Furthermore, I find the construction of these musical scales (correct me if I am wrong but there is no analog in western classical music of what a raga is) very interesting. Going up in the scale is different than going down and there are some key phrases that identify a raga. Then its all about interpretation.
Is there any specific tabla percussion associated with a Raga?
Some of my favorites:
- Raga Bhimapalasi: Beautiful lazy afternoon raga.
- Raga Tilak Kamod: I would describe this raga as a playful and less serious, very romantic.
- Raga Bhairav: Intense and great for early mornings. For reflective, pensive moods.
- Raga Desh: Festive feel to it.
I personally like vocal renditions of ragas. Spotify has a large selection.
Yes, but practically there are standard pitch zones based on the tunability of certain instruments, particularly percussion.
> Going up in the scale is different than going down and there are some key phrases that identify a raga. Then its all about interpretation.
Sometimes but not always. Most ragas are the same ascending and descending. They are more like the western modes system.
> Then its all about interpretation.
There is actually a huge body of fixed compositions, for both melodic and rhythmic instruments, especially in Carnatic and Dhrupad traditions. Of course improvisation still plays a more important role vs. western classical music, but it is driven by a set of standard canonical themes.
> Is there any specific tabla percussion associated with a Raga?
Not formally, but as one develops as an Indian classical percussionist, you develop an ear for what sorts of rhythmic passages pair with certain types of melodic structures. For example, the rapidly rolling rhythmic structure known as a Rela pairs with steady fast pulsating melodic patterns.
In terms of the actual type of percussion instrument there is a strong pairing, however. Tabla in particular is used in the Khyal style (the most prominent style of North Indian classical music and what you have likely been listening to), and is also used extensively in folk music. The Pakhawaj, a much lower pitch drum, is used with the Dhrupad style. Carnatic percussion, however, comprises a much larger variety of instruments, prime among them and closely related to the aforementioned Pakhawaj is the Mridangam.
I in this list, http://soundofindia.com/raagas.asp I see half or more than half have different Arohana (ascending scale of notes) and Avarohana (descending)
That hasn't been my observation at all. 100% of the stuff I find on Spotify is improvised and interpretative.
Could you point to some specifics? Not only is that interesting, perhaps it can also provide insight into the underpinnings of the "identity" of a raga. I think there is definitely a commonality between different people rendering the raga but I haven't come across a "cookie-cutter" of the sorts.
Thanks for your comment!
Khyal is mostly improvised, but even then if you listen closely there are common phrases and rhythmic patterns that get reused over and over again. Think of them as analogous to standard blues licks and riffs.
Also, if you are not a native speaker of Indian languages, especially with instrumental music you aren't hearing the words to the songs. A native listener would however recognize the fixed compositions and themes because they often know words that go along with them. I would recommend listening to the vocal renderings of Indian classical music to develop the sense.
Here are notes and lecture from a performance from the Dhrupad style that might help illuminate some of this:
I have recently started tabla, so I can perhaps answer correctly. Whenever you play a piece on a melodic instrument, like sitar, it has a cyclic nature, where after X notes you come back to the same "sum" note.
The tabla player matches this cyclic nature. X is commonly 16, so then the tabla player will play in "teen taal". This is any percussion of 16 beats (or 32/64/128 beats) that obey a very particular structure. For teen taal the structure being that notes 9-12 are played without the left tabla (no bass).
Now, an audience member clapping along is supposed to clap at the start of the first, second and fourth parts, but not at the start of the third part.
For others, you can hear it here from around 1m40s:
(I don't know if it's a great example or anything - just the first I found. But there's definitely a 'boing' sounding beat in the background with that third part gap.)
What it does is make use of specific scales, or one scale, in particular, the minor scale or maybe one of it's variants.
The problem is actually ... they stay in that one scale, forever. This is a limitation of this music.
This music is: take a scale, and have someone play a very long, intuitive solo overtop in that one key, effectively one chord. The structure is really quite limited unfortunately.
Its true that Indian music doesn't modulate (~change keys).
If your goal is modulation (~changing keys), than Indian classical is limited. If your goal is amazing perfectly tuned chords, intricate tuning patterns, and complex relationships between the tuning of notes and rhythms, then Indian classical is MUCH freer than a western-style equal temperament scale.
Modulation (changing chords), as a priority, was a choice made in western music in the 1600s. That choice had downsides, in particular western classical lost access to a larger palette of beautiful "edge of consonance" tone and chord coulors.
Analogy: at its extreme Western classical paints complicated rapidly shifting geometric patterns using a tiny set of "sort of meh" slightly-gray primary colors (think: Escher), Indian classical paints colour fields using a vast array of rich colours (think: Rothco).
The holy grail would be complicated shifting geometries, and complicated shifting colours. These turn out to be in direct tension for math reasons. (Can explain more if there's interest, Pythagoras (yeah, that one) thought there was no tension between the two, but he measured wrong, and the roman catholic church actually encoded "there is no tension between the two owing to the power of God" as dogma, which caused no end of pain for pipe organ makers, who directly knew the two were in tension).
Western classical used to use less regularized tunings, even Bach played (and comnposed for, and imo should be played in) a not-fully-modernly-even tuning. These tunings came from the ratios of integers (directly, or prime numbers, indirectly) and while the chords are unfamiliar in a modern context, looooong held notes tended to be very satisfying to listeners in these "ratio of integer" tunings (or integer ratio) tunings.
That's where gregorian chant comes in, if you hit these exact ratio tunings, once your ear is used to it, chords seem to glow so beautifully you could listen to them "forever". The problem is that switching root notes on a fixed-pitch layout like a pipe organ or harsichord keyboard isn't fully regular.... very roughly (and this is wrong, but conveys the idea) "holding a base note, and the note five keys above it" will sound totally different depending on the base note you pick. This comes necessarily from the math.
So you either end up with an almost infinite variety of physical keys..... or you fudge (tamper, temper, temperament) the pipe organ pipes to "split the difference" and share a key between two not-quite-fully-consonant chords rooted at different base notes.
Unfortunately, now all your chords are a little.... fudgey sounding.... so nobody likes to hear them for a loooooong time (the longer you listen, the more clear the mistuning becomes), so you tend to move faster between chords.
In a nutshell, as European music started wanting total freedom to move around, from anywhere to anywhere, and have each 5-note-pair have EXACTLY the same ratio (resulting in our completely regularized modern tuning equal temperament), the chords themselves were less solid, so you move faster and faster. Once the chords aren't quite as nice, you want to move faster and do elaborate patterns, and the cycle fed back on itself until we got where we are today.
Indian classical made the opposite tradeoff, they traded off harmony, and the ability to root harmony at any point in a fixed keyboard, in return they got a larger variety of VERY interesting tonal colors.
I found western classical tuning VERY limiting due to the lack of colour palette (and, personally, very subjective naturally, I don't find increasing the number of colors to 22-edo or whatever to help, its just 22 muddy colours to my ears... I only need a few colours but I want them to be gorgeous lol ;-)
There are dozens of scales within 'Western Music' and there's many musical variants which allow 'notes in between'.
Stringed instruments easily allow for the variation in chord intervals as you've mentioned, yet they're generally not used in the manner you've described, because I don't think that's the tradeoff being made.
("holding a base note, and the note five keys above it" will sound totally different depending on the base note you pick. This comes necessarily from the math." - I basically don't buy this. A perfect 5th sounds essentially the same whatever the root note is)
There are far more forms, far more instruments, far more variation of ensembles (how many ways to re-arrange 50 different instruments).
And it's spawned 100's of genres.
So even if the 'interval argument' holds, and I don't think it does, it does make up for that much.
There are many examples, but the best to illustrate the diversity in a snapshot would be Jazz.
On ET, /all/ the major thirds express exactly the same ratio, as do the fourths, minor thirds, etc etc etc. The tuning is designed carefully to give this regularity. Every chord has exactly the same ratios involved, no matter what note you start it from.
That's very much not true of just intonation scales, and then there's the many scales lying between equal and just like well-tempered, etc etc.
Most music that isn't derived from the western scales has tunings that are expresable very accurately in just intonation, and do not align well with ET tunings (until the tunings shifted with cheap electronic ET-tuned instruments).
Western/culturally-most-common 12 tone-ET music (aided partly by western instruments like midi keyboards) definitely are the most common today, but that is a relatively modern phenom.
This isn't to say that "the old was better" or "the new is better".... they're just... tradeoffs.
Dismissing one of the most seriously pursued classical music traditions (whole extended families sole-y professionally devoted to it for hundreds of years allows massive intergenerational knowledge transfer and thereby accumulation) as being less flexible because its less flexible in the axis your culture has particularly prized strikes me as.....
What you see as a very long solo overtop in one key - in the raga system - has some characteristic phrases or patterns, which are interpretatively exposed extempore. That lends the rendition a great degree of freedom.
Further, multiple ragas can share one 'key' too.
I would like to understand what you find limiting about that.
It's 10 minutes long. One chord. One tempo.
There's the accordion style instrument playing 3 note drone (reminiscent of pipes), minor chord.
There's some keys and vocals moving up and down the minor scale, somewhat randomly.
That's it, for 10 minutes.
This is pretty exemplary of this kind of music, and it's obviously limiting.
By every musical measure, there's not much going on.
I don't doubt it's authenticity, or that it has influenced other forms of music - but it's nothing remotely comparable to Jazz for example.
It's a hyper specific genre.
Edit: the link from the above comment (Ramakrishnan Murthy) ... is quite good actually, the creative quality is much higher than the music the article link, but the conclusions are mostly the same. It reminds me quite a lot of 'Pipes and Drums' where you have hyper specific and constrained instrumental qualities of a couple flavours (pipes are in one key, snare drum is ostensibly a very basic instrument) but they take it to to limit within those constraints.
There are so many musicians, though rooted in tradition have pushed the definition of Indian classical music, like John McLauglin and his band shakti for example 
or anything Berklee Indian Ensemble does.  or the carnatic take five 
 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzmaT9T2teU
 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dn_1O3J56E8
 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipCqEcEVFxU
 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqvDbr4snIQ
 - https://indiamusicweek.org/files/coltrane.pdf
No, percussion (meter) has it's own framework called Taala , which is orthogonal to Raaga.
As a concrete example: Raaga Hamsadhwani in Rupak Taala (7 beats)  vs Teental (16 beats) 
That's pretty much the same as hitchhikers tuning their guitars by ear with no perfect pitch skill. Anything within a couple of steps is good enough.
What fascinates me is that they are ok with staying in the same chord for the entire repertoire, that some perceptions (i.e. minor scales/chords are "sad" while major ones are "happy") seem to be universal.
> What's amazing is that Indian classical music has no key. There is no absolute sense of middle C or whatever. It is relative to the tuning of the drone
European music actually was largely relative too until keyboard instruments (organs and later pianos) became common and popular which forced standardizaton. In North Indian classical, you can see the popularity of the harmonium in recent years driving a similar effect.
Singers in popular western music often transpose scales freely. Many live performers tune half down or full down vs. their studio recordings and many singers transpose their songs down as they age.
> I find the construction of these musical scales (correct me if I am wrong but there is no analog in western classical music of what a raga is) very interesting. Going up in the scale is different than going down and there are some key phrases that identify a raga.
Yes-ish. If you look at the scales in different "modes" of western music, you'll find they do correspond to foundational ragas in Indian classical music (eg. Ionian = Shankarabaranam, Aeolian = Nata Bhairavi, Mixolydian = Harikamboji etc) . The core raga in Carnatic classical
(maya-mayava-gowla) has the same notes as the double harmonic scale (think Misirlou from Pulp Fiction). The ragas with different notes going up and down or having fewer than 7 notes are considered derived or synthetic ragas and some artists still create new ragas.
However, as you correctly recognise ragas are not themselves scales. It's more correct to think of ragas as frameworks to present and improvise on scales. There is a concept of "pakad" for example as it's called in Hindustani classical which is a characteristic sequence of notes for a raga etc. This is easiest to spot and understand this if you listen to recordings by top artists in Raga Jog - it comes in the avarohana (descending notes).
"Freedom within a framework" is how I'd best describe it. A typical Hindustani "Khayal" (literally meaning "thought") concert begins with a heavily improvised "Aalap"/"Jod"/"Jhala" section that presents the main raga followed by the main composition ("bandish") in which also the artist improvises to a certain extent. After this main presentation, the artist typically presents other compositions in other ragas (with some improvisation) often ending with a "bhajan" (simple devotional song).
A Carnatic classical concert often starts with smaller compositions and has the main piece in the middle which also has "Aalapanai" and composition sections. Usually the "aalap" is shorter and more improvisation happens within compositions vs. Hindustani.
The closest analogies to this style of performance in Western music is Blues and Jazz.
> "Freedom within a framework" is how I'd best describe it.
> The closest analogies to this style of performance in Western music is Blues and Jazz.
Reminds me of the distinction between "opinionated" and "non-opinionated" dev frameworks. Like how Angular strongly pushes you into a MVC/MVVC architecture as compared perhaps to React. Or how Rails simplifies _everything_, so long as you want to do everything "the Rails way" - compared to less opinionated frameworks like Flask.
To push the analogy further (perhaps way to far)...
Blues is like Rails. If you want to stick to mostly pentatonic scales and 12 bar structure, you can deliver new blues tunes extremely quickly with a very small and often relatively new/inexperienced team. You can break out of the norms for small parts of the song, but its usually best if it's just one of the team, usually the guitar player, who does that, while everybody else just sticks to the groove. Great blues is possible, good-enough blues is relatively easy.
Jazz is like Flask. You can do whatever you like, the "rules" are no more than "best practice" guidelines which you're free to ignore. Having everybody in a team choosing which guideline to follow and which to intentionally break requires much more fundamental knowledge of the underlying theory, a lot more "teamwork", and often a much higher level of technical competency to get it all to end up coming out right. Great jazz is transcendent. Not so great jazz is often a complete mess.
1. Idea for this app is stolen from 8 prahar concert
2. Why we have to pay money when the SAME classical music is available freely on YouTube and other platforms? Just bcuz is playing under the app.
3. Is legal permission taken from the musicians or their heirs to play their tracks as many musicians are no more.
4. Are they honestly giving any money back to musicians by playing tracks as a profit share. Pls make the info abt "no. of paid users and % money paid to musicians" public.
5. India being a country of 1300 million people, only 5000+ has downloaded the app means Indians have totally rejected this app.
6. Why non of musicians is promoting this app? something is drastically wrong with this app.
7. Due to corona, music industry & musicians all over the world are promoting their music thr their own channels hence apps like this are not required.
> The app features artistes such as Bhimsen Joshi, Satyasheel Deshpande, Sanjoy Bandopadhyay, Anuradha Kuber and Anupama Bhagwat. “We reached out to artistes who provided us with exclusive songs, some from private baithaks,” he says. Apart from that, he has also reached out to lesser-known artistes. “Most existing platforms chase established artistes, but there is no other platform apart from Youtube and Facebook for these yet new talents to be discovered.”
You don't have to necessarily pay money. It's a subscription app and there's a free version that you can enjoy with limited songs.
>India being a country of 1300 million people, only 5000+ has downloaded the app means Indians have totally rejected this app.
This is quite an absurd conclusion.
>Why non of musicians is promoting this app? something is drastically wrong with this app.
There's nothing wrong or shady about this product. Marico boss Harsh Mariwala had recommended this app to someone on Twitter. Apart from that, in my opinion, Indian classical music is nothing like your mainstream pop music where you'd expect the singer to jump and promote their app on instagram or tiktok. Classical music is much more than money or fame.
Twitter handle for daily videos - @NCAA_PMU
Big shout out to Generative.fm as well!
1. Carnatic - the south Indian classical music. Traditionally Purandara Dasa is supposed to be the originator, from around the 13th century. This came up in the Vijayanagar empire. But there are older composers like Vyasa Raya whose compositions are still popular.(1)
2. Hindustani - the north Indian classical music, origins attributed to Amir Khusro, around 12-13 century.(2)
There are older musical systems, for example, Sopana system in Kerala. (3)
Moreover, instruments like the Veena (the Indian lute) are much older, as can be attested from Gupta era paintings (6th century A.D.), so it is possible that a lot of the history is now lost. (4)
The ragas are arranged in a combinatorial manner, roughly, out of 12 notes, how many harmonious combinations can be made? (5)
Related: combinatorics was used in prosody, in addition to music: One of the earliest occurrenc of the Pascal's triangle is in Indian prosody. (6)
Amir Khusrao's role in development of Qawwali, Tarana and other forms of Islamic Sufi music making sounds plausible. Anything beyond that is venturing into speculation.
There is an interesting form of performance called Jugalbandi where different artists perform duet (mostly without rehearsal).
Another rare video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk60ObnbIOk
The use of this mugam by Artemiev is mentioned in the
In India "educated" or "learned" people will be intimately familiar with many of "raags/ragas" which can be thought of as "tunes" (but they are deeper than that). These ragas are usually meant to be played at different times of day/year or to evoke certain moods. Players will improvise these raags, interpreting not only their "version" of the song, but custom jamming a version specifically for that place and time and audience. Some of these raags have a very long history. I think when people talk about "classical" Indian music this is what they mean. Temporary it's deeply historical music that is constantly evolving.
I'm generalizing and glossing over so much to be brief, and much of this varies by region and tradition, but that's a gist.
This is on contrast to folk music, which focuses less on theory.
In India, which just as in the west, development of the theory was aided by the patronage of the wealthy/elite.
Also as in the west the theoretical system serves the purposes of preservation, reproducibility, and most of all, pedagogy.
This music is also not written down (intentionally, I might add), so while roughly the same forms have been practiced for 100s of years, most of what is remembered and played is from the past 150 years or so. You can call this era classical, if you will.
 - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20320205-a-southern-musi...
 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9CGcusOz60
And because this is Hacker News, there has to be a LISP in the mix.
Every time I attempt to categorize it as one or the other, either by theory, language, religion, or culture, I learn about a new facet that defies that categorization.
Slight tangent, but anyone got suggestions for Asian electronica (tabla/raga inspired)?
Maybe even Asian Dub Foundation although that might not be electronica.
Music video: Sitar - Vilayat khan - Rarely Heard Ragas
They already have curated playlists. But with AI, they could do this any day? or am I thinking crazy?
I'm seeing a bird perched on a tree.
It probably varies according to time of day.
One request: Can you not auto-play when the website loads? It's an annoying UI design thing that has spilled over from ads and news sites (looking at you, CNN).
Honorary mention: Twitter. Every video is muted by default; you have to enable audio every single time. This option always exists, even when the video has no sound at all. Because life's like a box of chocolates.
Sorry about the off-topic rant; the point is that the issue is more nuanced than ‘noise bad‘ and you'll get a better experience when the site and your user agent are cooperating nicely.
I agree when there's content to read, especially if that's the main purpose. (YouTube for example might be more debatable.)