Indian music has a special appeal not only within the country but also throughout the world. The traditional pattern of Indian music has survived throughout the centuries of modern civilization and entertained not only the common people in this country but lovers of music and art throughout the world. Although there are regional styles in Indian music but the basic unity, i.e., of Ragas and Talas concept is uniformly prevalent. No wonder Indian has its influence on the musical patterns in other parts of the world. The Afghani music, the Persian music, the Russian music and even the western music carry the impact of Indian Ragas and Talas. The distinguishing features of the Indian music have to slay and adore the folk music and dances in different regions of the country.
Like the western music, Indian music serves as the best accompaniment to classical dances and dramas of India Dance combines in itself action song, mime and rhythm. A classical dance, like Indian classical music is dominated by the Tala concept. Hence, the importance of music in dancing.
Indian music is based on melody. It is built on Raga and Tala concepts. In spirit it is individualistic and the content of the phrases, in the past, was largely devotional. There are two major systems of classical music, the Hindustani system and the Kamatak system. The differences between them are more in practice than their theoretical foundation, as both derive their rules from the same treatise of which the most famous are Bharata’s Natya Shastra and Sarangdeva’s Sangect Ratnakar. Both systems have shown great assimilative power, constantly absorbing folk tunes and regional tilts and thus elevating many of them to the status of Ragas. They have also mutually influenced each other. The Hindustani system, prevalent over the whole of north and east of India and the upper half of Deccan has been more exposed to Persian influence.
The most famous Indian instrument, however; is the Veena, which is celebrated in the epics and other ancient books. It has been described as the companion of Saraswati, the Goddess of learning. It consists of a flat-board mounted on two large gourds and seven strings. The instrument is played by a deflection of the strings, which are played by the right hand and the notes made with the left. Among the other string instruments are the Sitar with its feminine grace, believed to have been devised by the poet. Amir Khusroo in the 14th century; the Sarod (played with a mizrab of plectrum) with its deep and vibrant notes.
The flute is the most common wind instrument, inseparably associated with Lord Krishna. The Nagaswaram in the South and the Shahnai in the North are played on auspicious occasions like marriages and festivals. The Nagaswanam is indispensable for temple processions in South India. A great variety of horns and buglas are in use in folk and tribal music, while brass intruments of the Western type are in vogue only in military and police bangs.
The more famous composers in the North Indian System have been Amir Khusro, Swami Haridas, Tansen, Baiju Bawra, Sadarang, Adarang and Mohamad Shah Rangeele. The Southern composers of fame include Purandardasa, Thyagaraj, Muthuswami, Dikshitat Shastri, Swami Tirunal, Annamacharya and Kshetrajna.
The musical history of India is quite glorious and inspite of some western influences in both instrumental and vocal, the Indian music will be ever shining because of the qualities of its content and structure. The present filmy and rap music is influencing the youth more and more but the classical musical themes cannot be ignored yet for a long time to come.