Difference Between Carnatic Music and Hindustani Music -

Carnatic Music vs Hindustani Music

Carnatic music and Hindustani music are two kinds of music traditions in India that show some important differences between them when it comes to the nature of singing, style of singing and the techniques involved in them.

Carnatic music is said to have originated in the Karnatak region of south India. On the other hand Hindustani music is said to have originated in several parts of northern and western India in different times.

While Carnatic music is sung and performed in only one style, there are various styles of singing and performing in Hindustani music. Each style of school is called a ‘gharana’. There are many gharanas in Hindustani music. Jaipur gharana and Gwalior gharana are two of the many important gharanas.

The number of ragas used in Carnatic music is more when compared to the fewer ragas used in Hindustani music. Some of the ragas used in Carnatic music are known by different names in Hindustani music. For example the Sankarabharanam of Carnatic tradition is called the Bilaval in the Hindustani tradition.

It is interesting to note that Carnatic music is characterized by the presence of 72-melakarta raga scheme. Each of the 72 principal ragas is divided into several subordinate ragas. The chief source for Hindustani music is the Sangita ratnakara of Sarangadeva. It is a great work on India music.

On the other hand Carnatic music flourished mainly due to the efforts of Saint Purandaradasa and the Carnatic music trinity comprising of Saint Tyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar and Syama Sastri. All the three doyens lived in the Tiruvaiyaru region of south India on the banks of the Kaveri River in the 18th century.

Both the types of music differ in terms of the instruments used in the playing of music as well. While both types of music use instruments such as violin and flute, Hindustani music extensively employs the use of Tabla (a kind of drum or a percussion instrument), Sarangi (a stringed instrument), Santoor, Sitar, Clarionet and the like.

On the other hand Carnatic music extensively employs the use of musical instruments such as Veena (a stringed instrument), Mridangam (a percussion instrument), Gottuvadyam, Mandolin, Violin, Flute, Jalatarangam and the like.

Ragam, talam and pallavi form the crux of the raga exposition in Carnatic music. Raga elaboration is given primary importance in Hindustani music. There is a perfect blend of both these types of music in top music festivals of India.