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Carnatic music is one of the oldest forms of classical music and is related to the Southern part of India. The states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu follow Carnatic style of music. It is one of the subclass of Indian classical music, which is mainly associated with the Hindu traditions and is free from other Islamic or Persian influences. Hindustani music is the other subclass of Indian classical music, which is very popular in the northern part of India.

As per Puranas, most of the Indian arts, music and cultures are originated from Hindu gods and goddesses. Carnatic music also has its origin related to Sama Veda and Yajur Veda. During 18th and 19th centuries, Carnatic music was most preferred by the kings of Mysore kingdom and Travancore kingdom. Even today also Carnatic music holds its number one position as the most popular Indian classical music in south India.

Carnatic Music

Carnatic Music

Generally, Carnatic music is based on certain elements like:

  • Shruti
  • Swara
  • Raga
  • Tala

Shruti or pitch of the music is actually a central system from which all the other related sounds are produced. Shruti is the most important element to be noted while learning music because it is considered as the basement of Carnatic music. On the other hand, swaras are the categories of musical sounds related to the music. There are mainly seven swaras namely Sa Ri Ga Ma Pa Da Ni which are the short forms of shadja, rishabha, gandhara, madhyama, panchama, dhaivata and nishada respectively. These seven swaras are again related to the sounds of certain animals and birds.

Ragas are basically the arrangement of these swaras in different sequences. All the ragas are categorized in such a way that there will be an increasing and decreasing array of swaras and are normally called ‘arohanam and avarohanam. Most of the ragas have all the seven notes in the scale and they are called sampoorna ragas.

The rhythm element of Carnatic music is mainly known as Tala. It is actually a sequence of beats performed by the Carnatic singers using hands and fingers at fixed time cycles. Adi tala is the most common type of tala used in Carnatic music and it consist of 8 beats per cycle. Apart from this, there are Dhruva tala, Eka tala Jhampa tala, Matya tala, Rupaka tala and Triputa tala, each uses different number of beats per cycle.

In Carnatic music, the songs are called Keerthanams. Saint Thyagaraja, Muthuswamy Dikshitar and Syama Shastri were some of the famous composers in Carnatic music and they have created many Keerthanams. Apart from them, on website like UrbanPro, composers like Purandara Dasa, Annamacharya, Arunachala Kavi, Bhadrachala Ramadas, Oothukkadu Venkata Kavi and Maharaja Swati Thirunal have also contributed their parts to the vast universe of Carnatic music.