Origin of Indian Classical Music

Because musical notes were supposedly created by Lord Brahma as siblings of spiritual knowledge (Vedas), Indian music can be considered as old as the universe. For some believers, musical sound is Nada-Brahman (the Divine) and is, therefore, originless. The creation of Ragas is commonly attributed to Lord Shiva and his spouse, who created the six primary (and mystical) ragas. Shiva also created the primordial percussion instrument — damaru — to control time. Over thousands of years, Indian music saw a series of adaptations while various seers learned it through divine inspirations and propagated it to other individuals.

In the last millennium, the development of music in the Indian subcontinent saw many ups and downs. Selected royal families gave it patronage and respect, which music needed in order to nurture; some could not show their support. At a point in time, Indian classical music diverted into two branches: North Indian (Hindustani) and South Indian (Carnatic). Out of these two forms, Hindustani Music, which stands as a tree watered by original contributions from both Hindu and Muslim musicians, depicts a blend of elements from both Vedic and Persian cultures. In the last century, Indian music also spread to the West, where cultural differences did not block its reverence.

Last edited on March 28, 2019

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