India PowerPoint Outline
MUS 114 
World Music

Cathy Schmidt

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Music of India

India: General Information

Religion in India

History & Politics


Music--General comparison with the "west"

Musical Differences between North and South India

Cine Music
CD #2, Track 20; Text p. 250-253

North Indian Music

Aesthetics of Music--North India


Listening Example #1--Rig Veda Hymn

Basic Elements

Rag or Raga

Determinants of a Rag



Tal or Tala - Rhythmic Cycle


Parts of the Rag Form


Vocal As Melody


Dhol Cholam - Drum Dance from Manipur


India Group #1--items to know from their presentation

Concert Settings
--from 5:30 or 6:30 until around midnight (used to go all night!)
--audience sits on floor
--audienced will make comments and show appreciation during the performance
--informal; no program, audience moves around during performance, converse, keep time, etc.


--ghatam (large clay pot)
--kanjira (tambourine; snake-skin top)
--mridangam (2 headed drum)

A Carnatic Music Performance
by India group #2

Question of the Day
What is Kriti and what is its significance?

Answer- Question of the Day
Kriti is the centerpiece of Carnatic music. It contains the composed melodic theme which is returned to repeatedly throughout the composition.

Carnatic Music
--Carnatic music is the classical music of South India.
--Carnatic music is comprised of several different musical components:
             Raga- melodic system
             Tala- time organization
             Alapana and Tanam- the first 2 sections of performance
             Kriti- the composed melodic theme for the performance
             Kalpana Svaras- improvised section of kriti
             Tani Avartanam- the drum solo

Tala- The Time Cycle
--The organization of time in music
--Only 5 talas are currently in common practice:
        Adi tala
        Rupaka tala
        (Khanda) Chapu tala
        Misra Chapu tala
        Triputa tala

The Drummer’s Art
--The Mridangam player and other percussionists improvise rhythms from previously learned rhythms and beats.
--Percussionists learn 15 different strokes with coordinating sollukattus (spoken syllables).
--The kriti is one of the compositions that the percussionist must accompany.
--The accompaniment is of highly complex structure due to formulaic entrances and precise rhythmic patterns.
--Tani Avartanam is the high point of performance for percussionists which will be discussed later.

--“Free-flowing exposition and exploration of the raga”
--phrases begin slowly and of low pitch, and gradually increase in speed and pitch, until a peak is reached, when a descent in pitch and speed occurs, returning the composition to a home tone (sa).
--This section is of raga derived from the Kriti.
CD #3, Track #1 0:00- 3:15

--“A highly rhythmic exposition of the raga.”
--No tala cycles, but a strong sense of beat
--Like the Alapana, the Tanam adheres to the ascending and descending pitch and rhythm pattern.
CD #3, Track #1 3:20-8:15

Melodic theme of Carnatic music performance
--Flexible in structure
--An oral tradition
--Partially pre-composed, partially improvised
--Idam, the opening phrase of the Kriti, is the recurring melodic theme in Carnatic composition
CD #3, Track #1 8:25-15:45

Kalpana Svaras
--“imagined notes”
--An improvised part following the kriti
--Improvisations grow in length and complexity, and gradually the section comes to a climax and returns to idam.

Tani Avartanam
--A featured drum solo after the performance of the kriti
--Gives percussionist(s) ability to display talent and imagination
--The solo ends with the idam, bringing the performance to closure
--Distinguishes South from North India by its creative character

Outside Influences
--Because of technology and expanded global awareness, many cultures are integrating sounds and styles from other musical traditions.
--“Love you to” – The Beatles

Other Instruments

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This site is created and maintained by Catherine M. Schmidt, Ph.D.  If you have questions or comments, contact .