This page contains an assortment of Indian music glossary and glossary of Indian music terms.


Indian Music Glossary

Achal - Achal Swaras are the fixed swaras of the seven musical notes. Sa and Pa are the achal swaras of the Indian classical music.
Arohi - The term Arohi, also known as Arohana and Aroh, is used to define the ascending melody in music.
Avirbhav - Avirbhav is that technique of presenting the raga, in which the raga is noticeably expanded and exhibited
Abhoga - The last stage of a musical composition, especially in the Drupad music.
Alaap - Alaap is the free flow of the Raga, in which there are no words and no fixed rhythm. It is the purest from of melody.
Andolan - Andolan refers to a slow alternation between the notes and shrutis that are next to each other.
Ang - The term 'Ang' refers to the root to which a particular raga belongs. For example, Tantrakari Ang (instrumental style of music)
Alankar - Alankaras are those notes and features that differentiate one raga from the other.
Antar Gandhar - One of the variable forms of the third note 'Ga' of Indian Classical Music.
Antara - Antara is the second stage of a musical composition that emphasizes the upper half of the octave-range.
Antya - Antya is the last section of a musical composition, after which the recital ends.
Anuvadi - Those notes of a raga that are neither highlighted nor downplayed are known as Anuvadi notes.
Asthai - Asthai is the first as well as the fundamental part of a composition, which is repeated during the entire alaap.
Asthan - The octave region of a raga is known as its Asthan. For example, the lower octave region is known as the Mandar Asthan.
Ati - The term Ati refers to an extreme in a raga. For example, Ati Vilambit Laya means extremely slow tempo.
Audava - Audava is a raga that has only five notes i.e. 'Paanch Swaras'.
Avarohi - The term Avarohi, also known as Avarohana and Avaroh, is used to define the descending melody in music.
Bhajan - A devotional song eulogizing Indian Gods and Goddesses. Sung in light classical style, it is usually set to 6, 7 or 8 beat cycles.
Bol - The term 'Bol' refers to the words making up a vocal composition.
Carnatic - Ancient classical music of South India is known as Carnatic Music
Chakra - As per the Melakarta table of raga classification, Chakras are the twelve groups according to which the ragas are categorized.
Chalan - Chalan is the makeup of a musical composition, which embodies the movement of a particular raga.
Chautalaa - Chautalaa is the musical cycle that consists of fourteen beats.
Dadra Tal - Dadra Tal is the common cycle in the lighter forms of music, comprising of six or three beats.
Deepchandi Tal - Deepchandi Tal is the tabla composition with fourteen beats
Dhamar Tal - Dhamar Tal is the fourteen beat Tal that has a '5+2+3+4' vibhag pattern.
Dhaivata - Dhaivata is the sixth of the seven swaras or notes of the Indian classical scale.
Drut - Drut is the term denoting the fast tempo or speed of the Tal.
Ektal - Ektal is that Tal of the Indian classical music in which the 12 matras are divided into 6 vibhags, each of them having two matras.
Gandhar - Gandhar is 'Ga', the third musical note of Indian Classical Music.
Gayaki - Gayaki is one of the several styles of singing.
Geet - Geet is the Indian term for a song or composition.
Ghazal - Ghazal is a poetic-cum-musical form of Hindustani light music, with Persian and Urdu poetic influences.
Grama - Gramas are the basic notes employed in musical tradition. Initially there were three gramas - Shadaja, Madhyama and Gandhar.
Hindustani - Hindustani Classical Music is the form of Indian classical music that developed in northern parts of India.
Jati - Jati refers to the classification of musical compositions as per the tones.
Jhaptal - Jhaptal is an Indian rhythmic form with a ten-beat cycle.
Jhumra Tal - Jhumra Tal is a slow Indian rhythmic form of 14 (3+4+3+4) beats.
Kan - Kan is the grace note of a musical composition.
Keharwa Tal - Keharwa Tal is the one of the rhythms of the Indian classical music, which has an eight beat cycle.
Komal - The flat form of a note or swar in the classical music of India.
Kriti - Kriti is a format of a musical composition that characterizes the Carnatic form of music.
Lakshan - An introduction to the ragas is known as Lakshan. It comprises of a set of rules and principles.
Laya - Laya can be described as the tempo or speed of the Tal.
Madhya Saptak - The basic saptak, with middle octave region, is known as the Madhya Saptak.
Madhya Laya - Madhya Laya is the medium tempo or speed of the Tal.
Madhyama - Madhyama is 'Ma', the fourth musical note of Indian Classical Music.
Mandra - Mandra refers to the lower scale notes of the raga, written with dots underneath them.
Meend - Meend is an unbroken flow of a musical progression, from higher to lower notes.
Mela - Mela is the basic organization of the notes in aroha and avaroha melody.
Mishra - A Mishra melody is that melody which has features of more than one raga. "
Mridangam - Mridangam is a drumming instrument, used in the Carnatic music of South India.
Nada - The raga or musical notes in music are known as nada vibrations. There are basically two types of Nadas - Ahata (struck) and Unahata (un-struck).
Nada Brahma - The concept of Nada Brahma means that the whole universe was created from the energy of sound.
Nataka - Nataka is the Hindi term used for defining a theater performance.
Nyasa - Nyasa is the last note of a specific phrase of notes, which leads to its ending.
Nishadha - Nishadha is 'Ni', the seventh musical note of Indian Classical Music.
Pakad - Pakad is the catch phrase of note combinations, which normally comprises of five notes. It characterizes the flow of a raga.
Panchama - Panchama is 'Pa', the fifth musical note of Indian Classical Music.
Pandit - Pandit is a term of respect, used to refer to the masters or scholars in the field of Indian Classical Music.
Poorvang - The lower region of an octave, from Sa to Ma (Sa Re Ga Ma) is known as the Poorvang.
Prati - The term Prati is used to define a sharp musical note i.e. a musical note that is higher in pitch by a semitone.
Raga - Raga is the basic organization of the thirteen musical notes in a composition, as per specific rules.
Ragini - Ragini is the feminine form of raga. It is usually described as a summary of the main theme of the melody.
Rasa - Rasa is the term used to define the emotional state or quality of the raga and ragini. There are nine rasas in classical music.
Rasik - Rasik is name given to the composer of a Rasa.
Rishabha - Rishabha is 'Re', the second musical note of Indian Classical Music.
Rupak Tal - Rupak Tal is an Indian rhythmic form, which comprises of seven beats.
Sanchari - Sanchari is the third subsection of a musical composition that comprises of all the regions of the octave.
Sangeet - Sangeet is the Hindu term used to define music.
Sampooran - Sampooran ragas are those ragas that comprise of all the seven notes.
Samvadi - Samvadi is the second most important class into which the notes in the basic musical gamut are divided.
Sandhi Prakash - The ragas that are performed during the hours of twilight or dusk are called Sandhi Prakash Ragas.
Saptak - Saptak means the set of seven swars or seven notes of the Indian Classical Music.
Sargam - Sargam is the term used to define the scale of notes used in the composition of music.
Shadaja - Shadaja is 'Sa', the first musical note of Indian Classical Music.
Shastra - Shastra is the treatise or text that explains the timeless rules and principles behind music.
Shaudava - Shaudava Raga is the raga that comprises of six notes in its ascending or descending movement.
Shruti - Shruti is the sound interval between recognized notes or swaras.
Shudha - The pure and natural notes or swaras are known as Shudha Swaras.
Swara - Swaras are the musical notes of a composition.
Swaroop - The term Swaroop refers to the image of a raga.
Tabla - Tabla is a North Indian drum set, which comprises of the Dagga (bass drum) and the Tabla (Treble drum)
Tal - Tal is a predisposed arrangement of beats, in a certain tempo
Tan - An improvised vocal or instrumental musical phrase
Tanpura - String instrument used for drone; Tanpura means to fill the void behind the music; to complete or assist a tan; a. k. a. Tamboora
Tar - Tar is a fast-paced musical and melodic amplification of vocal as well as instrumental classical music.
Tamboora - Tamboora is a musical instrument made from a gourd (Tumba). It is also known as Tanpura.
Thaat - Thaat is Pandit Bhatkande's classification of all the ragas into one of ten parent scales.
Thumri - Thumri is a form of 'light-classical' vocal music. It does not follow the tala and raga rules of music very rigidly.
Tintal (Teental) - Tintal is an Indian rhythmic tal with sixteen beats, in four equal divisions.
Tirobhav - Tirobhav basically means the process of concealing a raga on a temporary basis.
Tivra - Tivra means the highest state (pitch) of the two notes, madhyama and nishad.
Uttarang - Uttarang is the higher tetra-chord of an octave, which comprises of Pa, Dha, Ni and Sa notes.
Vadi - Vadi is the note that holds the maximum importance in a raga.
Vakra - Vakra Raga is one of the four Janya Ragas and has swaras in a non-sequential order.
Varana - The four Varanas are the four basic ways, on the basis of which musical tones are organized.
Varjit - Varjit note is the note that is deleted from the Arohi or Avarohi of its derivative Ragas.
Vikrit - Vikrit notes are the modified notes used in the raga.
Vilambit - The term Vilambit is used to denote the slow speed or tempo of the Tal.
Vivadi - Vivadi notes are those notes that are either not included in a raga or are used very rarely.