intense feeling for the art of singing and dancing and those feelings and love came out in the form of song and dance.

The era of ancient music begins in the age of Vedas. These Vedas are the meeting point between history and legend. The vedic index shows a very wide variety of musical instruments in use in vedic times. The vocal music emerged in the form of chanting the Sama-veda. These hymns of the Rik and Sam Vedas are the earliest examples of vocal music.

The Samaveda was sung according to very strict rules, and the present temple singers of the Saman, claim their oral tradition, goes back to those ancient times. In the vedic period, the people of India developed the art of music and dancing as an essential part of culture. They were skilled in the playing of flutes, primitive drums and stringed instruments known as veenas. Aryans sang chants which were known as Sama-gana. This Sama-gana is the root of all our classical music. It is from the Saman music that the further music in India developed. The primary vedic treatise is Gandharva Veda. The Sama-gana side by side with folk music was developed into Raga music in the later age.

The earliest reference to musical theory seems to be in Rikpratisluikhya (c. 400 B.C.) which mentions the three voice registers and the seven notes. Just before this time, Pythagorus in Greece (510 B.C.) worked out the musical system of the Greeks.

In the Rarndyarta (400 B.C.-A.D. 200) mention is made to the singing of ballads. Rama and Lakshmana sang a poem composed by Valmiki before king Dashrath. Ravan was a great master of music. The Rtimayart mentions the Jatis, which were seven in number. Among the musical instruments Bheri, Dundubhi, Mridanga, Pataka, Ghata, Veena are being referred to.

The Mahabharata (B.C.-A.D. 200) speaks of the seven Swaras and also of the Gandhara Grama.

The Buddhists (A.D. 300-500) were more fertile in architecture, sculpture and painting than in music. The dramas of Kalidas (C. A.D. 400) make frequent references to music and evidently the Ragas of that time had regular musicians attached to their courts.

The oldest treatise describing ancient music, Ntitya Shastra or the science of dancing, was composed by the saga Bharat in 200 to 400 A.D. A detailed account of the swaras, Shruti, scale, grama, parent scales, Murchhana, Alankar, Tan, Geet, Jati, Tal, Chand has been given in Ntitya Shastra. During this period, the Jati was the basic melody, upon which compositions were constructed, a universal kind of Proto-Raga from which all later Ragas evolved. Actually Bharat's Noitya-Shostra is the source of evolution of classical art music.

The next treatise of importance is the Narad Shikshti by Narada (Ist Century A.D.) in which Narada has described the principles of Sama-singing. Narada made reference to the male and female ragas for the first time, which later on developed into Raga-Ragini classification of Ragas.

After Narad, Matanga, Parshvadeva and other ancient musicologists have mentioned about various classical forms. Matanga wrote a treatise Brihaddeshi, in which he has described two kind of prevalent songs known as Giti and Gana. Matanga also introduced the Raga system for the first time. He also expanded and defined Deshi music in his book. Matanga defined the Raga as 'a combination of notes, illustrated by melodic movements, varna, which is capable of producing pleasant sensations. After Matanga, we find another important book on music Geet-Govinda, composed by Jaideva. This nook mainly deals the love-songs of Krishna and Radha with references to Raga and Tala. Jayadeva lived at the end of the twelfth century. He was born at Kendulla near Bolpur, where lives today the poet laureate of Bengal and modern India. Kendulla still celebrates an annual fair at which the best musical pieces are regularly performed. The love songs of the Geet-Govinda were known as Prabandhas. The Geet-Govinda is a charming lyrical composition. In these songs Radha pours forth her yearning, her sorrow and her joy and Krishna assures her of his love.

After Geet-Govinda, we do not get reference of any other treatise on music in the ancient period.

By this time, the Afghan invasions were steadily marring the northern culture. Influences were coming from Persian and Arabic melodies, but during this time the south remained completely untouched. Now two entirely different systems of music arose in India-the Hindustani system of the North and the Karnatic system of the South.

Mohammaden rulers took over control of northern section of the country and many scholars and musicians, left the North and took up residence in other parts of India. In the south, musicians were in the service of Hindu rulers and the temples functioned there as the 'Patrons' for performing artists. In the north, on the other hand, classical music continued to be restricted mostly to the royal courts and to a small group of wealthy men.

In early 13th century, we find a valuable treatise on music Sangit Ratnakard by Pt. Sharangadeva, who lived in South. He was aware of the stream of music from both north and south and tried to give a common basis to them both. In his encyclopaedic work Sangit Ratnakara, he discusses the broad range of musical forms, systematizes the old music theory, and explains a multitude of musical terms.

Sharangadeva lived at the court of the Yadava dynasty of Devagiri in the Deccan. At that time the Maratha empire extended to the river Kaveri in the south and it is probable that SHarangadeva had come into contact with the music of the South as well as that of the North. His work Sangit-Ratndkara shows many signs of this contact. He gave the common theory which underlines the both systems.

The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries are the most important in the development of the Northern School. It was the time of the Mohammaden conquest. Many of the emperors did a great deal to extend the practice of music and attached musicians to their court. The Persian influenced Indian music and we find a remarkable difference in the northern and southern music, and the two schools now developed separatelyóknown as Hindustani and Karnatic. South preserved the purity of the old music and the north combined to Muslim and Indian music both.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

Item Code: NAR497 Author: Dr. Swatantra Sharma Cover: PAPERBACK Edition: 1996 Publisher: Pratibha Prakashan ISBN: 818526841X Language: English Size: 9.00 X 6.00 inch Pages: 336 (3 B/W Illustrations) Other Details: Weight of the Book: 0.48 Kg
Price: $35.00
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