Song Spotlight: “Sindhi-Bhairavi”

Photo of a traditional Indian instrument, the sitar. Label reads "Indian classical music."
  • Mood: Calm building to excitement
  • Themes: Indian Classical Music, World Famous Musicians
  • Tempo: medium to fast
  • Genre/Style: Indian classical music

Although you may not always hear them, many diverse styles of music have lasted for generations and are a part of rich cultural traditions. Classical music and traditional music from all over the world play important roles in music education and shape how musicians grow and how a region’s popular music sounds.

In this spotlight we explore a selection performed by Ravi Shankar. Not only was he a treasured musician in the Indian classical music tradition, but he became a worldwide ambassador for Indian classical music while educating the public on the basics of Indian classical music and sharing this rich musical experience with the world. His musical influence even had a lasting impact on western popular music in the 1960s.

“Sindhi-Bhairavi” is a raga that was performed by Ravi Shankar on his 1968 album The Sounds of India. In this album, Ravi Shankar gives a brief introduction on how the piece is played and what its rhythmic structure sounds like to help guide the listener.

As Ravi Shankar explained in his essay, “On Appreciation of Indian Classical Music,”* Indian classical music is based on melody and rhythm. This differs from western music, which focuses on chords, key changes, and the interaction between multiple instrument lines that creates harmonies. Shankar explained that the music system of Raga Sangeet is around two thousand years old and has roots in the Vedic Hymns of the Hindu temples, like western classical music has roots in religious chants from the Catholic church. The classical music of India also varies from the North to South of the subcontinent.

Listening to this recording will give you just a small taste of Indian classical music. This recording could go well with a collection of songs of Indian classical music or songs that are performed by world famous musicians.

Try This:

Theme: This song would fit well into an Indian Classical Music or World Famous Musician theme.Other complementary songs may include “Chase,” “Shankar: Concerto For Sitar and Orchestra No. 1: III. Raga Adana,” and “Within You Without You.”

Listen to Ravi Shankar introduce Indian classical music or read more about the music from Ravi Shankar.

Encourage the group to reminisce about whether they ever traveled to India, or have ever watched a performance by Ravi Shankar. Invite the group to share whether they ever learned how to play an instrument, or took a music appreciation class before.

Discuss: Invite the group to discuss the styles of music they have heard before and enjoyed.

Compare and contrast: Listen to a western classical piece. Explore the difference between the focus on the melody instrument – the sitar – in the raga and the focus on harmony, with the combination of strings in the western classical music.

Musical engagement: Listen to Ravi Shankar’s composition Shankar: Concerto For Sitar and Orchestra No. 1: III. Raga Adana and compare it with the traditional raga.

* Shankar, R. (n.d.). On Appreciation of Indian Classical Music. Retrieved May, 2021, from

For more song spotlights, check out our full collection.

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