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Carnatic Music

Carnatic Music is a system of music that in famous in Southern Indian States like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pardesh and Karnataka. It is one of two main sub-genres of Indian classical music that evolved from ancient Hindu traditions. The main emphasis in Carnatic music is on vocal music that means that the most compositions are written to be sung, and even when played on instruments, they are meant to be performed in singing style.Carnatic music is usually performed by a small ensemble of musicians, consisting of a vocalist, a melodic accompaniment , a rhythm accompaniment, and a tambura, which acts as a drone throughout the performance. Various festivals are held throughout India and abroad which mainly consist of Carnatic music performances which is considered as one of the world largest cultural events. Carnatic music is also usually taught and learnt through compositions.

Carnatic Music History

Indian classical music is believed to be a divine art form which originated from the Devas and Devis The Sama Veda, which is believed to have laid the foundation for Indian classical music, consists of hymns from the Rigveda, set to musical tunes which would be sung using three to seven musical notes. Carnatic music was mainly patronized by the local kings of the Kingdom of Mysore and Kingdom of Travancore in the 18th through 20th centuries. The royalty of the kingdoms of Mysore and Travancore were noted composers and proficient in playing musical instruments, such as the veena, rudra veena, violin, ghatam, flute, mridangam, nagaswara and swarabhat.

Carnatic Music and People

Carnatic music is presented by musicians in concerts or recordings, either vocally or through instruments.Some of the important elements of carnatic music are –

  • Sruti-commonly refers to musical pitch.
  • Swara– refers to a type of musical sound that is a single note, which defines a relative (higher or lower) position of a note, rather than a defined frequency.
  • Raga System- A raga in Carnatic music prescribes a set of rules for building a melody – very similar to the Western concept of mode.
  • Tala System-Tala refers to a fixed time cycle or metre, set for a particular composition, which is built from groupings of beats.

Carnatic music artists often have to have had several years of intense training and practice before being qualified as musicians who can perform on stage.Research shows that children receiving Carnatic classical musical training were in advantage for phonological awareness (PA) and verbal working memory (VWM) along with enhanced pitch perception abilities.

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