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Classical Indian music

Indian music

Musical performances take place in temples and at religious festivals; some rãg performances can last several hours.
Indian music is not written down like Western music is; instead it is taught through listening and playing by ear. This is called the oral tradition.

Indian instruments

The human voice is considered to be of particular significance in Indian classical music as it is believed that by singing you are directly communicating with God. All the other melody instruments try to recreate the timbre of the human voice.

The sarod 
The sarod is smaller than the sitar and has a fretless metal fingerboard, meaning the instrumentalist is able to slide fingernails up and down the strings. Like the sitar it has both plucked and sympathetic strings.

Tabla: a  set of two small drums of different sizes. Technically, the full name should be tabla-baya as the tabla is the smaller drum and the baya the larger one. The drum heads are both made of skin, with a paste of iron fillings and flour in the centre of each instrument. The tabla drum is made of wood, whereas the gaya is made of metal.

The bansuri is an Indian flute and the shehnai an Indian oboe. They do not have keys like western instrum
ents, but a series of holes which the player covers or half covers.

The tampura is similar in shape to the sitar, but with a smaller sound box and a longer neck. The instrument has only 4 strings, each of which is tuned to the drone notes of the particular rãg being used.

The sitar is a long-necked plucked-string instrument with a gourd sound box. There are 6 or 7 main
strings (two of which are ‘drone’ strings) and these are plucked with a wire plectrum. There is also a set of 12 (or more) loosely fretted ‘sympathetic’ strings which vibrate ‘in sympathy’ when the main strings are played.