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A Glossary of Indian Music Terms

Alphabetical list of important and frequently used terms in North Indian classical music.

Achal - Fixed

Arohi - Ascending movement a. k. a. Arohana; Aroh

Avirbhav - To make visible the original raga form

Abhoga - Closing movement in a composition

Alaap - Unmetered Raga introduction and expansion; prelude

Andolan - Undulating vibrato

Ang - Style; as in Gayaki Ang-vocal style

Alankar - Ornaments, exercises

Antar Gandhar - Shudha Gandhar

Antara - 2nd Movement in a composition with the melodic progression generally in the uttarang region of the octave and above

Antya - Ending on

Anuvadi - Assonant note

Asthai - 1st movement in a composition with the melodic progression generally in the poorvang region of the octave and below

Asthan - Region; area: as in Mandar Asthan-lower octave region

Ati - Very

Audava - Five notes; pentatonic

Avarohi - Descending movement a. k. a. Avarohana; Avaroh

Bhajan - Devotional song

Bol /s - Sound sylabel /s. as in Tabla Bols

Carnatic - South Indian

Chakra - S. I. Melakarta raga classification. There are 12 Chakras of six ragas each, giving the 72 Melas. See Mela Chart.

Chalan - A systematic raga expansion

Chautalaa - 14 Beatr Cycle

Dadra Tal - Six beat cycle

Deepchandi Tal - Fourteen beat cycle

Dhamar Tal - Fourteen beat cycle

Dhaivata - Sixth musical note (Dha)

Drut - Fast

Ek Tal - Twelve beat cycle

Gandhar - Third musical note (Ga)

Gayaki - Vocal

Geet - Popular song or composition

Ghazal - Urdu poem, vocal song style

Grama - Ancient music scales- Shadaja, Madhyama, and Gandhar Gramas

Hindustani - North Indian

Jati - Tonal classification

Jhaptal - Ten beat cycle

Jhumra Tal - Fourteen beat cycle

Kan - Grace, as in grace note

Keharwa Tal - Eight beat cycle

Komal - Flat

Kriti - Classical composition (used in S. I. music system)

Lakshan - Introduction, definitive principles, or rules

Laya - Tempo

Madhya Saptak - Middle octave region; middle pitch register

Madhya Laya - Medium Tempo

Madhyama - Fourth musical note (Ma)

Mandar - Lower octave region; low pitch register

Manjari - Collection, bouquet

Meend - Slide or glissando

Mela - S. I. Parent mode; 72 in all; See Mela chart

Mishra - Mixed

Mridangam - Barrel shaped drum used in Carnatic classical music

Nada - Sound in general; but applies more to musical sound or else it is considered noise. Nada is of two types: Ahata (struck) and Unahata (un-struck)

Nada Brahma - This universe is sound

Nataka - Drama

Nyasa - Closing note; cadence

Nishadha - Seventh musical note (Ni)

Pakar - Characteristic musical catch phrase of a raga

Panchama - Fifth Musical note (Pa)

Pandit - A learned man; scholar

Poorvang - Lower tetrachord-Sa Re Ga Ma / modified to Sa Re Ga Ma Pa

Prati - Sharp (a. k. a. Tivar)

Raga - Modal scale

Ragini - Feminine gender Modal scale

Rasa - Emotional state. In music there are nine: Shringaar (sensual), Raudra (anger), Hasya (happy), Vibhatsaya (disgust), Veera(heroic), Karuna (sympathy), Bhayanak (fear), Adabhuta (wonder), and Shanta (peace)

Rasik - Tasteful, admirer of beauty, creator of Rasa. Author Pandit S. D. Batish's poetic name

Rishabha - Second musical note (Re)

Rupak Tal - Seven beat cycle

Sanchari - Third movement in a composition encompassing all the regions of the octave; Sanchari means wandering

Sangeet - Musical science

Sampooran - Seven note; heptatonic

Samvadi - Subsonant, the second most important note in a raga

Sandhi Prakash - Sunrise or sunset time periods

Saptak - Octave (Sapt means seven. Indian music does not count repeated notes as a part of the same octave. But saptak and octave basically imply the same meaning)

Sargam - Indian solfegio; derived from the first four notes Sa, Re, Ga, Ma

Shadaja - First musical note (Sa). A. k. a. Kharaja

Shastra - Treatise

Shaudava - Six note; hexatonic

Shruti - Musical microtone; pitch; intonation

Shudha - A pure or a natural note

Swara - Musical note

Swaroop - Image

Tabla - North Indian drum set consisting of the Dagga (bass drum) and the Tabal (Treble drum)

Tal - Rhythm cycle

Tan - An improvised vocal or instrumental musical phrase

Tanpura - String instrument used for drone; Tanpura means to fill the void behind the music; to complete or assist a tan; a. k. a. Tamboora

Tar - Upper octave region; upper pitch register

Tamboora - See Tanpura; made from a gourd (Tumba)

Thaat - Parent scale, parent mode; Thaat means to tie down as in frets

Thumri - Vocal or instrumental song style

Tintal - Sixteen beat cycle

Tirobhav - Deviating or camouflaging from the original. Concealment

Tivar - Sharp

Uttarang - Upper tetrachord-Pa Dha Ni Sa / modified to Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa

Vadi - Sonant. The most important note in a raga

Vakra - Zigzag, indirect, or crooked

Varana - Embellishment, note group

Varjit - Omitted, deleted or avoided note

Vikrit - Modified

Vilambit - Slow

Vivadi - Dissonant note

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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