Carnatic and Hindustani are different in terms of their style, characteristics and the like:
- Carnatic music belongs to the south Indian states, namely Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. In fact it is more popular in these regions than in north India, which is predominantly characterized by Hindustani classical.
- In Hindustani music outside infuelnce such as Arab, Afghan and Persian can be seen. But the Carnatic music is totally indigenous.
- Carnatic music differs from the Hindustani in the sense, that it pays more importance to the literary part of singing, that is, it gives more importance to the song as a whole during performance.
- In Hindustani music, the music instrument is given equal importance. But in Carnatic, more importance is given to vocal music than instrument.
- A song composed in the carnatic style necessarily comprises of a Pallavi, Anupallavi and one or two or more Charanas. Each of these parts of the song is given importance, while singing in the Carnatic style. This is not the case with Hindustani music. The Hindustani musicians give more importance to the raga part of music.
- Carnatic music has its own way of delineating raga. It does with alapana in the beginning. Alapana consists in the elaboration of the particular raga in which the Kriti is composed. The alapana is followed by the rendering of Pallavi. It is followed by Niraval accompanied by Kalpita Svaras. The musician is given the liberty to explore the raga and the various aspects of raga finally concluding with the Kriti.
- Unlike Hindustani music, Carnatic music does not adhere to Time or Samay concepts and instead of Thaats, Carnatic music follows the Melakarta concept.