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Music and Dance in India are amongst the oldest forms of Classical Arts with traditions that date back several centuries. The uniqueness of Indian Classical Dance and Music is that they are all mostly devotional in content. They are also performed to express a person’s Moods and Emotions.

Let the Melody Embrace the Beats

Music has always occupied a central place in the imagination of Indians. The range of musical phenomenon in India, and indeed the rest of South Asia, extends from simple melodies, commonly encountered among Hill Tribes, to what is one of the most well – developed “Systems” of Classical Music in the world.

Indian music is based upon two pillars. They are ‘Raga’, which is the Melodic form, and the ‘Tal’, the Rhythmic form. The ‘Raga’ is India’s unique contribution to the world of music. Ragas attempt to evoke the interaction of man’s emotions with his environment. Ragas are made of different combinations of some or all of the ‘Sapta Swara’ (the seven notes). They are ‘Sa’ Sadjam, ‘Ri’ Rishab, ‘Ga’ Gaandhaar, ‘Ma’ Madhyam, ‘Pa’ Pancham, ‘Dha’ Dhaivad, ‘Ni’ Nishad and are fundamental to Indian Classical Music, both Hindustani and Carnatic. Some of the most well known Ragas are: Bahar, Bhairav, Bhairavi, Sindhu Bhairavi, Bhimpalashri, Darbari Kannada, Darbari, Desh, Hamsadavani, Jaijaivanti, Khamaj, Megh Malhar, Pilu, Shyarri Kalyani, Simhendra Madhyam, Todi and Yeman.

The different forms of Hindustani music are Dhrupad, Dhamar, Khayal, Tappa and Thumri. The south Indian tradition of music is called Carnatic Sangeet. The instruments used in Indian classical music are of four types. They are Tantru (stringed), Susir (wind), Avanada (percussion) and Ghana (gongs, bells and cymbals). India is extremely rich in folk music as well. It resonates with the vibrant diversity of the land. Some important forms of music includes Ghazals, Qawwali, Abhung and Bhajans.


A Series of Rhythmical Steps

There is sculptural evidence from all parts of India that underlines the rich tradition of dance that flourished over a thousand years ago. Most Indian dances take their themes from Indian Mythology and Folk Legends.

Indian dancing is a way of communication using the body as a medium. The expressions of dances are perhaps most developed, yet easily understood. Indian dance is a blend of Nirtta (the rythemic movement of the body without any expression of emotion), Nritya (the combination of rhythm with expression through eyes, hands and facial movements) and Natya (the dramatic element). Dance is performed with Abhinaya (expression), rasa (emotion) and mudras (hand formations). Indian Classical Dance Forms are Kathak, Odissi, Manipuri, Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali & Mohiniattam.

In addition, the ‘Navarasas’ (nine emotions), give all dance a completeness that allows the dancer and the ‘Rasikas’ (audience) to experience the full beauty and meaning of the Lyrics and the Movements they are portrayed by. These emotions are expressed in the eyes, the face, subtle muscle shifts and the body as a whole. They are: Hasya (Happiness), Krodha (Anger), Bhibasta (Disgust), Bhayanaka (Fear), Shoka (Sorrow), Veera (Courage), Karuna (Compassion), Adbhuta (Wonder) and Shanta (Serenity).

Music and Dance – Is a real opportunity to experience the Cultural Heritage of India.


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