2. The Melodic Base (Ragas):
The basic character of Indian Music is its emphasis on melody. Melody is a progression of sound pattern in a linear fashion i.e., movement of one-tone at a time.
‘Raga’ is the basis of Indian Melody. It is basically an incipient melodic idea or scheme governed by certain traditional rules.
A raga (a melodic type) should have a minimum of four notes to ensure a personality.
Melodic type in Indian Music is based on six basic ragas the other being’ raginis’ personified as the wives of the muscular ragas.
These ragas are classified according to the time (of day or night) for which they are most appropriate.
They are supposed to reproduce the mood associated with particular times (or seasons) concerned.
Bhairava is suitable for performance at dawn and associated with awe and fear; Megha in the morning with peace and calm; Dipak and Sriraga in the after-noon, with love; Kausika and Hindola at night with joy laughter and love respectively.
3. The Rhythmic Cycle (Talas):
In Indian music, Talas are the rhythmic cycles that binds music together. It is a time cycle that remains fixed throughout a particular rendering, Talas offer amazing dimension for improvization between beats. Indian music has got the most complicated variety of tala structure in the world.
4. The Ragas Rooted to ‘Rasas’:
Indian Music in its depth extends far below the surface of the scale of melodic types (Ragas and Raginis) and tala patterns.
It is rooted in the ‘Rasa’ (Sentiments) which is basis of aesthetics. All the seven notes (comprising 22 shrutis) are associated with the rasa in a way that every shade of the rasa has a note of its own.
There are four rasas in our Music, viz., beautify, erotic, heroic (exhilarative) and pathetic (depressive).
5. Differentiation between Open (Anibaddha) and Closed (Nibaddha) Forms:
Indian Music differentiates between Anibaddha and Nibandha sangeeta. Anibaddha forms are free from restriction of words (here there are no words or only those words are employed which may bear mutilation without aesthetic harm) while Nibaddhas are with restrictions.
‘Alap’ and ‘Jod’ are examples of Anibaddha music. The most important of Anibaddha is the alap where the raga is developed and elaborated slowly, note-by-note, phrase-by-phrase.
In Hindustani (classical) music of North India an instrumentalist follow up the step with a faster movement called Jod which is succeeded by Jhala.
Both Jod and Jhala are devoid of tala. In Karnatic music an alapana in followed by a tanam which while free of tala is faster than the alapana and resemble, in a way, the Jod of Hindustani.