The very heart of Indian music is the raga, the melodic form upon which the artist improvises his performance. A raga is a scientific, precise, subtle and aesthetic melodic form with its own ascending and descending movement consisting of either a full seven-note octave or a series of six or five notes.
Every raga is characterized by its own particular mood. The acknowledged order of these nine sentiments, or emotions, is as follows: romantic and erotic, humorous, pathetic, anger, heroic, fearful, disgust, amazement and peaceful. Each raga, in addition to being associated with a particular mood, is also closely connected to a particular time of day or a season of the year. Thus through the rich melodies and rhythm of Indian music, every human emotion, every subtle feeling in man and nature, can be musically expressed and experienced.
In terms of aesthetics, a raga is the projection of the artist's inner spirit: a manifestation of his most profound feelings and sensibilities. The musician breathes life into each raga as he unfolds and expands it so that each note shimmers and pulsates with life and the raga is revealed vibrant and incandescent with beauty.