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An Introduction and Structure of Rabindra Sangeet

Rabindrik Sangeet 

        Rabindra Sangeet or Rabindro Songit, as pronounced in Bengali is the soul of Bengal. Written by Rabindranath Tagore, the legendary literary personality, these collections of over 2000 songs, are not only wonderful plays of words and music but also, touch human emotions, unlike others. Gitabitan is the name of the book or collection of the 2233 songs written by Rabindranath Tagore, which form the repository of Rabindra Sangeet. The 1913 Nobel Prize laureate for literature, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore is unmatched by very few in the history of world literature with his sheer volume and depth of writing. However, with Rabindra Sangeet what Rabindranath Tagore manages to do is mind-boggling. The artistry flows not only in the poetry of words but also in the rhythm of the songs which are heavily influenced by classical Indian, folk, as well as, international music. The lyrics of the songs are based on myriad themes. However, the basic classification can be done on first, songs written about being human, the emotions, and secondly, about nature in all her different forms. Though Tagore never really felt the need to classify his songs, after his death, the themes of his songs and poetry are generally classified as the following: 1. Pooja Porjaay or devotional songs 2. Prem Porjaay that are songs on love 3. Prakriti Porjaay which are songs devoted to seasons 4. Swadesh Porjaay is a song about the motherland and patriotism. These also include songs before and after the partition of Bengal 5. Bichitra Porjaay or miscellaneous compositions 6. Aanushthanik Porjaay is compositions relating to specific occasions, such as death, marriage or festivals 7. Nritya Natya is the acclaimed dance-dramas Yet, the classifications sometimes get mixed up. Some songs that might fall under Pooja Porjaay can also be interchanged with Prem Porjaay. In other words, the meaning and interpretation of many songs can be left to the admirer or listener.

    Tagore’s lyrics are not just about words. They are about a depth in thinking and a panoramic emotional landscape that one finds hard to escape when lost in the rhythm of its beats. The words go beyond the literal explanation and connect with the human heart and understanding at various levels. In fact, many experts find it hard to exude the same emotional wavelength while translating his songs. It is believed without much argument, that those who know Bengali understand the nuances and feel of the songs better than anyone else who listens to its translated version. Though many songs are written in Bengali, Tagore with his extensive knowledge and education in the Upanishads and Puranas does not refrain from using multiple different languages in his songs. His earliest works were written in Brajabuli, a derivative language from the Vaishnav hymns, writings of Jayadeva, and Sanskrit influences from Kalidasa’s writings, Upanishads, and Puranas. 
    The Music genre of Rabindra Sangeet is versatile and vast. Kabiguru Rabindranath was well-traveled and he encountered different types of music during his travels and interactions. His songs thus do not fit into a single genre. Tagore created about six new taals or rhythms because he was not satisfied with the existing taals doing justice to his poetry. Rabindra Sangeet is hence an amalgamation influenced by Hindustani and Carnatic classical music, Western music, and Folk music of Bengal. The Baul genre of Bengal, Keertanang, tunes of Lalon Fakir, and Sadhak Ramprasad Sen are included in the compositions besides the influence of Indian classical music, such as Hindustani Thumri. Western music also finds its place in Rabindra Sangeet with influences from Scottish ballads and Christmas carols. 

    The musical instruments used for Rabindra Sangeet are the flute, esraj, ektaaraa, taanpura, sitar, dotaara, tabla, khol, piano, pump organ. Some of the most notable songs from Rabindra Sangeet, include Amar Porano Jaha Chay, Amar Hiyar Majhe, Bhalobashi Bhalobashi, Ei Korechho Bhalo, Elem Natun Deshey, Sokhi Bhabana Kahare Bole, Purano Shei Diner Kotha, and many more. In fact, the influences of Rabindra Sangeet are also seen in Bollywood with hits, such as Tere mere Milan ki yeh Raina (Jodi tare nai chini go shey ki) and Chhukar mere man ko (Tomar holo shuru, amar holo shara) Rabindra Sangeet is an important part of the Bengali culture. In practically almost all Bengali homes, Rabindra Sangeet is sung and learned.

    The love for poetry and music, heightened by the Kabi Guru, Tagore himself finds expression and a deep connection with all Bengalis no matter where they reside. The sweetness of the language, the efficiency and proficiency of the use of words, and the seamless flow of emotions and feelings that sometimes float, sometimes sink deep into the perfectly carved rhythm of music make Rabindra Sangeet a blissful experience. A fulfilling, intuitive experience that resonates with the singer and listeners at all levels. If you haven’t already been mesmerized by the magic of Rabindra Sangeet, wait no longer.
Six Basic Characteristics of Rabindra Sangeet:- The word 'Parjaay' means - order, class or position. This section deals with the classification of Tagore songs. Classification of songs was done by Rabindranath Tagore himself according to the subject of the songs and can be seen in the collection, the book 'Geetabitan'. They were classified into six Parjaays - Puja (offerings), Swadesh (Patriotic), Prem (Love), Prokriti (Nature), Bichitro (Amazing), and Anushthanik (Ceremonial). The first Parjaay, Puja, has twenty one upa-parjaays or sub-classes, Prem has two and Prokriti has six Upa-parjaays.

    In the 'Geetinatya O Nrityanatya' (Opera and Dance Drama) section six dramas are included - Kaalmrigaya, Balmiki-protibha, Maayar-khela, Chitrangada, Chandalika and Shyama. Bhanusingha Thakurer Padabali is a series of Twenty songs written by the poet at an early age. Natyageeti is a section where songs written for several dramas are included. Jaatiya Sangeet is another section where songs to chant and praise for India have been chosen. Songs for offerings and prayers have been included in the Puja O Prarthana section. Another section with some more ceremonial songs has been created as Anushthanik Sangeet.


Sapta Tala : A unique rhythmic cycle in Carnatic Music

    Sapta Tala 

    Tala means cyclic rhythms of beats basically use in measuring the song or the composition. Carnatic music uses a comprehensive system for the specification of Talas, called the Sapta Tala system. In Carnatic music each pulse count is called an Aksharam or a Kriyā, the interval between each being equal, though capable of division into faster Matras or Swaras, the fundamental unit of time. The Tala is defined by the number and arrangement of Aksharams inside an Avartanam. According to some authors, it is derived from ‘ta’ (referring to Shiva’s Tandava aspect) and ‘la’ (referring to Parvati’s Lasya). The union of these two produces the Tala. Simply it can be define as the cycle of rhythmic meter having particular Matras to regularize the rotation of the song or dance in equal interval of time period. Tala is the Frame or the canvas having pre-defined Matras to synchronize musical tunes in perfect rhythm. Tala is simply the rotation of time in equal interval. Like a minute having 60 seconds beat repeated in each rotation, an hour of 60 minutes or day of 24 hours. These all refers the perfect measurement of time with equal intervals of certain beats or counts to make life easier. In music, Tala is essential part to make the shape of the song or dance or any other piece of musical work.  Tala is like the container where musical compositions are kept according to its size and length.

    According to this South Indian Tala system, there are seven families of Talas in South Indian Music, each of which has five members referring to the Jaati Bheda , thus allowing thirty-five possible Talas.

The Sapta Talams are as follows:

1. Dhruva Talam 2.Matya Talam 3.Rupaka Talam 4.Jhampa Talam 5.Thriputa Talam (Chathurushra Thriputa Talam is also called as Adhi Talam) 6.Ata Talam 7.Eka Talam

Each of these Talams can be categorized into 5 different types Talas depending on their Jaatis. Jaatis meaning variety in which the Laghu counts can vary from being 3-4-5-7-or 9 Matrass (beats) and are of the following types:

1. Thisra Jaathi which has 3 beats -                           Ta Ki Ta

2. Chathurushra Jaati which has 4 beats -                 Ta Ka Dhi Mi

3. Khanda Jaathi which has 5 beats -                         Ta Ka Ta Ki Ta

4. Mishra Jaathi which has 7 beats-                           Ta Ki Ta Ta Ka Dhi Mi

5. Sankeerna Jaathi which has 9 beats-            Ta Ka Dhi Mi Ta Ka Ta Ki Ta

There are three sub-patterns of beats into which all talas are divided; Laghu, Drutam and Anudrutam.

In other words the structure of every Talam will be a combination of Laghu, Drutham and or Anudrutham. The only exception to it being the Eka Talam which would have only the Laghu counts in it. Similarly the Jhupma Talam is the Talam which has apart from the Laghu and Drutham the beat of Anudrutham as well.


A Drutam is a pattern of 2 beats. This is notated ‘O’.

An Anudrutam is a single beat, notated ‘U’.

A Laghu is a pattern with a variable number of beats, 3, 4, 5, 7 or 9, depending upon the type of the Tala. It is notated ‘ǀ’


In Indian Classical Music, Laya is used in 2 different but related senses Rhythm and Tempo. Laya is the Indian origin word originally used in Sanskrit literature to rendering the verse of Samveda or Upanishada. Western terminology use on behalf of Laya is somehow related to similar to the Indian definition but sometimes it create confusion with those terms of rhythm or tempo. Actually the western name of Laya should be only Tempo. The musical use of Tempo is closely related to the Indian Laya. Laya in Indian music means the systematic interval of time per beat. It can be define as the movement of beat per second.  Indian music is composed and performed in a metrical framework, a structure of beats that is a Tala. The Tala forms the metrical structure that repeats, in a cyclical harmony, from the start to end of any particular song or dance segment, making it conceptually analogous to meters in Western music. Here Laya, or the Tempo is counted as the speed of the beats or the distance of two beats counted in per second meter frame. The interval of time is equal in all beat or there might be the systematic time format to structure a rhythmic cycle called Tala. Systematic variation in Laya is called Layakari like Thaa(uniform timing or 1=1 one count per beat, first speed in South Music ), Dugun(Double timing, 1=2, two counts per beat, second Speed in Carnatic Muisc ), Teegun( Tripal 1=3, three counts per beat), Chougun( Fourth or 1=4, four counts per beat, Third speed in Carnatric Muisc), Aad (One and a half per beat 1=3/2). These Layakari are only possible with uniform timing without any changes in basic tempo meter.

Tala is a rhythmic cycle. To simplify things, first understand these terms in a non-musical setting.


Listen to the footsteps of a person running, or the dripping sound of a leaking tap, or the ticking of a clock. You will realize that there is a strong sense of regular repeated pattern. This is rhythm. The key factors are regular and repeated. If there is no regularity, or if the sounds are not repeated, you will not get a sense of rhythm. Thus, rhythm is either present or absent.


In the above examples, each footsteps or drip sound or tick is a beat of the rhythm. If the beat is regular and evenly paced, you will get sense of rhythm.


Now focus on the time gap between two consecutive beats. If the gap is smaller, the beats will be closer to each other. They will sound faster, and you get a sense of greater speed just from the sound. This is the tempo. The key factor is the time gap between consecutive beats of a rhythm.

If you decrease the time gap, you increase the tempo, and if you increase the time gap, you decrease the tempo.

Rhythmic Cycle

If all beats of a rhythm sound the same, there is no ‘cyclic’ effect. However, if there is a different sound or pattern that repeats after a fixed number of beats, you will be able to feel a cyclic effect. This is the rhythmic cycle.


शास्त्रीय संगीत: मुगलकाल के संदर्भ में

मुगल काल में शास्त्रीय संगीत


Understanding the Indian Folk Music and Musicology

Folk Music and Musicology

The forages of folk music into musicology make it desirable to demarcate their spheres and also make it more flexible to understand the essence of numerous variables happening in folklife.  In India, too, some commendable work has been done by western scholars, especially on the anthropological aspects of folk music. Search for folk music in India was initiated from various quarters during the last century. This search created interest in folk music. The tunes generally impressed poets and versifiers who utilize them in their compositions. The use of tunes is not, however, considered by musicologists as the chief criterion for the evaluation of musical forms. Poets assess the worth of it in their own ways. Before Tagore, it was the poet journalist Ishwar Gupta who made a straightforward attempt to revive some popular songs of the past which includes quite a number of folk –songs. His attempt ushered in the revival of songs of Ramprasad and Nidhubabu and created interest in the role played by Kavi-Walas in Bengali songs. In fact, songs of Kavi –walas fostered combined music of folk and other popular from of those days. Folk instruments were widely used in these songs and unsophisticated tunes were featured.

It was towards the later part of the last decade of the nineteenth century that Tagore traveled in villages on the bank of the river Padma near his camps at Silaidah and Patisar. He came to close contact with rural singers. Tagore’s experience of some years in these areas resulted in the growth of ideas on musical peculiarities of Bengali folk song.  Rightly does Tagore state that folk music may give voice to the inarticulate soul to the masses and secondly, he holds that the limitation of folk- music rest on a  narrow field, but there it nits the neighborhood in the intimacy of the relationship and sends forth echoes in thousand hearts. Thus Tagore’s ideas demand that the folk music system should be separate study distinct from classical music.

These endeavors, however, relate to an instance of some Indian thinkers' concentration on folk music during the last century when western musicologists adopt a technical approach to primitive music and later on to folk- music. The modern technologist is interested in both the subjects, primitive music, and folk music. These two inter-connected disciplines are but two ends that are not in conformity with each other in respect of composition and performance. There is uniformity in various types of folk music and certain items of the so-called folk forms nowadays tend to shape as a form of art of a particular type. This will be evident from a current study of professional folk singers who generally, perform and improve a type of folk music. Primitive musical forms are generally located in particular areas of the country, preserved by certain groups of men staying together but living away from the civilized population. The musical melodies system of India is deeply rooted in folk songs and also in many sections of primitive music; again folk music has intemperately connected with the primitive forms and more so classical music and the raga system of Indian music influenced folk music through the ages.

It is observed that the musical scales of the heterogeneous tribes of India can be followed appropriately through the basic principles of Indian music, because the primitive people of this country, with the exception of a few tribes, maintain still now the Indian characteristic of their music. Each group of them has evolved some peculiar melodic system that is familiar to Indian ears. True, scientific appreciation of their music depends on an understanding of scales and the dissemination of patterns of musical phrases. There are various other factors relating to musical sense that developed in Indian Society.

Understanding of the music of the tribes and folk, people need application of Indian musical principles of various human races and the impact of the music system of each one fell on the other and the influence of the raga system on the unsophisticated aboriginal music. The musical melodies and the variation of monotonic and a diatonic scale with different combinations of major tones and semitones generate the entire attire of folk culture with social attachment and the beauty of human emotions, expression of whispering through voice and literature. The pentatonic scale of the Folk genre of entire Indian Sub-continental music is the resemblance of heavenly beauty either of Baul of Bengal or the Kajrai of Banaras or the Mand of Rajasthan or the Pahadi of hills. From the religious to the romantic music of society is the social intimation between the people irrespective of caste, creed, or ethnicity.


कालिदास, भास एवं शुद्रक के नाटकों में भारतीय शास्त्रीय संगीत

कालिदास, भास एवं शुद्रक के नाटकों में भारतीय शास्त्रीय संगीत

    Indian Classical Music is well associated with Drama and Dance what the Natyashastra has illustrated in 200BCE. The Concept and elements of music are always used as a major part of Dance and Drama. Legendary Kalidas, Bhas, and Shadruk have inputted the music terms and the musical melodies in their drama. Please find the link and find the full article in Hindi for more knowledge about the interconnection of classical music in the drama of Kalidas, Bhas, and Shadruk. 



Significance of Nataraja in Dance


The Nataraja or Nataraj, Lord Shiva's dancing posture, is a conceptual composite of the most important aspects of Hinduism, and a description of this Vedic religion's core values. The word Nataraj means' Dancers ' king.' Nata means Nayak or the Nartaki in Sanskrit, and Raja means the King. Thus the Natraj means Nartaki's king or all-dance ruler. Nataraj is the purest representation of God's action that any art or religious faith can speak of, a more dynamic and passionate depiction of a moving object than Shiva's dancing figure can hardly be found anywhere, Lord Shiva's Dancing pose, simply called the Nataraja, is an exceptional, supreme and sacred reflection of India's rich and diverse cultural heritage, its presence going back to Pre Vedic times when Lord Shiva performed the Tandave. It is claimed that seven different types of Tandava are done by Lord Shiva in Mount Kailash called Sapta Tandava. Nataraja's first pose was discovered in a collection of stunning bronze sculptures from the excavation of Harappa Civilization during the Chola era (1279-880 CE).

Significance of Natraja:

Nataraja is shown with four hands signifying the cardinal directions in an exceptionally cohesive and fluid system representing the pace and harmony of human life. He dances elegantly elevated with his left foot and the right foot on a prostrate platform, the personification of illusion and confusion which Shiva conquers. The upper left hand holds a fire, the lower left hand points to the dwarf, shown to carry a cobra. The upper right hand holds a drum or' Damroo' that stands for the essential rule between male and female, the lower hand displays the declaration of being without fear.

Snakes posing in glory are seen uncoiling from his hands, feet, and skin that is curled and garlanded. His knotted hairs move as he moves in a firestorm arch that reflects the constant cycle of birth and death. A skeleton is on his face, suggesting his conquest of death. Goddess Ganga, the symbol of the sacred Ganges River, still lives on his hairdo. The emblem for his knowledge, understanding, and salvation is his third eye. The devil of indifference is creased under one of his legs, and the movement shows another foot lifted in pleased pose. The whole vision stands on the base of a lotus, the emblem of the universe's creative powers. This Shiva's divine dance is called Ananda Tandava, meaning the Paradise Dance, and symbolizes the cosmic cycles of conception and destruction as well as the daily rhythm of birth and death. Dance is a symbolic metaphor of the eternal energy's five principal appearances—creation, preservation, destruction, deception, and salvation. Shiva's dance often symbolizes his five activities: Srishti-creation, Sthiti-preservation, Samhara-destroy, Tirobhava-illusion, and Anugraha-goodness.

Sequence of Performance

The arrangement of things in a dance program of Bharatnatyam is called the Margam, which is historically sequenced by previous generations ' teachers. The present series of the solo recital Bharatnatyam is supposed to have been a modification of the renowned Tanjore quartet brothers Chinnayya, Vadivelu, Ponnayya and Sivanandam, music and dance masters during the late 18th century. Bharatnatyam has been a modern art throughout its two thousand five hundred years of history, fine-tuned by the Tanjore quartet which occurred during the time when both Carnatic music and dance underwent refinements by various master artists. The impetus for their alteration of the Bharatnatyam system is represented differently by several writers. For instance, in a single recital, different styles of dance structure are followed to appease Tanjore's royal court, or to highlight the Nritta, Nritya and Abhinaya features of the single dance called Bharatnatyam. The facts concerning its source may be indeterminate and vague, but to have continued throughout the modern day the situation was much stronger. Notwithstanding contemporary dancers ' creative movements, the latest changes in the recital format were either minimal or temporary. The solo recital of Bharatnatyam has a framework and a progression of objects within the proper sequence for the start of the presentation to the end.

Ø  Allarippu







Ø  Javalii









पाणिनि, कौटिल्य एवं पतंजलि के दृष्टिकोण में भारतीय शास्त्रीय संगीत

पाणिनि, कौटिल्य एवं पतंजलि के दृष्टिकोण में भारतीय शास्त्रीय संगीत

Indian Classical Music was defined by various scholars in various time periods. Among the few veterans, The Chhand Shastri Padeeni, the great philosopher, Rajniti-Shastraka, and Vyakaranacharya Kautilya better know as Chanakya; and the Yogacharya Sage Patanjali has defined music and its association to Literature, Yoga, and other subjects. Please find the article PDF in Hindi for detail.  


 कृपया ब्लॉग को सब्सक्राइब करें




Musical Quiz

Quiz for competitive Exams 

Music and Dance 

1. Swami Haridas is associated with

  1. Dance
  2. Vocal music (Hindustani)
  3. Painting
  4. Yoga


2. Which of the following is a ‘classical’ dance form?

  1. Kalaripayattu
  2. Chhobia
  3. Bhawai
  4. Kathakali *


3. Which of the following is a martial dance?

  1. Kathakali
  2. Bamboo dance in Meghalaya
  3. Chhau of Mayurbhanj *
  4. Bhangra of Punjab

4. Koodiyattam is a

  1. traditional dance of Kerala *
  2. special food prepared in Tamilnadu
  3. boat race of Kerala
  4. the dress was worn in Karnataka


5. With which of the following dances Raja& Radha Reddy is associated with?

  1. Bharatnatyam
  2. Kuchipudi *
  3. Odissi
  4. Kathakali

6. "Gidda" is a popular folk dance from which the state of India?

  1. Punjab*
  2. Haryana
  3. Uttar Pradesh
  4. Uttarakhand

7. Who was described as Nritya Samragyi by Rabindra Nath Tagore

  1. Shovana Narayan
  2. Padma Subrahmanyam
  3. Sonal Man Singh
  4. Sitara Devi*

8. Chakyar Koothu is a performing art associated with which of the following states?

  1. Manipur
  2. Kerala *
  3. Mizoram
  4. Himachal Pradesh

9. Which of the following is a folk dance of Rajasthan?

  1. Garba
  2. Dandiya
  3. Ghoomar *
  4. Kathak

10. Who amongst the following is renowned in Hindustani classical music (vocal)?

  1. Shovana Narayan
  2. M. S. Subbalakshmi
  3. Pt. Jasraj*
  4. Hari Prasad Chaurasia

11. Shambhu Maharaj outshine in:

  1. Hindustani Classical Music
  2. Instrumental Music
  3. Urdu Poetry
  4. Kathak Dancing *

12. The Mohini Attam dance form was developed in which state:

  1. Andhra Pradesh
  2. Karnataka
  3. Kerala *
  4. Tamil Nadu

13. The theory of classical music is discussed in:

  1. Samaveda *
  2. Yajurveda
  3. Rigveda
  4. Atharvaveda

14. Which of the following folk dances is associated with Jammu and Kashmir?

  1. Jhora
  2. Veedhi
  3. Rauf *
  4. Suisini

15. Which is a wind instrument?

  1. Sitar
  2. Shehnai *
  3. Pakhawaj
  4. Mridangam

16. Hojagiri dance is native to which State?

  1. Sikkim
  2. Odisha
  3. Assam
  4. Tripura*

17. Bharatnatyam is the dance form of which state?
    a. Kerala
    b.  Karnataka
    c. Tamil Nadu *
    d. Andhra Pradesh

18. Which Gharana Sitara Devi belongs to:-

    a.  Jaipur

    b. Lucknow

    c. Banaras*

    d. Raigarh


19.Who wrote National Anthem of India

    a. Subash Chandra Bosh

    b. Saurrendramohan Tagore

     c. Rabindranath Tagore*

    d. Jawaharlal Nehru


20. Who wrote the patriotic song Vande Mataram

    a. Munsi prem chand

    b. Nirala

    c. Shyama Prasad Mukharjee

    d. Bankim Chandra Chatarjee *


21. Name the father of Pandit Birju maharaj:

    a. Pandit Bindadin maharaj

    b. Pandit Lachuu maharaj

    c. Pandit Sambhoo maharaj

    d. Pandit Achhan maharaj*


22. Rajendra Gangani is the Kathak exponent of which Gharana

     a. Lucknow

    b. Jaipur*

    c. Banaras

    d. Raipur


23. Rukmani Devi is associated with which dance form-

    a. Kathak

    b. Bharatnatyam*

    c. Kuchipudi

    d. Odissi


24. Sammi and Gidda is associate with –

    a.  Kashmiri folk dance

    b. Rajasthani folk dance

    c. Punjabi folk dance*

    d. Bengali folk dance

 The Correct answers are marks as * 


Western Classical Music


    Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western music, including both religious and secular music. While a more accurate term is also used to refer to the period from 1750 to 1820 (the Classical period), this article is about the broad span of time from roughly the 11th century to the present day, which includes the Classical period and various other periods. European art music is largely distinguished from many other non-European and some popular musical forms by its system of staff notation, in use since about the 16th century. Western staff notation is used by composers to indicate to the performer the pitch,  melodies, and chords, tempo, meter and rhythms for a piece of music. This can leave less room for practices such as improvisation and ad Librium ornamentation, which are frequently heard in non-European art music and in popular-music styles such as jazz and blues. Another difference is that whereas most popular styles adopt the song form, classical music has been noted for its development of highly sophisticated forms of instrumental music such as the concerto, symphony, sonata, and mixed vocal and instrumental styles such as opera which, since they are written down, can sustain larger forms and attain a high level of complexity.

    The term "classical music" did not appear until the early 19th century, in an attempt to distinctly canonize the period from Johann Sebastian Bach to Beethoven as a golden age. The earliest reference to "classical music" recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary is from about 1836.

    Given the wide range of styles in classical music, from Medieval plainchant sung by monks to Classical and Romantic symphonies for orchestra from the 1700 s and 1800 s to avaunt-grade atonal compositions for solo piano from the 1900 s, it is difficult to list characteristics that can be attributed to all works of that type. However, there are characteristics that classical music contains that few or no other genres of music contain, such as the use of a printed score and the performance of very complex instrumental works (e.g., the fugue). As well, although the symphony did not exist through the entire classical music period, from the mid-1700 s to the 2000 s the symphony ensemble—and the works written for it—have become a defining feature of classical music.


    The major time divisions of classical music up to 1900 are the early music period, which includes Medieval (500–1400) and Renaissance (1400–1600) eras, and the Common practice period, which includes the Baroque (1600–1750), Classical (1750–1830) and Romantic (1804–1910) eras. Since 1900, classical periods have been reckoned more by calendar century than by particular stylistic movements that have become fragmented and difficult to define. The 20th century calendar period (1901–2000) includes most of the early modern musical era (1890–1930), the entire high modern (mid 20th-century), and the first 25 years of the contemporary or postmodern musical era (1975–current). The 21st century has so far been characterized by a continuation of the contemporary/postmodern musical era.

    The dates are generalizations, since the periods and eras overlap and the categories are somewhat arbitrary, to the point that some authorities reverse terminologies and refer to a common practice era comprising baroque, classical, and romantic periods. For example, the use of counterpoint and fugue, which is considered characteristic of the Baroque era was continued by Haydn, who is classified as typical of the Classical era. Beethoven, who is often described as a founder of the Romantic era, and Brahms, who is classified as Romantic, also used counterpoint and fugue, but other characteristics of their music define their era.

    The prefix Neo is used to describe a 20th-century or contemporary composition written in the style of an earlier era, such as Classical or Romantic. Stravinsky's Cinderella, for example, is a neoclassical composition because it is stylistically similar to works of the Classical era.

Ancient music

    Burgh in 2006 suggests that the roots of Western classical music ultimately lie in ancient Egyptian art music via chirography and the ancient Egyptian orchestra, which dates to 2695 BC. The development of individual tones and scales was made by ancient Greeks such as Aristotelian and Pythagoras. Pythagoras created a tuning system and helped to codify musical notation. Ancient Greek instruments such as the aulos, a reed instrument, and the lyre, a stringed instrument similar to a small harp, eventually led to the modern-day instruments of a classical orchestra. The antecedent to the early period was the era of ancient music before the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 AD. Very little music survives from this time, most of it from ancient Greece.

Early period

    The Medieval period includes music from after the fall of Rome to about 1400. Monophonic chant, also called plainsong or Gregorian chant, was the dominant form until about 1100. Polyphonic also called multi-voiced music, developed from monophonic chant throughout the late Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, including the more complex voicing of motets.

    The Renaissance era was from 1400 to 1600. It was characterized by greater use of instrumentation, multiple interweaving melodic lines, and the use of the first bass instruments. Social dancing became more widespread, so musical forms appropriate to accompanying dance began to standardize.

    It is in this time that the notation of music on a staff and other elements of musical notation began to take shape. This invention made possible the separation of the composition of a piece of music from its transmission; without written music, transmission was oral, and subject to change every time it was transmitted. With a musical score, a work of music could be performed without the composer's presence. The invention of the movable-type printing press in the 15th century had far-reaching consequences on the preservation and transmission of music.

    Typical stringed instruments of the early period include the harp, lute, and psaltery, while wind instruments included the flute family, Shawn, an early member of the oboe family, trumpet, and the bagpipes. Simple pipe organs existed, but were largely confined to churches, although there were portable varieties. Later in the period, early versions of keyboard instruments like the clavichord and harpsichord began to appear. Stringed instruments such as the viol had emerged by the 16th century, as had a wider variety of brass and reed instruments. Printing enabled the standardization of descriptions and specifications of instruments, as well as instruction in their use. 

Note: Data are collected from various sources i.e Book, Internet References and Blogs. Edited by Dr. Kumar Sargam 

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