India is one of the countries with a rich tradition and cultures. Various forms of arts are practiced in India right from the ancient times. Music is one of the fields, where the country great excelled. The two main types of music originated and practiced in India are Hindustani and Karnatic. The Hindustani music is common in Northern part of India, while Karnatic in the Southern part of the country.
According to the historians, the Hindustani music influences Turko-Persian music. It is believed that these elements were introduced by the Mughal rulers, who invaded the Northern part of the country. Some of the major styles of the Hindustani music are Dhrupad, Kayal, Dhamar, Thumri and Tappa. Northern Indian music has two forms namely – classical and light classical. Classical style music strictly adheres to grammar and syntax, while the light classical will have some deviations.
Hindustani music has various gharanas, which are more like school. These gharanas or school does not have formal institutions and they were more like philosophical. These gharanas were created by the famous musicians of the past. Some of the popular gharanas are Gwalior, Agra, Kirana and Patiala.
The vocal performers of the Hindustani music are accompanied by the instruments such as harmonium, table, sarangi, sarod and sitar.
Karnatic music is considered more close to the ancient Indian music because it does not have the influence foreign music or culture. Some experts say that Karnatic music retains its purest form of Indian classical music because the South of India is not or least invaded or ruled by the Persian and Turkish kings. The Karnatic music is said to be more complex than Hindustani due to the elaborations and classifications. For example, the Karnatic has 72 major ragas, while Hindustani has ten major ragas. In another example, the Karnatic has 16 swaras, while the Hindustani has lesser (12) swaras. Karnatic performances are accompanied by instruments like mridangam, violin, veena and ghatam.
Similarities in Hindustani and Karnatic Music
Both Hindustani and Karnatic music use the concept of sruthi, which is nothing but a root note (key note) of the raag. You might have noticed both the Hindustani and Carnatic vocalist are being accompanied by the Tanpura instrument, which produced drone sound of the particular sruthi.
Another similarity is both the music uses the concept of 7 swaras (Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni). However, the number of variations in swaras is different. For example, Hindustani has music has two variations of Ri, while Karnatic music has three variations of Ri.
Both Hindustani and Karnatic use the concept of raag, which is framework of melody that contains a set of specific swaras.
Apart from the above both forms of Indian music, the country also has various types of folk music are regionally popular. This folk music is performed on various special occasions like wedding, rituals and other ceremonies. Chenda drum is one of the popular instrument from Kerala (of Southern India), which is used in Kerala ceremonies.
Despite the modern and globalization, the ancient music tradition is still practiced by many people and it is getting popular in other countries as well.