Santoor Magic


Vedic Period:

This period of the history of Indian music rather begins with the inception of music as an art. There are various theories about the origin of music. According to the ancient Hindu belief God Brahma, the creator of the universe is the father of Indian Music. Vedas were created by the great Rishies (sages). The practice of chanting of Vedic hymns in a highly "codified manner" became an integral part of many types of ritual ceremonies. This practice is known as Samagana.

Ancient period:

Music in India was used predominantly for religious purposes in this period. The hymns of Samaveda were recited at the time of Yajnas (the Vedic worship). Musical instruments such as Veena (Lute), Pushkar (a kind of drum), Vanshee or Bansuree (a flute) and Dundubhi (a sort of large kettle drum) were generally used.
In this period there was a great development started taking place in Indian music. Different terms of music and the Naatya Shastra of Bharatmuni were written:

  • Moorchhana System
  • Maargee and Desi Sangeet
  • Raga system
  • Prabandha- gaana
  • Dhruvapad styles

Medieval Period:

There was remarkable progress in Indian Music during the medieval period. But the spiritual piety and fervor, which are the very soul of Indian music, suffered a great setback. Over the centuries it turned only to be a means of sensual pleasure in the Palaces and harems. There was immense progress in all the three branches of music:  Vocal, Instrumental, and Dance music.

Scholars and artistes carried the experiments in every field of music. The Raga-Ragini System got firmer hold in the realm of music. New ragas were invented, various musical instruments were manufactured. Time theory of presentation of ragas was developed.

Modern Period:

In the modern time two great Indian's have done a Yeoman's service to Indian Music by reconstructing its damaged framework. Pandit Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande and Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar are the two doyens of Indian Music, who made extensive tours of the country, met different scholars of music, maestros, Rajahs and Nawabs and collected valuable material on both, practical and theoretical branches of Music. They introduced music in the educational institutions. The music systems and styles in this country have been undergoing changes from Jatigayan to Prabandha gayan and then to Dhruapad gayan. In the modern times in the field of entire north Indian classical music, Khayal style of music is in vogue.

In addition to Khayal, semi classical styles, namely Thumari, Tappa, Bhajan, Qawwali and Gazal are very popular in the present era. In the instrumental music Veena, Sitar, Sarod, Santur (Santoor), Violin, Shahnaaee, Harmonium, Tabla, Mridanga, Dholak etc. have formed great public appeal. Tanpura serves giving the base notes in the vocal and instrumental music.

All the three branches of music, i.e. vocal, instrumental, and dancing have made great advances in the modern time. Many a teacher and a great maestro have enriched the cultural heritage of India in the modern period. Institutions to impart training in Indian music have come up in some countries. This is a good sign of developing interest of this great performing art of India.


Fundamentals of Indian Classical Music

  1. NAAD: Sound
    1. Ahat Naad
    2. Anahat Naad
  1. SHRUTI: The word "Shruti" is derived from. Sanskrit language Shru means hearing. Shruti means of expression. An exact frequency of SW AR (note) and between two swar it shows the ratio of frequencies. These. Shruties are 22 in number and all 22 shruties are present in one "SAPT AK" or Octave. Musical performances are conducted on the basis of the 12 SWARAS.
  1. SWARA: There are 22 microtones (shruties) in the Indian music. Our music has 7 pure
    And 5 unnatural notes.

7: Pure notes (shudha swaras) are Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, and Ni.
4: Flat notes (Komal swaras) are Re, Ga, Dha, and Ni
1: Sharp note (Teevra swar) is Ma

Out of the 22 Shruties, seven Swara have been selected and placed at varied intervals in an octave. SA- 4 Shruties, RE- 3, GA- 2, MA- 4, PA- 4, DHA- 3, NI- 2.

    The name Mel or Thaat is group of 7 Swaras, which produces ragas. Naad produces Swar, Swar produces Octave and Octave produces Thaat. There are Seventy-two Mel or Thaat in Southern Indian Classical music (KARNATAK-SANGEET) and Ten Thaat in North Indian Classical music (HINDUSTHANI- SANGEET).
  2. RAGA:
    All knowledge was imported orally in ancient time in India. The Vedas, puranas, Shastras etc. were composed in hymns, in verses and these verses were taught and memorized in musical chants.
    The word Raga is derived from the Sanskrit root "RANJA" meaning to please, to be agreeable. Literally the sound that pleases, that soothes the mind, would be a Raga. Technically Raga means a sweet combination of musical tones coming one after another in succession. The raga is made of that sound in which there is a specific swar construction, which increases its beauty, entertains human spirit and minds of the listeners.
  1. Technical terms to present Raga:
    A raga is a musical scale, but it has to follow certain stringent conditions. These conditions are:
  1. Raga has to have minimum of five or maximum of seven notes.
  2. Vadi Swar - Dominant note of a raga.
  3. Samvadi Swar - Subdominant note of a raga.
  4. Vivadi swar- the note that should not be used in the Raga.
  5. Anuvadi swar - In addition to Vadi and Samvadi, the notes that are used inRaga.
  6. Aroha and Avaroha- Ascending and descending notes.
  7. The Jati of Raga- Classification of the ragas is recognized according toNumber of swaras used in Aroha and Avaroha.
  1. Ragas and its Time Theory:
    In North Indian classical (Hindustani) music, the time of day dictates when the different Ragas 'should be sung and played. Each- raga is connected with a special mood or emotion (Rasa) and it is therefore fitting that each should have a special time
    Appropriate to it. The time theory of Hindustani music has developed and has been codified over the last about three centuries. Apart from the fixed timing for the ragas, some ragas are limited to certain seasons. These ragas are sung or played in a particular season suited to them. Raga evokes greater emotions and more appealing sound.
  1. Forms and styles of classical music:
    1. Dhrupad - or Dhruvapad, which is popular vocal style of Hindustani music.Dhruva means fixed and Pada means song.
    2. Dhamar - Dhamar is a lighter form of Dhrupad sung invariably in DhamarTaal.
    3. Khayal - khayal a Persian word, which means a thought or imagination.When a song is adorned with various techniques and sung creating diverseMelodic patterns it is called a Khayal.
    4. Tarana - Tarana does not have any poetical words, it is sung with different syllables, which has no meaning. Taranas are sung in a very fast tempo. ThisStyle involves a great skill and technique with rhythm.

    There is other singing styles like: Thumree, Bhajan, Gazal etc.

    The major framework of the broad rhythmic conception is known as taala, a word that is usually used to refer to a rhythmic cycle. The beats set in time cycle and divided into bars gets a name i.e. Teen Taal, Jhap Taal, Rupak Taal, and so on. Every Taal has different ~umbers of beats (Matra). The divisions (Vibhag) are stressed and shown by a clap of hands (They are known as Tali) or unstressed (called Khali means empty). There are many Taalas having different numbers of beats 6,7,8,10,12,15,14,16 etc. Example of Teen Taal - It has 16 beats, 4 divisions, 3 stressed beats and oneUnstressed beat.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Dha Dhin Dhin Dha Dha Dhin Dhin Dha
X       2      
9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
Dha Tin Tin Ta Ta Dhin Dhin Dha
1       3      

X- Means first beat of Taal; it is called SAAM, 1st Clap.

2 & 3 numbers under the beat shows 2nd and 3rd Clap.

1 Means Khali, it is called empty or unstressed beat.

(Copyrights, Pandit Nandkishor Muley. 2007).