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The Unexpected Relationship Between Western And Indian Music

Updated: Apr 5, 2023


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Indian classical music is among some of the oldest forms of music anywhere in the world. Of course, it's been on a journey of its own, experiencing a number of changes and styles over the generations. But its basic fundamentals have not seen too much of a deviation. The Notes n’ Beats academy of music has a wide range of courses for you to choose from, from instrumental lessons for the piano and drums to Indian vocal lessons. While it is considered the music style of the Indian subcontinent, it still has managed to reach some substantial common ground with the music of the West. We will explore some of these below.

Connections between Indian and Western Music

  • Vocals

In case you didn't know, ragas in Indian classical music are basically the element of the music that conveys and makes the audience feel certain emotions. Not only are the Indian ragas tangentially related to Western vocals, but they have also had a significant impact on the genre. When we realize that two such dissimilar forms of vocals can be tied so closely together, it is just another example of how music can bring different worlds together. Many artists today have even gone a step further and made sure that they can offer the listener something fresh while yet being relatable. In Western music, the ragas are pretty much a collection of notes that are utilized to convey a range of moods. Even though they have different names and faces, the fundamental meaning will remain unchanged.

  • Instruments

Another connection that was formed between Indian and Western music came in the form of instruments. This connection really became a widespread phenomenon when some of the biggest bands of the West decided to use Indian instruments in some of their music in the 1960s. What came was truly unique, even more so at the time. A few notable examples include the use of the tabla in Led Zeppelin’s “Black Mountain Side” in 1969, and several incorporations of Indian instruments in The Beatles “Tomorrow Never Knows” in 1966. The Beatles guitarist George Harrison was famously intrigued by the Indian sitar, and mastered his skill of the instrument under sitar legend Ravi Shankar. Shankar’s work was said to have had an immense impact on a number of The Beatles’ songs.

  • Scale

Some common ground between Indian and Western music that is famously known by any music teacher is the pentatonic scale. This is the scale which consists of five main notes. As mentioned earlier, ragas play a very significant role in Indian music, and there are hundreds of different ragas used in Indian music. Most of these are used in the pentatonic scale. There are also a wide variety of famous Western songs which use the pentatonic scale. Some of these include “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson, “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin, and “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. These are among some of the most famous songs ever of the West, yet they share a huge similarity in scale with Indian music.


Both styles of music have seen their own fair share of changes and evolution over the decades, but it's astounding to see how strongly some of the links they hold have remained. It really does go on to show how powerful music can be when it comes to bringing people together. The Notes n’ Beats music academy has a broad scope of courses which you can take up. Whether you search online for “Carnatic violin lessons near me” or perform any other related search, our institute is certain to be one of the top ones you’ll find.


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