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Kathak, the beautiful form of Indian classical dances finds its roots in `katha` meaning 'story'. A band of storytellers attached to temples in Northern India, narrated stories from epics. Later they added mime and gesture to their recitation. The popularity of the Radha-Krishna legend, led to further innovations in the dance form. With the advent of the Muslim rule, it was brought out of the temples and in to the courts of the rulers. Since then it has been commonly identified with the court traditions of the later Nawabs of northern India. It is really an amalgam of several folk traditions, the traditional dance drama forms prevalent in the temples of Mathura and Vrindavan known as Krishna and Radha - Lila. Jaipur, Benaras and Lucknow became the main centers of the dance. While Benaras maintained the purity of the dance, Jaipur gave emphasis to rhythm and Lucknow introduced erotic steps. The Kathak dance goes through a regular format, mostly concentrating on rhythm,its variation being - Tatkar, Paltas, Thoras, Amad and Parans.;

Bharatnatyam is one of the most popular dances of India. It is believed that Brahma, the supreme Creator, created Natya by taking literature from the Rig Veda, songs from the Sama Veda, abhinaya or expression from the Yajur Veda and rasa or aesthetic experience from the Arthava Veda. Natya speaks in great detail of the different kinds of postures, facial expressions, mudra or hand expressions, including the attire and ornaments to be used. All the dance forms are structured around the nine rasas or emotions. They are hasya (happiness), shoka (sorrow), krodha (anger), karuna (compassion), bhibasta (disgust), adhbhuta (wonder) bhaya (fear), vikram (courage) and shanta (serenity). The uniqueness of Indian classical dances, is that they are all devotional in content. In fact Bharata Natyam one of the most important traditional Indian dances was till the early 20th century, only performed by `devadasis or maids of God`, in temples. Almost every village has its own folk dance, which is performed by the village folk itself. These are performed on festivals, ceremonies, special occasions, etc. All night dance dramas are popular throughout India and mark all the major festivals. This dance is the oldest of the Indian classical dance forms, and its origin can be traced to Bharatha`s Natya Shastra. It is a very traditional and stylized dance form. Strict about the techniques used in performing, it disallows any kind of innovations except in the repertoire forms of presentation. It developed in South India, in its present form, two hundred years ago. The musicians of the Tanjore court of the 18th and 19th centuries, lent the thematic as well as musical content to the dance. It is essentially a solo dance and has close affinities with the traditional dance-drama form called Bhagvat Mela performed only by men, and folk operettas called Kuruvanji performed only by women.

Bollywood dance is the dance-form used in the Indian films. It is a mixture of numerous styles. These styles include belly-dancing, kathak, Indian folk, Western popular, and "modernjazz, and even Western erotic dancing. In this web page, we will look at Bollywood dance and place it within the commercial and artistic framework of the South Asian film world.

The 'classical' guitar is typically a Spanish-derived, six-stringed instrument played using a plectrum or the finger-nails, with frets set into the fingerboard. Popular music tends to use amplification for both six-stringed instruments and the four-string bass guitar. The guitar family gradually supplanted the lute which had come to prominence during the Renaissance.

Sitar is the most popular stringed instrument of India and has been in use for about 700 years. It is fashioned from a seasoned gourd and teakwood and has twenty mental frets with six or seven playing strings and nineteen sympathetic strings below. It is played with a plectrum worn on the finger. Sitar has a long and complex heritage; its origin goes back to the ancient Veena. In the 13th century, Amir Khusru, in order to make the instrument more flexible, reversed the order of the strings and made the frets moveable. Ravi Shankar, the great musician-artist brought changes and a new perspective.

Tanpura is a four or five stringed instrument which gives the essential drone background to all Indian music.

Violin was introduced to India about 300 years ago and is a very important string instrument in the South of India. It is played in a sitting position and is held between the right foot and the left shoulder.

Tabla is the overall term for two drums, which are played as accompaniment to North Indian music and dance. The musician uses the base of the palm as well as the fingers to produce great variations in sounds. The right hand drum is tuned to the tonic dominant or sub-dominant and the left-hand drum acts as the base.

Pakhawaj is a long bodied wooden drum with both ends covered in skin and is the most traditional drum of North India. Played horizontally with the fingers and palms of both hands, the right hand surface is tuned to the pitch required and the left hand surface provides the base.

Mridangam is similar in appearance to the Pakhawaj but the ends have a different texture. It is the most used drum in South Indian music.

Dholak is a side drum, cylindrical in shape, bored out of solid wood. Its pitch is variable and is an essential accompaniment for folk music of North India.

Flute is found in every part of India, carved from bamboo it is made in every possible size. It is usually played in a vertical position.

The basis for Indian music is "sangeet". Sangeet is a combination of three artforms: vocal music, instrumental music and dance. Although these three artforms were originally derived from the single field of stagecraft. Today these three forms have differentiated into complex and highly refined individual artforms. The present system of Indian music is based upon two important pillars: rag and tal. Rag is the melodic form while tal is the rhythmic. Rag may be roughly equated with the Western term mode or scale. There is a system of seven notes which are arranged in a means not unlike Western scales. However when we look closely we see that it is quite different what we are familiar with. The tal (rhythmic forms) are also very complex. Many common rhythmic patterns exist. They revolve around repeating patterns of beats. The interpretation of the rag and the tal is not the same all over India. Today there are two major traditions of classical music. There is the north Indianand the south Indian tradition. The North Indian tradition is known as Hindustani sangeet and the south Indian is called Carnatic sangeet. Both systems are fundamentally similar but differ in nomenclature and performance practice.
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