Source: History of Indian Music by
The introduction of solfa syllables sa ri ga ma pa dha ni in the post-vedic period is the earliest
milestone in Indian Music History. This marked the beginning for developing musical notation.
The Kudimiyamalai Inscription (7th century) had vowel changes like ra ri ru to denote tonal
variations in notes. This is another evidence of quartertones that prevailed in Indian Music.
In the improvisation aspect - singing kalpana swaras – using the solfa syllables became a
The emergence of the tonic note being Sa was the next step. This was a big step for melodic instruments
like Vina for it gave some guidance to its tuning.
The scale of seven notes and the concept of octave was the next step.
The concept of raga formed the next landmark. This happened in the 5th century A.D.
With the rules of the ragas getting codified, the improvisational aspects started to bloom.
During 4th century B.C. Bharata’s Natya Sastra – a musical treatise, Music was a sum total of Vocal
Music, Instrumental Music and Dancing. Later on music gained the status as an independent art form.
The development of 3 segments – Pallavi, Anupallavi, Charanam – in a composition in the 15th century was
Bhakti movement of 14th, 15th and 16th centuries led to congregational singing known as
Bhajana. South India became the place where congregational songs were composed in huge numbers.
The scientific codification of 35 talas was yet another milestone. The earlier period had 108 talas with
no definite scheme. Venkatamakhin, son of Govinda Dikshitar systematized the scheme of full-scale ragas into
The appearance of the Music Trinity, Tyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar and Syama Sastry marked a new era
in South Indian Music.
Later the introduction of the Western Music instruments like Violin and Clarinet into South Indian Music
culminated into another milestone.