Deborshee Bhattacharjee


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Hindustani Classical Music is an Indian classical music tradition that took shape in northern India in 13th and 14th centuries AD from existing religious, folk, and theatrical performance practices. The origins of Hindustani classical music, the classical music of India, can be found from the oldest of scriptures, part of the Hindu tradition, the Vedas. Samaveda, one of the four Vedas, describes music at length.The Indian classical music has its origin as a meditation tool to attain self realization. All the different forms of these melodies (ragas) affect various "chakras" (energy centers, or "moods") in the path of the "Kundalini". There are specific physical, mental, biological and spiritual results associated with activation of these centers. Indian classical music has one of the most complicated and complete musical systems ever developed. It has the same aspects of Western classical music, as the 8 basic notes(Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa, in order, replacing Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do). As regards Indian classical music in general, there are a huge number of modes (ragas). Musicians will elaborate a single mode in detail, largely through improvisation but also based on compositions and formal demands. In both Hindustani & Carnatic music, songs (or instrumental compositions in Hindustani music) are usually (although not always) preceded by an improvised unmeasured prelude (alap/alaapana) which is sometimes extensive. This is followed by the "composition section" in which a specific rhythmic cycle (tala) is used (ordinarily with percussion accompaniment). Although it is usually based upon a pre-existing composition, there are specific improvisational features to this section as well. This aspect earns Indian classical music comparisons with Western Jazz, with which it shares some demands. Khayal (literally "imagination") is the standard classical vocal form in Hindustani music. Its development is more recent than dhrupad, and it generally eschews the long alaps, but has a larger degree of improvisation (analogous to an instrumental gat) in the metrical singing. It does have its own long history, and has a very wide variety of performance styles (gharanas). Standard accompaniment is the tabla for rhythm, as well as a melodic accompaniment (sarangi, giving way to harmonium).
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