Learn Indian Voice Music from the scratch to advance
4.2 (146 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
1,287 students enrolled

Learn Indian Voice Music from the scratch to advance

Learn Indian Classical Singing or "RAGA" music including voice-culture, Indian beat-system, Indian Swaras -Sa Re Ga Ma
4.2 (146 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
1,287 students enrolled
Created by Shambhavi Das
Last updated 4/2020
English [Auto-generated]
Current price: $41.99 Original price: $59.99 Discount: 30% off
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This course includes
  • 5.5 hours on-demand video
  • 9 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • By the end of the course, you will be able to vocalize Ragas and able to improvise them for hours like in concerts. In this course you will learn fluent vocalizing of Indian swaras: Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa, Indian Taal (beats) system, and basic to hard ragas-training including basic introduction of a raga, aalap (slow improvisatio), bandish (composition of that raga) and taans (fast - improvisation).
  • Please go through the prerequisites.
  • This course requires patience. Learning Indian Classical Music is a journey and this course attempts to provide a foundation. Though I have tried to simplify and structure things to the best of my knowledge, some of the lectures may seem a repetitive but it's needed to gain better understanding.
  • This course assumes that you are a beginner with no prior knowledge in Indian Classical Music, but you do have an interest and curiosity to learn this.
  • You need to have an Indian drone-instrument (Tanpura) and a Tabla. An iTabla-pro app (for Apple users) is a good option. For Android etc. you can try an App with good ratings.
  • If you do have some background in Indian Classical Music then some of the Lectures may seem familiar. In that case you can skip those sections or watch videos at higher speeds.

The course is about Indian voice music, where one can learn music of India. Initially, I will be covering Indian Classical Music, which is the root of all Indian Music. One needs to have an Indian drone-instrument called Tanpura and a Tabla, which is an Indian Percussion for creating beats. An iTabla-pro app (in apple products) connected with speakers is also sufficient for self-practices and sessions. The course is seven weeks long.

Classical music is classified into four groups:

  • Voice-production training.
  • Indian note-syllables training(SWARA).
  • knowledge about Indian beats-rhythms(TAAL).
  • Raga-improvisation.

There are a plethora of Indian music lovers in all parts of the world. Ample of audience gather for any Indian classical concert, but conceptualizing 'what is Indian Classical' and its proper training is still lacking its persistence. I know many westerner-musicians, who travel to India annually for several months, leaving their jobs, to get guidance from their gurus. Therefore, one should definitely take this course to make Indian music singing and training-steps more accessible and approachable at any time.

Who this course is for:
  • The course is intended for people who have an interest in learning Indian Music discipline. No prior knowledge is required to take this course. You just need to have an interest to Sing, without hesitation.
  • I expect you to have patience and also to practice regularly for 20 minutes. There are many classical elements which are vocalized and develop through time. I don't want my students to get agonised by the course. Practice and enjoying own singing is the only way out.
Course content
Expand all 47 lectures 05:39:51
+ Course Introduction
3 lectures 24:18


Welcome to Indian vocal music course. I'm Shambhavi Das and I'm happy to your companion in this musical journey. Indian music is comprised of many genres like pure classical, semi-classical, light music, folk, bollywood etc., but in this course I will be covering only the pure classical because that's the root of all. Without the basic training and knowledge one cannot head towards various forms properly. So let me provide an overview to make you aware how this coarse works.

Preview 01:38

This lecture provides you the information regarding the tools you might want to have in order to start the course. Simply, you need an app having an Indian drone-instrument called Taanpura, for stabilizing the base note or tonic, and an Indian percussion called Tabla for beats. You can download any app like iTablaPro, iTanpura, pocketraga (android), etc.. I will be teaching with iTablaPro which has a superb sound like a real one.

Its better to connect your phone or iPad with speakers to build an environment, while you take classes or do regular practices. But that's optional.

Preview 06:51

The quiz is about the accompanying instruments which are used while singing.<br>

Instruments required
2 questions
+ Basic Theoritical Terms which one should know
2 lectures 09:59

This lecture provides the brief introduction about Indian classical music (ICM) works. It answers the questions like:

  1. What is Music and what are its elements ?
  2. How is it different from the others genres ?
  3. What should one keep in mind while practicing/reciting ICM ?
Preview 05:22

This lecture describes the brief basic terminology or nomenclature of music theory, which I will be using throughout the course and which is important to know. For example:

  • Musical notes are called 'Swara' (pronunciation: Sw-a-r)
  • Beats = Tala (Ta-a-l)
  • Tempo = Laya (L-a-ey)
  • Sound = Nada (N-a-a-d)
  • Microtones/sound frequencies = Shruti (sh-ru-tih)
  • Designs of notes = Alankaras (A-l-ang-ka-a-r)
Definition of some terms
+ Voice Production Training
8 lectures 52:13

All the nations and regions have their own culture and ethical decorum which encompasses the cultural values also. Indian music too has its unique style of posture, presentation, seating, accompaniment, holding instrument while singing etc.. This lecture demonstrates the exact posture, body-position, how a musician should be seated while reciting Indian music. For example, we have a low-seating, cross-legs, body straight, preferably in any Indian attire, while performing.

Improving posture, body-position and seating

In this lecture, I have explained Indian voice culture. Its regarding how the Indian voice works and how many voice registers are there from where the voice are ideally produced. Why it is important to produce technically correct voice and what are indications which specify that one is producing safe, soft, and effortless voice.

How Indian voice works!

Students will be learning very easy methods, or three step way of producing effective voice with ruining the throat. It is very essential to learn these three methods while singing as it solves most of the problems people face in vocalism. Three step formula is: Breathe deeply, fix a mouth shape and hit the direct note.

Three Step Formula for Vocal Rendition

This lecture explains the five types of breathing exercise which is very beneficially before the music practices as it fully oxygenates you and fuels your body and makes you ready for the further music practices. But this video is optional as it is related to Yoga and breathing. If students do not find this important, they may skip.

Five Effective Breathing Exercises before the Practices (Optional)

This lecture discusses on how to vocalize OM properly, so that you don't over-strain you throat. After the initial OM rendition, your voice gets oxygenated and makes you all set for singing.

Producing voice Through Om rendition

This lecture discusses on how to vocalize vowels properly, so that you don't over-strain you throat. After the initial OM rendition, your voice gets oxygenated and makes you all set for singing.

Vocalizing vowels for better sound

In this lecture, students will be learning the four one-liner shlokas/mantras to stabilise and establish the base note SA properly on the scale-G. Mantra rendition enhance the articulation and speech ability and make one speak the lyrics with much competence.

Preview 07:00

This lecture involves vocalization of the first note 'SA', which is the tonic/base note. 'Tonic' note or SA holds a special place in Indian music as it initiates the location and feel of rest of the notes. Therefore, SA rendition is important. Seven natural Indian notes are Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni.

Vocalizing 'SA' - First Indian Note (Swar)
+ Introducing Indian Note-syllables
11 lectures 01:21:19

This lecture discusses about how octaves work. Octave (Saptak )means 'interval between a pitch from its half or double frequency, like C to C, or G# to G#. In Indian music, there are three kinds of saptaks, with reference to the base note SA:

  1. Mandra Saptak (lower octave, which is below the tonic SA)
  2. Madhya Saptak (Mid-octave, notes after the tonic SA)
  3. Tara saptaka (higher octave, notes which are above the octave or high SAA)
Octave/Saptak knowledge

In this lecture, students will be learning to sing the lower octave notes which takes you voice deep down towards the root notes. Lower octave means when you go lower than the base-SA. Lower octave practice or Mandra Riyaz is very essential to make the voice bass and heavier and it enhance and fulfils the other two octaves.

Mandra-Saptaka or Lower Octave Riyaz

In this lecture, students will be learning the alankaras: fixed pattern of the notes which results in the competence of the singing skills and the fast rendition of the swaras. This lecture show the ladder pattern as in 121, 12321, 1234321, 123454321,.... and similarly the reverse rendition: 878, 87678, 8765678,  876545678.....

Madhya Saptak/ Middle Octave Practice

In this Video, Instructor has guided how one should play the notes with scale G on the harmonium so that the student don't practice wrong. He can always play the keys and check the notes he is singing and practicing

Playing Sargam on the Harmonium-G#

'Alankaras' or patterns means symmetrical designs of notes. Singing organized sequence of notes helps us verbalize the notes with increased tempo which eventually enhances the Taans (fast improvisation). To illustrate alankaras :

S R S G R R G R M G, G M G P M, M P M D P, P D P N D, D N D SA N,

N S N R SA. This sequence follows: 1 2 1 3 2, 23243, 34354, 45465 and so on...

Reaching the Higher 'SA'

This lecture takes you a step forward helping you vocalize more advanced and harder alankaras or patterns, involving 6-8 notes together.

Practicing Alankaras

In this lecture, set of two-two  notes alankaras have been taught and demonstrated for easier practice. Students will be learning the easy alankaras: designs having just two notes, which will guide them to higher skills in the raga renditions and ornamentations.

Preview 07:47

In this lecture, instructor has demonstrated how to frame the different Alankaras so that the students can frame it on their own and practice them. The tricks will lead them to make as easier or as harder alankaras they want to frame, they can.

Writing & Practicing Alankaras

In this lecture, a lengthy and difficult alankara has been rendered and taught which students can give a try and practice once they are done with the practice of easy and simple alankaras and those who want to move forward.

Harder Alankaras

In this lecture, Instructor has taught a trick how to identify the notes (Swaras) with the help of the established base note. Instructor has also asked some questions (sang in Aakaar) to make students identify that particular notes. The Answers will be written here in the description and I request the students not to read them before thinking the answers themselves.  Hint: All the notes will be natural.

Answers for 1-10 sequence: Pa, Ni, Re, Ma, Dha, ni.(L)   dha.(L),  Ni, Ga, RE(Higher)

Identifying the Notes according to the particular Scale- G#

This lecture describes the extra five notes apart from the seven natural ones. Apart from the seven natural, there are five more notes which are flatted or sharped notes. There are five notes out of seven which can change its location to one half step lower or higher; therefore, there are total of twelve notes (7+5=12) in 22 micro tones which are used in the ragas. These twelve notes are:

  1. S
  2. re (re flat)
  3. RE
  4. g (flat)
  5. G
  6. M
  7. m (sharp)
  8. P
  9. d (flat)
  10. ni (flat)
  11. NI
  12. SA
Introducing Other Flat & sharp notes - 12 notes scale
+ Indian beats & rhythms training
5 lectures 33:34

This section includes the detailed introduction and mechanism of Indian rhythms and beats system. Beats and rhythms are one of the most essential elements in music. This lecture introduces about how rhythms and beats work; what are the talas ? Terminology for Talas are:

  • Tala (Ta-a-l): Beat
  • Laya (L-a-y-e) : tempo, speed
  • Sam (SUM) : first beat of a tala
  • Vibhaag (V-I-BHA-A-G) : measure, bars

How rhythms and beats work

This lecture is a further description of how the rhythms work and introduces you with some of the Hindi terminology which is often used in music.

Laya, tala, Vibhaga, Sam, Tali, Khali, Matras, Tabla-bol,

There are more than 700 types of Talas in Indian music. This lecture describes different kinds of popular and often used Talas, their calculation and comparison with western discipline. Different kinds of popular talas are:

  • Teentala
  • Dadra
  • Ektala
  • Chaartala
  • Keherwa

Types of 'Taals' (beats) in Indian music

'Teentala' is the most accessible, coherent, user-friendly,and prime Tala in the Indian Classical music. Indian musicians, either amateur or veterans, not only know but try to master this Tala even for their advanced recital. Teentala consist of:

  1. Beats=16 ( dha dhin dhin dha/ dha dhin dhin dha/ dha tin tin ta / ta dhin dhin dha)
  2. Clap= 1,5,13
  3. Zero=9
  4. Measure= 4
Introduction of 'TeenTala' - most important Tala

The quiz is about memorizing musical terminology for Indian beats and rhythms.

Indian beats and rhythms
4 questions

In this lecture, instructor has taught a childish simple, cute melody which comprised of the natural notes (Sargam) and which is composed in the Teentala rhythm i.e. 16 beats tala. This is just an illustration of how the compositions are made in Indian music.

Simple Swara Melody in Teentala
+ Introducing "Raga"
4 lectures 26:25

This section contains the core of the Indian classical which is Raga. Classical performances are recited in the form of ragas. Ragas are specific, fixed characteristic tunes made of the permutations and combinations of the 12 notes (described as above). A raga has minimum five and maximum seven notes.

This lecture explains the basic definition and importance of a raga in Indian music. How the ragas are directly connected with moods and emotions; How it relates to the worshiping of God. This lecture also includes how the ragas are classified into time zone or seasons.

Basic definition of 'Raga' and its significance

This lecture contains the basic terminology used for the elements involved in a Raga. A raga consists of:

  • Aaroh-Avroh-Pakad - Ascend-descend-main phrase
  • Vadi-Samvadi - Most imp and second important note in a raga
  • Jaati - Number of notes used
  • Thaat - Comes in which family or head raga
  • Time - Time of singing this raga
  • Aalap - Slow improvisation
  • Taan - Fast improvisation
  • Bandish - song or piece/composition
Raga, Thata, Aaroh-avroh, Pakad, Chalan, Prakriti, Vadi-Samvadi, Gayan-samaya,

Bandish means the SONG or COMPOSITION created in a raga. There are two kinds of bandish : Fast and slow. While learning a bandish or song, it is essential to be familiar with the elements and syntax of bandish, so that you are able to sing the bandish following its overall decorum.

This lecture discusses the elements and sequence involved in a bandish, which is:

  • Sthayee - Rephrase (first part)
  • Antara - Stanza (second part)
  • Tihaai - Ending the bandish rendering the rephrase thrice.
Elements in Bandish: Sthayee, Antara, tihaai,

There are hundreds and thousands of ragas in Indian music some of them are existing since ancient times, others have been newly created by the musicians. This lecture provide you the brief information and general introduction of different types of popular, pleasant ragas which are sung or played often today, like Bhoopali, malhar, yaman, des etc..

Different types of 'Ragas'

These set of questions are about how ragas and its elements works and about the widely used terms in the raga-improvisation.

Ragas and bandish
5 questions
+ "Raga" Improvisation - Advanced
13 lectures 01:40:58

This section demonstrates the detailed description and vocalizing raga Bhairav. Out of ten basic ragas, which are responsible for the creation of other numerous ragas, we will be starting a morning raga called RAGA BHAIRAVA.

This lecture contains the general introduction and what to perceive during singing raga Bhairava. For instance, this is a morning raga, which gives a dawn and dull feel when we are awake; our mind is fresh enough to feel and welcome the sunrise. Its a serious raga which inculcates maturity and serenity in our attitude.

Basic theory of 'Raga' Bhairav - Morning Raga

This lecture starts with singing basic notes of raga bhairava like aaroh, avroh, pakad:

This raga has all the seven notes with Re and Dha komal. i.e., IInd and VIth notes flat (1/2 step lowered)

  • Aaroh-Avroh - S r G M P dh N SA, SA N d P M G r S
  • pakad, - G M r S, G M dh P
  • vadi-samvaadi, - Re - Dha
  • time of singing, Morning 4 to 7
  • Jaati - Sampoorna

Basic vocalism of Raga Bhairav - Aaroh Avroh (ascent-descend)

This lecture is a practice lecture of the Bhairava notes rendering the Aaroh-Avroh-Pakad repetitively so that the students may be able to grasp the notes properly and prepare themselves to go further

Let's Practice the Bhairava Basics

In this lecture, Bhairava notes are demonstrated on the Harmonium so that the students do not sing wrong notes and check themselves while practicing: bhairava Aroh-Avroh and the Alankaras are  displayed on the Harmonium

Playing Bhairava Swaras on the Harmonium

This lecture demonstrate the same Alankars which we have already but in Raga Bhairava for better retention of the notes and sound frequencies of Bhairava. Students will be having having understanding of Bhairava notes through these renditions.

Practicing Alankaras with Bhairava Swaras

This lecture includes the AALAP, a slow improvisation of notes which is helpful for establishing the raga. Aalap is an important element in the raga development as it inspirit a particular raga into the musician's and the listener's mind as well. Raga stabilizes in our mind and we start personifying it as an entity or soul.

Aalap improvisation is a musician's extempore ability and creation which develops through experience, knowledge and aesthetic capability, but I have composed the aalap in order to make singing and understanding easy for the beginners.

Aalap in Bhairav (slow improvisation)

In this lecture, instructor has introduced a composition in Raga bhairava which is called Swar-Malika; Swar malika is a non-lyrics composition comprising only the notes and the beats in particular Raga....it has no words content and is used for teaching the raga to the beginners for their better grasp.

Swar-Malika in Raga Bhairava

'Bandish' is a musical word for song or composition or piece especially created in a specific raga. 'Bandish' means rigidly organized in swar and tala. Bandish has two parts: STHAYEE and ANTARA. Sthyee is the first part which can be referred as rephrase and antara is the next part as in stanza.

This lecture constitutes the sthayee, the first part of a bandish in raga bhairava. Sthayee :

Dhan dhan murat krishna murari

sulakshan giridhari, chhavi sunder laage ati pyari...

STHYEE of a Bandish in Bhairav (song/composition/piece)

This lecture explains the second part of the bandish which is called ANTARA. Antara can be conceptualize as stanza of a song. Antara generally depicts the higher notes of a raga and created for the purpose of returning to the sthayee again.

Antara of theis bandish in raga Bhairava is:

Bansi dhar man mohan suhave

Bali Bali jaaun more man bhave

Sab rang gyan vecharii.....

dhan dhan murat..... (back to sthayee)

There are thousands of bandish in all the several ragas.

Antara - Stanza of a Bandish

This lecture introduces Bol-baant, extempore, innovative, random swaras rendition in moderate tempo (same tala which follows the bandish). Bol-baant is another interesting element in the raga improvisation, which is sung after the bandish is sung once. Bol-baant shows up in order to elaborate the bandish and take it to the faster tempo. Bol-baant is vocalized in aakar, swaras as in sargam-rendition, or with the help of words of the bandish.

Bol-baant is fully extempore and is a tremendous creativity of a musician which develops through practices. Although, I have set the bol-baant for students to know how it works.

Bol Baant - Aalap with mild beats

This lecture explains and help students vocalize TAAN, fast improvisation of notes. Taanas are sung in super increased tempo (tala), according to the individual's capability and caliber. Taanas require a lot of energy, proper breathing, belly flexibility, as taanas are vocalized through the stomach register. Taanas also help us verbalize the swaras SA re ga ma.... in quick and random manner. One requires a focused brain, raga knowledge, and innovative power to vocalize Taanas. Normally, Taanas can be considered as the eighth notes, sixteen notes or 32 ...

Initially, Taanas should be practiced in a moderate tempo as in two notes/beat. It is written as:


Taanas in Bhairav Raga (fast improvisation of notes)

This lecture demonstrate the tricks and easy methods of grasping and articulating Taans properly and in a skilful way.

Tricks To Grasp the Taanas

After having an idea about how various elements in the classical heritage, finally this lecture demonstrates the sequence and decorum once again. The sequence follows:

  • Aaroh-Avroh-Pakad
  • Aalap
  • Bandish
  • Bol-baant
  • Taana
  • Tihaai
  • To get an idea of how the musicians keep the singing format, you can visit the resources and see.

    Organizing the whole performance systematically
    + Full-fledged performance (extempore)
    1 lecture 11:05

    This recital was according to my imagination and potential to show you that Indian music is based on the imagination and improvisational capability of a musician, which comes through time after practices.

    This is a final recital in Raga Bhairava - Teentala (Madhya laya)

    You are all set. Thanks for choosing this course. Hope you enjoyed the music and would continue to practice. All the best.

    Raga Bhairav - Recital by Shambhavi Das