Hindustani classical music (Hindi: हिन्दुस्तानी शास्त्रीय संगीत, Urdu: ہندوستانی شاستریہ سنگیت) is the Hindustani or erstwhile North Indian style of Indian classical music found throughout the northern Indian subcontinent. It is a tradition that originated in Vedic ritual chants and has been evolving since the 12th century CE, in areas which included mainly North India and Pakistan, and to some extent, Bangladesh, Nepal and Afghanistan. Today, it is one of the two parts of Indian classical music, with the other one being Carnatic music, which represents the music of South India.
Principles of Hindustani music
The rhythmic organization is based on rhythmic patterns called Taal. The melodic foundations are called ragas. One possible classification of ragas is into "melodic modes" or "parent scales", known as Thaats, under which most ragas can be classified based on the notes they use.
Thaats may consist of up to seven scale degrees, or swara. Hindustani musicians name these pitches using a system called Sargam, the equivalent of Western movable do solfege:
- Sa (Shadaj) = Do
- Re (Rishab) = Re
- Ga (Gandhar) = Mi
- Ma (Madhyam) = Fa
- Pa (Pancham) = So
- Dha (Dhaivat) = La
- Ni (Nishad) = Ti
- Sa (Shadaj) = Do
Both systems repeat at the octave. The difference between sargam and solfege is that re, ga, ma, dha, and ni can refer to either "Natural" (Shuddha) or altered "Flat" (Komal) or "Sharp" (Tivra) versions of their respective scale degrees. As with movable do solfege, the notes are heard relative to an arbitrary tonic that varies from performance to performance, rather than to fixed frequencies, as on a xylophone. The fine intonational differences between different instances of the same swara are called shrutis. The three primary registers of Indian classical music are Mandra (lower), Madhya (middle) and Taar (upper). Since the octave location is not fixed, it is also possible to use provenances in mid-register (such as Mandra-Madhya or Madhya-Taar) for certain ragas. A typical rendition of Hindustani raga involves two stages:
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