Hindustani Classical Music Crossword

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


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Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western culture, including both liturgical (religious) and secular music. While a more precise 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 before the 6th century AD to the present day, which includes the Classical period and various other periods. The central norms of this tradition became codified between 1550 and 1900, which is known as the common-practice period.

Since the 20th century, Western classical music has been divided into two main camps: art music and popular music. Art music includes both vocal/instrumental works that are performed in public concert halls and theatrical productions, as well as certain genres that are often only listened to privately (such as opera). Popular music refers to any form of commercial music that has appeal among a large segment of the population, such as rock, country, blues, or jazz.


Hindustani classical music is a tradition that dates back centuries. This crossword will help you learn more about its history and some of the key figures in its development.


The origins of Hindustani classical music can be found in the Vedas, which are the oldest sacred texts of Hinduism. The Vedas are full of hymns and songs that were probably meant to be sung or chanted during religious rituals. Many of these hymns and songs were passed down orally from generation to generation, and they eventually became the foundation of what we now know as Hindustani classical music.

The Vedic period is thought to have lasted from about 1500 BCE to 500 BCE. During this time, the system of raga was developed. Raga is a melodic framework that allows for endless improvisation within a set structure. The basic elements of raga are swara (musical notes), vadi (the most important note), samvadi (the second most important note), and alap (a slow, improvised introduction).

The first great figure in Hindustani classical music was Bharata Muni, who lived around the 2nd or 3rd century CE. He is best known for his work Natya Shastra, which is a treatise on the performing arts. In this work, Bharata Muni codified the conventions of raga and tala (rhythm). He also wrote about how music should be used to express different emotions, such as love, sorrow, fear, anger, heroism, and disgust.

During the 13th century, Persian musicians began to migrate to India. They brought with them a new style of music called khayal. Khayal uses elements of both raga and tala, but it also incorporates elements of Persian music such as naghma (vocal ornamentation) and tarab (emotional ecstasy). The Persian influence can still be heard in Hindustani classical music today.

In the 16th century, the Mughal Emperor Akbar patronized Hindustani classical music and helped it reach new heights of sophistication. One of Akbar’s court musicians was Tansen, who is widely considered to be one of the greatest musicians in history. Tansen helped popularize several new ragas such as Miyan Ki Malhar and Miyan Ki Todi. He also invented two new instruments: the rabab and sursingar.

During the British Raj (1858-1947), Hindustani classical music experienced a decline in popularity due to Westernization campaigns spearheaded by colonial authorities. However, there was a resurgence in interest during the 20th century thanks to musicians like Abdul Karim Khan, Bismillah Khan, Vilayat Hussain Khan, Ravi Shankar, and Ali Akbar Khan. These musicians helped keep the tradition alive andnw attracted new audiences both inside and outside India.


The origin of Hindustani classical music can be traced back to the 13th and 14th centuries with the arrival of Sufi missionaries from Central Asia into India. The music follows the spiritual traditions of the Sufis, who believe in devotion and contemplation of God through music. This devotional aspect is still evident in modern Hindustani classical music, which often uses religious texts as a source of inspiration.

The first major schools of Hindustani classical music developed in the 15th and 16th centuries in the royal courts of the Mughal Empire. This period saw the emergence of two distinct styles: the dhrupad, which was based on vocal music, and the khayal, which was based on instrumental music.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, as the Mughal Empire declined, Hindustani classical music became more popular among the general population. This led to a more diverse range of styles, including the thumri (a light-classical form) and the tappa (a faster-paced form).

The 19th century was a golden age for Hindustani classical music, with many great artists emerging from all over India. This included musicians from different religious backgrounds, such as Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and Christians. In this era, many new instruments were also invented, such as the sitar (a plucked string instrument) and the sarod (a bowed string instrument).

The 20th century saw a decline in popularity for Hindustani classical music, due to competition from Western-style pop music. However, there has been a resurgence of interest in recent years, both in India and abroad. Many young people are rediscovering this rich musical tradition and keeping it alive for future generations.


Indian classical music is based on the raga system, which is a melodic scale with a set of ascending and descending notes. There are many different ragas, each with its own unique flavor. The main structure of a Hindustani classical music composition is the alap, jor, and jhala. The alap is the slow introduction of the raga, the jor is the main body of the composition, and the jhala is the fast section at the end.


A raga in Hindustani classical music is characterized as a scale with a given set of ascending and descending notes, a predominant note or tone (vadi), with characteristic phrases (pakad). Each raga provides the musician with a musical framework from which improvisations can be drawn. In Indian classical music, a musician improvises within the scales and characteristic phrases of chosen raga to create new compositions.


In Hindustani classical music, a Tala (ताला) is the repeating cycle of beats which provides the rhythmic structure for a performance. Each tala is composed of a specific number of beats (called matras or claps), which are grouped together in twos, threes and fours. The basic unit of time, which gives each beat its character, is called a Sam (साम). There are different kinds of Sams, each with its own name and duration. In addition to the Sam, each beat can also be divided into four equal parts called “time units” or “time-points” (laghu, Drut laya).

The most common talas in Hindustani classical music are:

-Dhrupad: 4 Matras
-Ektal: 12 Matras
-Cheez: 16 Matras
-Rupak: 7 Matras
-Jhap: 10 Matras


The sitar is a plucked stringed instrument used mainly in Hindustani music and Indian classical music. The sitar is believed to have been invented in the 18th century. It is a long-necked, fretted instrument with a gourd-shaped resonator. The sitar is played with a plectrum or with the fingers.


The sitar is a plucked string instrument used mainly in Hindustani classical music. The sitar is believed to have been derived from the Veena, an ancient Indian instrument, around the 13th century. It reached its height of popularity during the Mughal period in the 16th and 17th centuries. The sitar is typically made of teak wood, with a gourd at the top acting as a resonator. It has two bridges; one main bridge near the top and a second, shorter bridge near the bottom. The strings run over these bridges, with some of them passing over another set of resonance strings called tarabs. The sitar has about 20 strings, which are divided into 2 groups: 6 main playing strings and 13 sympathetic strings. The main playing strings are plucked with the right hand while the left hand presses down on the frets to produce different notes.


The shehnai (Hindi: शेहनाई, Urdu: شہنائی‎), sometimes spelled shenai, is an instrument similar to the oboe, common in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is made out of wood, with a double reed at one end. The shehnai has a length of about 4 ft (1.2 m), with nine holes in the front and one at the back.

The instrument is common in Indian classical music, especially in the style known as Hindustani classical music. It is commonly used as a ceremonial instrument in Hindu and Sikh weddings, and was used during the Mughal period. The shehnai is also used in Bengali weddings and temples such as Jagannath Temple, Puri.


In Hindustani classical music, notation is the written representation of the music. It is used as a guide for the performer, to help them remember the piece, and to enable them to play it again in the future. There are many different types of notation, but the most common is the staff notation.


In Hindustani music, a swar (स्वर् svara; also spelled svar, standard Sanskrit spelling स्वर) is a musical note of fixed pitch along with spoken syllables. Just as in the West, do, re, mi etc. represent musical tones, in Hindustani music the swars are based on seven notes – shadja, rishabh, gaandhar, madhyam, pancham (pa), dhaivat and nishad. Each of these notes can be further divided into 12 semitones.

Tonic Solfa

Tonic solfa is a musical notation system for Indian classical music. It is also known as swara shuddha or suddha swaras. The tonic solfa notation system was developed by Sarah Glover, a music teacher from England, in the 19th century.


Hindustani Classical Music is a genre of music that is widely appreciated all over the world. It has been influential in the development of other genres of music and has been an important part of the cultural heritage of India. The Hindustani Classical Music Crossword is a great way to learn about this genre of music and its various aspects.

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