Indian Classical Music – Arts & Culture – IAS Notes

Indian Classical Music – India has a rich culture in traditions, rituals, music, dance etc almost every aspects of life. Indian music consists of variety of music forms like Indian classical music, folk music, pop music, filmy music etc. Therefore Indian music plays an important role in socio-religion life of India.

Indian Classical Music

Indian classical music categorized in two parts which are

(a) Hindustani Music – North and Central region of India

(b) Carnatic music – Peninsular Region

This music is based on Shruti (microtones), Swaras (notes), Alankara (ornamentations), Raga (melodies), and Tala (rhythmic pattern).

Hindustani Music

Both music forms are connected through Bharat’s Natya Shastra. They diverged in 13th – 14th centuries. Hindustani music mainly influenced by the ancient Hindu musical traditions, Vedic philosophy, Samveda etc as well as also enriched by the Persian performance practices in Mughal’s Period.

Some Classical Genres – Dhrupad, Dhamar, Khyal, Hori, Tappa, Tarana, Sargam, Thumari etc.

Carnatic Music

Carnatic music came in existence during the rule of Vijaynagar Empire in 14th – 15th centuries. Carnatic music is melodic and have fixed compositions. It consists of some compositions which are,

Pallavi – Pallavi is the first or second row of creation. It is also known as Ragam Thanam Pallavi.

Anu Pallavi – It comes after Pallavi. It is sung in starting or sometimes at the end.

Vernam – Generally it is sung in starting of the song. It has two pats,

  1. Purvang (First Half)
  2. Uttarang (Second Half)

Rag Malika – It is considered as the closing parts of the pallavi.

Carnatic music generally performed with Mridangam, Mandolin etc. It music consists 72 Ragas and focus mainly on vocal music.

List of Some Popular Hindustani Music Forms


Dhrupad is an important and ancient music form of Hindustani classical music. Nature of Dhrupad is spiritual. Its name is derived from Dhruva and Pada (Poetry).

It is mainly focused on vocal and lungs therefore it is also known as Mardana Geet. Braj-Ras is considered as Dhrupad’s topics.

It has four Baniyas

  1. Gauhar bani
  2. Nauhar Bani
  3. Khandar Bani
  4. Dagar Bani

Dhrupad uses letters of Sanskrit and originated from Hindu’s Temple. It consists mainly 4 – 5 pada and performed in pairs.

Musical Instruments – Tanmpura, Pakhavaj etc.

Dhrupad’s  Gharanas –

(a) Dagari Gharana – Dagar Bani

(b) Darbhanga Gharana – Khandar Bani

(c) Betiya Gharana – Khandar and Nauhar Bani


Khyal – thoughts and Imagin, derived from Persian. Amir Khusaro was the main contributor of this music form. It is also known as ‘Bandish’. Topics are generally stories of Lord Krishna.

Bada Khyal – Slow music

Chota Khyal – Fast Music

Khyal’s Gharanas –

Gwalior Gharana – Nathu Khan &  Vishnu Palushkar

Kirana Gharana – Abdul Wahid Khan, Other famous personality – Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, Gangu Bai Hangal.

Agra Gharana – Faiyaz Khan

Patiyala Gharana – Ali Baksh Khan, Bade Fateh Ali Khan

Bhindi Bazar Gharana – Chhazzu Khan, Nazir Khan, Khadim Hussain

Read Also: UNESCO List of Intangible Heritage Culture (ICH) of Humanity – India


Thumari is based on mixed Ragas and also considered as semi classical music form of India. It nature is love and devotions. Its languages are Hindi, Awadhi or Braj.

Begum Akhtar is famous personality of this music form.

Purvi Thumari –  Slow Music

Punjabi Thumari – Fast Music


Tappa is a fast and comples music form of India, originated in North West India.

Read Also: Indian Theater Form – IAS Notes

Read Also: Indian Folk Dance – IAS Notes


Laya plays important role in this music form. Pt. Ratan Mohan Sharma is known as the ‘King of Tarana’ and considered as the fastest Tarana singers.

Dhamar Hori

Dhamar Hori is an organized form of music consists a cycle of 14 Talas (rhythmic pattern). Its nature is spiritual and belongs to Lord Krishna.


Gazal is a famous form of music in India. It is a poetic recitation. Gazals traces its roots in classical Arabic Poetry. It s introduced in 12th century. The main contributor of Gazal in India was the famous poet Amir Khusro.


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