Carnatic Classical Music

The classical musical style of South India, Carnatic Classical Music is regarded one of the oldest forms of music in the world. This music was pioneered by the great musician Purandara Das, who is often referred to as the Father of Carnatic Music. Bhav (emotion) and Bhakti (devotion) are the essential elements of Carnatic music, coupled with a scientific approach and spirit of improvisation. Like Hindustani Classical Music, Carnatic music comprises Raga or melody and Taal or Rhythm. It has seven rhythmic cycles and 72 fundamental ragas. The seven rhythmic cycles are Dhruva, Matya, Rupaka, Jhampa, Triputa, Adi and Eka. All the 150 Carnatic taals are the derivatives of these seven rhythmic cycles.

Carnatic classical performance usually commences with a varnam which is a composition in three parts - pallavi, anupallavi and chittaswaram. Subsequently, one or two kriti (songs) are sung, set to fast paced rhythm. The concert is usually concludes with a Tillana which is akin to Tarana. The saint composers Sri Thyagaraja, Muthuswamy Dikshitar and Shyama Sastri are considered the Trinity of Carnatic Music. M. Balamurali Krishna is one of the most popular contemporary Carnatic musician.

Updated on 7th June, 2005


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