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Chords in Hindustani Music : Relevancy and Purpose


    Actually the chords means the group of notes that have a relation of harmonisation to each other. In western music the chord is one of the fundamental aspect so it is also called a harmonic music. But, in Indian classical music, an individual notes matter most so it is called  melody music genre. Now coming to the point, whether a chord or group of notes ensemble can justify the relevancy of chords and its progression in Indian Classical Music, of course not. Western chord system are based on the interaction between different notes played simultaneously. These notes are typically selected from a particular scale or mode. The way chords are constructed and their relationships to each other form the foundation of harmony in Western music. Here are the key aspects that chord systems are based on Triads. Scales, Intervals, Modulation, Functional Harmony and so many adjoining and extend chords progression. The basic concept in chord is designed is triads- meaning three notes played together i.e. root +third + fifth notes and it can be extended seventh, ninth.. or more . 


    The scale in Indian Music, basically in Hindustani music is of five notes, six notes and seven notes what generally called Jati of the Raga. The Jati can be extended up to nine different sub category. That is way the chord progression as said in western music cannot be possible in all Raga . Sampurna-Sampurna Jati Raga can be set to the chord system but the values of individual notes is different in each Raga. For example, Raga Bilawal is of seven notes raga of Sampurna-Sampurna Jati but the notes combination in Bilawal is complex and zigzag thus triads can be created mathematically but does not sounds effective as per the nature of the Raga. Similarly in Raga Kafi which is also Sampurna-Sampurna Jati Raga, the position of Komal Nishad in Aaroh is not so much strong as other notes and Komal Gandhar stands a bit sharper to touch the Madhyam. If we squeeze these frame and make a minor chord the values of Rishav and Madhyam is obvious down  and the nature of Kafi demolished. 

    In Shadav Jati or in Aaudav Jati Raga Chord progression is quite harder and seems more irrelevant that Shampurna Jati Raga. Let’s take one Raga – Bairagi, a Aaudav Jati Raga.  Sa Re Ma Pa Ni Sa  is the notes where Re and Ni are komal and rest are Suddha.  Regular Triads in these notes cannot make chords and justified the nature of the Raga but the complex chords Cm7b5, Dbmaj75, Gmaj75, Caug6, A#dim7 can be composed in these keys which does not sound good to the raga and make it only mathematically correct and kills the entire aesthetics of the Raga. 


Conclusion :

    The nature of harmonic music is different than the melody music and we should respect the style, pattern, combination of triads that frame the music genre around the globe. The nature of Hindustani Music is based on the Shruti, tiny components having variable of each notes as per the nature of Raga thus the diatonic and chromatic triads cannot defines the importance of individual notes in melodic structure of Raga. The structure of Indian Classical instruments are also designed in different way than piano or Harmonium, Guitar. We do not follow the diatonic or chromatic scale and our notes and semitones not fixed and based on the flexible mode. The Tanpura, Sarangi, Veena, Surbahar, Sarod, Bamboo Flute, Sitar few among many Indian instruments  whose structure are based on micro tone structure with flexible notes position. The fix notes or fix bars instruments are never the part of Indian Classical Music. 


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