Indian classical music is generally classified in to two genres. These are Carnatic and Hindustani . Carnatic music developed in the south of the country, while Hindustani is indigenous to the northern part of the country. Hindustani music is based on the raga system. A raga is a melodic scale, consisting of notes from the basic seven known as sa, re, ga, ma pa, dha, and ni. Apart from sa and pa which are constant, the other notes may be in major or minor tone, and this gives rise to innumerable combinations. Ten basic scales or thaats are recognized, and other ragas are considered to have evolved from these. A raga must contain a minimum of five notes. Depending on the notes included in it, each raga acquires a distinct character. The form of the raga is also determined by the particular pattern of ascent and descent of the notes, which may not be strictly linear. Melody is built up by improvising and elaborating within the given scale. The improvisation is at times rhythm bound and at other times free from any overt rhythm. Formal compositions (songs or instrumental compositions in a fixed meter) are juxtaposed with the improvised portion. Khyal and Dhrupad are two major types of compositions within the Hindustani genre. Of the two, Dhrupad is an older form and requires rigorous training in rhythm control as well as voice culture. Khyal developed as a more popular alternative as it contains both slow and lively compositions, though it retains its totally classical character.
Ghazal is a north Indian form of Indian Classical music. This form is more poetic in its content and it often has sweet melodious music. Gazals are more like light music than thumri. The language is often hindi or Urdhu and min most cases the content or subject matter is love.
The ghazal is often made from the point of view of a lover who is not able to reach his beloved, because either the person is just playing with the poet's feelings, or because the circumstances doesn't allow such a union. The lover is often conscious and resigned to this fate. It is not vital for the lover that the his love does not have the same emotion towards him.
Sufi music is a form of music prevailing in northern India. The meaning of Sufi music is the music that links with the heart. It envisages linking to god with out any religious limitations. Singers like the Abida Parveen and late Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan from Pakistan are reputed Sufi singers.
Sufi music emerged in the early 14th century and is having high content of spirituality in it. Sufism is a philosophy that glorifies every religion as a way to virtue. Sufism gives precedence to love for humanity. Sufi music has helped a lot to spread the ideas of Sufism to many parts of the world. There are variations for Sufi music in different religions. Sufi music was spread by the Fakirs who travel through different parts of the country. Avadh, Rajasthan and Kashmir have developed their own singing style for Sufi music. Iran has been the global cradle for Sufi music. Sufi music is also popular in Turkey, Sudan and even Israel. Today the great Iranian Sufi saint and poet Roomi is the most noted, renowned and largest moving authors in America.