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Introduction

An Indian classical music performance.

Indian classical music is the classical music of the Indian subcontinent. It has two major traditions: the North Indian classical music tradition is called Hindustani, while the South Indian expression is called Carnatic. These traditions were not distinct till about the 16th century. There on, during the turmoils of Islamic rule period of the Indian subcontinent, the traditions separated and evolved into distinct forms. Hindustani music emphasizes improvisation and exploring all aspects of a raga, while Carnatic performances tend to be short and composition-based. However, the two systems continue to have more common features than differences.

The roots of the classical music of India are found in the Vedic literature of Hinduism and the ancient Natyashastra, the classic Sanskrit text on performance arts by Bharata Muni. The 13th century Sanskrit text Sangita-Ratnakara of Sarangadeva is regarded as the definitive text by both the Hindustani music and the Carnatic music traditions.

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Rajasree Mukherjee (born July 7, 1959 in Tatanagar, India) is a renowned singer and Music Therapist. Rajasree Mukherjee is an Honors graduate in Zoology from Lady Brabourne College, Kolkata. She trained in Rabindra Sangeet from Padmasree Suchitra Mitra and ranked first class first in her Diploma examination from Rabi Tirtha School of Music, Kolkata. She is a double graduate in, vocalist and leading teacher of Indian Classical and Traditional music. Ranked second in Rabindra Sangeet all India basis, in her Sangeet Prabhakar graduation examination conducted by Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad. In 1975 she toured and performed in the United States and Canada with Suchitra Mitra. She later did her second graduation in Indian music, securing the Sangeet Visharad degree from Pracheen Kala Kendra, Chandigarh.

A gifted singer with a melodious voice she has proved to be a very popular performer. Her numerous concerts in Kenya, Tanzania, India, Canada and the United States have all drawn full houses. In addition to being a popular performer she is one of the most reputed trainers in Indian music in East Africa. She has written lyrics for over 120-film and non-film songs and recorded leading playback singers like Alka Yagnik, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Anuradha Paudwal, Abhijeet, Vinod Rathod, Mohamed Aziz and Shailendra Singh among others. As an experienced Music Therapist she has used Indian Classical music to great effect in meditation techniques. She has conducted several workshops on music over Television and Radio.

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The origins of Indian classical music can be found from the oldest of scriptures, part of the Hindu tradition, the Vedas. The Samaveda, one of the four Vedas, describes music at length. The Samaveda was created out of Rigveda so that its hymns could be sung as Samagana; this style evolved into jatis and eventually into ragas. Indian classical music has its origins as a meditation tool for attaining self realization. All different forms of these melodies (ragas) are believed to affect various "chakras" (energy centers, or "moods") in the path of the Kundalini. However, there is little mention of these esoteric beliefs in Bharat's Natyashastra, the first treatise laying down the fundamental principles of drama, dance and music.

Indian classical music has one of the most complex and complete musical systems ever developed. Like Western classical music, it divides the octave into 12 semitones of which the 7 basic notes are Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa, in order, replacing Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do. However, it uses the just intonation tuning (unlike most modern Western classical music, which uses the equal-temperament tuning system).

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