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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Glossary of Most Common Classical Music Terms

ANHAD: Cosmic Silence

ALAP : Introductory, Slow movement, free of rhythm; If elaborates the musical ideas on the melodic axis, in a raga.

ANGA: A part of a Raga, a phrase identifying a raga.

AROHA : Ascending note pattern.

AVAROHA : Descending note pattern.

BHAJAN : devotional song (Singing the Praises Of the Lords) sung single or In congregation. Popular in north of India.

BAAJ: Style of playing an instrument.

BOL-TAANS :Musical phrases lnterlinked with bols (words).

CHIKARI : Drone strings in Sitar, Sarod and such Instruments.

CHALAN : movement or gait of notes in a raga.

DADRA: A light classical song; Thumri type; sung In a time cycle of six beats (3 + 3), also called DADRA.

DHAMAR - Primarily denotes a Tala, a rhythm cycle of 14 beats. However Dhamar Is also a form of Dhrupad sung In Dhamar tala.

DHRUPAD: The most massive and sublime musical form In Indian Classical Vocal tradition. The four structural features or parts of Dhrupad as stabilized today are, the Sthayi, Antara, Abhog and Sanchari. it is usually sung in Chautala, a rhythm cycle of 12 beats.

DHUN : A light tune, free from the discipline of a Raga.

DRUT: Fast tempo or laya. It is performed after the madhya-Laya (medium tempo) and marks the climax of the performance.

GAMAK: A tonal embellishment, a grace. A note with a touch ofthe preceding or the succeeding note. It gives a vibratory effect.

GAT: Rhythmic composition In Instrumental music.

GAYAKI : Style of singing.

GHARANA : A school Of music representing a specific musical lineage or tradition. Each Gharana is famous for certain individualistic style of rendering. Some Important Gharanas are Kirana, Gwalior, Agra,Rampur, Malhar, Jaipur, Patiala, Baroda etc.

GRAMA : An ancient standard scale.

GURU: Spiritual mentor, teacher.

HEPTATONIC : A scale of raga with seven notes.

HEXATONIC A scale of raga with six notes.

JHALA : Melody Interpolated with strokes on the chikari(sympathetic) strings. It is played in very fast tempo and marks the climax after Alap and Jod. It is sometimes played, also after the 'Gat'.

JOD : The second movement of a raga, after the Alap. In Sitar, Sarod, and such Instruments Jod is the permutation of notes played rhythmically, without the accompaniment of tabla.

JUGALBMDI : Partnership of vocal or instrumental music, a duet In performance.

KHALI : A negation of stress in a tala pattern. Unstressed beat of a tala.

KHAYAL : The most Popular classical form of Hindustani vocal music, Khayal has Its origin In the Persian word meaning, Imagination or creative thought.

KHANDMERU : Permutation and combination of notes.

KAJRI: Folk song from Uttar Pradesh.

KOMAL SWARA: Flattened note.

LAYA: Rhythm or Tempo; The tempo is regulated. The duration of rest between two strokes of 'matra' Is laya.


MADHYA: Medium.

MATRA: Tala's unit of measurement, a beat.

MEEND: Smooth gliding movement between two swaras.

MISHRA: Mixed. When a raga is mixed with another or more of other ragas it is called a Mishra raga.

NADA: Sound; Cosmic energy.

OUDHAV : Scale of raga with five notes.

PANDIT: A person well versed In theory of music.

PENTATONIC : A scale of raga with five notes.

PARAMPARA: Guru-Shishya Parampara. Sacred relationship between the master and the pupil by which knowledge is transmitted to the next generation.

POORAB ANG : The 'eastern' school, (usually of Varanasi) of singing; Thumri or playing the Tabla.

POORVANG : Lower tetrachord, from 'Sa' to 'Ma' (Do to Fa).

RAGA: A melodic concept within certain strict rules. Ragas are groups of notes that organise melody. Every raga has its own nature and personality. There are certain empirical rules of a raga which are adhered to in various degrees of strictness.

I . A raga must be at the least pentatonic.
2. The raga should be assigned to a determined scale called Mela or That.
3. Madhyam and Pancham i.e. fourth aid fifth note cannot be omitted in the same raga.
4. Aroha and Avarcha should be maintained in a set sequence.
5. Pakad i.e. grip of a raga should be maintained by judicious use of a minimal number of notes characterstic of the raga.

RASA Aesthetic content or emotional appeal.

SAMPOORAN : Complete, Heptatonic.

SANGAT : Accompaniment, usually of the percussion Instruments with the main performer of vocal or Instrumental music. Talas organise rhythm. the Sangatia (accompanist) does not only maintain the laya but also makes the concert more enjoyable by applying different subdivisions and Tala patterns.

SAPTAK : A gamut of seven notes.

SHADAJ : The beginning note, (Sa) of the Saptak.

SAMVADI : The note next in importance to Vadi.

SHRUTI : In sanskrit, 'shruti' means that which is heard. Shruti is a microtonal interval less than a semitone and is determined chiefly through a fine auditory sensibility.

SHUDDHA : Pure, natural note.

SWARA : Musical note, a tonal register.

SWARAMANDAL : A harp like instrument constructed with a box and approx. 40 strings. Used by some vocalists for strumming along with their performances.

TALA :A time cycle, a rhythm structure and a measure applied in the act of keeping time.

TAAN : A fast musical phrase offen with Intricate note patterns.

TAPPA : Hindustani compositional form with very quick phrases. It Is developed from the folk of songs of camel drivers of Punjab.

THAT: Heptatonic scale, modal structure.

TIVRA SWARA: shapened note.

TIHAI: Any three-time repeatition of a phrase endingon the Sum I.e. the first beat of a rhythm cycle.

UTTARANGA : Higher tetrachord; from Pa to Sa. ('So' to 'n')

VADI: Dominant note of a raga.

VISTAR : Elaboration and Improvisation upon the notes, for development of melodic Ideas In music.

VILAMBIT : Slow tempo. The charm of vilambit is in grave, temperate sweetness. After vilambit comes Madhya laya (Medium tempo) and then the climax in Drut laya (fast tempo)

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