Transformations to Indian Classical Music Essay

Transformations to Indian Classical Music Essay

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India is a nation replete with rich history, numerous languages, diverse cultures, multiple religions, and expressive arts. The Indus Valley civilization, consisting of modern day India and Pakistan, was one of the three earliest and most widespread civilizations of human history (Wright 2009). Indian classical music dates back to ancient times, almost four thousand years ago. The origins of Indian classical music can be found in the Vedas, the oldest scriptures in the Hindu tradition (Ruckert 2004). Traditions, customs, and other societal norms envelop Indian classical music. In recent times, however, previously revered traditions have drastically diminished. Some claim that the decline of ancient traditions is causing the music to be impure; others assert the transformations of outdated traditions to modern ones foster innovation. Although the archaic traditions of Indian classical music have dwindled with time, the transformations to modern ideas and practices unequivocally promote innovation.
Indian classical music includes two distinct styles: Carnatic and Hindustani. This paper will focus on Hindustani classical music. Hindustani classical music has historically been regarded as an entertainment solely for the Indian feudal aristocrats, who provided patronage for the musicians. The Indian aristocracy nurtured classical music as their own, with the millions of people beyond that context not exposed to the music (Ruckert 2004). The culture surrounding the music was submerged in traditional structures, with the musicians having definite social positions. In modern India, however, the traditional structures have become obsolete. As Kuldeep Kumar noted in a The Economic Times article on April 2011, “This music was essentially c...


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...ery aspect has in the past helped classical music survive…” in an article in The Hindu (Venkatraman 2012). Modern artists are free to modify the music suiting to their artistic capabilities, and this adds to the versatility of the art. Many critics of modern transformations claim that younger generations are contaminating the rāgas by not following the structures; this is precisely one of the reasons why these transformations lead to innovations. The archaic traditions of Hindustani classical music imposed numerous limitations on the creativity and freedom of the musicians; however, with the transformations to modern ideals, musicians are in complete control of the music they create. Modern ideas and practices that have replaced the traditional protocols of Hindustani classical music help to foster innovation that were not feasible under the traditional structures.

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