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What is Carnatic Music?

Poetry and music was an integral part of the ancient civilization of South India. Exotic musical compositions were created as early as xxxx BC. Poets like Kambar, Thol Kappiyar authored some of the best literary works which were recited musically for centuries. This music in due course evolved into a well-structured form of music which is now known as "carnatic music".

In the pre-xxx era, poets like Thiagaraja, xxxxx, composed amazing musical works. These musical compositions form the basic songs of carnatic music today.

With emphasis on "ragas" (musical scales) and "thalas" (rhythms), the carnatic music is performed in vocal and instrumental styles - very often strictly adhering to the scales and rhythms. The artist, for example, sings an entire song in a selected musical scale (comprising of selected musical notes) and exhibits creative arrangements within the selected scale. The carnatic musicians practice musical curves extensively which is a unique feature of this form of music.

Traditional carnatic musicians worked with musical instruments that supported curves and, for this reason, instruments like veena, flute, violin, nadhaswaram were the instruments of choice for carnatic music with percussion support of instruments like mridangam and ghatam.

Carnatic music has a rich repository of well-documented and exotic musical scales, rhythms and songs - many of which remain unexploited event today! Some of the great musicians of other genre very often research carnatic music for new ideas!

Here's an approximate timeline of evolution of carnatic music:

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