Monday, February 13, 2012


                                A BRIEF HISTORY OF INDIAN MUSIC
The history of Indian music can be divided in to four periods, namely
         The Vedic or the ancient period.
        The Hindu period.
        The Mohammadian period.
        The Modern period.
We shall examine each period separately,

The Vedic period or the ancient period
The Musical Culture of the Indus valley Civilization of the 3rd and 2nd millennia B.C. speaks of harps, many types of drums. This Civilization died when Aryans came in 2nd B.C. They composed and sung hymns to Gods. Rig Veda, Sama Veda and Yajur Veda, were composed. Sama Veda contains songs sung musically and it gave birth to 7 notes. Slowly Jathi Gayan developed out of Vedic Music. Vedas describe Brahma as the father of Music. Vishnu and Shiva also studied this art and Saraswathi was the Goddess of Music. Narada learned it from Gods and spreaded it among humans. Bharata a sage wrote an important book called Natyashastra on Music and Dance sometime between 200 A. D.

The Hindu period
This period started will be Gupta Kings 380 A. D.  A famous poet named Kalidas was employed in the place of Gupta King Vikramadiya. It was the Golden age of Culture arts and learning in India. Kalidas wrote many famous poems like Meghaduta, Raghuramsa, and Sakuntala. His works mentions many types of Veenas like Parivadini, Vipanchi, Pushkar and Drums like Mridanga and Dundubhi, Vamshi or the Flute too has been described. In Ramayana too Musical Instruments like Veena, Mridang, Vamshi are mentioned. In the Puranas like Vishnu and Shiva Puranas Music has been given a special place. They were written in 100 A. D.

The Mohammedian period
In the 9th Century Sufis came to India. They were great lovers of Music. The Flowers of Nizamuddin Chishti (1324 A. D.) included Basant and Rang celebrations in their religious practices. The Moguls invaded India in the 11th Century. Some Muslim rules like Aurangzeb (1658 – 1707) prohibited Music but rules like Akbar (1556 – 1605) liked Music and made it popular. In the 12th Century a Persian Musician named Ameer Kushroo invented Khyal, Tarana, Gazal, Khawwali, Tabla and the Sitar and also composed many Ragas and Taalas.
           During this period (1210 -1247 A. D.) Sarangadeva wrote the important book Sangeeth Rathnakar which gave a lot of details on Shuti, Swar, Saptak, Grama, Moorchana ect. He also gave the technique of playing constructing 14 kinds of Drums. This book was highly accepted by both Hindustani and Karnatic Musicians. In the 14th Century Alaudin Khilji became emperor and it was he who employed Ameer Kushroo as his royal Musician.
          In the 15th Century Sultan Hussain Shirki invented Kalvanthan ki Khyal. In the 15th Century Akbar became king. He had a great Musician called Tansen who performed miracles with Music. He produced fire and rain with Music. His teacher was a great Music Yogi called Swami Haridas who was also a great singer. During this period Raja Mansing Tomar of Gwalior invaded the Dhrupad style of singing. In the 16th Century Pandith Vyankatamukhi wrote Chaturdandi Prakashika which described 72 Melakartas. In the 17th Century Mohammed Shah Rangile became king in whose Court were two famous Musician named Adarang and Sadarang. They composed many Kyals and popularized them. In the 19th Century Nawab Wajid Alishah became king of North India and Thumri was invented during this period. He also popularized the Kathak Dance.


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