Tools for the understanding of
Hindustani Classical Music

This page contains a series of tools for aiding th eunderstanding and appreciation of Hindustani classcial music through one of its more representative genres, khayāl. Their purpose is to help in the development of the skills for perceiving the main rhythmic and melodic structures, which in this tradition are respectively formulated as tāl and rāg. These tools complement the listening experience with the visualization of key aspects of these structures, as well as allow certain interaction with them. Besides, some these tools offer the possibility to put into practice the acquired skills with simple exercises.

These tools do not constitute by themselves an autonomous material for the study of Hindustani classical music. Their use is thought as support to theoretical content, provided either as an on-site or on-line course, or a textbook about this music tradition.

Hereunder the tools are briefly presented, according to a suggested order for the study of the related musical concepts. A more detailed explanation about their functions and use is available by accessing each tool.

Note: These tools still are work in progress and might experience some malfunctions. For an optimal performance, it is advised to use it in a computer (its use in tablets and cellphones might be too slow and cause synchronization problems) and with the browser Chrome. When accessing the webpage of a tool, it is possible that it takes several seconds to be fully loaded.

Tāl laboratory

This "laboratory" allows to dissect, explore and interact with some of the most representative tāls used in Hindustani classical music.

Tāl visualizer

This visualizer allows to observe how the tāls studied in the laboratory are used in the real performance of a khayāl.

Find the sam!

To put into practice what you learn so far, try to find the sam of each tāl cycle during a real performance of a khayāl, and try to win as many points as possible!

Tānpūra laboratory

All the melodic material in the performance of any genre of Hindustani classical music is born from a fundamental sound called ṣaḍja, abbreviated as sa. The instrument in charge of keeping this fundamental sound along the whole performance is the tānpūra. This laboratory allows to practice listening to the sa from the tānpūra.

Rāg and tāl visualizer

The melody in any khayāl performance is determined by the rāg, whose correct and moving expression is the main goal of the singer in this genre. This visualizer allows to follow the melodic progression through a rāg in real performances of khayāl, as well as the progression of the tāl cycles.

Rāg visualizer, with a focus on characteristic melodic phrases

A key element for identifying a particular rāg is a series of characteristic melodic phrases. The aim of this visualizer is to guide the listening attention to these characteristic phrases in real performances and how they are rendered every time they are performed, as well as to browse a particular recording in terms of these characteristic phrases.