Where to start?

The classical music of India is such a large topic that it is hard to know where to begin.

I've tried to put into this guide all the things that I wish someone would have explained to me when I started learning about and listening to Indian music. I've also tried to give them some sort of organization. If you're thinking about attending a concert, you might want to look at the comments about vocal and instrumental performances. If you're more interested in the theory of the music (or have always wondered what a raga is) you could look at the article on fundamentals. Many newcomers to Indian music are interested in the many different instruments that are used, and so I've put together a few notes on them as well. I've also tried to link between the documents where relevant, so if you start reading about performance, and (for example) all of a sudden wonder what a raga is, you'll be able to find out.

What do you mean 'North Indian'?

There are two different systems of classical music in the Indian subcontinent; the Hindustani system, prominent in the north, and the Carnatic system, more common in the south. This guide discusses Hindustani music, although the fundamentals are similar in the two styles.