Margi music and Desi music

From ancient times till recently, Indian music was broadly classified into Margi sangeetha and Desi sangeetha. Margi music literally means ‘music of the path’. It refers to music regulated by strict rules or in other words, governed by a path. It seems to have been first used to describe the music of mantras, prevalent during the Vedic times, that was bound by a rigid grammar.

Desi music - desa means region - was regional music that was meant “ to please the hearts of men.” In course of time, historians began to refer to ancient art as margi as opposed to contemporary music even when it had a grammar. Today, this differentiation has been substituted by the differentiation between classical music and the other kinds of music.