Vedic Music Period

One element that had developed in the vedic period (2000 B.C. - 1000 B.C.) was the development of notes. Primitive tribes used to sing in one high tone. This became to be known as Ek Swari Gaayana, which means singing in one note. Most sacred hymns are chanted in this.

This developed into Gatha Gaayana, which is a system of singing with two notes, a high and a low note. Gaatha meaning anecdotes containing poetic descriptions of stories from the lives of the Bodisatva monk. It were these Gaath's that were sung in this method.

The next development came with Saamagaayana chanta and were sung with three main notes: Udatta (raised), Anudatta (lowered) and swarita (level) positions. According to the Mandukya Shiksha, a music treatise of the period, evolved into seven notes.

Notes coming in these categories:

Udatta (raised)- Ni-Ga

Anudatta (lowered)- Re-Dha

Swarita (level)- Sa-Ma-Pa

These three forms became the base of the scales called Graamas, with this the Sargam syllables or note names - Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa ,Dha and Ni - came into existence.

In studying the vedic period it is known that families placed music in high regard. Their singing, dancing and playing of instruments were done in strict rhythm. The worship of the gods and goddesses of different forces and forms led to suitable melodies being made to suit the time of day. Brahmins were given the task of spreading this knowledge and emphasised the strict character of the artist learning the art form. Instruments such as the Veena, flute, mridangam and damaru are generally associated with this period.