Indian classical and folk music are two distinct forms of music that have evolved over centuries in India. Both of these styles of music have their own unique characteristics that set them apart from each other.
Indian classical music is a sophisticated and highly structured form of music that has its roots in the ancient Hindu scriptures. It is based on the principles of melody, rhythm, and harmony and is characterized by its use of intricate ragas, which are scales of musical notes that form the basis for a particular composition. Indian classical music is typically performed by trained musicians who have mastered the intricacies of this musical form.
On the other hand, folk music is a more informal and spontaneous style of music that is typically performed by non-professional musicians. It is an expression of the everyday life and experiences of the people and is characterized by its simple melodies, catchy rhythms, and lively lyrics. Folk music is typically passed down from generation to generation and is an important part of the cultural heritage of the region.
In terms of instrumentation, Indian classical music typically uses instruments such as the sitar, sarod, tabla, and harmonium, while folk music uses a variety of instruments such as the dhol, tambourine, and shehnai. The musical structure of Indian classical music is also quite different from that of folk music, with classical music being based on a complex system of rules and improvisation, while folk music is more free-form and focuses on the expression of emotion.
In terms of performance, Indian classical music is typically performed in a concert setting, with the musicians seated on the stage and the audience seated in front of them. Folk music, on the other hand, is often performed in a more informal setting, such as a village square or a public park, and is often accompanied by dance and other forms of celebration.
In conclusion, Indian classical and folk music are two distinct forms of music that have their own unique characteristics and are an important part of India’s rich musical heritage. While classical music is a sophisticated and highly structured form of music, folk music is a more informal and spontaneous style of music that is an expression of the everyday life and experiences of the people. Both forms of music are important in their own right and provide a window into the cultural and musical traditions of India.
Source: “The Oxford Companion to Music” by Alison Latham.