does anyone know what artists/composers are considered indian classical? Or where to start diving into this music? I know ravi shankar is a big one, but that's it.

Master U Shrinivas, Shiv Kumar Sharma. From those 2 my fav is master, he's great and he uses a mandolin. hope you like it


In all seriousness though, chances are that the indian music you've heard is of the Carnatic over the northern version. So it depends on which one you are interested. That said, Carnatic music has more of an improvisatory nature, so the term "composition" is loosely interpreted as they are more of a stepping stone than something set in stone. It's a lot of stuff to learn btw, as everything is completely different and you could say more advanced due to the fact that it has been developed for thousands of years versus our harmonic system that has a couple hundred.
It seems like this is a reoccurring question each week, or of some variation. Since there's not a lot of "Indian" type lessons for guitar on the net (or any where else for that matter) this will help you...I have learned a lot or Ravi Shankar, U Shrinivas, Sultan Kahn, etc...over the years as well as many other music from India, Arabia, Morocco, etc...I even played in a band for a while that did nothing but these styles of music.

I have quite a few tutorials on "middle eastern" sounding scales, and techniques to creating the sound and insight you might be looking for.

These lessons deal with a few scales (Phrygian Dominant, Dominant Pentatonic, Major scale, etc...) as well as a few techniques (sliding, strum picking allowing you to accompany yourself with a drone while playing single note lines, microtones, etc...).

As with any of my lesson, if there's an Introduction or Essential Reading listed, START THERE!!!

Phrygian Dominant Tutorial (includes the strumming technique, some sliding, mictrotonal): http://lessons.mikedodge.com/lessons/PhryDom/PhryDomTOC.htm

Indian Sliding Technique Part 1 (shows the classic sliding technique found in much middle eastern music and uses a Dominant Pentatonic scale found in quite a bit of Shakti and John Mclaughlin, Chick Corea, etc... music): http://lessons.mikedodge.com/lessons/IndSlide/indslidehome_frames.htm

Indian Sliding Technique Part 2 (get more in depth with the technique and uses a lot of Phrygian Dominant lines): http://lessons.mikedodge.com/lessons/IndSlide2/indslidehome_frames.htm

Those aren't going to be your end all, but those sliding technique lessons have been used by some famous players to ramp up on copping the style into their playing. If you're really serious about the music itself I suggest a teach how teach carnatic music and maybe konokol.

Here's a an example from Part 2 of just using nothing but the E Major scale, with the sliding, microtonal, strumming, etc...techniques:


And remember...playing this type of music/stuff takes dedication and discipline!!!

I also have this (below) for you from the 70's, it's an album that Ravi put out explaining the ragas (rhythms and scales). He explains, plays through the raga, then they play a 5-10 minute piece based on it...

The thing about traditional Arabic and Indian (most Middle Eastern) music is it wasn't based on harmony, only melody. In this case ragas were developed in the same way modes were back when they were used for chants.

Each raga/scale had a purpose, like did each modes did in the chanting days. There were scales that symbolize the morning, mid-day, and night time. These scales are the ragas. There are many more ragas of course but those are the simplest I've always thought.

Here you go...Introduction to Indian Music by Ravi Shankar. This is the back cover of the album I got in the 70's. Hopefully you can zoom it enough to the read it. You can still get the album at Amazon, but I'm not sure how this back cover it presented, or if it's even part of the package anymore, but I assume it is.

Check out "Learn how to play Indian Ragas on your Guitar" by Rajan Mirchandani, available on Amazon.com. It is a formal study book if you want to seriously play Indian ragas on your guitar.
I'm not sure what your eventual goal is, but if you're looking to incorporate an Indian/Middle Eastern sound into your playing Consider the Source is a must-listen. No one has managed to infuse Western styles with Eastern scales and rhythms quite like these guys: Consider the Source - Abdiel (Live) .
Last edited by pbskl at May 25, 2011,
I think it's worth mentioning that part of sounding like an "Indian composition" is using Indian instruments.

Sure, you can play a Highland Fling with a clarinet or a trumpet or whatever, but in order to *sound* like a Highland Fling, it really needs to be played on the pipes.

Play some Indian composition on the guitar with a drummer and it won't quite have the sound you're looking for until you get a sitar and some tablas.

Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.