This page contains an assortment of Indian music glossary and glossary of Indian music terms.

Indian Music Glossary

Achal - Achal Swaras are the fixed swaras of the seven musical notes. Sa and Pa are the achal swaras of the Indian classical music. 

Arohi - The term Arohi, also known as Arohana and Aroh, is used to define the ascending melody in music. 

Avirbhav - Avirbhav is that technique of presenting the raga, in which the raga is noticeably expanded and exhibited 

Abhoga - The last stage of a musical composition, especially in the Drupad music. 

Alaap - Alaap is the free flow of the Raga, in which there are no words and no fixed rhythm. It is the purest from of melody. 

Andolan - Andolan refers to a slow alternation between the notes and shrutis that are next to each other. 

Ang - The term 'Ang' refers to the root to which a particular raga belongs. For example, Tantrakari Ang (instrumental style of music) 

Alankar - Alankaras are those notes and features that differentiate one raga from the other. 

Antar Gandhar - One of the variable forms of the third note 'Ga' of Indian Classical Music. 

Antara - Antara is the second stage of a musical composition that emphasizes the upper half of the octave-range. 

Antya - Antya is the last section of a musical composition, after which the recital ends. 

Anuvadi - Those notes of a raga that are neither highlighted nor downplayed are known as Anuvadi notes. 

Asthai - Asthai is the first as well as the fundamental part of a composition, which is repeated during the entire alaap. 

Asthan - The octave region of a raga is known as its Asthan. For example, the lower octave region is known as the Mandar Asthan. 

Ati - The term Ati refers to an extreme in a raga. For example, Ati Vilambit Laya means extremely slow tempo. 

Audava - Audava is a raga that has only five notes i.e. 'Paanch Swaras'. 

Avarohi - The term Avarohi, also known as Avarohana and Avaroh, is used to define the descending melody in music. 

Bhajan - A devotional song eulogizing Indian Gods and Goddesses. Sung in light classical style, it is usually set to 6, 7 or 8 beat cycles. 

Bol - The term 'Bol' refers to the words making up a vocal composition.

Carnatic - Ancient classical music of South India is known as Carnatic Music

Chakra - As per the Melakarta table of raga classification, Chakras are the twelve groups according to which the ragas are categorized. 

Chalan - Chalan is the makeup of a musical composition, which embodies the movement of a particular raga. 

Chautalaa - Chautalaa is the musical cycle that consists of fourteen beats. 

Dadra Tal - Dadra Tal is the common cycle in the lighter forms of music, comprising of six or three beats. 

Deepchandi Tal - Deepchandi Tal is the tabla composition with fourteen beats

Dhamar Tal - Dhamar Tal is the fourteen beat Tal that has a '5+2+3+4' vibhag pattern. 

Dhaivata - Dhaivata is the sixth of the seven swaras or notes of the Indian classical scale. 

Drut - Drut is the term denoting the fast tempo or speed of the Tal.

Ektal - Ektal is that Tal of the Indian classical music in which the 12 matras are divided into 6 vibhags, each of them having two matras. 

Gandhar - Gandhar is 'Ga', the third musical note of Indian Classical Music.

Gayaki - Gayaki is one of the several styles of singing. 

Geet - Geet is the Indian term for a song or composition.

Ghazal - Ghazal is a poetic-cum-musical form of Hindustani light music, with Persian and Urdu poetic influences. 

Grama - Gramas are the basic notes employed in musical tradition. Initially there were three gramas - Shadaja, Madhyama and Gandhar.

Hindustani - Hindustani Classical Music is the form of Indian classical music that developed in northern parts of India.

Jati - Jati refers to the classification of musical compositions as per the tones.

Jhaptal - Jhaptal is an Indian rhythmic form with a ten-beat cycle.

Jhumra Tal - Jhumra Tal is a slow Indian rhythmic form of 14 (3+4+3+4) beats.

Kan - Kan is the grace note of a musical composition.

Keharwa Tal - Keharwa Tal is the one of the rhythms of the Indian classical music, which has an eight beat cycle.

Komal - The flat form of a note or swar in the classical music of India.

Kriti - Kriti is a format of a musical composition that characterizes the Carnatic form of music. 

Lakshan - An introduction to the ragas is known as Lakshan. It comprises of a set of rules and principles.

Laya - Laya can be described as the tempo or speed of the Tal. 

Madhya Saptak - The basic saptak, with middle octave region, is known as the Madhya Saptak.

Madhya Laya - Madhya Laya is the medium tempo or speed of the Tal. 

Madhyama - Madhyama is 'Ma', the fourth musical note of Indian Classical Music.

Mandra - Mandra refers to the lower scale notes of the raga, written with dots underneath them.

Meend - Meend is an unbroken flow of a musical progression, from higher to lower notes. 

Mela - Mela is the basic organization of the notes in aroha and avaroha melody.

Mishra - A Mishra melody is that melody which has features of more than one raga. "

Mridangam - Mridangam is a drumming instrument, used in the Carnatic music of South India. 

Nada - The raga or musical notes in music are known as nada vibrations. There are basically two types of Nadas - Ahata (struck) and Unahata (un-struck).

Nada Brahma - The concept of Nada Brahma means that the whole universe was created from the energy of sound.

Nataka - Nataka is the Hindi term used for defining a theater performance. 

Nyasa - Nyasa is the last note of a specific phrase of notes, which leads to its ending.

Nishadha - Nishadha is 'Ni', the seventh musical note of Indian Classical Music.

Pakad - Pakad is the catch phrase of note combinations, which normally comprises of five notes. It characterizes the flow of a raga.

Panchama - Panchama is 'Pa', the fifth musical note of Indian Classical Music.

Pandit - Pandit is a term of respect, used to refer to the masters or scholars in the field of Indian Classical Music.

Poorvang - The lower region of an octave, from Sa to Ma (Sa Re Ga Ma) is known as the Poorvang.

Prati - The term Prati is used to define a sharp musical note i.e. a musical note that is higher in pitch by a semitone.

Raga - Raga is the basic organization of the thirteen musical notes in a composition, as per specific rules.

Ragini - Ragini is the feminine form of raga. It is usually described as a summary of the main theme of the melody.

Rasa - Rasa is the term used to define the emotional state or quality of the raga and ragini. There are nine rasas in classical music. 

Rasik - Rasik is name given to the composer of a Rasa. 

Rishabha - Rishabha is 'Re', the second musical note of Indian Classical Music. 

Rupak Tal - Rupak Tal is an Indian rhythmic form, which comprises of seven beats. 

Sanchari - Sanchari is the third subsection of a musical composition that comprises of all the regions of the octave. 

Sangeet - Sangeet is the Hindu term used to define music. 

Sampooran - Sampooran ragas are those ragas that comprise of all the seven notes. 

Samvadi - Samvadi is the second most important class into which the notes in the basic musical gamut are divided.

Sandhi Prakash - The ragas that are performed during the hours of twilight or dusk are called Sandhi Prakash Ragas. 

Saptak - Saptak means the set of seven swars or seven notes of the Indian Classical Music. 

Sargam - Sargam is the term used to define the scale of notes used in the composition of music. 

Shadaja - Shadaja is 'Sa', the first musical note of Indian Classical Music. 

Shastra - Shastra is the treatise or text that explains the timeless rules and principles behind music. 

Shaudava - Shaudava Raga is the raga that comprises of six notes in its ascending or descending movement. 

Shruti - Shruti is the sound interval between recognized notes or swaras. 

Shudha - The pure and natural notes or swaras are known as Shudha Swaras.

Swara - Swaras are the musical notes of a composition. 

Swaroop - The term Swaroop refers to the image of a raga. 

Tabla - Tabla is a North Indian drum set, which comprises of the Dagga (bass drum) and the Tabla (Treble drum) 

Tal - Tal is a predisposed arrangement of beats, in a certain tempo

Tan - An improvised vocal or instrumental musical phrase 

Tanpura - String instrument used for drone; Tanpura means to fill the void behind the music; to complete or assist a tan; a. k. a. Tamboora 

Tar - Tar is a fast-paced musical and melodic amplification of vocal as well as instrumental classical music. 

Tamboora - Tamboora is a musical instrument made from a gourd (Tumba). It is also known as Tanpura. 

Thaat - Thaat is Pandit Bhatkande's classification of all the ragas into one of ten parent scales. 

Thumri - Thumri is a form of 'light-classical' vocal music. It does not follow the tala and raga rules of music very rigidly. 

Tintal (Teental) - Tintal is an Indian rhythmic tal with sixteen beats, in four equal divisions. 

Tirobhav - Tirobhav basically means the process of concealing a raga on a temporary basis. 

Tivra - Tivra means the highest state (pitch) of the two notes, madhyama and nishad.

Uttarang - Uttarang is the higher tetra-chord of an octave, which comprises of Pa, Dha, Ni and Sa notes. 

Vadi - Vadi is the note that holds the maximum importance in a raga. 

Vakra - Vakra Raga is one of the four Janya Ragas and has swaras in a non-sequential order.

Varana - The four Varanas are the four basic ways, on the basis of which musical tones are organized. 

Varjit - Varjit note is the note that is deleted from the Arohi or Avarohi of its derivative Ragas.

Vikrit - Vikrit notes are the modified notes used in the raga.

Vilambit - The term Vilambit is used to denote the slow speed or tempo of the Tal.

Vivadi - Vivadi notes are those notes that are either not included in a raga or are used very rarely.