Data-driven Exploration of Melodic Structures in Hindustani Music

TitleData-driven Exploration of Melodic Structures in Hindustani Music
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2016
Conference Name17th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference (ISMIR 2016)
AuthorsGanguli, K. K., Gulati S., Rao P., & Serra X.
Conference Start Date07/08/2016
Conference LocationNew York (USA)
AbstractIndian art music is quintessentially an improvisatory music form in which the line between ‘fixed’ and ‘free’ is extremely subtle. In a raga performance, the melody is loosely constrained by the chosen composition but otherwise improvised in accordance with the raga grammar. One of the melodic aspects that is governed by this grammar is the manner in which a melody evolves in time in the course of a performance. In this work, we aim to discover such implicit patterns or regularities present in the temporal evolution of vocal melodies of Hindustani music. We start by applying existing tools and techniques used in music information retrieval to a collection of concerts recordings of alap performances by renowned khayal vocal artists. We use svara-based and svara duration-based melodic features to study and quantify the manifestation of concepts such as vadi, samvadi, nyas and graha svara in the vocal performances. We show that the discovered patterns corroborate the musicological findings that describe the “unfolding” of a raga in vocal performances of Hindustani music. The patterns discovered from the vocal melodies might help music students to learn improvisation and can complement the oral music pedagogy followed in this music tradition.
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