Music is a huge part of Indian culture. Many genres have become extremely popular in India and those include classical music, folk music, filmi, Indian pop, and Punjabi Music. Many of these genres are easily recognizable to the Western world as they’re quite unique and interesting.

India’s classical music has two major traditions called Hindustani and Carnatic. Even though the two have many similarities, they still remain two unique, distinct systems. Classical music of India also has two main different elements: raga and tala. Each raga traditionally has an emotional significance and is used to convey certain emotions. It usually has a symbolic significance such as with a season or a mood.
Carnatic music of South India is typically more rhythmically intense and structured than Hindustani music. On the other hand, Hindustani music is often heard throughout the Northern part of India and the base of Hindustani music is improvisation.

Hindustani music

source: youtube

Filmi music is music made and performed for Indian cinema. The music is performed by playback singers and it represents 72 percent of the music sales market in India. Playback singers pre-record songs for the movie and the actors lip-sync the song for the movie. Playback singers are extremely popular around the country and South Asian movies are typically known for using this technique. The language of the music differs depending on the target audience, usually being either Tamil or Hindi. Even though the music is still easily recognizable, it went through some changes mainly due to the influence of Western elements. The inspiration for film songs comes from both classical and modern sources. Filmi music has guided many talented artists to fame such as Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle, K. L. Sehgal, Mohd Rafi, Kishore Kumar, and R. D. Burman. S. P. Balasubrahmanyam has been one of the most popular names in the Tamil film industry for decades. He has sung over 20,000 and his contribution isn’t negligible. Some other popular names in the Tamil film industry are Unni Menon, Karthik, and Anirudh Ravichander.

There are websites such as isaimini, that gather the majority of the popular Indian songs in the same place. Now, the songs can listen to online, or they are sold on tape or CD compilations. Each year, RMIM Puraskaar list all of the most important and most popular Hindi film songs of the year and awards some of the best.

Indian pop music


On the other hand, there is Indian pop music or Indi-pop that is independent of filmi music that is produced for Bollywood. It has many fans, but it still hasn’t reached the popularity of filmi music. It started gaining popularity rapidly on the Indian subcontinent in the early 1980s. In the late 1990s, the genre suddenly became popular around the world. Some of the main names in the Indie-pop are  Daler Mehndi, Baba Sehgal, Alisha Chinai, KK, Shantanu Mukherjee, Lucky Ali, Baba Sehgal, and Shweta Shetty. As the music is extremely popular in India, there are hundreds of other big names in Indie-pop. This genre is kind of similar to Pakistani pop and Bangladeshi rock.