The two main aspects of Indian classical music are Carnatic music and Hindustani music. Carnatic music is mostly found in peninsular regions, while Hindustani music can be found in the northern and central regions of India. Both traditions supposedly have Vedic origin, and are thought to have come from a common musical root.

Hindustani Music

Hindustani music is an Indian classical music tradition that goes back to around 1000 BC, during Vedic times. Hindustani music further developed around the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries AD with Persian influences and from existing folk and religious music. It has traditions established primarily in India, but also in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Hindustani music has been influenced by many cultures and musical traditions such as Hindu musical traditions, Vedic philosophy, native Indian sounds, and also the Persian performance practices of the Mughals. This is the inverse of Carnatic music, which was not hardly affected by outside cultures and other possible influences.

Carnatic Music

Today's form of Carnatic music is based upon historical developments that can be traced back to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and later. The history of classical musical traditions can be traced back approximately 2500 years. The main emphasis of Carnatic music is on vocal music. Most compositions are written to be sung, and even when instruments are used, they are meant to be performed in a singing style. Like Hindustani music, Carnatic music is based upon two main elements; raga: the modes or melodic formula, and tala: the rhythmic cycles.


Indian folk music is extremely diverse because of the cultural diversity in India. It has many forms, such as bhangra, lavani, dandiya, and rajasthani. With the arrival of movies and pop music, folk music decreased in popularity. However, cheaply recordable music has made it easier to find and helped to bring back the traditions. Folk music has influenced classical music, which is thought of as a higher form of art. Also, most of the folk music in India is dance-oriented. There are many, many different forms of folk music. Bhangra, lavani, and dandy are just a few.


Indi-pop Music

Indian pop music is based on a combination of Indian folk and classical music, and modern beats from various other regions around the globe. Pop music began in the South Asian region with famous playback singer Ahmed Rushdi's song "Ko-Ko-Korina" in 1966. After that, the majority of Indi-pop music comes from the film industry, and until the 100s, few singers outside it were popular. Recently, Indian pop has begun a new trend of remixing the songs from past Indian movie songs and adding new beats to them. It is definitely one of the most widespread and most, well, popular style of modern Indian music.

Rock & Metal Music

Rock music in India is much smaller than other music categories. However, in recent years it has done better, achieving more of a cult status. Rock music in India originated in the 1960s and 1970s when international stars such as The Beatles visited India and brought their music with them. These artists' collaboration with other Indian musicians have led to the development of Raga Rock. One of the most famous rock musicians in the world was Freddie Mercury of Queen. He was born with the name Farrokh Bomi Bulsara to Indian parents in Zanzibar. He was raised near Mumbai. The cities of Dehli, Mumbai, and Bangalore have been the center for rock fans, and the leaders in India for the rock and metal movement.

Indian Hip Hop

Hip hop music in India was established around 1990. Baba Sehgal is credited as India's first rapper. This genre of music became more popular with the song "Pettai Rap" from the Tamil movie Kadhalan. Many international rappers from Canada, Malasia, the US, the UK, etc. are all supported and have performed in India.

Note: These are the three biggest genres of music. There are obviously other genres such as varieties of popular, pop, R&B, etc. There are also many other smaller musical categories.

Also, with regards to western classical music in India, the genre is almost entirely non-existent. It is known and enjoyed only by small groups, such as the Protestant Christian community in Chennai and Bangalore. Also, education on western music is severely neglected in India.