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Indian Classical with Falu

Genre and Artist Overview

There are two primary traditions in Indian classical music: Hindustani from northern India, and Carnatic from southern. Falu is trained in the Hindustani tradition, which places a special emphasis on improvisation. Both traditions are based on the concepts of raga and tala. Raga is the melodic structure, a series of notes akin to modes or scales, which establishes the color and the mood of a piece. There are hundreds of ragas; several dozen are used most widely. Tala (“clap” in Sanskrit) encompasses meter and rhythm, defining how the music moves through time. Changes to harmony are not as important in this tradition as they are in Western classical music. Instead, Indian classical music explores changing melodic shapes and ornaments, and the moods and feelings associated with different ragas.

Falu began her formal musical studies at the age of three in her home town of Mumbai, India. In her early years, Falu trained rigorously under the late sarangi and vocal master Ustad Sultan Khan, and later with the legendary Kishori Amonkar. She came to the US in 2000, and began to integrate her formidable Indian classical training with a range of styles and genres, resulting in a singular sound. Her original songs and reimagining of Indian classics combine the contemporary with the ancient.

Meet Falu!

Introduce your students to Falu with this “Meet Falu” video. Visit the video index to watch all the videos for Falu and the other Spring Semester artists.

Lessons

A dhol
Lesson 1: Learning “Dholida”
Students will learn to sing and dance to “Dholida” and will experience ornamentation in many forms.
Harmonium
Lesson 2: Learning “Allahoo”
Students learn “Allahoo,” understand the scale used in the song, and compose melodies using the sargam, a form of Indian solfège.

Resources for Teachers

The following resources provide background information about the musical genre and culture. Some are intended to be shared with students; others are for teachers who may want to explore further on their own.

Listening

Reading

  • Fashion Lady, Fabric Tour Of India

Videos

Literacy Extension

New York City Resources

  • Jackson Heights, Queens has a thriving Indian community.
  • Little India, Manhattan has many Indian restaurants and stores.
Image Credits

“Holi” by India Picture.
“Harmonium” by Volra.

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