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Raga is the basis of melody in Indian music and a substitute for the western scale. Indian ragas are suppose to reproduce the conditions and emotions associated with them. For instance the, “Dipak raga is supposed to produce flames in actuality; and a story is told of the famous musician named Gopal Naik (Baiju Bawara) who, when ordered to sing this by the Emperor Akbar went and stood in the Jamuna up to his neck and then started the song. The water became gradually hotter until flames burst out of his body and he was consumed to ashes.

” (Motwani) Ragas in terms of construction is, “the concept of raga is to connect musical ideas in such a way as to form a continuous whole based on emotional impact. There are, however, mixed ragas combined in a continuous whole of contrasting moods. Technically, raga is defined as “essentially a scale with a tonic and two axial notes,” although it has additional characters. ” (Motwani). The instruments used to perform ragas consist of violin, viola, mridangam, ghatam, ganjira, harmonium, flute, etc.

Many modern ragas are performed by vocalists as well. “In Indian classical music, Tala (ta-l (Hindi), ta-la (anglicised from talam; in Sanskrit), literally a “clap,” is a rhythmical pattern that determines the rhythmical structure of a composition. Each composition is set to a tala, and as a composition is rendered by the main artist(s), the percussion artist(s) play the pattern repeatedly, marking time as well as enhancing the appeal of the performance. ” (Wikipedia)

“The most common instrument for keeping rhythm in Hindustani music is the tabla. In Carnatic music, the Mridangam is a stock feature in vocal, violin, Veena and flute concerts, with the Ghatam, the Khanjira and the Morsing also featuring at times. In Nadhaswaram concerts, the Thavil takes the place of the Mridangam. ” (Wikipedia)

References

Hindu Music http://www. atributetohinduism. com/Hindu_Music. htm#Raga%20-%20The%20Basis%20 of%20Melody 8-9-2006 Wikipedia- http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Tala_%28music%29 8-9-2006

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