Music Decoded-The Science Behind The Art.

Music decoded

The science behind the art.

Music has always been regarded as the most philosophical of all art forms, perhaps due to its exciting and invigorating blend of Arts and Science. This might be the reason why Indian Classical Music was referred to as ‘Shastriya Sangeetham’ until the term ‘Classical’ was borrowed from the West. ‘Shastriya Sangeetham’, if loosely translated, means ‘scientific music’. The reason behind this can be understood by the stress which the science of music (Musicology) gives on discipline, conformity and acoustic accuracy.

However, the beauty of Indian Classical Music is the immense freedom that allows the performer to practice the freedom of improvisation.

We can probe deeper into the science of music by getting the knowledge of certain technical aspects.

The basic requirement for creating music is sound. A sound is created by the vibratory motion of a body. These vibrations are transmitted into the air, producing acoustic waves, which causes vibrations in the tympanic membrane (eardrum).The auditory nerves being stimulated by these vibrations, carry the impulse to the brain, and the sound is heard.

These vibrations are sound waves. Basically, waves are distortions in a material that may be transverse, compression or a combination of these movements. Light, SOUND and AC electric waves are important waveforms. The characteristics of a waveform are wavelength, amplitude, velocity and frequency.

Explaining further, sound can be differentiated between two kinds:

1) Aahat 2) Anaahat

The Naad or musical sound has 3 characteristics:

1) Loudness

2) Pitch

3) Timber

A human voice has 3 Sthanas (positions):

1) Mandra (Lowest)

2) Madhya (Medium)

3) Tar (Highest)

Furthermore music can be divided into different octaves (Saptaks). In Indian music there are 3 Saptaks:

1) Mandra Saptak

2) Madhya Saptak

3) Tar Saptak

In each Saptak there are 12 notes or Swaras:

1) Sa or Sadja

2) Re or Rishab

3) Ga or Gandhar

4) Ma or Madhyam

5) Pa or Pancham

6) Dha or Dhaivat

7) Ni or Nishaad

There are 4 flat or Komal notes: Re, Ga, Dha, Ni

There is 1 sharp or Tivra note: Ma

Sa and Pa are fixed or constant notes. They do not have a Semitone.

These are a few technical pointers of this form of music (Indian Classical).

Some of the other forms of music also follow few of the above mentioned rules.

I’ll continue to present you with more information in my upcoming blogs.

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