The term “Rag” can be generally likened with the Western expression “mode or scale”. Rag is primarily an arrangement of seven notes which are arranged in a way not different from Western scales. But a closer look will make us see that it is pretty different from what we are familiar with. Whereas, the Tal (rhythmic forms), much like Rag are quite complex.  In Tal, numerous regular rhythmic patterns exist and they gyrate around recurring patterns of beats.


One interesting fact is, understanding of the rag and the Tal differs all across India.  The classical Indian music has two key traditions. North Indian, also known as Hindustani Sangeet and the south Indian tradition, popularly known as Carnatic Sangeet. Fundamentally, both systems are quite alike but vary in taxonomy and performance practice.


Looking into history, The Islamic presence was beginning to be felt in India somewhere around 13th-14th century. Many historical books credit “Amir Khusro” for the initiation of classical Indian music system. Muslim rulers are credited to nourish music. One shining example of this fact is presence of “Tansen”, one of the major jewels of Akbar’s court. Tansen was a famous composer cum musician of that era. Many Muslim rulers and other cultural bigwigs extended their patronage to Indian music which greatly helped Indian music to flourish.