I am but a shadow. This page belongs to a stalwart  
on Indian Music who will satisfy your thirst in the  
future. Till then, let me give you a little filler.  
What is music ? A combination of notes, in  
consonance with each other, placed in the same  
octave or a different one. The effect? You feel a  
fountain spring into life inside you. A distant star  
twinkling in a clear dark sky. Or the stabbing pain  
as in the separation between lovers.  
The harmonic relationship between consonant   
notes in Indian music is termed as NAD. But what    
then is the Music of the Spheres ?  
    Jamie James writes “Picture to yourself, a universe in which everything makes sense. A serene        
    order presides over the earth around you and the heavens above revolve in sublime harmony.        
    Everything you can see and hear and know is an aspect of the ultimate truth : the noble simplicity         
    of a geometric theorem, the predictability of the movements of heavenly bodies, the harmonious        
    beauty of a well proportioned fugue all are reflections of the essential perfection of the universe.”        
        This is “The Music of the Spheres.” The NAD-BRAHMA.
        This music is emanated by the Cosmic Entity as all the celestial
        bodies move in perfect coordinated motion. This forms the
        essence of Indian Music.
        Remember our first page “The Creation Hymn ?” It throws light
        on man's place in the universe. The Cosmos is 14 billion years
        old. But before that ? NOTHINGNESS ! Can everything have come
        from nothing ? But it did. We did. Music did too. The primordial
        sound heard was “Aum” meaning “Amen” So be it. It appealed
        to the soul, the temperament, the sensibilities, the emotions.
        The effect produced was pure and enlightening providing a
        connection between our earthly existence and eternal reality.
  subject moderators              
  social landscapes              
  pot pourri                          
  feedback         Let me take you by your “heart” and lead you through some of the alleys of Indian Music.        
During 1400-1500 B.C. the Rig Veda was created. Not       
written. But sung. The sages dwelt amidst Nature's bounty.       
The sun, the earth, fire, water, dawn any aspect of Nature       
was eulogized and worshipped. They constructed altars.       
Lit holy pyres and sang praises of Nature by chanting in       
tune, “mantras “ dedicated to each aspect. The tremendous      
spiritual force and purity of the suktas (couplets), shlokas      
and mantras, were mainly prayers for the well-being of the      
universe and the physical, mental and spiritual selves of      
all - asking the Supreme Being to free us from pollution,      
turmoil, illness, discomfort and misery and bless all with      
Peace. The repetitive singing of the “mantras”  invoked a      
special pattern within oneself.      
      Society was regulated by these “elaborate worshiping spells' and common people came to “hum”  
      the melody of the 'mantras'. The basic value systems of community life came to be encouraged  
      through these. Everyday activities like going on a voyage, beginning to till the land, making  an  
      offering of cattle, distributing wealth among the poor were accompanied by elaborate harmonious  
      chantings. Majority of the “Sama Veda” chants were in descending scales or octaves.  
          Music was the great binding force of this era.        
    In the period after the Vedic chants, we come across “Gandharva” or “Margi Sangeet” with   
    Lord Shiva as its subject. The concept of the ‘Raga', characterizing North Indian classical music,   
    takes a definite shape by the time of Matanga (5th century A.D.). Indian classical music based   
    on the 'Raga' form, refers to both North Indian and Carnatic music. These are predominantly  
    individualistic in nature. Rhythm is inextricably tied to the 'Raga' form.  
    So, what is a 'Raga' ?  
          A 'Raga' consists of a fixed and unchangeable set of notes presented in the form of an ascending  
         and descending scale. Then the musical notes carve intricacies through various combinations  
          within a particular 'Raga'. Indian classical music is based on MELODY. Here the emotional effect  
      or appeal is created by means of notes or tones following each other in succession in a multi  
          dimensional way and having a relationship to each other on the basis of aesthetic principles.  
There was a beginning in North Indian classical music.     
Once upon a time. And then ? And then the music flowed     
like a river and its distributaries going to meet the mighty     
ocean. The distributaries are the “Gharanas".     
The  various  schools  which  developed.  Expounding      
distinctive styles, rhythm, form, structure, in a variety of      
playing, singing, thinking all different yet ONE. The oneness      
of the mother river carrying the waters to the ocean that is      
North Indian Classical Music.     
    Carnatic music is characterized by the intricate use of notes within a 'Raga' which 'sound' different  
    from the North Indian ones, for style. Forceful rendering of the meandering melodic movements  
    of the notes, complexity in the arrangement of musical patterns and rhythmic elasticity are  
    predominant features. The text and music permit great freedom for creative improvisations.  
    Exciting syncopations and cross-rhythms form an essential part of its beauty.  
      Confused ? There is a simple element too. It is India's varied and vibrant folk music, closely  
      connected to each of the social, cultural and religious festivals of the land. Apart from these,  
      there are other types of songs established in stylized schools by famous musicians. But, these  
      shall be covered in our future pages.  
      THE CHARM  
        So what is the basic difference between Indian and Western Music ? HARMONIZATION , on the  
        arrangement of notes in DIFFERENT octaves, forms the basis of Western music, while we restrict  
        ourselves to the 'Ragas' consisting of notes in ONE musical pattern. Each one is distinct  in its  
        appeal. “Ragas' which suit the time of the day and mood and seasons. “Bhairavi” reflects the  
        purity and freshness of dawn. “Todi” the blaze and languor of the afternoon. “Yaman” - the  
        obvious alluring beauty of the evening. “Darbari Kanada “ and “Malkauns” the deep contemplative  
        mood of the night. Seasons bloom with “Basant” and “Bahar” in Spring and “Malhar” in the rains,  
        Chandni Kedara “ on a full moon night. So intense were the emotive qualities of the 'Ragas', that  
        magical powers came to be endowed in them. A story goes as such : Once Emperor  Akbar asked  
        his favourite and most powerful musician Tansen, to sing Raga Deepak (Melody of Lights). As the  
        singer began to sing the Raga, one by one the oil lamps in the palace courtyard, where he was  
        performing, began to light up by themselves !  
          So how do we conclude or should we say begin ? Indian music does not go in for variety in one  
          piece of composition like its Western counterparts. It reflects ONE emotion. It reflects the oneness  
          of the Universal Music of The Spheres. It does not express the emotions confined within human  
          lifestyles but brings the Limitless Vast Expanse into our lives. That is why, Indian Music transcends  
          the confines of human pain, frustration or even happiness and soars, taking our minds on its wings  
          out into the Cosmos.  
You browser there. You are Andromeda. I am     
Orion. You there. You are Alpha Centauri. We are     
all celestial beings. Each of us receiving and     
contributing a strain of melody, from and to the     
Cosmic Music. Sit straight. Close your eyes and      
chant “Aa au mmn.” You are connected. Feel the      
tune flow in your blood. It is dancing in your      
bones. Open your eyes. There you are. In the      
center of a galaxy. You can see the Universe.      
Hear the Music of the Spheres. It is yours.     
But you must want it first.