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Academic Decathlon 2015: Music Basics

Brief overview regarding India and its music. 10/7/15

Preeti Juturu

on 7 October 2015

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Transcript of Academic Decathlon 2015: Music Basics

Basic Elements of Indian Music
Instruments as Sound Sources
In the 19th century, the Sach-Hornbostel system was used to group instruments
chordophones - strings are plucked, bowed, or struck
aerophones - produce sound by vibrating column of air
membranophones - skin or membrane stretched across a frame, vibrates when struck
idiophones - body of the instrument vibrates when struck
Prior to the Sach-Hornbostel system, instruments were grouped into "families"
strings - bowed or plucked
may have a neck attached to a resonating body
may have frets (metal bars / strings at pitch intervals)
brass - aerophones of metal
performer buzzed lips to produce vibrations
woodwinds - aerophones made of wood
vibrations created by breath alone or by one or two reeds
percussion - membranophones, idiophones, chordophones, keyboard

pitch - octave is created by doubling the vibrations of a pitch
Properties of Musical Sound
Pitch on a Keyboard
right side - higher pitch, moving "up"
left side - lower pitch, moving "down"
half step - distance between any two adjacent keys
whole step - distance between every other key, regardless of color
intervals - half step and whole steps
scale - sequences of pitches in ascending or descending order
natural keys - white keys, labeled A-G
Microtones - pitches smaller than half steps, not used in most Western instruments
Melody Defined with an Example Using Scale Degrees

melody - a series of successive pitches perceived by ear to form a coherent whole
harmony - when two pitches occur together
tonic - the "fundamental" pitch on which a scale is based
Natural scale - Do-Re-Mi scale
We use Sa-Re-Ga instead
Rhythm - the way music is organized in time
Beat and Tempo
beat - steady pulse that underlies most music
tempo - speed or pace of the beat
Indian music uses the terms slow, medium, fast
single speed - when notes express the base underlying tempo
double speed - when two sounds occur in the space of one beat
unmetered / "free rhythm" - no steady tempo
The Region, Languages, Contexts

India is the largest nation in South Asia and has the second largest population in the world
Know as the world's largest democracy
The nation is divided geographically by river plains, mountain ranges, coastal plains, plateaus. and deserts that have different cultures and mythical lores
Delhi was the home of both Hindu and Muslim dynasties that controlled North India over many centuries
Kolkata is the great metropolis of eastern India
Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra state, is India's most populous citiy and its booming center for industry, finance, and entertainment
the Kavari River flows from the States of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to the Bay of Bengal- rulers of this region in the fourteenth century were patrons of South Indian musicians and dancers
Chennai is South India's center of culture and education
Bangalore, a major South Indian city know for it's successful tech industry
North and South India

the Indian government recognizes twenty=two official languages and recognizes some twenty-seven others
largest language family in India is Indo-Aryan, spoken mainly in the North
the other main language family is Dravidian, spoken in the South
English is used for government, business, media, and conversation in the big cities (more of a North Indian thing)
Hindi (part of the Indo-Aryan family) is spoken by a larger percent of Indians than any other language
the government has designated Hindi as the official language other than English but are opposed by native speakers of other languages
Sanskrit is the language of Hindu sacred texts, mythology, and classical literature
the Dravidian language family of South India has four main languages recognized by the government: Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu
The Indo-Ayran and Dravidian Language Families

Hinduism is an umbrella term for many streams of practice because castes and economic classes of Hindu society, rural and urban, make a complex picture
Hinduism is various schools of philosophy that describe the universe and are constructed with utmost intellectual rigor
Hindu practices are not easily generalized or separated from daily life, but most Hindu practices involve song and music
Vedas- the earliest text of Hunduism, transmitted orally, memorized, and recited in musical tones
Bhakti is a type of workship that expresses personal love and longing for the devine through poetry and song
Hindu partrons, landowners, and rulers or large or small territories across South Asia cultivated music for entertainment in their courts and considered it a high art along with poetry and theater which then became the classical music of India
Hinduism and Music

brought by Arab traders by sea & over land through the Kyber Pass from Iran, Turkey, Central Asia
army leaders established ruling dynasties in North India in the 12th century
Islamic culture + local Indian culture = North Indian culture
13% of India's population is Muslim, most live in the North
Sufi: Muslim prayer song

reflects Indian, Persian, Turkic, Central Asian origins
some instruments developed from Central Asia & Afghanistan

musicians came from South, West, and Central Asia
music was carried orally by musicians, passed down through generations
formal music was based on:
: system of melodies
: system of rhythmic cycles

In the 15th century, two different music systems were created:
Hindustani music:
North Indian system
Carnatic music:
South Indian system
different instruments, melodies, rhythms
In the 18th century, British rule broke up Indian courts; musicians moved to cities
What Makes Music Distinctly Indian?
The instrumentation
Usage of microtones
Complex scale runs
(in classical music or classical style)
For example, take this video:
What instruments were being used?
The instrumentation
Usage of microtones
Complex scale runs
Hanuman Chalisa
Enna Solla Pogirai
Were These Incorporated?
Keyboard isn't a traditional indian instrument, but we have a variation of it known as the
, usually used in Islamic style music.
Full transcript