Sitar, sarod, tabla, sarangi or dhrupad, khayal,
ghazal or raga, tala, gharana- these are known the world over today. They represent
Hindustani Art Music - in reality, a part of Indian Classical music.
Indian music has developed through very complex interactions between different peoples of
different races and cultures over several thousand years. In a musical tradition in which
improvisation predominates, and written notation, when used, is skeletal, the music of
past generations is irrevocably lost.
However, references to music in ancient texts, aesthetic formulations, and depictions and
written discussions of musical instruments can offer clues. In rare instances an ancient
musical style may be preserved in an unbroken oral tradition. For example, musical notes
or the structure of a raga, as we know them today, must have had their origins in the
For most historical eras and styles, surviving treatises explaining musical scales and
modes, provide a particularly important means of recapturing at least a suggestion of the
music of former times. Tracing the musical theory of the past makes clear the position of
the present musical system.
A chronological account
of Hindustani classical music