Improvisation in Indian Music Seminar

9 - 14 July at Labyrinth - Crete (Greece)


This seminar is made for any musician who wants to stydy deeper the art of improvisation and at the same time understand better Indian classical music.


Indian classical music (Hindustani/North Indian) is a well developed and ancient melodic and rhythmic system based on improvisation.

The improvisation in Indian music is structured within a “Raga” (Melodic mode) and “Thala” (Rhythmic cycle and patterns).

Apart from the melodic and rhythmic rules that define the improvisation in a certain Raga there is a very logical and natural way to develop an improvisation.

The tools that are used in order to create an interesting improvisation in Indian music can be applied in any modal musical system.


In this seminar we will learn different Ragas (Modes) and Thalas (Rhythmic cycles), with an emphasis on the ways one can consciously develop an improvisation.

We will work on the part called “Alap” where one improvises without rhythm, and the part called “Thans” where one improvises inside a rhythmic cycle using polyrhythms and rhythmical phrases.

 As well we will learn folk songs from different parts of India, where the melodic structure is more open than the classical one.


Topics to be covered :


  • Alap , Jor and Jhala  : The 3 phases of a classical introduction.  
  • Meend and Gamak : The unique concept of glissando in Indian music.
  • Thans and Layakari : Rythmic patterns and phrases in different cycles.
  • Tihai : The way one should finish an improvisation, a rhythmic and melodic challenge that obligates one to play and listen at the same time.
  • Folk songs : Songs from different parts of India and the special Ragas used in that repertoire.
  • Jugalbandi : conversation while improvising, and important tool for every occasion one wants to create a joined improvisation.
  • Jhala : Normaly the last part of an Indian classical piece, the beauty of repetition and trance-like musical development.


About Ido Segal :


Born in Israel , he starts studying Indian Classical Music in the year 2000. For nine years Ido lives in India, studying it´s fascinating and complex music.

He starts his studies with Dr J.N Goswani (a renowned Sitar player from Varansi) and in 2005 he is accepted as a student of the great sitar master Ustad Shujaat Hussain Khan.

Ido is one of few non Indian musicians to master the Hansa Veena, an Indian Classical slide guitar model designed by the late Pt. Ravi Shankar.

He belongs to the musical legacy of his teacher´s family called “Gayaki Ang”, a music style that imitates the human voice, with a special emphasize on slow glissando movements and fine ornamentation.




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