Carnatic music

Indian Classical Music

What has become known as Indian Classical Music has evolved over the centuries and has assimilated influences from the Middle and Far East. The music basically consits of the raag (melody) and the tal (rhythmic pattern). The word used for music in India is Sangeet which encompasses the art forms of singing, the playing of instruments, dance and drama.

There are two systems of music in India, both evolved from ancient Hindu traditions. In North India, Hindustani music emerged as a distinct form because of Persian and Islamic influences and is found throughout the northern subcontinent; Carnatic music is commonly associated with the southern area roughly confined to four modern states of India: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.

Carnatic music

In Carnatic music (Sanskrit: कर्नाटक संगीत) or South Indian Classical Music, the main emphasis is on vocal music, with most compositions written to be sung. Even when played on instruments, they are meant to be performed in gāyaki (singing) style.

Although there are stylistic differences, the basic elements of śruti (the relative musical pitch), swara (the musical sound of a single note), rāga (the mode or melodic formulæ), and tala (the rhythmic cycles) form the foundation of improvisation and composition in both Carnatic and Hindustani music. Although improvisation plays an important role, Carnatic music is mainly sung through compositions, especially the kriti (or kirtanam), a form developed between the 16th and 20th centuries by composers such as Purandara Dasa and the Trinity of Carnatic music.

Carnatic music is usually performed by a small ensemble of musicians, consisting of a principal performer (usually a vocalist), a melodic accompaniment (usually a violin), a rhythm accompaniment (usually a mridangam), and a tanpura, which acts as a drone throughout the performance. Other typical instruments used in performances may include the ghatam, kanjira, morsing, veena and flute. Carnatic music is usually performed by a small ensemble of musicians, consisting of a principal performer (usually a vocalist), a melodic accompaniment (usually a violin), a rhythm accompaniment (usually a mridangam), and a tanpura, which acts as a drone throughout the performance. Other typical instruments used in performances may include the ghatam, kanjira, morsing, veena and flute. Carnatic music festivals take place in many South Indian cities such as Chennai, Bengaluru and Thiruvananthapuram.