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Hindustani or North Indian classical music (also known as ‘Shastriya Sangeet’) is the traditional music of the Indian subcontinent. The origins of Hindustani classical music can be found in the Samaveda (wherein Sāman means "melody" and Veda means "knowledge"). The Samaveda comes second in the usual order of the four Vedas. There is division of classical music, first is melody and second is rhythm.


Introduction to Swara : An important landmark in Hindustani music was the establishment of gharanas (style and content of singing) under the patronage of princely states. A gharana is more a school of thought rather than an institution. Each gharana developed distinct facets and styles of presentation and performance. Indian classical music has one of the most complex and complete musical systems ever developed in the history of mankind. It divides the Saptak (octave) into 12 swaras or semitones (5 shudha + 4 komal+1 tivra + 2 sthira) out of which the seven basic notes are Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha and Ni, in that order.

The Ragas - Raga as form a very important concept in Hindustani classical music and capture the mood and emotion of performances. A raga is a tonal framework for composition and improvisation. It embodies a unique musical idea.


Notation is the art of describing musical ideas in written characters or symbols. Indian classical music has seven basic notes and is called shudh (natural or pure) swara. They are Shadja (Sa), Rishabha (Re), Gandhara (Ga), Madhyama (Ma), Panchama (Pa), Dhaivata (Dha), and Nishada (Ni). This group of Indian notes is called “SAPTAK” (seven notes of diatonic scale).

There are three types of SAPTAK:

– Mandra/mandar (lower octave)
– Madhya (middle octave)
– Tara (higher octave)

In addition to the Shudha Swara, there are four komal (soft or flat) notes (Re, Ga, Dha, and Ni) and one teevra/teebra (sharp) note (Ma), thus making a total of 12 notes in the chromatic scale. These five notes are called modified (VIKRITA) notes. In this book the notes (swara) used in representing the ragas are: Small letter indicates a komal swara as komal Re is r, etc., and capital letter for sudh swara as sudh Re is R, etc. (see footnote 1), with only exception of m as tivra Ma (as M represents sudh Ma). Further, a note in italics, normal, and bold font stands for the notes in lower octave, middle octave, and higher octave,respectively.