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Theydeserveit >> Music>>Indian Instrumental Music

Indian Instrumental Music

Indian Instrumental Music is a part of the classical music that is a much-venerated tradition of India. Indian Classical Music is a part of the Indian heritage, and is said to be found in the oldest scriptures, namely the "Vedas". There are two principles streams of Indian Classical Music - Hindustani Music from North India, and Carnatic Music (Karnataka Sangeetham) from South India.

Hindustani Classical Music is based on ancient Hindu musical traditions, Vedic philosophy, as well as the Persian musical exercises brought by the Mughals. Hindustani Classical Music is often mistakenly termed Indian Music, as it is generally more popular worldwide.

Globally, instrumental Hindustani classical music has much greater acceptance. The reason attributed for this is that the lyrics are incomprehensible to people other than Indians. A number of musical instruments are associated with Hindustani Classical Music. They are stringed instruments, bowed instruments, wind instruments and percussion instruments.

Stringed Instruments
The more widely accepted Veena, Sitar, Sarod, and the lesser known Surbahar, Sursingar, Santoor and various versions of the Slide Guitar.

Bowed Instruments
Sarangi, Esraj (or Dilruba), and Violin

Wind Instruments
ansuri (Bamboo Flute), Shehnai, and Harmonium

Percussion Instruments
Tabla, and Pakhawaj.

Apart from these, a few other instruments are utilized in creating Instrumental Hindustani Music such as the Banjo, and the Piano.

A few of the most well-known and noted Hindustani Instrumental artists can be listed according to the instrument they specialized in -
  • Veena - Birendra Kishor Roy Chowdhury, Asad Ali Khan
  • Vichitra Veena - Dr Lalmani Misra, Pt Gopal Krishna
  • Sitar - Enayet Khan, Pt Ravi Shankar, Shahid Parvez, Vilayat Khan
  • Sarod - Allaudin Khan, Ali Akbar Khan, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan
  • Surbahar - Imrat Khan, Annapurna Devi
  • Shehnai - Bismillah Khan
  • Santoor -Shivkumar Sharma, Omprakash Chaurasia
  • Sarangi - Ram Narayan, Ustad Sultan Khan
  • Esraj - Ashish Bandopadhyay, Ranadhir Roy
  • Violin - N.Rajam, Allaudin Khan, L.Subramaniam
  • Tabla - Chatur Lal, Alla Rakha, Pt.Kishen Maharaj, Zakir Hussain, Yogmaya Shukla
  • Slide Guitar - Brij Bhushan Kabra, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt.
Carnatic Classical Music, or Karnataka Sangeetham, dates back about 2500 years back, and is part of the South Indian tradition of classical music. Carnatic Music is predominantly vocal, and even the instrumentalisation is meant to be in a singing style, and is known as 'gayaki'. Purandara Dasa, known as the 'father of Carnatic music', is said to have composed over 4,75,000 compositons, though hardly a fraction of it exists.

Carnatic music is usually performed by a small assembly of musicians, with a vocalist, a primary instrumentalist and a percussionist. The primary instruments are usually stringed, such as the Veena and the Violin, though wind instruments like the Flute are also made use of. Other instruments are used to provide support to the vocalist. The Tambura, a drone instrument is used, though nowadays it is being replaced by electroni tambura's called Sruti Box. The other accompaniments are the percussion instruments like Mridangam, Ghatam, Kanjira, Morsing, and the Dholak.

Some of the famous instrumentalists who belong to the Carnatic Instrumental Music scene are -
  • Violinists - Rajamanikkam Pillai, Papa Venkataramiah, T.N. Krishnan, M.S.Anantharaman
  • Mridangam Players - Palghat Mani Iyer, Palani Subramaniam Pillai, Mannargudi Easwaran, and Guruvayur Dorai
  • Ghatam Players - T.H. Vinayakam, N. Govindarajan
  • Flute Players - N.Ramani, Thyagarajan, Mala Chandrasekharan, Sikkil Sisters
Extensive research carried out by Dr. Lalmani Misra on Classical Music including both Vocal and Instrumental music has found expression in the most authoritative book on Indian Classical Music named Bharatiya Vadya Sangeet.







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