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Broadly speaking, classical Indian music is divided into two systems; southern music, which has a more rigid structure, and northern music, which is freest in form and style, where Persian and Central Asia contributions can be noticed, because of the invasions that this region have suffered.

The main concept of Indian music is the Raga (Melodic form) and the Tala (Rhythmical form). Technically, a Raga is an unitary melodic structure in which both intonation and order of notes exposition are fairly prefixed. Nevertheless, it is also a process the musician must develop through complex impromptus on basic material, making emerge the internal music essence which is specific in each Raga.

Each Raga is based on a specific feeling (bhava) and flavour (rasa), which are identified with certain times of day and night, and with the different psychological conditions that the musician must be able to produce in the listener.
Raga usually has two phases: the first one is the Alap or introduction, when the artist shows or inquires into the raga structure until its atmosphere has deeply pierced the musician and the listeners. At this stage it begins the second phase or Gat in which percussion appears and artist launches into creation.

Rhythmical scheme, called Tala, is superposed to the melodic scheme. It indicates an organised cyclical rhythm formed by several time units which go from 3 to 108 knocks. Tala repeats tirelessly the rhythmical cycle, leaving the field open for the most extraordinary impromptus.

Indian music rests in a wise balance between Raga and Tala
It is an amazing experience to observe the sonorous interweaving, the fragmentation of time in infinitesimal touches, the scheme’s interlace, the syncopes, the tone coinciding with the tempo, the simultaneous movement of the displaced cycles which end up by combining in the last rhythmical cycle.

Attending to a concert of Indian music could be a real pleasure to the listener. The musician uses, maybe in such a subconscious way, his hands, his fingers, his eyes... to express himself and to create a communion with his public which increases the rasa (flavour) which is the aesthetical and spiritual quintessence that artist and public may feel together.


The temples of India are where most of Indian art forms originated. The temple dancers or devadasis used to perform as part of the religious rituals.
Indian Classical Dance has its origins in the Natya Shastra, an ancient treatise on the performing arts, said to have been written 2000 years ago by Bharata Muni. Later works like the Abhinaya Darpana and the Abhinaya Chandrika, have also contributed in the development of Indian Classical Dance.
Main Clásical Dance forms of India : Kathak from Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan ; Bharata Natyam from Tamil Nadu; Odissi from Orissa; Kuchipudi , from Andhra Pradesh; Kathakali , from kerala; and Manipuri from Manipur.

KATHAK: Natured in the holy precincts of Hindu temples, Was presented in its ancient origins by the wanderings storytellers called "Kathakas" dance-actor who recounted and representated tales from hindu mythology. through the hindu temples and Moghul courts, kathak has attained over the centuries refinement and enriched itself. Kathak has enjoyed great popularity due to its ability to speak the languaje of the people as well as the language of the goods.
Kathak dance is famous for its dazzling footwork, intricate rhythms, multipe pirouettes, portrayals of deep emotions and exciting improvisational exchanges between drummer and dancer.

Bharatha Natyam
Of all these dance forms, Bharat Natyam is believed to be the oldest and the purest Indian classical dance
Is known for its rhythmic, vigorous footwork, crisp movements, sculpturesque poses and combining the energy of its Nritta (rhythmic movements) with the emotion of its Nritya (expressive movements).
Movement, mime and music contribute in equal measure to this beautiful dance from Tamil Nadu

Odissi dance

Traditionally the classical dance form of Odissi was performed as mahari or Devadasi dance, in front of and dedicated to Lord Jaganath in the temples in the state of Orissa, particular in the temple of Lord Jaganath in Puri and the famous Konark Sun Temple.
With social and political change in Indian society and later the suppression of the 'mahari' or 'devadasi' for the British Authoryties, this classical dance form moved out of the temples and took up a place in the wider Indian society, being performed by individual dancers, travelling and local dance troupes. This process began in the 16th century with young dancers called 'Gotipuas', performing the dance outside on the temples.
The difference between the two forms, Odissi and Bharata Natyam, is that Odissi has more curves, curves of the body which can make it a more sensual dance form, as opposed to the athleticism and angular nature of Bharata Natyam. Poses, as one might find in Indian sculpture, are at the core of Odissi.

See the most important Indian Instruments.

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