The Automated Transcription for Indian Music (AUTRIM) Project by NCPA and UvA


Names of notes and tals are capitalised

alpatv अल्पत्व weakness or sparsity of a note

akar अाकार vocalization using the long vowel ‘a’

alap अालाप the introductory non-metrical part of a performance in which the rag is slowly & systematically unfolded

andolan /andol अांदोलन / अांदोल a slow & delicate oscillation on a single note

antara अंतरा  second section of a composition which generally moves around the high Sa and beyond  

aroh अारोह ascent

ati komal अति कोमल very flat

auchar अौचार a brief non-metrical melodic introduction preceding the section in meter

avroh अवरोह descent

bada khayal बडा ख्य़ाल ‘big’ khayal; a khayal composition rendered in slow tempo

badhat बढत elaboration of the rag, often rendered on the framework of a composition

bahutv बहुत्व strength or profusion of a note

bandish बंदिश a fixed composition, usually with two parts corresponding to sthayi & antara

bin बीन a fretted stick-zither with two gourd resonators, also referred to as rudra vina

bol बोल ‘word’; lyrics of a song; also a mnemonic by which drum strokes and right-hand strokes of plucked instruments are communicated

bol alap बोल – अालाप alap movements using the words of the song

bol tan बोल – तान a fast melodic passage which is articulated with the words of the song

chalan चलन ‘movement’; a melodic outline of a rag usually containing a number of characteristic ascending and descending movements

chiz चीज a vocal composition, usually with two parts corresponding to the sthayi and antara

chhota khayal ख्य़ाल ‘small’ khayal; a composition in medium to fast tempo

Chautal चौताल name of a tal of 12 counts (2+2+2+2+2+2+2) which is mainly used in dhrupad compositions

Dadra दादरा name of a tal of 6 counts (3+3), a light classical vocal genre and type of song set to dadra tal

darbar दरबार the royal court

Dhaivat (Dha) धैवत the name of the sixth scale degree

dhamar धमार name of a tal of 14 counts (5+2+3+4); a vocal  genre and type of song which is set to dhamar tal and related to dhrupad

dhrupad ध्रुपद the oldest surviving vocal genre in Hindustani music and a type of composition which usually has four parts corresponding to four musical sections

Dipchandi दिपचंदी name of a tal of 14 counts (3+4+3+4); mainly used in thumri

drut  द्रुत fast

Ektal  एकताल name of a tal of 12 counts (2+2+2+2+2+2)

gamak गमक any ornament; more specifically referring to a heavy shake on a single tone

Gandhar (Ga) गंधार the name of the third scale degree

gharana घराना the tradition and lineage of a musical family, a stylistic school

ghazal गझल a Persian or Urdu poetic genre, in music it is a type of song which expresses both spiritual & worldly love

Hindustani हिन्दुस्तानी Pertaining to northern India

hori होरी a vocal genre in dhamar tal, the lyrics expresses the love-pranks of Radha & Krishna during the Hindu spring-time festival of colour known as holi

jati जाती class, species, genus, an category of modes

Jhaptal झपताल name of a tal of 10 counts (2+3+2+3)

jod जोड ‘joining’; usually the second section of an instrumental alap or dhrupad alap in which a clear rhythmic pulse is introduced

Keharva कहरवा name of a tal of 8 counts (4+4)

kan कन a single grace note or inflection before or after an articulated tone

katthak कथ्थक ‘story teller’; a caste of professional musicians and dancers in eastern Uttar Pradesh; also the main form of North Indian classical dance

khali खाली the ‘empty’ unstressed beat of a tal which usually serves as a counter balance to the first beat, sam

khayal or khyal खयाल / ख्य़ाल the prevalent vocal genre in Hindustani classical music

komal कोमल ‘soft’; flat, a note lowered by a semitone

lay लय tempo

layakari लयकारी ‘playing with rhythm’; rhythmic variation and improvisation

madhy मध्य़ ‘medium, middle’

Madhyam (Ma)  मध्यम the name of the fourth scale degree

mandr मंद्र ‘low’; usually referring to the lower register

matra मात्रा that which measures, the basic time or counting unit of a  tal

mel मेल a scale type used as a basis for  rag classification, the fret setting (on a vina)

mind मींड a gradual slide (portamento) from one note to another

mukhda मुखडा ‘face’; the cadence that punctuates each section of an alap; the phrase of a composition that leads to the first beat of the rhythm cycle, sam

murki मुरकी a fast and delicate ornament involving two or more tones, similar to a mordent, used in khayal, thumri and allied forms

Nishad (Ni) निषाद the name of the seventh scale degree

nom-tom नोम तोम alap using abstract syllables, sung before presenting a dhrupad or dhamar composition

Pancham (Pa) पंचम the name of the fifth scale degree

rag राग a tonal framework for composition and improvisation; melodic type

ras रस a pervading emotional flavour or aesthetic sentiment

Rishabh (Re) रिषभ the name of the second scale degree

Rupak रूपक name of a tal of 7 counts (3+2+2)

sam सम the first beat of a tal which is usually accentuated

sangit संगीत music

sargam सरगम the seven sol-fa syllables used in oral and written notation; a composition or tan which uses the names of the notes

Shadj (Sa) षड्ज the name of the first degree

shruti श्रुती microtone, the key-note

shuddh शुध्द ‘pure’, a natural note

sthayi स्थायी ‘standing, constant’; the first section of a composition which is frequently repeated

sunth सूंथ a long glide with a nasal pronunciation using the sound ‘u’

svar स्वर tone; one of the seven scale degrees

tabla तबला the main percussion instrument in Hindustani music, consisting of a pair of tuneable hand-played drums

tal ताल ‘time measurement’; the rhythmic /metric system; a metric type

tan तान a fast melodic passage

tanpura तानपूरा a fretted long lute which provides the drone

tappa टप्पा a type of song and vocal genre featuring rapid and complex tan-s with abrupt jumps

tar तार ‘high’, usually referring to upper register

tarana तराना a vocal composition related to khayal, using linguistically meaningless syllables as lyrics

that थाट a scale type used as a basis for rag classification, the fret setting (on a sitar)

theka ठेका the basic pattern of drum strokes which characterises a tal

thumri ठुमरी a popular semi-classical genre

tihai तिहाई a rhythmic or melodic cadence in which a phrase is repeated three times before ending on the sam

Tintal  तिनताल name of a tal of 16 counts (4+4+4+4)

tivr तीव्र sharp, a note augmented by a semitone

upaj  उपज improvisation

vina वीणा a string instrument

vistar विस्तार refer to badhat

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