Kinds of music Popular in India

As India is the country that has total twenty eight states speaking different regional languages yet music bonds its states together with the soul of music. Though India is abode of various kinds of music, Indian Music’s pleasurable and ravishing eminence unites this diversity and all divisions of borders vanish away. Music is found in every minute bit. Music is in downpour of rain; music is in flow of river, in blow of wind, in crackling sound of dried leaves, in the pouring of coffee into cup and still many more.

There are mainly 3 kinds of music that are popular in India-

  1. Indian Classical Music

  2. Folk Music

  3. Modern Music

1. Indian classical Music-

It is broadly classified into two categories- Hindustani Music, belonging to northern India and Carnatic Music belongs to south.

Hindustani Classical music is popular from Vedic times when the practice of singing was based on some particular notes where hymns of Sam Veda, a Hindu Grantha were sung as Samagana and not enchanted. It has influence of ancient Vedic philosophy and Persians performances of Mughals.

Hindustani Classical music-

eg-Hindustani Vocal concert by Pundit Falguni Mitra

Carnatic Music has its origin in South India and it is very melodic to the ears. With some embellishments in the ancient Carnatic music, the contemporary carnatic music is great improvised version.Carnatic music has its derivations from God of Hindu mythology itself.

eg-Ragam Rasamaya Vedamayi – Ilayaraja & Shreya Ghoshal

English: Shubha Mudgal is a well-known Indian ...
English: Shubha Mudgal is a well-known Indian singer of Hindustani classical music, Khayal, Thumri, Dadra, and popular Indian Pop music. She has been awarded the 1996 National Film Award for Best Non-Feature Film Music Direction for ‘Amrit Beej’ the 1998 Gold Plaque Award for Special Achievement in Music, at the 34th Chicago International Film Festival[2], for her music in the film Dance of the Wind (1997), and the Padma Shri in 2000 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2. Folk Music-

Bhangra-It is the music of land Punjab. It sounds very lively and energetic.Dhol drum, dholak, flute etc are main instruments used in bhangra.


Dandiya Music- It is music of Gujarat. Its folk scales and rhythm are very unique to its folk dance. It has been modernized and performed with all kind of latest music instruments.

Bihu It includes Drums and wind instruments.Pepa (horn) is one of the instruments used in Bihu Dance and songs.


Ganasangeet- It is mainly sung in chorus. It is mainly about topics like protest, freedom, patriotism and other social message.

eg-Bapu Flute – Saare Jahaan

Haryanvi- It belongs to the state Haryana. It has been existing since Vedic times. It is sung by saangis, jogis etc.It is popular in neighboring western states of Haryana. Haryana is the only state having its towns and villages named after its ragas.

Qawwalis- It is the music of Islamic songs and it has its spiritual effect. It is performed to connect with Islamic God. It has Sufi tint and sung by a group with two or one lead singer.It mainly uses Harmonium and Dholak.

eg-Marhaba ya Anabiya

Gazal- It is type of music associated with Urdu poetry.

eg-Tumko Dekha toh – Prashant LIVE

Rabindrasangeet- The music related to the songs written by Rabindranath Tagore in Bengali. It is the music most popular in Bengal and Bangladesh. The national anthem of India and National song of Bangladesh belong to this category of music.

eg-Ke Go Antarotaro

Rajasthani- Rajasthani Music is a popular form of music not only in Rajasthan but in film industry too. It encompasses various String instruments like Sarangi, Rawanhattha, Kamayacha, ektara; Percussion instruments like huge Nagaras and Dhols to the tiny Damrus, and wind instruments like Flutes and bagpipers such as Shehnai, Poongi, Algoza, Tarpi, Been and Bankia.It gets more melodious with renditions of regional singers.


Lavani- Music popular in Maharashtra. Traditionally, the songs are sung by female artistes, but male artistes may occasionally sing Lavanis. It is performed on the enthusiastic beats of Dholaki, a drum like instrument. It was originated in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

eg-Naad Khula(Lavani In The Club Mix) – DJ RHN:

Uttarakhandi Music- This music derives its soul from the essence of nature. It has touch of the cultural heritage of Himalayan people, the way they live and their lives in Himalaya. It is commonly related to religious traditions, festivities, folk stories and simple life of Uttarakhandi people. It is played by instruments like dhol, damoun, turri, ransingha, dholki, daur, thali, bhankora and masakbhaja, tabla and harmonium.

the tabla is a common drum used in classical I...
the tabla is a common drum used in classical Indian music. it is essential in Gurbani Keertan, Sikh religious music. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The tabla (Hindi: तबला, Telugu: తబలా, Urdu: تب...

English: photo of miraj sitar
English: photo of miraj sitar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: An eight holed Indian classical flute
English: An eight holed Indian classical flute (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3. Modern Music/Popular Music-

(i) Film Music 72% of Indian music comprises of Film music. Film industry modernizes the Indian classical music with western orchestration. Many film music composers popularized the Indian classical music and folk music making fusion with western music and orchestration. Many folk and classical singers contributed to Film music.

eg-Pehla Nasha

(ii) Amalgamation with non Indian Music-Rock and roll fusions with Indian music became popular in Europe and North America. Ali Akbar khan began this trend in 1955 in US.

(a) Indo jazz- Fusion of Indian music with Jazz was first done by John Coltrane in 1961.

eg-Chandra Funk

(b)Raga rock- A beat based Raga Rock fusion hybrid called Sitar Power was

introduced by Ashwin Batish in western countries in 1985.


(c) Asian underground-A Canadian born, Nadaka started fusing Indian

classical music with Western music styles in 1980s. Krishna Das merged

Bhakti sangeet with western non Indian music and made album sadhana.

 eg-Livelong – Asian Dream

(iii) Indi Pop- It is blend of Indian classical and folk music merging beats from different parts of world. It was pioneered by singer, Ahmed Rushdi in South Asian region.

eg-Pal – covered by Kaustav with Bonny on guitars

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Nandy says:

    What type if music is still not introduced in India? Just a question of concern

    1. shobhnaa says:

      India has embraced all kinds of music and performs in all styles

would love to hear from you :)

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