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The word music in India means 'Sangeeta', which traditionally meant performing the art of singing, playing of instruments and dancing. Indian classical music originated from Vedic chants or Sama music. This music chiefly consisted of chanting of hymns in praise of the Vedic gods. The musical structure of the chants was characterised by descending order of notes, initially two to five which later was increased to seven notes. Gradually various developments took place and this culminated in the Raga tradition.

Characterestics of Indian classical music

The Raga (structure of melody) and Tala (structure of rhythm) are the two major characteristics of Indian Classical music. The melody deals with the rise and fall of sounds and the latter deals with the pattern of time beats of Ragas. Tala is the pulse of Indian music. The term Tala is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Tal' which means to strike with palms. Early musicians may have employed claps or palm-strokes to mark time in dance and music which later developed into a complicated system of 108 talas of classical music. It is a time cycle that remains fixed through out a particular rendering.  

North Indian Music offers a variety of forms of music like the Dhruvapada, Khyal, Thumari, Tappa and Ghazal. The dhruvapada is a strictly classical and a slow form. The khyal incorporates into this rigidity, the romanticism of yet another form, the thumari. All these forms follow the same basic tenets of the raga-tala system. The thumari is used quite extensively to accompany the dance Kathak. This is because it incorporates a high degree of emotional and aesthetic content, from the bottom of the heart. The tappa is a lighter form of classical music that is brisk and replete with a variety of phrases, which makes it particularly difficult to render without a good degree of virtuosity.

Karnatic music has a deeper understanding of 'notal' values and their inter-relations. The musician of the south adheres very firmly to the tala cycle. Karnatic music is rigid and deeply spiritual. Thus, taste for Karnatic music has to be cultivated. The dominant element of Karnatic music is the 'Kriti'; a form of composition with three parts. The literary content of the Kritis or songs, are in the form of offerings. The three great composers known as the trinity of Karnatic music are Shyama Sastry, Thyagaraja and Muthuswamy Dikshitar. The flute, the violin, the veena, the nadaswaram and the gottuvadyam are among the most well known South Indian instruments.

Music Schools in Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs currently teaches classes in Carnatic and Hindustani vocal and instrumental music. Please contact the following instructors for more information.

School of Classical Music
Rama Murlidharan (Carnatic)
Tel: (719)-266-6059

School of Hindustani Music at Colorado Springs
Sourabh Basak (Hindustani - vocal & instruments)
Tel: (719)-522-0307

Parts of information on this page taken from