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Aa The primary enunciation of Raga. It is also called Aakar, the open mouthed enunciation of 'aa' as in bar.
Abhog Summing up of the entire development of a raga.
Aditala Played at speed measure, with 8 matras on a 4-2-2 ratio.
Alap Introductory movement with irregular phase, unaccompanied and without rhythm.
Antara Second section of a raga. Register above and including upper tonic.
Anupallavi In Carnatic Music, it is the second section of the raga.
Aroha The ascending scale of a raga.
Atidrut Very fast tempo.
Avaroha The descending scale of a raga, slightly changed from the ascending scale.
Baaj Style of playing an instrument.
Bandish Fixed vocal or instrumental composition bound by rhythmic cycle; A composition consisting of words i.e. the text, notes and rhythm of the Taal. Literally refers to that which is tied. Also used to refer to song text.
Barhat Gradual progression in a musical exposition.
Bhajan Devotional song.
Bhatiyali Folk song of the boatman of Bengal.
Bol-tans Musical phrases interlinked with bols (words).
Chakradar Tihai A tihai in three sections, each section consisting of a smaller tihai.
Cheez The "song", a raga-based composition in words.
Chhota Khyal Fast khayal song, also called Drut.
Chikari Drone strings of a sitar.
Dadra Musical style sung in Dadra. A Taal of six mantras with 3+3 units usually used for semi-classical music such as Thumri: therefore, also a light -classical genre
Dhamar A style of classical vocal music, using more grace notes than Dhrupad. It is set to a tala of 14 beats.
Dhrupad The most ‘massive and sublime’ form in Indian Classical vocal tradition. Its form strictly follows a fixed pattern of four stanzas : the sthayi, antara, sanchari and abhoga having rigid notes, words and majestic talas, usually in chautala of 12 beats.
Dhun It represents a light tune, a mixture of sweet melodies, free from the disciplines of a raga. Usually played in a fast tempo and creates a mood of ecstasy.
Drut Fast tempo.
Duet Partnership in vocal or instrumental music has been in vogue since the day of Dhrupad. Presentation of instrumental duets by Ravi Shankar and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, began a new era in the history of Classical music. Great musical pairs have started playing "jugalbandi".
Ek taal A Taal of 12 beats divided into six divisions with two beats in each.
Farmaish Request from members of audience for specific musical presentation of their choice.
Gamak Grace note, a form of embellishment on musical notes.
Gat All sections in a tala and accompanied by Tabla.
Gayaki A certain style of singing following a gharana the musician belongs to.
Gharana A school of music, representing a specific musical tradition. Each gharana is famous for certain individualistic style of renderings. Some famous gharanas are Gwalior, Rampur, Lucknow, Baroda, Patiala, Kirana, Maihar etc.
Ghazal A love-lyric in Urdu, of Persian Muslim origin.
Guru-Shishya Guru, a teacher ; shishya, a pupil. Guru-shishya parampara is the teacher-student relationship, creating a person-to-person tradition.
Hem-Khem Refers to the knowledge of a musician. Two ragas, Hem Kalyan and Khem Kalyan are closely allied ragas whose distinction is so difficult to see that only a master can produce that indisputable characteristic which separates the two ragas. Hem is a compound of ragas Kamod and Shuddh Kalyan and Khem is a compound of Kamod and Yaman Kalyan.
Jati Combination of matras to form unit of any tala.
Jhala Melody interpolated with strokes on the chikari strings. Final section and the climax of the Alap.
Jor (Jod) Movement with rhythmic accompaniment on chikari strings (without tabla).
Jugalbandi a musical duet vocal or instrumental; A duet involving two artists both having an equal role in the performance.
Kharaj Octave below and including middle tonic.
Khayal In Urdu, ‘Khayal’ means creative thought. Hence, less rigid than dhrupad-singing. It is the most popular classical type of Hindustani vocal music. Sometimes, instrumentalists play in Khayal styles. There is no time-measure.
Kirtan A devotional song, theme associated with Lord Krishna, does not strictly adhere to the raga scale, musical value subdued by sentimental emotion.
Krithi A devotional type of set composition in Carnatic music. As rigid as Dhrupad. A fixed pattern is as follows: Pallavi, Anupallavi and Carana.
Laraj Lowest octave.
Laya Rhythm, the overall tempo of the raga.
Layakari Rhythmic virtuosity.
Lehra An instrumental refrain provided to a percussion solo recital; A melodic pattern performed as an accompaniment for the solo Tabla performance by the Sarangi or harmonium.
Madhya Medium tempo.
Matra A specific musical beat within the cycle of the tala.
Mattatal A 9-beat cycle divided 2+2+2+3.
Meend Sliding over notes.
Mehfil Concert or soiree.
Mishra lit. Mixed. The introduction of melodic movement foreign to the established raga.
Mukhda opening passage or profile (of raga or taal). The first phrase of the bandish from the start and upto the syllable containing the Sam.
Odava Pentatonic raga consisting of five notes.
Pallavi The first section (asthayi) of a composition in Carnatic music which follows ragam and tanam.
Pandit Learned one, a master-musician.
Prakar A variety or type( of a raga or a Taal and the like).
Raas A dance form associated with Lord Krishna and his Gopis.
Raga The raga is an Indian scale which utilises varying ascending and descending patterns – certain notes on the way up and certain notes on the way down – but always in the set sequence. The raga never has less than five notes – the minimum required for a tune.
Raga Rasa Mood or sentiment enshrined in a melody.
Ragam Alap in Carnatic music.
Ragamala / Ragamalika A composition in Carnatic music. Here, one raga leads to another forming a ‘malika’ (garland) of ragas.
Rasa Essence of experiencing in music, it implies strong connection between musical ideas and their emotional impart on listeners.
Saath Accompaniment.
Samvadi The next important, concordant note after the vadi.
Sanchari It is the third movement in the development of a melodic line.
Saptak Scale, octave.
Sargam Sol-fa syllables – Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni.
Shadja The beginning note.
Shloka A Sanskrit verse, devotional or philosophical.
Shruti 'To Hear' (Sanskrit). A microtonical interval less than a semitone.
Shuddha A pure note.
Sthayi Register above middle tonic.
Tala Rhythmic cycle.
Tan A rapid succession of notes.
Tanam Muslim love song, reconstructed and refined by Shouri Mian, who introduced it to Lucknow in 19th century. Before him, they were simply folk songs of Punjabi camel riders.
Tarana A fast moving popular melody using syllables like ‘ta’ and ‘nu’.
Teental A 16 beat cycle divided 4+4+4+4.
Thillana A lively musical form, usually set to and rendered in brisk pace. It is the Carnatic counterpart of the North Indian ‘tarana’.
Thumri Described as the expression of the singer’s soul and temperament, thumri is purely romantic or devotional in its content. It came into vogue in the eastern region (Purab) of Uttar Pradesh towards the close of the 18th century as an accompanying song of dance. Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Avadh was probably the greatest known patron of thumri. Lucknow and Varanasi (Benaras) are the two centres from where thumri evolved into several varieties.
Tihai Short phrases played three times, ending on the first beat of the rhythm cycle.
Tora Fast runs and repeated note passages.
Upaj Secondary phrase derived from basic Swara structure of a raga. Extempore improvisation.
Ustad A learned one, a master-musician.
Vadi The predominant note of the scale. Acts like centre of gravity; often translated as "dominant" or "sonant".
Vadya Instrument.
Vikrit Variant note, flat or sharp.
Vilambit Slow tempo.
Vistara Improvisation or elaboration upon the note.
Zamzama a type of embellishment notably employed in Thumri and lighter varieties.