Music Theory – A Parallel Between Different Forms of Classical Music

Just like a parent can have several offspring, any parent scale can have several scales or ragas. A Raga is nothing but a combination of several notes / tones / swards. They have an essence / flavour and characteristic in them. Every raga or scale has a different taste and quality.

Theoretically, innumerable scales can be derived, but practically it is impossible for any human being to completely assimilate all these scales. The scale of fifth has been an important scale in Chinese and Japanese Music for several centuries. But interestingly, the same scale is also present in both Western as well Indian Classical Music for ages.

Yet, none of these great music systems blamed or accused each other of plagiarism and moreover there are innumerable and countless songs and compositions in the scale of fifth. Technically, it is a pentatonic scale / raga derived from Major Scale / Bilawal/ Shankarabharanam. This scale/ raga is beautifully termed as Bhoop / Bhopali/ Mohanam and categorized under the Audava-Audava/ Oudav/ Raagam due to its pentatonic (5 note) structure.

This goes on to prove that music is indeed universal. Only the interpretation and style of usage of notes is different in several forms of music. Western Classical has the emphasis on a group of notes and harmony between notes. Whereas, Indian music concentrates more on ornamentation, oscillation, vibrato and embellishing even individual notes.

But with the development of styles like sliding, glissandos, shredding, tapping and others, the gap existing between all forms of music is rapidly decreasing. Instruments from all around the world are being used in every country. A big factor behind the globalization of music is the emergence of a popular form of music – Electronic Music.

Unlike classical music, where scales derived from parent or bigger scales are strictly categorized on the basis of permanent characteristics; genres and sub-genres in western music are vaguely classified on the grounds of minor differences in playing style.

A good example would be – Trash Metal which sounds trashy due to the over use of cymbals is differentiated with groove metal that is oriented towards a particular groove using power chords or death metal which is more likely to imbibe toms, double bass kicks and changing time signatures. Math metal is not very different, unless it stops changing time signatures too frequently.

All this dawns upon a beautiful realization that, all genres, styles, patterns of music will ultimately culminate into the same music. They arise and wither away from the same 7 notes and the countless frequencies existing between each other.

Source by Siddharth Nair