Origin of Hindustani Music

Because musical notes were supposedly created by Lord Brahma as siblings of spiritual knowledge (Vedas), Indian music can be considered as old as the universe. For some believers, musical sound is Nada-Brahman (the Divine) and therefore originless. The creation of Ragas is commonly attributed to Lord Shiva and his spouse, who created the six primary (and mystical) ragas. Shiva also created the primordial percussion instrument (damaru) to control time. Over thousands of years, Indian music saw a series of adaptations while various seers learned it through divine inspirations and propagated it to other individuals.

In the last millennium, the development of music in the Indian subcontinent saw many ups and downs depending upon who sat on the throne. Selected royal families gave it patronage and respect, which music needs in order to nurture; others simply could not show their support. At some point, Indian music diverted into two branches: North Indian (Hindustani) and South Indian (Carnatic). Out of these two forms, Hindustani Music, which stands as a tree watered by original contributions from both Hindu and Muslim musicians, depicts a blend of elements from the Vedic and Persian cultures. In the last century, it also spread to the West, where cultural differences could not block its reverence.

Last edited on March 28, 2019

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