Hindustani Music and Carnatic Music are fundamentally different from one another since Hindustani music is the term for the classical music of Northern India, whilst Carnatic music is linked with Southern India. Two of the main lineages of Indian Classical Music are the music of Hindustani and Carnatic. Let’s learn about this two-term in detail below:
The following is a brief introduction to the topic:
The art of music is represented as a cultural activity. Music is the creative expression of emotions and ideas through sound. Music is composed of rhythm, pitch, and dynamics as well as sonic characteristics of texture and tone.
The music is an international phenomenon that is present in every culture and country. In India, music is an important part of the socio-religious culture. There are many types of music in India: Indian pop, Indian Rock, Bollywood, Indian Pop, Indian Classical, etc. Hindustani and Carnatic are the two main types of this music.
Carnatic music and classical music are both forms of Indian music. The two forms of music are distinct in their styles, features and other aspects. Carnatic is the music of south Indian states such as Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh. Karnataka, Kerala, and Karnataka are also home to Carnatic. It is actually more popular than Hindustani Classical in the north of India.
Hindustani music is also known as classical music. Carnatic is also classical music. Carnatic music is similar to classical in that the emphasis on the lyrics of the songs during performances are more prominent.
In the Carnatic Style, a song must have a Pallavi (or Anupallavi), and at least one Charanam. In the Carnatic Style, each of these components of the song are given equal importance. Classical music is different. Classical musicians actually give greater importance to raga music.
Carnatic Music has its own method of defining raga. This is done at the start with alapana. Alapana is the development of the specific raga within which the Kriti was composed. Pallavi is played after the alapana. Niraval is then followed by Kalpita accompanied by Svaras. Manodharma singitam is the foundation of Carnatic Music.
Manodharma, the creative part of Carnatic Music is called Manodharma. He is allowed to experiment with the raga, and its various aspects and conclude his exploration of the music by composing the Kriti. The musician is free to select the niraval either from the anupallavi, or the charanam. Carnatic compositions were a great success for some Vaggeyakaras who excelled at both writing and singing.
Tyagaraja was one of many composers who worked in the Carnatic style, including Syama Sastri. Swati Tirunal and Gopalakrishna Bharati were also among the others.
The History of Indian Music: Major Periods
- The history of Indian music can be broken down into three main periods. These are: Ancient, Medieval and Modern.
- Ancient music spans the period from Vedic Age up to Sangita Ratnakara.
- In the late 14th century it was finally decided to divide Indian music into two distinct branches, Hindustani and Carnatic .
- These two branches have evolved, and are now firmly established.
- Numerous musicologists, composers, and musicians appeared in this period and contributed to the development of the concept of Raga and Tala.
In the Middle Ages, Indian Classical Music was classified into Carnatic in South India and Hindustani in North India.
Swara, Raga and Taala are the three main pillars in Indian music.
Swara : Musical notes of pitch or tone. Twelve of the 22 main notes are known as Swarasthana and all others are Ragas.
Raga : basis of melody. Each raga contains at least 5 swaras. A combination of swaras generates melody.
Taala :Basis for rhythm. This is an arrangement of rhythms.
There are many types of a variety
- Classical – Hindustani and Carnatic
- Modern – Jazz, Blues, etc.
- Folk Music
- Other (fusion of classical and Folk) – Sugam, Rabindra, Rabindra, etc.
Hindustani music is classified as classical in the northern areas. Hindustani is also known as Northern Classical Music and Hindustani Kshatriya. Hindustani originated from northern India in the 12th Century CE. Hindustani is a good example of ragas that have been improved and explored. Hindustani, or the melodic musical raga Tala sings, is Hindustani. Hindustani has no concept or method of harmony.
Hindustani principles are refined during the periods of Natya-Shastra and Dattilam. Music styles with gharanas began to emerge in the 16th Century. Many princely courts use it. Vishnu Narayan Bhathhande called some gharanas thaats in 1900 based on notes. It is sometimes a flawed system but the gharanas are its heuristic.
Northern India underwent various cultural exchanges in the Mughal Empire. In the past, music was a separate art. Musicians of the first generation adopt new methods from other countries and enhance traditions and cultures. In many ways, they are instrumental in the spread of kingdoms. The guru-shishya technique is used to impart Hindustani Music one-on-one. The method is not without its disadvantages. Raja Chakradhar Singh Raigarh was the last modern-day king to patronize Hindustani musicians.
- Originated in the Delhi Sultanate Period.
- The music is heavily influenced by Persian and other types of music.
- Hindustani music includes Dhrupad (also known as Hindustani Dhrupad), Khayal (also called Hindustani Dhrupad), Tarana (also known as Hindustani Thumri), Dadra and Ghazals.
- Tabla, Sarangi and Santoor are all instruments used.
Features of Hindustani Music
- Hindustani Music is based upon the raga. Ascending and descending patterns of notes can also affect the form of a raga, even if they are not strictly linear.
- Hindustani Classical Music is primarily vocal. Hindustani music is characterized by the khayal (or Ghazal), dhrupad (or dhammar), Tarana and thumri.
- Dhrupad styles: The Dhrupad is a style of singing that men use a tanpura, pakhawaj and other instruments.
- Dhrupad’s lyrics, sung by Dhrupad in an old-fashioned form of Hindi, often have heroic themes or honor a particular god.
- Dhrupad is now replaced with khayal, which has a less rigid form.
- Khayal has lyrics that can range between 4 and 8 lines.
- This few sentences will serve as a foundation for the performer to improvise.
- Hussain Shah Sharqui is the member of the Sharqui Dynasty that ruled during the 15th Century. He’s credited for creating the Khayal Style of Hindustani Classical Music.
- Tarana style is another Hindustani vocal form. Tarana, or joyous songs, is usually performed at the end of a concert.
- The thumri style is a Hindustani vocal form that originated at the court of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah (the Nawab from Oudh).
- Ghazal was originally an Iranian style of vocal music. It is now a major component of Hindustani Classical Music.
- Ghazals come in many styles, such as folk and pop.
- Ghulam, Ali, Jagjit, Mehndi, Hassan and Pankaj Udhas were all famous Ghazal Singers.
- Ghazals are characterized by themes such as joy, piety and love.
Carnatic Music was born in southern India. Karnataka Samgita and Karnataka Sangitam are the names of this music in South India. Carnatic is a subgenre of Indian classical music.
Carnatic Music is dominated by vocal music. Carnatic is performed using the gayaki technique. Composition and improvisation of Carnatic Music can be improved by learning basic elements such as sruti and Swara. Compositions are the only way to improve compositions. Carnatic Music is being developed.
The Kriti, or kritinam is the main instrument. Students are taught Carnatic Music through compositions. Telugu has a greater significance in the evolution of Carnatic Music. A few compositions also have Sanskrit and Telugu incubation. Carnatic Music is performed by a soloist and some background singers on stage. The tambura, violin, venu, and other instruments are used. Chennai is the center of Carnatic Music. Madras Music Season, one of the largest music festivals in the world.
Chennai hosts many Carnatic festivals. Carnatic compositions have many different structures. Three basic units are Pallavis, Anupallavis, and Charanas. These three units are called keerthanam, or kriti. Notation in Indian music is nothing new. Carnatic Music is changing and growing. Written notation became popular in the 17th-18th centuries. Pundara dasa was a major influence on the development of Carnatic Music. Many of his basic elements and lessons are still used today.
He structured many exercises in Swaravalis (Swaravalis) and Alankaras. Many beginners learned Carnatic Music from him.
- The trinity is a concept that originated during the Bhakti Movement.
- The culture is indigenous, and it’s usually isolated from foreign influences.
- Alapana Niraval and Kalphaswaram are forms of Carnatic Music.
- Veena and Mridangam are two instruments used.
Features of Carnatic Music
- Raga Thalam System – Carnatic Music has a sophisticated system of theory. The intricate Ragam and Thalam systems (Tala) are the basis of this music.
- Ragams are classified using different modes. There are 72 modes, which are called mela.
- Tala is the rhythmic heart of Carnatic Music.
- Varanam is a Carnatic performance divided into parts. Varanam, a composition named after the Carnatic language, is usually played at the beginning of a recital. Varanam is composed of the Purvanga or first part, and Uttaranga or second half.
- Compositions for the kritis can be set to the Rag. The “Alapana”, a method of explaining the Ragam, allows the performers to be creative.
- Ragams are a free form, unaccompanied melodic improvisation.
- Tanam is a form of free melodic rhythmic improvisation.
- Pallavi, a short melody pre-composed to a cycle of Tala.
The main differences between Hindustani music and Carnatic Music
Hindustani Music and Carnatic Music are two distinct genres of traditional Indian music that have their own unique characteristics and origins. While both share common roots in ancient Indian music, they have evolved differently over time, resulting in notable differences in terms of their style, structure, instruments, and performance formats. In this article, we will explore the dissimilarities between Hindustani Music and Carnatic Music, shedding light on their individual features and highlighting the rich musical heritage they represent.
Hindustani Music, also known as North Indian classical music, is predominantly practiced in the northern regions of India, including states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Rajasthan. It has strong influences from Persian and Islamic music, as it developed during the medieval era under the patronage of Mughal emperors. Carnatic Music, on the other hand, is the classical music of South India, primarily performed in the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and Andhra Pradesh. It has a rich history dating back to ancient times and is deeply rooted in the cultural and religious traditions of the region.
Origins and History
Hindustani Music traces its origins to the Vedic period and has evolved through various cultural influences over centuries. It incorporates elements from Persian music, folk traditions, and the Bhakti and Sufi movements. In contrast, Carnatic Music has a more direct connection to ancient Indian music and is believed to have its roots in the Samaveda, one of the oldest scriptures of Indian classical music. It has been nurtured and preserved through the Carnatic tradition, which has been passed down from generation to generation.
1. Raga System
One of the fundamental differences between Hindustani Music and Carnatic Music lies in their approach to ragas, the melodic frameworks that form the backbone of Indian classical music. In Hindustani Music, ragas are classified into ten thaats, providing a broad categorization of melodic structures. Each raga is characterized by a unique set of ascending (aaroha) and descending (avroha) notes, along with specific melodic phrases and ornamentations. In Carnatic Music, the raga system is more elaborate, with a larger number of ragas and a complex classification system. Ragas in Carnatic Music are characterized by intricate melodic patterns, gamakas (ornamentations), and specific rules for their improvisation.
2. Tal System
The rhythmic aspect of Hindustani Music and Carnatic Music also showcases notable differences. Hindustani Music employs a system called “tal,” which refers to rhythmic cycles. Tal consists of various rhythmic patterns, known as “matras,” grouped into beats. The most common tal in Hindustani Music is the “teental,” which has 16 matras divided into four equal sections. Carnatic Music, on the other hand, has a more complex tal system, with a wide variety of talas, including the popular “adi talam” and “rupakam.” Carnatic talas can be highly intricate, with irregular beat patterns and intricate rhythmic combinations.
3. Instruments Used
In terms of instruments, Hindustani Music and Carnatic Music have their own distinctive set of instruments that accompany vocal and instrumental performances. In Hindustani Music, prominent instruments include the sitar, sarod, tabla, harmonium, and the bamboo flute. These instruments play a crucial role in creating the melodic and rhythmic framework of the music. In Carnatic Music, traditional instruments such as the veena, mridangam, violin, ghatam, and flute are commonly used. Each instrument has its own unique tonal qualities and is carefully selected to complement the specific nuances of Carnatic Music.
4. Vocal Styles and Techniques
The vocal styles and techniques employed in Hindustani Music and Carnatic Music also showcase distinct characteristics. Hindustani Music places a strong emphasis on improvisation and ornamentation. The use of intricate melodic patterns, known as “taans,” along with meends (glides), gamaks (graces), and murkis (flourishes), adds a rich and embellished texture to the performance. In contrast, Carnatic Music focuses on precision in sruti (microtones), gamaka (ornamentations), and swara patterns. The rendition of swaras (musical notes) and rhythmic patterns is executed with meticulous accuracy, highlighting the technical prowess of the performer.
5. Performance Formats
Hindustani Music and Carnatic Music have distinct performance formats that further differentiate the two genres. In Hindustani Music, performances often include vocal renditions of ghazals, thumris, and khayals. Ghazals are poetic expressions set to music, thumris are semi-classical songs that evoke emotions, and khayals are elaborate compositions with intricate melodic improvisations. Carnatic Music performances, on the other hand, predominantly feature compositions called kritis, varnams, and ragam-tanam-pallavi. Kritis are highly structured compositions, varnams combine rhythmic and melodic elements, and ragam-tanam-pallavi is a form of improvisation that showcases the artist’s virtuosity.
6. Notation Systems
Hindustani Music and Carnatic Music also differ in their notation systems. Hindustani Music uses a simplified notation system called “Sargam,” which represents the seven swaras as sa, re, ga, ma, pa, dha, and ni. However, the notation is limited and primarily used as a guide for composition and practice. In contrast, Carnatic Music has a more elaborate notation system known as “swara sthana notation,” which provides detailed information about the melodic patterns, swaras, and gamakas. This comprehensive notation system enables the precise rendition and preservation of intricate compositions in Carnatic Music.
7. Influence and Adaptability
Both Hindustani Music and Carnatic Music have influenced and been influenced by various musical genres over time. Hindustani Music has shown a greater inclination towards fusion with other genres, such as Sufi music, qawwali, and even Western music. This adaptability has allowed Hindustani Music to evolve and incorporate diverse musical elements while retaining its core classical essence. On the other hand, Carnatic Music has been more focused on preserving its traditional form and adhering to its classical roots. While limited fusion experiments have taken place, the emphasis remains on maintaining the authenticity and purity of Carnatic Music.
- Carnatic is the only sub-style of Hindustani.
- Carnatic is the only one of these two.
- Hindustani, in Indian tradition, is a secular language, while Carnatic, is an intellectual one.
- Hindustani music in Indian culture is more heterogeneous than Carnatic.
- Carnatic and Hindustani are both languages that originated in South India.
Comparison chart between Hindustani Music and Carnatic Music
|Hindustani Music||Carnatic Music|
|Hindustani music was originated much earlier than Carnatic music. It has emerged as a distinct form of music due to Islamic and Persian influences. This style of music is synthesized with Islamic traditions, Vedic chants, and Persian Musiqu-e-Assil. originated in South India.||Carnatic music is an evolved form of ancient Hindu tradition. The Bhakti Movement in the 15th-16th centuries was the catalyst for its development. The 19th and 20th centuries saw a rise in this style.|
|The main instruments used are Sarangi, Tabla, Santoor, and Sitar. Pitch-based western instruments like guitar, keyboard, flute, etc., can be used because the number of musical notes and intervals is equal.||Sarangi (also called Tabla), Santoor and Sitar are the main instruments. Western instruments like the guitar, keyboard and flute can also be played because they use a pitch-based system.|
|Raga is the basis of this system. There are six major ragas. There is a gender-based influence on the ragas.||Kriti is the basis. It has 72 sampoorna Ragas. The ragas have their own style and are not restricted. Sound intensity can be adjusted.|
|Swara (Pitch) is at the core of Hindustani Music.||Laya (Rhythm) is the core of Carnatic Music.|
|There are many sub-styles of this music.||There is only one prescribed type of music.|
|There are 12 intervals between swaras, or musical notes.||There are 22 musical intervals (swaras), within a single octave.|
|The raga essay (alapanas), which is composed from note to note, develops.||The raga essay (alapanas), which is composed of phrases, develops from one phrase to the next.|
|There is a shailey that’s different.||There are many styles, including those of G.N.Balasubramaniam and Madurai Mani Iyer.|
|Pure notes are the focus.||The emphasis is on Carnatic Ragas based on gamaka.|
|There are six main vocal styles: Khayal, Dhrupad (Dhrupad), Thumri Tarana Dadra Gazals||There are several types of improvisations, such as Niraval Alpana Ragam Thana Pallavi, and kalpanaswaram.|
|There is no concept called upapakkavadyam.||There is a concept called upapakkavadyam.|
|Vocal-centric groups are required. There is a distinct vocal repertoire and an instrumental one. The singer is accompanied by a variety of instruments. Nadi (meaning moral) and Samvadiswaras are the focus.||Up until recently, Carnatic vocalists and instrumentalists both played compositions based on Kriti. Most compositions in Carnatic music are performed using the Gayaki style.|
|The swars that are distorted and not full are also considered complete.||According to shrutis, the distorted swars have names. The swars began later.|
|The singer claps at an accelerated pace while reciting the “Joda.” Afterward, Taal isn’t played.||The singer recites ‘aalap taanam’.|
|Its main accompaniment is the sarangi.||Its main accompaniment is the violin.|
|The morning and the evening ragas are distinct and have different time limits.||Time periods that are clearly defined. Madhya and Dhruta are both twice as long as ‘Vilamba.|
|Sargam is used to teach and train vocal singing.||Gamakas, also known as Gamaks or Gamakams, are vocalists who train and perfect their skills.|
|“Tilawal” is the pure form of swars.||The swaras call this thaat ‘Mukhari.|
Hindustani and Carnatic Music are both similar.
- The two are based on the same basic elements: Swara Raga and Tala.
- Sanskrit and Vedic music are the origins of this type.
- Both of these forms are deeply rooted in spirituality and religion.
- Ragas have a common central theme.
- Both styles put the focus on melody.
- These two musical branches both use the Sampoorna Scale.
- Both use Taanpura for the primary Shruthi.
- Basic elements such as the swara-raga-tala of Carnatic and Hindustani are similar.
- They both have religious affiliations.
- Carnatic is one of two subgenres in India’s classical genre. Carnatic music evolved from ancient Hindu traditions. Hindustani is the other subgenre that emerged as a result of Persian and Islamic influences in North India.
- Sanskrit and Vedic scripts have influenced the music.
- Both Carnatic music and Hindustani originated in the Bhakti movement.
- Janya Raga is created using the Sampoorna Scale.
- Every raga is characterized by a Vadiswara or Swara.
- Both Ragas use Drones and Tanpuras, with between one and two notes as pitch or basis.
- The two styles share a common basis: a raga, or melodic mode. This is a rhythmic cycle or tala.
- Sanskrit and Vedic traditions evolved into language scripts.
Takeaways from the Key Notes
- Carnatic and Hindustani originated from South India.
- Carnatic and Hindustani are more structured, with a focus on intricate patterns and compositions.
- Carnatic and Hindustani musics use veena and mridangam as their main instruments.
Hindustani Music and Carnatic Music are two distinct genres of Indian classical music with their own unique characteristics. While Hindustani Music reflects the influences of Persian and Islamic traditions, Carnatic Music has a more direct connection to ancient Indian music. The differences between these genres can be observed in various aspects, including their approach to ragas, talas, instruments used, vocal styles, performance formats, notation systems, and adaptability to other genres. Despite their dissimilarities, both Hindustani Music and Carnatic Music are valuable cultural treasures that showcase the richness and diversity of Indian musical heritage.