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Strive to give the world the best. Experience tells and faith foretells, that the cosmos will respond in kind. -Atul Nene see all quotes

Basics of Hindustani Classical Music for Listeners


Having come across many wannabe listeners who are awed by Hindustani Classical Music to the extent that they don't follow their curiosity through, here is my attempt to de-mystify this north Indian form of music. I have conciously attempted to make this simple and learnt a lot in the process, myself. One could consider this as course 101 or topic one-oh-one on the subject. This attempts to cover enough details of 'raga music' to equip the listener for a fruitful journey.

Here are the topics I address:

  1. The goal is - bliss ('aanand')
  2. Notes ('swaras', 'shrutis')
  3. Scale ('patti')
  4. Octave ('saptak')
  5. Note groups ('raga's)
  6. 'raga' characteristics ('aaroha', 'avaroha', 'jaati', 'vaadi', 'samvaadi', 'prahar', 'rasa', 'prakriti', 'pakaD', 'thaaTa')
  7. Beats and rhythms ('maatra's and 'Thekaa's)
  8. Tempos ('laya's - 'vilambit', 'madhya', 'drut' and 'dugun')
  9. Compositions ('rachana's)
  10. Typical parts of a 'raga' presentation
  11. Styles ('gharana's)
  12. What makes a good performance
  13. How can listeners make the most of music
  14. References
  15. Further Reading

Happy reading. All comments are welcome, please do write in.


I recently presented a session based on these slides and it was graciously captured by the kPoint team at their URTalk portal. My most sincere thanks for all friends and well-wishers who encouraged me and supported me to make this session happen. I hope you like it.

Click Here to View the Video in a new window or tab.



Click Here to Download HCMForListeners.pdf


Alternatively, Right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) the above link to the PDF file. Choose the appropriate save or download option. The options vary depending on your browser: for Internet Explorer it is Save Target As, for Firefox it is Save Link As, for Safari it is Download Linked File.

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Basics of Hindustani Classical Music for Listeners by Atul Nene is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
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