Small video on differences between Hindustani & Carnatic classical styles

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Hari Iyer

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Imo Carnatic music is meant for mature listeners and you need some kind of exposure or training to understand Carnatic music. Hindustani music on the other hand can be good to listen even by casual listeners. I have noticed that listeners and aspirants once in to Carnatic music fully do not enjoy any other form of music as they strongly believe that Carnatic music is above all form of music and they find other music to be inferior and don't enjoy listening to them. Its like once you have tasted sugar all other sweet will be less sweeter than sugar. Nothing right or wrong.
 
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Imo Carnatic music is meant for mature listeners and you need some kind of exposure or training to understand Carnatic music. Hindustani music on the other hand can be good to listen even by casual listeners. I have noticed that listeners and aspirants once in to Carnatic music fully do not enjoy any other form of music as they strongly believe that Carnatic music is above all form of music and they find other music to be inferior and don't enjoy listening to them. Its like once you have tasted sugar all other sweet will be less sweeter than sugar. Nothing right or wrong.
Musicians such as TM Krishna are fighting the prevalent and restrictive elitism. On the other hand, many young Carnatic musicians are making it accessible through fusion albums and bringing crossover audiences. Hindustani has always been more eclectic - confusing that with simplicity might be erroneous though. Also, it’s a fallacy that one needs to ‘understand’ classical music to be able to enjoy it. An untrained but open mind attuned to nature/self can savour both forms.
 

Hari Iyer

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The major challenges i have found with Carnatic music is funding. Patrons who visit live shows always insist on getting free pass and don't want to pay for the concert. Most patrons are from the older generation and this has led to lesser number of new artist wanting to follow this art form. Unlike abroad where classical music tickets will be hundreds of dollars for ticket cost, here people will mind even paying hundred rupees for watching a live concert. So how do the artist get inspiration to perform? Only those who are very passoniate about the art are now-a-days following and it cannot be done for a living.
 

powerslave

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Carnatic music as it is practiced today is still much closer to it's roots, roots that are shared with what is known as Hindustani Classical today. Latter has evolved via absorbing and being influenced by a lot of additions during the Mughal darbar days. So from an observer's perspective, it will appear that Hindustani Classical is more suited to light listening as compared to Carnatic. If one listens to Dhrupad then one may get a feel of what Hindustani classical was in the pre-Mughal era.
 

Hari Iyer

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Carnatic music as it is practiced today is still much closer to it's roots, roots that are shared with what is known as Hindustani Classical today. Latter has evolved via absorbing and being influenced by a lot of additions during the Mughal darbar days. So from an observer's perspective, it will appear that Hindustani Classical is more suited to light listening as compared to Carnatic. If one listens to Dhrupad then one may get a feel of what Hindustani classical was in the pre-Mughal era.
I am not sure if you read the above Wikipedia link. Carnatic music is believed to exist from vedic period which itself is 20,000 years old. Hindustani music came into existence during Persian and Islamic invasion around 1000 years ago. If you believe that link then Carnatic music becomes base for all classical music forms in existence as of today.
 

powerslave

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The link between Carnatic and Hindustani Classical is on same lines as Tamil and say Sanskrit they have same origins . Hindustani classical did not come into existence during persian times, it always existed . The convenient boundaries that we draw in terms of north vs south are modern superficial interpretations.

Adi Shankaracharya had travelled across entire India , I am quoting this fact because the knowledge of Vedas across India was spread mostly by the Shankaracharya and his disciples. That's why even to this day the head priests of Kedarnath and even Pashupatinath temple in Nepal come from Southern India (appointed by Kanchi )

How is this relevant to Indian classical music scene ? The classical Indian music as we know today dates back to the Vedic times (honestly could go far back) , however the current consensus is Samveda is the first well known written record of a treatise on music and Natya shastra. The Carnatic music and Hindustani Classical are fundamentally the same thing . However the Hindustani Classical diversified into Thumri , Khayal and other styles over a period of time due to various influences. The Indian classical music was mostly devotional and meant for conducting ceremonies in temples or key facets of life. However as the north saw a constant assimilation of foreign occupiers, music was re-purposed for entertainment by the ruling elite . A good example is "Khyal" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khyal ; if you observe there has been no fundamental change to the Ragas . This phenomenon is true for dance forms too , if you notice Kathak has been repurposed for entertainment as for Mughals these art forms were primary sources of entertainment, Bharat-Natyam, on the other hand, is still much closer to it's original form.

Another key marker is , old Hindustani classical style never made use of the Tabla , instead Pakhwaj was used (it's similar to Mridangam in south). However, during the Mughal period as Khyal and other styles emerged Tabla replaced the Pakhawaj.

Art forms evolve, even Carnatic music today is not pure in the sense that it is not being rendered in the same manner and with the same instruments when it originated; a good example is the usage of the violin. Violin was not part of the original set of instruments even when this art form emerged in the south thousands of years ago.
 
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There are two sides to every coin. Because Hindustani classical has embraced and integrated cultural influences over the centuries, it has become more varied and more accessible. Carnatic classical, on the other hand, by remaining largely conservative, has been able to delight the puritans.
 

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^ I agree , however the nuances all of us need to be careful about is. Classical music is a tradition and hence a part of cultural identity aside from being an art form. Taking a cue from the west (not just aping them but what they do well) , we need to preserve ours as with coming generations a lack of interest and support for this art form would eventually lead to homogenization and loss of cultural diversity and identity. West is able to protect, support classical music while pursuing commercial mainstream music at the same time in a good way . We in India need to reach that sort of maturity in order to give our future generations a glimpse into their past and culture.

I have been fortunate to have lived across various parts of India and did notice that WB , TN and even some families in MH have a rich music tradition where kids are introduced to classical music from early stages. I genuinely wish that more parents introduce their kids to Indian classical art forms alongside guitar/piano lessons for our kids will appreciate and thank us for this when they grow older.
 
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