Indian Music : Arts & Culture notes

  • Origion of Indian Music: Traced from Sama veda & its Upaveda, Gandharva veda

  • In puranas Narada is the reference of Music & First one who heard this revealation.
  • Tambru was the first musician.
  • Nād or sound is supposed to be the basis of all creations.
  • Bharat muni’s Natya Shastra contains several chapters on music.
  • He defined music as a combination of Artya gayana & vadana.

Indian music3 Pillars of Indian Musical system:

  • Swara,
  • Rāga &
  • Tāla


  • In general sense ‘swara’ menas tone or pitch.
  • The premitive sound “OM” gave birth to swara.
  • Saptaswaras‘ or 7 swaras: Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Tha & Ni
  • ‘Shruti’ is a theoretical interval of which the scale contains 22.
  • In Carnartic Music, swaras have prakruti and vikruti swaras.
  • The vikruti swaras are Ri, GA, Ma, Da and Ni.
  • The rest are prakruti swaras i.e SA & PA.

Swara meanings

Swara Sanskrit Meaning Animal Chakra God
Sa Shadja six peacock mūlādhāra  Ganapati
Re Rishabha bull Bull svādhiṣṭhāna Agni
Ga Gandhara sky goat maṇipūra  Rudra
Ma Madhyama middle dove anāhata  Vishnu
Pa Panchama fifth cuckoo viśuddha  Naarada
Dha Dhaivata earth Horse ājñā Sadasiva
Ni Nishadam hunter elephant sahasrāra  Surya


  • Basis of melody
  • Combination of tone or swara or notes
  • Minimum 5 notes in every raga.

3 kinds of Rāgas

  • Odava Rāga: 5 notes,
  • Shadava Rāga: 6 notes &
  • Sampurna Rāga: 7 notes.

There are 6 principle Rāgas in Hindustani music & are time specific, season specific & mood specific.


  • Basis of timed Rhythm.
  • Arrangement of beats in a cyclical manners.
  • Range of Tāla is 3 to 108 beats.
  • As per Natya Shastra, they are 32 types.
  • Most popular Tāla is ‘Teental’ has 16 beats.

Note: Classification of Indian Music; 2 distinct styles i.e Hindustani & Carnatic.

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