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Can I Learn Indian Classical Vocal Music Accompanied by Piano?

Updated: Nov 22, 2022

The vocal form of music is the strongest and dominant component of Indian music. Historically, vocal music was considered an important part of Natya Shastra. Indian Classical Vocal Music is typically taught by an Indian Classical Music teacher using Tanpura. However, with our busy lives, we need the convenience of our own time and pace. At Mela Music School, our vocal music classes are designed to help you reach your goal. Here students will learn to sing:

Thumri | Vocal Music Classes

Thumri is a semi-classical form of vocal music. It is classified as semi-classical because it's not devoted to a single Raag. It is a style of singing that emphasizes expressiveness rather than lyrics or Raag purity. It is also semi-classical because it doesn't use classical Taals often; instead, the lighter versions like Addha Tritaal, Keherva, and Deepchandi.

A Punjabi singer, Miyan Shauri, is thought to have originated this form in the court of the legendary Nawab Asifuddaula of Lucknow. Thumri singing is known for its experiments, variations, and improvisations with Raag structure to achieve the best possible expression.

Khayal | Indian Classical Music Teacher

In Farsi and Urdu, khayal means a thought or imagination. Musically, khayal refers to an imaginative elaboration of a Raag while remaining within its confines. Khayals are sung softly and include romantic compositions because they originated in the quiet environment of small Mehfils rather than the King's court. Trans and Alaaps are used frequently and abundantly in their performance. It is performed in two basic tempos: Vilambit (slow) and Drut (fast). Slow-tempo songs are known as Vilambit or Bada Khayal, while fast-tempo songs are known as Drut or Chhota Khayal. Teentaal, Ektaal, Jhaptaal, and Adachautal are the most commonly used Taals for singing Kayal.

Alap | Vocal Music Classes

The Alap is the opening portion of a typical North Indian classical performance. This form of melodic improvisation introduces and develops a raga. It defines the raga, its mood, the emphasized notes, and notes playing a secondary role. The alap (prelude) is further divided into vista, job, and taan. The performance begins with a vista (slow raga elaboration) and gradually transitions to a job (lilting/rhythmic improvisation) and taan (dramatic conclusion of the alap).

Bhajans | Indian Classical Music Teacher

Bhajans are devotional songs written in pure Devanagari and sung primarily in Taals of 8 beats. This Taal is so common that it is referred to as Bhajan Theka. Bhajans can be written in pure Raags or in Raag variations or combinations. Modern Bhajans are sung in almost every Taal, including Dadra, Roopak, Deepchandi, and Teentaal.

Ghazals | Vocal Music Classes

Ghazals are melodious recitations of Urdu or Farsi poems. Because Ghazal's singing originated

from poems, the lyrics are critical, and the composition and rendition serve only to enhance the lyrics. To sing Ghazals, a good command of the language and a deep understanding of music are required so the singer can do justice to the lyrics.

Folk | Indian Classical Music Teacher

Rural and traditional communities in India have created their own regional customs and festivals, which are celebrated with folk music that is unique to that community. It is nearly impossible to identify all types of folk music in India, but some of the more well-known examples include Banna, Virha, Chandani, Sohar, Jhoomar, Savani, Lavani, Barahmasi, Maand, Gauri, Janeoo, Bhaat, Pandvani, Suara, etc.

Can I learn Indian Classical Vocal Music on the Piano?

During vocal practice, an accompanying musical instrument provides the reference sound. Yes, it's possible to learn Indian Classical Vocal Music on the Piano because the music theory used in Harmonium and the Piano is exactly the same (frequency range of X-2X divided into twelve equal parts, geometrically).

However, a Piano can produce all the notes used in Hindustani music, not Carnatic music. Carnatic music needs even more fine-grained notes that you can only produce by tuning your instruments accordingly.

Thus, you can use the Piano as an accompaniment instrument for Hindustani music.

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