A beginner guide to ragas while learning Indian classical music online

A beginner guide to ragas while learning Indian classical music online

If you have started your Indian classical music learning journey online recently, you are aware of the significance of ragas in Indian classical music. Ragas are the intricate melodies that form the backbone of Indian classical musical tradition. They offer a structured framework for improvisation and expression and evoke specific moods and emotions.

For beginners, understanding ragas can seem daunting, but with the right guidance, it becomes an exciting aspect of the learning process.

In this blog post, we shall explore the significance of ragas in Indian classical music and provide practical tips for students to enhance their learning journey while learning Indian classical music online. Keep reading to know more.

What is Indian Classical Music and Its History?

Indian classical music is an ancient tradition that dates back thousands of years. It has its roots in the Vedas and has evolved over centuries with contributions from many masters and scholars. This profound art form comprises two main branches: Hindustani music from North India and Carnatic music from South India.

Indian classical music is characterized by its emphasis on melody (raga), rhythm (tala), and improvisation (raga and tala) and is known for its ability to evoke profound emotions and spiritual experiences in both performers and listeners alike.

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How Ragas are Important in Indian Classical Music?

In Indian classical music, a raga is much more than just a scale or a melody; it is a complex framework that encompasses specific ascending and descending patterns and ornamentations.  Each raga has a unique melodic entity with its own set of rules, moods, and characteristics.

Ragas are typically associated with specific times of the day, seasons, and emotions, allowing musicians to evoke a wide range of feelings and atmospheres through their performances. Mastery of ragas is essential for any serious student of Indian classical music, as they form the basis for improvisation, composition, and interpretation.

Key Elements of Ragas

  • Swaras (Notes): Ragas are constructed using a set of seven notes known as “swaras” – Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni. These notes are akin to the Western solfege system but are approached differently within the context of ragas.

  • Arohana and Avarohana: Ragas have specific ascending (Arohana) and descending (Avarohana) patterns that define their structure. These sequences of notes form the backbone of a raga and must be adhered to during performance.

  • Vadi and Samavadi: Within each raga, certain notes hold more prominence than others. The “Vadi” is the most important note, while the “Samavadi” is the second most significant. Understanding these notes helps in grasping the essence of a raga.

  • Pakad:  Pakad is often described as the “catchphrase” of a raga. The Pakad is a distinctive musical phrase or motif that encapsulates its unique identity. Learning the Pakad is crucial for recognizing and internalizing different ragas.

Exploring Ragas

As a beginner, it is essential to start with simpler ragas and gradually progress to more complex ones. Some beginner-friendly ragas include Yaman, Bhairav, and Bageshri. These ragas are relatively easier to grasp and provide a solid foundation for further exploration.

Tips for Students to Learn Indian Classical Music Online

Understand the Basics

Before delving into ragas, ensure you have a solid foundation in the fundamentals of Indian classical music. Familiarize yourself with the seven basic swaras and the basic principles of improvisation and composition. This will provide you with a strong framework for learning and appreciating ragas.

Listen to Masters

As the next important step, focus on actively listening to recordings of master musicians performing different ragas. Pay close attention to their phrasing, ornamentations, and overall expression, and analyze how they interpret and evoke the mood of each raga through their rendition.

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Practice Regularly

Consistent practice is key to mastering ragas. Set aside dedicated time each day for practice, preferably at the same time to build a routine. Start with warm-up exercises to loosen up your voice or fingers and then gradually move on to practicing specific ragas. Use technology to listen and practice. If you are learning online, recording the online session with your teacher and revisiting it during practice to understand the nuances can help.

Seek Guidance

Consider enrolling in online classes or finding a qualified teacher who can provide personalized instruction and guidance. A knowledgeable instructor can help you navigate the complexities of ragas.

Online Resources for Learning Indian Classical Music

  • Raga Surabhi: Raga Surabhi is an online resource that provides information about various Ragas including audio demonstrations and compositions. Users can access Raga learning modules and quizzes to enhance their understanding.

  • Raga Hindustani: Raga Hindustani is a valuable resource for learning Hindustani classical music. The website provides a wealth of information on various Ragas, including audio demonstrations and video tutorials. Students can also access Raga charts and compositions to supplement their learning.


In conclusion, with consistent practice and leveraging online resources, aspiring musicians can embark on a fulfilling musical odyssey from the comfort of their homes.

If you are searching for trustworthy online classes to learn Indian classical music, visit our website- https://app.xcool.in/ . We offer comprehensive lessons from vetted and trained teachers who customize the learnings based on the needs, level, and learning habits of the student.

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