Music is one of the most popular art forms of India. The earliest tradition of music is traced to Sama Veda. The six chapters on music are exclusively dealt with in Bharata’s Natyashastra which is compiled between the 2nd century BC and 2nd century AD. The ragas were first discussed in Brihaddesiwritten by Matanga compiled between the 8th and 9th century AD. 264 ragas were mentioned in the Sangeet Ratnakara written by Sarangadeva in the 13th century. Several musical instruments were introduced over some time. Music was patronized by many rulers such as Samudragupta, King Bhoja of Dhara, and King Someshavra of Kalyana, and Samudra Gupta, monarch of Gupta. Music has also been associated with the worship of gods and goddesses. Jayadeva of Orissa composed a raga named Gita Govinda which composed the love of Radha and Krishna. Abhinavabharati written by Abhinavagupta (993-1055) gives more insights into music. In Tamil, the Nyanmanrs and Alvars have composed several poems to the music. Kabir, Mirabai, Tulsidas, Vidyapati are those who are closely associated with music. Kitab-e-Navras was written by Adil Shah 2 in the 17th century in which he praised both the Hind gods and Muslim saints. Tansen and Baiju Bawa were two great musicians during the period of Akbar. Mirabai, Tulsidas, and Surdas sang various devotional songs of Hindustani music.


Indian classic music was broadly classified on two traditions during the medieval period. They are Hindustani Classical Music in North India and Carnatic music in South India,


Hindustani classical music is the classical music of Northern India. During this period, the musical performance was enriched with several instruments. Dhrupad, Dhamar, Thumri, Khayal, and Tappa were the different styles of Hindustani music. Tansen’s music had the effect of magic and with his ‘Megh Rag’, he even caused the rainfall. Even today, his melodious songs are sung in every part of India. Baiju Bawra, Surdas was the musicians patronized by Akbar. Bahar, , Darbari, Desh , Bhairavi, Sindhu Bhairavi, Bhim Palasi, Hamsadhwani, Jai Jayanti, Megha Malhar, Todi, Yaman, Pilu, were the most popular ragas.

India has a variety of musical instruments of different types. Sitar, sarod, santoor and sarangi. Pakhawaj, tabla, and Mridangam are the most famous stringed instruments. The chief wind instruments are shehnai, nadaswaram, and flute. Gharana, a particular style of music is mostly preferred in Hindustani classical music. The gharanas function in gurushishya parampara i.e, the guru will teach his musical knowledge and style to his disciples. Gwalior gharana, Kirana gharana, and Jaipur gharana were some famous gharanas.


The compositions in Carnatic music were mostly composed by three people namely Shyam Shastri, Thyagaraja, and Mutthuswami Dikshitar between AD 1700 AND 1850. Another important composer of Carnatic music was Purandardasa. Thyagaraja is a saint as well as an artist who plays an important role in the essence of classical music. The main composition of classical music is known as Kriti. They were devotional. Patnam Subrahmanya Ayyar (l854-1902), Ramnad Srinivasa Iyengar (1860-1919), and Maha Vaidyanath Ayyar (1844-1893) were the notable musicians of this period. Some of the instruments used to accompany Carnatic music were flute, veena, nadaswaram, mridangam, and ghatam. Although there are different features in Hindustani music and classical music, there are some similar features. For example, to Alap in Hindustani classical music is similar to the Carnatic alapanaTarana in Hindustani resembles the Tilana in Carnatic music. Both pieces of music have Thalam.


Western music has reached India through British rule. To meet the demand for Indian music, Indians have adopted some of their instruments such as violin and clarinet. Another important development in the music era was the Orchestration of music on stage. In the olden days, the performance of the orchestra was limited and can’t be heard by many people. But now, the orchestra has been recorded and posted to the public. Now, these orchestras were heard by people all over the world. Nowadays many musical institutions are established where we can learn music. . Baba Allauddin Khan, Pt. Ravi Shankar, Ustad Bismillah Khan, Ustad Alla Rakkha Khan, Ustad Zakir Hussain are some of the famous Musicians.


In today’s world, India has a rich legacy of folk music. Folk music represents the emotions of several groups of people. Many news songs are composed for celebrating the events. Some of the songs like Mand in Rajasthan and Bhatiali of Bengal were popular all over India. In Haryana, Ragini is a popular form of folk music. Folk songs have their way of conveying information. Muslims sing Sojkhwani (mournful songs) during Muharram. Christians sing some carols and choral music on festival occasions.