Overview of Indian Classical Music

India has the world’s oldest music tradition. The origins can be traced back to the time of the Vedas (ancient scriptures of the Hindus which contain spiritual knowledge about all aspects of our lives from birth to death).

If you ask someone where and when Indian classical music came into existence, you would be given conflicting answers. But there is no doubt at all that music is and will always be a deep part of the Indian culture.

It is interesting to note that India is a melting pot of immense diversity. Different people, different cultures and different races mean that the abundance and variety of classical music is limitless.

Sangeet is the basis of Indian music. Many people have mistaken it to be just vocal. It also includes instrumental music as well as dance.

Today in India, there are 2 main strong pillars of music; one is called the ragas. This is the melodic form of music. Some of the greatest legends of ragas were people like Bhimsen Joshi, Tansen, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and Pandit Ravi Shankar.

The other pillar of music was Tal which meant the rhythmic end of the music spectrum. This relates to the patterns of beat and is rather complex.

Indian classical music is incomplete without musical instruments and some of the most popular are tablas and harmoniums as well as the elegant sitar.

Below are pictures of some very popular instruments used in Indian classical music

tablas sitar
harmonium santoor


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