Appreciating Hindustani Music

By Prof. Lakshmi Sreeram, Prof. Srijan Deshpande   |   IIT Madras, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal
Learners enrolled: 310
Hindustani Music includes the three vibrant genres of Dhrupad, Khayal and Instrumental Music which this course explores with a focus on Khayal. The course is primarily concerned with contemporary practice while also drawing upon historical and textual scholarship to place the music in perspective. The course has benefitted from inputs from highly regarded musicians, musicologists and scholars and will include live demonstration and guided listening of recorded music.



Course Status : Upcoming
Course Type : Elective
Duration : 8 weeks
Start Date : 21 Feb 2022
End Date : 15 Apr 2022
Exam Date : 24 Apr 2022 IST
Category :
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit Points : 2
Level : Undergraduate

Course layout

Week 1: Brief introduction to Indian Classical Music; Hindustani Music as including Dhrupad, Khayal and Instrumental Music; concepts of Swara and Sruti, aadhaara swara or tonic; the tanpura.
Week 2: The concept of Raga; Raga Lakshana - Swara in Raga, Sruti in raga, Ornament, Phraseology, and Chalan of ragas. Classification of ragas – the Mela/Thaat paddhati, Ragaanga paddhati, concept of prakaar. Association of Ragas with time and season. Raga and mood / rasa.
Week 3:The concept of tala as a cyclic measure of time – theka, sam, matra, avartana, etc. Structure of talas - Khali, Bhari. Some important talas in Dhrupad and Khayal. How tala figures in Khayal and Dhrupad presentations.
Week 4: Khayal as compositional form - its structure, language, themes, vilambit, madhya, drut khayal; Other forms of composition - tarana, trivat, etc Mukhada and sam of bandishes. Composer as Vaggeyakara. Important composers-traditional and contemporary; pedagogy, notation.
Week 5: Improvisation: Nature of improvisation in Indian music – some issues, concepts of vistaar and badhat; elements of improvisation - alaap, bol alaap, taan etc. The ashtaanga (eight elements of Khayal presentation). Accompaniment in Khayal – melodic and percussive. Aesthetics of sur, avartan bharna, sam pakadna.
Week 6: Dhrupad and Instrumental Music Construction of some important Guest lecture by Pt. Ritwik Sanyal - dhrupad, dhamar compositions, alaap, laya, bol bant, tala in Dhrupad - pakhawaj accompaniment, banis. Brief look at thumri and tappa.
Week 7: Gharana as musical aesthetics; survey of a few important gharanas; Gharanas in transition; lecdem by Pt. Satyasheel Deshpande on gharana.
Week 8: A typical concert of Khayal, dhrupad and instrumental music; important figures in the transitory period of Khayal in early twentieth century-Pt Vishnu Digambar Paluskar and Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande. Pedagogy - guru shishya parampara and institutionalised learning; Hindustani Music in a world of viral videos of millions of views.

Books and references

  •  Music Contexts: A Concise Dictionary of Hindustani Music by Ashok Ranade, Bibliophile South Asia, 2006
  •  Keywords and Concepts: Hindustani Classical Music by Ashok Ranade, Promilla, 2012
  • Music In India: The Classical Traditions – Bonnie C. Wade, Manohar Publishers and Distributors, revised edition 2021
  • Lost world of Hindustani Music by Kumar Prasad Mukherjee, Penguin India, 2006 Sources on the internet:
  • https://www.swarganga.org/ - for brief discussions on a range of topics in Hindustani Music.
  • www.parrikar.org – contains curated raga clips and raga descriptions
  • Category:Hindustani music terminology - Wikipedia
  • https://mohannadkarni.org that includes concert reviews, musician profiles
  • Pillars of Hindustani music : Devadhara, Bī. Āra : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive
  • Microsoft Word - Richard Widdess - Raga March 06.doc (soas.ac.uk)
  • For guided listening:
    • Aneesh Pradhan's articles on Scroll.in: Aneesh Pradhan | Scroll.in
    • Curated exhibits on Google Arts and Culture: Archive of Indian Music, Bangalore, India — Google Arts & Culture and Baithak Foundation, Pune, India — Google Arts & Culture

Instructor bio

Prof. Lakshmi Sreeram

IIT Madras

Dr. Lakshmi Sreeram: Initiated into Khayal by Smt. Madhubala Chawla under whose guidance she passed with a first class the Visharad exam of the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, Dr. Lakshmi Sreeram has been trained by masters like Pt. Vasantrao Kulkarni and Pt. Babanrao Haldankar.  She continues her learning from the acclaimed vocalist and musicologist Pt. Satyasheel Deshpande.  Lakshmi has given critically acclaimed performances at leading festivals and music venues.

Dr. Lakshmi has taught elective courses at IIT Madras on Appreciating Carnatic and Hindustani Music and has put together a widely subscribed and well appreciated course on Carnatic Music for NPTEL in 2015.  Lakshmi is a researcher and writer for leading media publications like The Hindu, Firstpost etc. She received the Fulbright Scholarship for 2019-2020 to study improvisation in Jazz at the University of Colorado, Boulder, USA.  Since her return she continues to write and research into the principles of Raga Sangeet, exploring parallels in language theories of the Sanskrit tradition.

Prof. Srijan Deshpande

Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal
Srijan Deshpande is a performer and researcher of Hindustani Khayal music. He is pursuing a doctoral research project at the Manipal Centre for Humanities, in which he is attempting to construct a rigorous account of Pt. Kumar Gandharva's musical alterity in the context of the twentieth-century tradition of the Khayal. Srijan has previously taught vocal music at the Vishwashanti Sangeet-Kala Academy, Pune; FLAME University, Pune; and Ahmedabad University, Ahmedabad. He continues to receive training in the genre from Pt. Satyasheel Deshpande.

Course certificate

The course is free to enroll and learn from. But if you want a certificate, you have to register and write the proctored exam conducted by us in person at any of the designated exam centres.
The exam is optional for a fee of Rs 1000/- (Rupees one thousand only).
Date and Time of Exams: 24 April 2022  Morning session 9am to 12 noon; Afternoon Session 2pm to 5pm.
Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published. If there are any changes, it will be mentioned then.
Please check the form for more details on the cities where the exams will be held, the conditions you agree to when you fill the form etc.


Average assignment score = 25% of average of best 6 assignments out of the total 8 assignments given in the course.
Exam score = 75% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100

Final score = Average assignment score + Exam score

YOU WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR A CERTIFICATE ONLY IF AVERAGE ASSIGNMENT SCORE >=10/25 AND EXAM SCORE >= 30/75. If one of the 2 criteria is not met, you will not get the certificate even if the Final score >= 40/100.

Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup. It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Madras. It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.

Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies will not be dispatched.

Once again, thanks for your interest in our online courses and certification. Happy learning.

- NPTEL team

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