The Music

There are two systems of classical music in India - one from the South called "Karnatic Music" and the other from the North called "Hindustani music". They are both highly developed systems of music. Both of them place equal emphasis on melody, rhythm and lyrics. It can be appreciated at any level - emotional, intellectual and spiritual. These two systems are inherently melodic in nature with their development taking the direction of successive combinations of notes rather than simultaneous combination of notes as in Western music. The passage from one note to the other is smooth, wave-like, lilting and seldom flat. It is almost always ornamented by micro-tones, oscillations and grace notes.

The basic elements of Indian music are (1) Sruthi (2) Raga and (3) Laya. Sruthi is the pitch at which the music rendered, Raga is the melodic structure with predefined arrangement of the seven notes, and Laya is the Rhythm of the music which is measured in time cycles called Talas.

The themes of the lyrics in these systems are mythology, spirituality, romance, nature, patriotism, etc. While "Karnatic system" gives equal importance to structured compositions as well as improvisations, the "Hindustani system" emphasizes on improvisation much more than the documented compositions. That is the major difference between these two systems.



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