Impossibility of Note-centric Theory

The dominant streak of the theoretical discourse regarding Hindustani Classical music rests its weight on the note-centric vision of music, which demands in turn the existence of absolute or ideal notes. It seems to override the other possible discourses that would put words (alankar) and/or phrases (anga) at the centre. The skewed discourse has affected the practitioners’ view as well as some of the attempted mathematical models. This paper challenges the very idea of existence of such ideal notes and proves that such notes do not exist in a system unless each note is calibrated and standardised. The notes used are based purely on the musician’s perception owing to the musician’s individual traits as well as the schooling.
Keywords: North Indian Classical Music, Acoustics, Harmonics, Shruti, Convergence