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Essay on the classical music of India

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The amalgamation of the musical styles of various races in the country displays the ethnic diversity of India.

The earliest form of music was used during the Vedic period as sacred hymns, which were chanted through a method called ‘Ek Swari Gaayana’, meaning singing with the help of one note.

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The single note hymns gradually developed to the ‘Gatha Gaayana’ method of singing with double notes.

Eventually, the Vedic chants of the single note, double notes, and such other systems gave way to the initiation of the seven note system called ‘Saptaswara’.

Modern studies of the Vedic period reveal that music had been regarded as a highly privileged art form in every household, as it had been handed down to them by the Gods themselves.

In this context, the glory of the Gupta period reverberates throughout the history of Indian music as one of the most important contributors to the development of Indian music.

The evolution of modern-day Indian music, or ‘Sangeet’, as it is popularly known in the country, has simplified the art form through various innovations. Indian music has essentially been known to be performed through three modes : vocal music, instrumental music, and dance.

All the three mediums of music are prevalent in the two prominent kinds of Indian classical music, namely the North Indian classical music or the Hindustani classical music, and the classical music of South India or the Carnatic music, as well as other folk musics.

Hindustani Music The history of Hindustani classical music is said to have originated during vedic age.

During the period sacrifices and prayers were made to the Gods through hymns and chants in musical style. In India, has witnessed tremendous development in style and methodology.

Musicians such as Tansen, Amir Khusrou, etc., have contributed immensely to the progress of Indian music, the reputation of which is still being maintained in the modern era by musical stalwarts like Pandit Ravi Shankar, Bhimsen Gururaj Joshi, Pandit Jasraj, Prabha Atre, Sultan Khan, Zakir Hussain, and so on.

Carnatic Music The south Indian form of Indian classical music is known as Carnatic music, and is a musical style performed with the company of several musical instruments, such as violin, veena, mridangam, etc.

Carnatic music is prevalent in the south Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Carnatic music follows a pattern of mainly devotional themes, most of which are sung in the praise of Hindu deities.

The prime components of Carnatic music follows the same pattern as any other Indian classical music, which are the Raga, implying the melody part, and the Tala, denoting the rhythmic part.

Musical instruments are an intrinsic part of Carnatic music, and have strengthened the foundation of this art form at the hands of immaculate musicians like T.R. Mahalingam, M. Chandrasekaran, and so on.

Some of the proponents of Carnatic classical music have created waves in the international circuit through their immortal compositions and have been bestowed with several awards and commemorations, thus making them legends in the field.

Some of these doyens of Carnatic music include the names of M.S. Subbulakshmi, Madurai Mani Iyer, M.S. Balasubramanya Sarma, and so on.

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