Music 428
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Song Clips
       Theka Clips


Course Topics

1.        The region, its history and inhabitants.

Reading: Powers, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians; Vol IX; pp. 69-166.


2.         Musical instruments.

Types of instruments
  Brief introduction to the commonly used instruments.

  Tanpura, Tabla, Sarangi, Rudra Veena, Sitar, Sarod, Harmonium,
  Bansuri, Santoor.
  Veena, Violin, Mridangam, Ghatam, Kanjira.
Use of the instruments as solo/accompanying instruments.


 Reading:  Deva's book

3.         Musical material and practices.

Material :

Swaras and Shrutis (notes, microtones)
Mela, Thaat (scales)
Other terminology.

Practices :

Phrasing, ornamentation.
Tuning of instruments.
Use of the drone.


Reading : Powers pp. 91-97; Shankar pp. 17-24; My notes.

4.         Raga

Concept :

Melody type with basic structural rules,
but with possibilities for improvisation.

Structure :

Permissible and omitted notes (sammata and varjya swaras)
Vadi, Samvadi, anuvadi, vivadi notes. Aroha, Avaroha

Classification :

By Type (Jaati)

Septatonic (Sampurna)
Hexatonic (Shadava)
Pentatonic (Auduva)

By Scale (Thaat)

Melakartas of Venkatmakhin
Thaats a la Bhatkhande.

By Anga (phraseology)


Reading : Kaufmann 1-20; Shankar pp. 17-24; My notes; Powers pp. 98-102;

5.         Tala and Laya.

Laya (tempo) :

Vilambita, Madhya, Druta.

Tala (Rhythmic cycle) :

Notion of the cycle and its components;
Matras, vibhagas, Sam, Khali etc.

The common talas :

Ektaal, Teentaal, Jhaptaal, Roopak, Sitarkhani, Dadra, Deepchandi.
Chautaal, Dhammar, Aada Chautaal, etc.

Theka :

Concept and use.


 Reading : Kippen xiv-xxiii; Ruckert & Khan 215-225; My notes

6.         Musical forms or genres.

Historical :

Prabandha, Khanda, Geetika, Quol, Qulbana

Prevailing :

Dhrupad, Dhammar, Khayal, Tarana, Thumri, Dadra, Tappa, Hori, Chaiti, Jhoola etc.

Reading :

  Dhrupad : Shankar 32-34; Wade 158-169;
  Khayal : Shankar 32-34; Wade 169-177; Meer 59-70
  Thumri : Wade 178-184; Manuel Preface, 34-52
  Bhajan :

7.         Performance contexts.

Religious :

Worship (Haveli Sangeet and Dhrupad, Keertan, Bhajan)
Family events (Various folk genres, Bhajans)

Secular :

Chamber recitals or mehfils (Khayal, Thumri, Tarana, Dadra)

Accompanying Dance (Thumri, Dadra, Padam, Javali)
Folk Festivals (Hori, Chaiti, Jhoola)
Mass media : "Public" performances in auditoria or open air.
Stage music, radio & TV, films. (All genres)

8.         Performance practices.

Cultural assumptions :

Music as contemplation, invocation, etc.
Aesthetic theories :
Rasa, Bhava, "appropriate" times for Ragas.

Role of accompanists :

Sarangi, Tabla accompanists, Status questions.
Roles of accompanists in Karnatak performances.

Manners :

Acknowledging teachers, elders (Buzurg)
Audience reaction and participation.

Compositions and their role :

Bandish as a basis for embellishment.

A typical performance of Khayal :

Alap, vilambit khayal, Sthayee, Antara, Badhat, Bol-alap, Tan,
Layakari etc.


Reading : Manuel 6-23; Shankar 23-28; Wade :

9.         Becoming a musician.


The principal banis of Dhrupad:    Dagur, Gauhar, Khandar, Nauhar,
The principal gharanas of Khayal:   Agra, Gwalior, Jaipur, Kirana, Patiala

Methods of teaching :

Ustad/Shagird or Guru/Shishya relationship
(concept and practice, traditional and present day)
Lore, familial repertoires.

Talim, Riaz :

Role played by these in training;
Myths and realities.

Impact of radio and recorded media.


        Reading : Neuman 17-24, 59-84; Shankar 11-40;

10.       Musical diffusion and mutation.

Ways of innovation "within" the tradition.
Mutant ragas, examples.
Diffusion of Ragas from South to North and vice versa.
Ragas "newly invented" by contemporary musicians. Examples.