Concept of Microtones in Indian Music
Author Name : Dr. Sunil V T
Indian music is legendary for its usage of micro and quarter tones. It terms them Srutis. This subject has been the subject of much discussion for several years. The utilisation of those quarter tones and microtones gives a peculiar colour to Indian music. A number of musicians and musicologists are engaged in these discussions. There are many authors who have contributed to the research on these microtones. Microtone or Sruti is one among the foremost important elements in the Indian classical system of music. Sruti forms the basic aspect of Indian music. Indian music which relies on the assembly musical notes one after another gives great importance to Srutis. Once we sing, generally we keep middle octave notes as our tonic notes. This is often also called Sruti. Each voice has its own Sruti. Here, the term, Sruti is used as the smallest audible difference of pitch and also the smallest fraction of a tone. It is the minute difference in pitch that may be distinguished by a trained ear. Technically the term means the sound which might be heard. These microtonal values were in use in Indian music from time past before Bharata. This article deals with various concepts on Srutis formulated by ancient Lakshanakāras.
Keywords: Interval, Microtone, Octave, Raga, Sangita, Sruti, Svara