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Indian Music – A Complete Guide

Indian Music – A Complete Guide

If I were asked to define Indian music in just one word- I would describe it as timeless. Indeed, the music from this vast and hugely diverse country has withstood the test of time. The fact that India’s music is admired the world over speaks volumes of its richness. No other music on the planet can claim to be truly universal as the Indian music, that has transcended barriers of language and man made borders.

Indian music- travel back in time

The genesis of Indian music can be traced back to the Vedas or the holy scriptures of Hindus. Music has always been an integral part of Indian culture and tradition. The ethnic diversity that one comes across here is largely responsible for the difference in sounds. Indian music is primarily based on a system of Raag and Taal. Simply put, Raag means melody or the scale in terms of Western music and Taal refers to the rhythmic beats. Raag comprises 7 notes that are arranged in a systematic pattern where as Taal is repeated in a certain format.

There are several genres of Indian music. Here’s a complete guide:

* Classical music: Indian classical music is of two varieties – Hindustani and Carnatic music. Hindustani music is prevalent in the northern part of the country whereas Carnatic music has its roots in Southern India. Though the fundamentals of these two schools of music remain the same, they differ essentially in their rendition. They can be both vocal and instrumental.

* Folk or desi music: This music comes from the various states of the country each different in their language and style, but the impact on the listener is the same, you will be transported to land from where they originate be it Assam, Bengal or Tamilnadu. Desi music could be Bhangra from Punjab or Dandiya from Gujarat or Lavani from the state of Maharashtra. Most desi songs are accompanied by dance that compliments the music.

* Light music: This is an extremely vast genre that encompasses devotional music, ghazals, patriotic songs and Quwallis. However, the most popular form of light music is Bollywood and Indipop music. Bollywood refers to the Indian counterpart of Hollywood, as in the Indian film industry. This is a real money spinner with legends from Lata Mangeshkar to RD Burman to AR Rehman achieving iconic status. Indian music is known the world over by its remixes, film songs and pop numbers. Bollywood music rocks, not just in India, but also in the US, UK and parts of South and East Asia.

* Rock and metal: This genre of music is still in its nascent stage with people preferring to listen to Metallica and Def Leopard. But bands like Parikrama, Zero and Nexus are slowly gaining recognition.

The websites on Indian music offer all that you need to know about everything beyond the realm of music. These websites are generally Bollywood based and contain music downloads of your favorite artist, film or actor. There are wallpapers, videos and clips from films, trivia of all Bollywood stars, interviews, events, movie and music reviews, public opinion, golden oldies and all the latest hits. You can shop for CD’s/DVD’s send them as gifts to India and check out the new releases, among other things.

Indian music is extremely complex and diverse, but still is very exiting in its own unique way. A song from India has the ability to transport you to another world altogether. Happy listening.