Music is the soul of the universe. Indian music has strong associations with religious customs and beliefs. Origin of music, in India, is supposed to the shabda ‘Brahma’, Om. In India, music has been categorized into two major tributaries acknowledged as the classical and folk.
Indian Classical Music
The two basic elements of Indian classical music are raag and taal. Raga is given by India to the world of music. The sapta svaras of Indian classical music are Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha and Ni. The other basic element of Classical music taal, is the rythm. It always occurs in cyclic pattern. There are 35 principal taals. The most common taala is the Adi (first, foremost) taal. The different forms of Hindustani music are – Dhrupad, Dhamar, Khayal, Tappa, Thumri, Qawwali, folk music and ghazal.
Indian Folk Music
Most of the population of India lives in villages and many old customs still remain alive. Women sing songs often solitary at weddings, childbirths and festivals and during agricultural and household activities.
These can be generally classified into four categories: stringed, wind, avanada and ghana comprising of bells, jal-tarang. The most prominent are the Plucked lutes, Sitar and Sarod in the north and Vina in the south; the Bansuri and the double reeds Shahnai and Nagasvaram. The other stringed instruments are the single-stringed Ektara, Dilruba, Esraj, Tanpura and the Mayuri. Other wind instruments include the Nadaswaram, Ninkirns and Pongi. The other well known instruments are Surbahar and Santoor.
Dance and music are fundamental part of Indian life. The body movements are most important part for communication through dance. Folk dances are trendier, as they are easy to appreciate and perform. They are performed by the rural folk. Almost each area has its particular folk dance. These are performed on festivals, ceremonies etc. Some famous dances are:
This dance is the oldest of the classical dance forms. It is a highly customary dance form.
Kathak finds its roots in Katha story. A group of story-tellers emotionally involved to temples in Northern India, recounts stories from Indian epics.
It is one of the most sophisticated and most scientific dance forms (control on each part of the body) of Kerala.
This dance drama of Andhra Pradesh is the corresponding style of the Bhagvata Mela Nataka of Tamil Nadu.
It is the dance form of Manipur district.
This art of dance belongs to the Devadasi dance heritage, like Bharata Natyam, Kuchipudi and Odissi.
This is also based on the Natya Sashtra. The present Odissi is a solo dance form.
This belongs to Karnataka and has a pastoral origin and a merge of dance and drama. Chakiarkoothu
This dance form is performed only by the associates of the Chakiar caste. An extremely traditional type of activity.
Folk Dances of India
Folk dances vary according to the region and cultures of particular area. Puppet dances are also dominant in Indian tradition. Folk dances have no specific grammar. They are according to the scheme of festivals in each region.
Different type of main Rajasthani dances are Chari Dance, Ghoomar Dance, Kachchi Ghodi, Terah Taali, Fire Dance (Agni Nach), Legendary Glamour, Sanke Dance (Kalbelia) and Bhavai Dance.