By Anita Kulkarni Easy steps to learn a Raga • Understand the structure of the Raga by looking at the swaras. What are the aroha and avaroha scales, and the pakkad phrase that defines the raga? Pay attention to the Vadi and Samvadi Swaras, the notes that are the anchors of the Raga. What is the raga’s challan, or the way it moves? A good resource for the study of Ragas is the The Raga Guide. It’s a 4-CD collection with an informative book explaining the intricacies of 74 ragas. The CDs have sample performances of each raga. It should be available at better music stores or online retailers. Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar ABGMV Styles of Indian Classical Music You read about the styles and similarities of Indian music last month. Here I want to emphasize on differences in Carnatic and Hindustani music. The Carnatic and Hindustani music has a history spanning millennia and, developed over several eras, it remains fundamental to the lives of Indians today as sources of spiritual inspiration, cultural expression and pure entertainment. Differences Styles of Indian Classical Music Hindustani Classical Music – Followed in the Northern part of India including in Bengal, Assam, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Bihar. Hindustani classical music has been significantly influenced by Indian folk music and Persian music in the part of North India. The Persian and Muslim Maestros helped influence Hindustani Music. Similarities – Taan Types of “Taan” Other types of taan exist, including Ladant taan, Zatkaa taan, Gitkari taan, Jabde ki taan, Sarok Taan, Halak Taan or Palat taan. Raag Aalaap Indian Classical Music and spirituality How to initiate children toward Classical Music It is important to remember that Hindustani classical music is a “shravan vidya,” a subject that is learned through constant listening. As an oral tradition as well, it has been passed down for generations through one-on-one lessons in which students listen and absorb the guru’s ideas. • Play classical music in your home. Parents should play good quality music in their home as often as possible. Don’t bring the child’s attention to it, or force him or her to sit in one place and listen. Allow her to continue whatever she may be doing, but keep the music playing in the background. It can be any Hindustani artist that you are fond of. It could be devotional music, or it could be semi-classical as well. Select music that has good lyrical content and a sound musical base. Fusion in Indian Music Fusion music combines two or more music styles. It’s not a very old trend in Indian music. Fusion trend is said to have begun with Ustad Ali Akbar Khan’s 1955 performance in the United States. Indian fusion music came into being with rock and roll fusions with Indian music in the 1960s and 1970s. But it was limited to Europe and North America. For some time the stage of Indian fusion music was taken by the sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar. Influence of Classical music and vocalist on Film Music The magnificence of Hindustani classical music came alive with Bade Ghulam Ali Khan singing “Premjogan ban ja” in the classic film Mughal-e-Azam (1960), Pandit D. V. Paluskar and Ustad Amir Khan presenting the duet, “Aaj gawat man mero jhum ke” in Baiju Bawra (1952), the duets of Ustad Bismillah Khan and Amir Khan in the movie Goonj Uthi Shehnai, and Pandit Bhimsen Joshi’s song in the movie Ankahee. Manna Dey, who of all the vocalists is best grounded in classical music, has recorded many wonderful classical-influenced songs including, “laga chunri mein daag”, “chalo kahe ko jhoothi banao batiyan” and “phul gendwa na maro.” K. L. Saigal’s resounding Bhairavi, “”babul mora” in the film Street Singer, made in Calcutta in 1939, is one of the immortal creations in Indian film music. Saigal was trained basically in ghazal singing, but was gifted with a purity of voice which is the soul of classical singing. In the movie Tansen made in 1943, he presented Raag Bilawal, “sapr suran teen gram,” with transparent purity of notes. So did Mohammad Rafi when he sang Raga Malkauns, “man tarapat hari darashan ko aaj,” in Baiju Bawra. In Kohinoor, he was even able to run into impressive taans when he sang “madhuban mein radhika nache re.” The song “Manamohana Bade Jhuthe” based on Raga Jaijaiwanti, made famous by the evergreen singer Lata Mangeshkar, came from a classical music background. Listeners and Connoisseurs of Music Music is a performing art. The performer is termed as an artist. He or she is a harbinger of tender feelings among the masses, who attend the performance. Among the audience or mass of listeners, there are certain groups that are always alert. Then there are persons, who “grace the occasion” and there are number of people who “just attend.” The performer is generally aware of the whole audience. Musical Instruments in Hindustani Classical Music Rabindra Sangeet Haveli Sangeet Jugalbandi The significance of a Guru (teacher) Gunas, or Qualities, of a singer – Most of the readers of this column are now familiar with the traditional famous vocal gharanas and their styles of Hindustani Classical Music. In this article I want to emphasize the gunas (qualities) and doshas (defects) of a singer. There are 25 doshas that are given in Sangeet Makrand and Sangeet Ratnakar (old and famous music books). Bhendi Bazar Gharana Benaras Gharana Mewati Gharana Delhi Gharana Kirana Gharana Jaipur Gharana Agra Gharana “The names of different gharana like Gwalior, Agra, Atrauli, Kirana, Patialala were derived from the states to which their chief exponents belonged. Initially four Banis distinguished the different music schools. At the time of Emperor Akbar, there were no Gharanas as we know today. There were only “Banis.” There were four Banis: Ghobarhar, Nauhar, Dagur and Khandar. The gharana came much later.” Agra Gharana is a tradition of North Indian classical vocal music descended from the Nauhar Bani. So far, Nauhar Bani has been traced back to around 1300 A.D., during the reign of Emperor Allauddin Khilji of Delhi. By Anita Kulkarni
A recipient of more than fifty awards including Padmavibhushan, Padmabhushan and Central Sangeet Natak Academy Award, four honorary doctoral degrees and twenty four titles, Gangubai had the rare opportunity of being honored by nine Prime Ministers and five Presidents of India.
The female vocalist, who had studied only up to class V, went on to serve as honorary music professor and then as senate member of Karnataka University, Dharwad. Apart from her several performances in and outside the country, she had performed in more than 200 schools and colleges across India to promote Indian classical music among younger generation.
Born in Dharwar, in 1913, into a family of Gangamats, or a class of simple boatmen, the social milieu in which Gangubai was brought up was by no means conducive to music. Hangal’s mother’s family was considered to be of low social status and for women of her generation singing was not considered appropriate employment; Hangal struggled against this prejudice and made a career. She performed all over India.
Other than her mother, Gangubai owes her musical training to Shri Krishnacharya, Shri Dattopant Desai and most significantly, to Pt. Rambhau Kundgolkar, better known as Sawai Gandharva – guru and teacher to many eminent musicians including Pt. Bhimsen Joshi and Firoze Dastur.
She once spoke about her training with her guru Sawai Gandharva, on the actual technique of training, and she said, “Guruji did not teach me more than four Ragas. He often drew an analogy between swaras and money and said that one must spend only as much as is required of both. My practice would follow this method. I was given a certain ‘palta’ and would have to keep repeating it for days on end. It seemed boring and monotonous then, but later I thanked him for this rigorous training. The entire relationship with a guru was different in those days. Our respect for him was so great that there was no question of us asking him to teach us something particular, not because of our blind devotion, but because of our innate belief that he knew what was best for us”.
The famous vocalist from Kirana Gharana died at the age of 96, on July 21, 2009, in Hubli, Karnataka.
To get the maximum benefit of learning and understand a Raga, please follow the guidelines given closely.
Before you start learning a Raga, it is important to listen to famous renditions of the Raga to familiarize yourself with its melody. It is also useful to read as much information that is available on the Raga, understand its uniqueness, and listen to popular film songs that have been set to its scale.
There are certain steps to follow when learning a Raga.
• Begin with the Sargamgeet, the composition that will outline the structure of the Raga and bring forth all the technical aspects, while integrating it with taal.
• Proceed to the Lakshangeet, to strengthen the grasp of the Raga along with the words of the text.
• When the above areas have been mastered, begin with the bandish as an entryway into exploring the raga further.
• Learn slowly the whole structure of the Raga including alap and taana. Practice the same in taal with bandish.
• The most important step is improvisation or creation of a Raga melody in slow and fast. Practice well and try your improvisation skill. Every Raga has its own flavor or mood. Understand each step and practice.
Today people can simply enroll themselves in any school of classical music and obtain degrees. This has been possible because of the foresight and untiring efforts of pioneers in the field like Vishnu Digambar Paluskar. Bringing it out of royal patronage, Paluskarji made Hindustani music available to everyone. A commemorative stamp was issued in his name in 1973. It is unfortunate that there are no recordings of this great man’s music. It is to his life and times that we should turn to fully understand and appreciate the great work done by him.
Vishnu, the son of a Keertankar named Digambar Gopal Paluskar, was born in 1872 at Kurundwad. From his childhood, Vishnu learned singing and accompanied his father during concerts. During Datta Jayanti festivities, a bursting cracker blinded him permanently. Dr. Bhadbhade, who had tried in vain to save the boy’s eyes, arranged for music lessons with Balakrishna Bua Ichalkaranjikar, a teacher trained at Gwalior. It was hard and strenuous instruction under the old taskmaster until 1896. With no regular courses or lessons, everything depended on the moods of the teacher.
Vishnu’s success, in spite of these difficulties, as well as his closeness to his patron, the Raja of Miraj caused jealousy among the other students. They created a rift between the teacher and Vishnu, who had to leave Miraj. After performing successfully at the Maharaja’s court in Baroda, he toured Saurashtra, Gwalior, Mathura, Bharatpur, Delhi and the Punjab. For the public concert in Saurashtra, he charged a nominal fee, departing from tradition.
The activities of the school expanded as Paluskar founded a branch of the Mahavidyalaya in Bombay in 1908. “Gandharva Mahavidyalayas” all over Northern India, are monuments to his great work. His prediction about Akhil Bhartiya Gandharva Mahavidyala was true. He said that the school will create a group of Kansen (a good understanding classical audience) though not an artist like Tansen (a great maestro).
His “Swara Sadhana” was a combination of Yogic and Vocal exercises. Panditji believed that music had a divine origin, and that by persistent and systematic practice of this musical Yoga, one could have the Divine Revelation of the “Naad-Brahman.” Pandit Vishnu Digambar was a saintly musician. He preached the Gospel of Music through the devotional aspect of his activity. He had for his pattern distinguished predecessors like Tulsidas, Surdas, Haridas Swami and Mirabai, who shed refulgent glory in their respective periods by their devotional music. Panditji drew his spiritual inspiration from them and ably carried on their tradition. His Ram dhun, “Raghupati Raghava” was sung at the Dandi march in 1930. His “Vande mataram” was sung at every Congress session.
Most of these disciples have been zealously conducting the music academies established by their “Gurudev.” Pandit Vinayakbuwa Patwardhan, Waman Rao Padhye (Kolhapur), V. N. Thakar (Allahabad), Sangeet Martand Pandit Omkarnath Thakur, and D. V. Paluskar (Panditji’s son) are known to the music world of today. Among his other disciples may be mentioned Prof. B. R. Deodhar, Narayanrao Vyas and Shankarrao Vyas. Paluskar started an ashram in Nasik and moved there in 1924. He travelled widely in India and Nepal but his poor health prompted his patrons to shift him to Miraj, where he passed away in 1931.
ABGMV is a music teaching institution or school which works for the betterment of all forms (Vocal, Instrumental, Dance) of Indian Classical music in India. It has 1000 branches within and out of India. The present popularity of the Mandal numbers with more than 100,000 per year. It has the firm foundation of the efforts made by the Sage Pt V D Paluskarji. It connects students with music exams conducted twice in a year, April and November. The pattern of the syllabus is well divided to suit the different age groups and length of the years spent in learning. The certificates are distributed after the appearance of the exam. The students can obtain the degrees: after 7 years Graduate or bachelor called Visharad Degree; 2 years post Graduate or master called Alankar Degree and 3 years PHD, Praveen or Doctorate Degree.
Pandit Vishnu Digamber Paluskar founded the ABGMV at Lahore (now in Pakistan) on May 5, 1901. He collected the music material from old maestros from north India and published them his own notation system properly in a book. This was a unique step in the sphere of progression and education in Indian Classical Music. In those days it was a revolutionary step since that time Indian music had lost social respectability among the listeners or audience in public. After Panditji’s death in 1931, his disciples like Acharya S S Boda, Pt Shankarrao Vyas, Pt Narayanrao Vyas, Pt V Patwardhan and many others propogated his long cherish mission. The institution was relocated to Mumbai after 1947.
The syllabus set forth by the Mandal is very appropriate. There is a need of standardization. Apart from the examinations, the Mandal has a yearly magazine, celebrates Pt V D Paluskar’s birth and death anniversary where established and up-coming artists get the opportunity to show their presentation skill. The Mandal holds music discussion sessions and conferences at different places to make people aware of its work.
India is made up of several dozen ethnic groups, speaking their own languages and dialects, having very distinct cultural traditions. The two main traditions of classical music are Carnatic music, found predominantly in the peninsular regions, and Hindustani music, found in the northern and central regions. Both traditions claim Vedic origin, and history indicates that they diverged from a common musical root since about the 13th century.
There are 12 notes in Hindusthani and Carnatic Classical Music but their names and way of singing is different.
There are total 72 Thaat or mel in Carnatic Music where 10 mel or thaat in Hindustani Music.
Carnatic music Bandishes or song have been sung in Tamil, Telagu and Kannada languages where Hindustani Bandishes or songs have been sung in Braj, Hindi, Panjabi, Gurathi, Bhojpuri, Rajsthani languages.
The Taal or rhythms are different in both the styles.
The presentation style is very different in both.
There are different musical forms in both the styles. For e.g. Saragam geet, Lakshan geet, Dhrupad, Dhamar, Khyaal, Tarana, Thumree, Hori, Tappaa and bhajan are the common musical forms in Hindustani Music where Pallavi, Varnam, Kirtanam, padam, jawali are the main forms in Carnatic Music.
I hope, now you definitely understood the two main strings and their comparative features of classical music of India.
This month I would like to talk about the two major styles of Indian classical music. Smitha Prasad, who writes about Carnatic Music here, performed with me recently in a Hindustani and Carnatic Classical Music Jugalbandi. In this article, I wanted to describe the similarities and differences of both styles of music in brief.
The origins of Indian classical music can be found in the Vedas, which are the oldest scriptures in the Hindu tradition. Indian classical music has also been significantly influenced by Indian folk music and Persian music. The Samveda, one of the four Vedas, describes music at length. There are two parts in Indian Classical Music.
Carnatic Classical Music – Followed in the Southern part of India including in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala. Carnatic music has not been significantly influenced by outside forces or styles in South India.
Both the styles of music have originated from the Vedas which are the oldest scriptures of Hindu tradition.
There are 12 notes, 22 shrutis, mel or thaat methods in both the styles.
Alap and taana are the basic form of improvisation in bandish and are the basic feature of presentation in both styles.
There are some ragas which have the same scale as Hindustani ragas but have different names; such as Hindolam and Malkauns, Shankarabharanam and Bilawal. There is a third category of ragas like Hamsadhwani, Charukeshi, Kalavati etc. which are essentially Carnatic Ragas. They share the same name; the same scale (same set of notes) but can be rendered in the two distinctively different Carnatic and Hindustani styles.
Last time I wrote about the importance of alap in Hindustani music. This issue I will discuss the taan, which is also the most important type of improvisation in Hindustani Classical music.
Alap is a slow development type of improvisation of Raag’s notes (melody) in aakar where the taan is a fast improvisation of Ragg’s notes in aakar. We must find both alap and taan skill in bada khyaal and chota khyaal presentation.
The word taan comes from the word “taananaa,” meaning spread or to stretch. It refers to musical patterns rendered with speed or tempo; these can be short or extended. The taan portion is a most important aspect rendered in khyaal singing.
It involves the singing of very rapid melodic passages using vowels, often the long “a” as in the word “far” and it targets at improvising and to expand weaving together the notes in a fast tempo. It is similar to the technique ahaat, used in Arabic music.
Bol Taan: Taan can be sung by utilizing the words of the bandish. This is a difficult type of a taan as in this correct pronunciation, meaning of the composition, everything has to be taken into consideration.
Shuddha/Sapat (Straight) Taan: The notes are placed in an order in one or more octaves.
Koot Taan: The notes do not remain in order. Therefore the nature of Koot Taans is complicated.
Mishra Taan: Combination of sapat and koot taans.
Gamak Taan: Gamak is a technique by which a force is added to notes and each note is repeated at least twice.
Aalaap is an important form of melodic improvisation that introduces and develops a raag. Aalaap means to spread, the contemplative unfolding and development of the raag which includes raag aalaap, barhat, bol aalaap, behelavaa (and in dhrupad-dhamaar, the nomtom aalaap). In other words, aalaap is the beginning part of the raga, sung in aakaar, and starts with the main key swar/note that is “Sa”, both in instrumental and vocal pieces.
The tempo at the beginning is usually slow in order to show the scale and the key structure of the melody. There is no drum in this section; if it is a piece of vocal music, there are no lyrics with it. The raag begins with the slow introductory aalaap improvisation, depends upon bandish (vilambit/slow, madhya/medium and drut/fast laya). The creative raag framework starts from the beginning aalaap. That helps to catch the raag’s mood so the performing basic, skillful aalaap is very important part of a raag in Hindustani classical music.
The raag’s bandish/song is divided in 2 parts. The first part called asthaai and 2nd part called antara. The Bada Khyaal, Dhrupad, dhamaar bandish/song style is a vilambit/ slow style of singing, the artist usually presents the aalaap 15/30 min at the beginning then perform a full bandish in laya, with the asthayee’s aalaap(in mandra/low and madhya/medium scale), then the antara’s aalaap(in madhya and Taar/high scale), behelawa and bolaalaap improvisation.
Essence of spirituality is that concept which is liberated from physical entity, beyond the limitations of human comprehension and which is elevated to transcendental spheres or spiritual sublimity.
Indian Classical Music is one of the best mediums to attain ultimate spiritual ecstasy. This has been proved by many saints including Saint Tyagaraja, and Sant Kabir. They preached in their compositions that NAAD the sound is ultimate. The entire creation of God is based on the Nada Brahma.
Naad is of two kinds. One is the Aahata and Anaahata Naad. Here, music of Aahata naad is compared to external music or aahata sangeet (Apara vidya) and Anaahat naad i.e. internal music is compared to anaahata sangeet (Para vidya).
The music of India is regarded as means of divine contemplation and bliss. The Raga system is the striking aspect of Indian music. Music and spirituality are inseparable elements. The objective is to prove that Essence of Spirituality can be attained through rendition of ragas with bhava that helps an artist or a devotee to reach the heights of Anaahata sangeet to some extent.
Ragas have the quality of expressing the feelings to God without the necessity of language. As stated: “Music should become the bridge that takes the listeners from sensual level to spiritual level of Atman.”
In Hindustani music, musicians portray bhakti ras in their swara sangatis. So these kinds of ragas are to be personally analyzed for spirituality by self and also by collecting spiritual experiences from other great artists.
Spirituality is the vehicle by which a person tries to cross beyond the bounds of religious rituals, dogma, etc., and Indian music is a mirror of the essentially spiritual nature of Indian culture.
At a young age, children should be exposed to music in an informal way, as they have the capacity to unknowingly take in what is fed to their ears. Here are some tips that will contribute to a musically-inclined child.
• Make music part of their routine. Children develop interests in activities that have been cultivated as part of their routine, and which have strong positive associations for them. For instance, make the car a space that always has music. Play music during drives, and if they show any preferences, play the music they like. They will enjoy the process of listening to music when they are given the choice to select their favorites. At night, play music while they are being put to bed.
Choose something calming and soft, that they like to hear as they fall asleep. Let it play softly in the background and make it a regular ritual in your home.
Encourage singing for fun. Many children enjoy singing songs with their parents or friends as a group activity. Teach them simple sing-along songs or bhajans. Children have a very fast grasping ability, and will be humming along to any tunes you teach them. In fact, if this is made a group activity with other children, they will be more enthusiastic to meet their friends and sing together on a regular basis, develop the artistic skill in singing or playing instrument in them.
Once your child reaches around seven years of age, enroll him in music classes if he has shown a consistent interest in music. Initially, music classes will be about exposing your child to the basics of swara and tala, while instilling the discipline of learning in a systematic method.
You all know, these are just some guidelines to nurturing the musical instincts of your child. The more music reaches their ears, the more likely they will seek it out as they grow up!
I’m glad to announce that I’ve started a ‘Raag Sarita’ series on www.anitakulkarni.com under the video section. I’ve covered about ‘The History and Introduction of Hindustani Classical Music’ and the term ‘Raga’. In the next episode, I’ll introduce the most popular ‘Raga-Yaman’.
Pandit Ravi Shankar began fusing jazz with Indian classical traditions along with Bud Shank, a jazz musician. Soon the trend was imitated by many popular European and American music exponents. In the year 1965, George Harrison played the song, “Norwegian wood” on the Sitar.
The jazz legend Miles Davis recorded and performed with the likes of Khalil Bal Krishna, Bihari Sharma, and Badal Roy.
The Mahavishnu Orchestra of John McLaughlin pursued fusion with great integrity and authenticity in the mid-1970s.
In the process John joined forces with L. Shankar, Zakir Hussain and others. The trend of fusion took over the Indian-British artists in the late 1980s; they fused Indian and Western traditions. In the new millennium, a new trend of fusing Indian Film and Bhangra music has started in America. Many of the mainstream artists have taken inspiration from Bollywood movies and have worked with Indian artists.
Pandit Satyasheel Deshpande and Sanjiv Abhyankar sang a famous Ahir Bharav Raag’s bandish “Alabelaa Sajan Aaayo ri” in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. The old music directors Naushad, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, Pandit Hridaynaath Mangeshkar and many others used raga melodies in the movie song. Even the music director like A R Rahman is famous for using the both Carnatic and Hindustani classical music melodies and rhythms in his compositions for films. Hence, Hindustani Classical music has straightforward influence on cinema, directly with great performers, music directors as well as indirectly through the voice of film playback singers. Enjoy the old classical based Hindi songs on www.chandrakanta.com.
Today’s topic is how to become a good listener. Naturally the subtopic is how to appreciate music. One has to be a patient listener, listening to music is also an art. Most of the listeners generally don’t understand the basics of it, but still enjoy because they may become attracted to some powerful force in music, which pleases and soothes their minds. It may be the magic or charisma an artist. It may be their voice or master of a musical instrument. It could be the attractive sound of the percussions or the total effect of the performance. A listener maybe musically affected enough to become a fan of the performer and a regular listener and follower.
A “connoisseur” is a person who is especially competent to pass critical judgments in an art form or is a discerning judge of the best in any field. A true connoisseur will appreciate good Indian classical music only when he or she at least understands the basics, accumulates knowledge and has an open ear and mind for Indian classical art. Then only he can give positive or negative opinion publically.
A critic should be a connoisseur, someone who gives overall thought and critique to the performance. One should know that a concert depends on many things like the performer, organizers, and acoustics of the venue, accompanists, audience, sound system, the occasion, and even weather conditions if it is an outdoor performance.
Revered Hindu religious scriptures of the Vedas speak of the use of musical instruments in worship. It was the only purpose since music was only for God. Indian musical instruments are mentioned in such ancient religious works is indicative of the fact that music had an important role in ancient India. The foundation of Indian music was rooted in three different forms of performance art. Instrumental music has been one of the most popular arts since ancient times in Hindustani classical music.
The most prominent instruments of Hindustani music are:
Sitar - Sitar is one of the most popular music instruments of North India. The sitar has a long neck with twenty metal frets and six to seven main cords. Below the frets of sitar are thirteen sympathetic strings that are tuned to the notes of the raga. A gourd, which acts as a resonator for the strings, is at the lower end of the neck of the Sitar. The frets are moved up and down to adjust the notes. Some famous sitar players are Ustad Vilayat Khan, Pt. Ravi Shankar, Ustad Imrat Khan, Ustad Abdul Halim Zaffar Khan, Ustad Rais Khan and Pt Debu Chowdhury.
Sarod - Sarod has a small wooden body covered with skin and a fingerboard that is covered with steel. Sarod does not have frets and has twenty-five strings of which fifteen are sympathetic strings. A metal gourd acts as a resonator. The strings are plucked with a triangular plectrum. Some notable exponents of Sarod are Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Pt. Buddhadev Das Gupta, Zarin Daruwalla and Brij Narayan.
Santur - The present day name of this instrument, santur, can be roughly described as mountain sound. Santur is an instrument indigenous to Kashmir, but now is played throughout North India. It is a hammered dulcimer that is struck with light wooden mallets. The number of strings may be as few as 24 or more than 100. Typical sizes tend to be around 80. It has a vibrant tone and has become very popular in the last 20 years. Pt Shivkumar Sharma is a very famous classical musician who has acquired international fame by playing the santur.
Flute - Flute is a simple cylindrical tube of uniform bore and associated with Indian music since time immemorial. Flutes vary in size. Flute is held horizontally and is inclined downwards when it is played. To produce sound or melody one has to cover the finger holes with the fingers of the left and right hand. Altering the effective length of the air column produces variations in pitch. Notable flute exponents are Pt Pannalal Ghosh and Pt Hari Prashad Chaurasia.
Tabla - The most popular musical instrument used in North India is the tabla. The tabla consists of a pair of drums, the tabla and the bayan. The tabla is made of wood and its head is made of stretched animal skin. Fine-tuning of tabla is done by striking the rim of the tabla with a small hammer. The bayan is the bass drum and is usually made of metal with a stretched skinhead. Both drums have a black spot in the center made of manganese or iron dust. Popularly known as tabla Maestro, Ustad Zakir Hussain is the son of the renowned tabla player Ustad Allah Rakha.
Pakhawaj - It is believed that the tabla was derived from Pakhawaj. It is the standard percussion instrument that accompanies Dhrupad style of singing. Pakhawaj is a barrel-shaped drum with two heads that are made of layers of skin. The heads of Pakhawaj are expanded by leather straps, which run along the sides of the body over small cylindrical wooden blocks that are used for tuning. Some of the notable pakhawaj players include: Arjun Shejwal, Bhavani Shankar, Pratap Patil, Kunal Patil, Durga Lal, and Talib Hussain.
Harmonium - The harmonium is a traditional and popular musical instrument of India. The harmonium has a keyboard of over two and one-half octaves and works on a system of bellows. The keyboard is played with the right hand while the left hand is used to operate the bellows. Harmonium is more popular in North India than in the South.
Sarangi - The name derives from Sau Rangi meaning 100 colors. Sarangi is played with a bow and has four main strings and as many as forty resonant strings. It is generally used to accompany singers but can also be a solo instrument. The instruments Dilruba and Esraj have common physical characteristics that make them resemble the classical Sarangi. This bowed instrument is not too large as far as size is concerned. It is carved from a single piece of wood. Its body is hollow. At the top and bottom end it is one-inch thick. The sides are barely half-an-inch in thickness. The Sarangi has a metal bar placed along it. There are three main strings and one brass sympathetic string tuned by four pegs in the lower part of the instrument. The upper part has eleven pegs that tune the thirty-five to forty sympathetic strings fixed there. This instrument was played to the tunes of the khayal, dhrupad and thumri vocals. However, as time went by this instrument gained prominence amongst courtesans and musicians began to look towards other musical instruments. This instrument, though, has not lost complete existence because of prominent musicians like Gopal Misra, Pandit Ram Narayan, Ustad Sabri Khan, and Sultan Khan who are regarded as sarangi maestros.
Tanpura or Tambora - The tanpura is a stringed Indian musical instrument that produces the drone, which is an essential background, required for all Indian vocal and instrumental music genres. This instrument is believed to have been invented either in the sixteenth or seventeenth century. Tanpura can be tuned in different scales. This is a main instrument used for Hindustani vocal music.
Dholak – Dholak is a side rhythm instrument, mostly used for Punjabi folk, Garba and Hindi music. It is cylindrical in shape, bored out of solid wood. This is a very popular instrument in north India.
Shehnai - The shehnai is a North Indian oboe, a very devotional instrument. It is actually a quadruple-reed instrument. This is because it has two upper reeds and two lower reeds. The instrument has a wooden body with a brass bell. The reed is attached to a brass tube which is wrapped in string. The shehnai has eight holes but it is common to find some of the holes partially or completely occluded with wax. The sound of the shehnai is considered particularly auspicious and creates a holy musical atmosphere. For this reason it is found in temples and is an indispensable component of any North Indian wedding. In the past, shehnai was part of the naubat or traditional ensembles of nine instruments found at royal courts. Ustad Bismillahkhan popularized this instrument in India.
Jaltarang - The Jaltarang, one of the most rarely heard instruments today, is also among the oldest instruments in the world. It consists of china bowls filled with water and struck by two wooden sticks. Earlier, since china clay bowls were not available, artists used to play this instrument with metal bowls. Each bowl can be tuned to the desired frequency by varying the quantity of water in it. These bowls are placed in a semi-circle arrangement around the artist and played. The Jaltarang has a pleasant characteristic tone similar to the Feng Shui wind chimes. The player can produce classical Indian ragas on it, as well as light melodies. Jaltarang is a unique instrument in the sense that it is both a percussion, as well as non-percussion instrument.
Two of the songs written by Rabindranath Tagore are the national anthems of India (“Jan Gana Mana”) and Bangladesh (“Amar Shonar Bangla). Rabindranath Tagore was a versatile poet, playwright, songwriter, composer, and novelist whose avant-garde works reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
A celebrated cultural icon of Bengal, he became Asia’s first Nobel laureate when he won the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature. Rabindrasangeet has evolved into distinctive school of Bengali music. The realm of Bengali music is incomplete without Rabindra Songeet (songs of Tagore).
From patriotic songs to love songs, all genres of music came out of Tagore’s composition. However, Rabindra Sangeet has its own distinctive note, which makes its listener spellbound. Rabindra Sangeet has had a very strong influence on Bengali culture, and songs are regarded as cultural treasures of Bengal. It is said that his songs are the outcome of 500 years of literary and cultural churning that the Bengali community has gone through.
These songs transcend the mundane to the aesthetic and express all ranges and categories of human emotion. The poet had given a voice to all—big or small, rich or poor.
The poorest boatman on the Ganges as well as the rich landlord finds expression for their emotional trials and tribulations in Tagore’s songs.
In music Tagore found Indian classical to be inspirational. Rabindrasangeet demands an educated, intelligent and cultured audience to appreciate the lyrical beauty of his compositions. The inherent beauty and depth of Tagore’s songs have persuaded a number of filmmakers to use his songs in their films including Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Mrinal Sen, Nitin Bose, Tapan Sinha and Kumar Shahani.
Haveli Sangeet is Vaishnava or Vishnu temple music practiced by the “Pushti Margi Sampradaya.” Nathadwara in Rajasthan was the main seat of the Vaishnava devotional cult which created a rich historical tradition of temple-based music. Haveli here is referred to a palace that the deity chooses to live in. In comparison to Dhrupad, Haveli Sangeet, as it is known in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh claimed superior resilience as it claimed that Lord Krishna himself was the very audience for its performances. In this music practice every activity revolves around Krishna Bhakti and is sung in the form of Kirtans, Bhajans, Samaj Gayan and Bhava Nirtya. Known to incorporate a fusion of Hindustani classical and folk music, the dominant style of singing is still Dhrupad and Dhammar. The temples of Radha Vallabh at Vrindaban, Krishna at Nandgaon, Shri Radha Rani at Barsana, and Sri Nathji at Nathdwara are all known to reverberate with Haveli Sangeet.
Haveli Sangeet is almost extinct but can be revived. Known to be more vulnerable than classical Dhrupad, this is mainly due to the fact of the audience discernment. While an art-music audience can appreciate Dhrupad as well as Haveli Sangeet as more sophisticated musical genres, the Vaishnava devotee would merely consider Haveli Sangeet to be a devotional song. In Vaishnava temples Haveli Sangeet is known to be a part of their daily ritual, however, they do continue without it. In some places, Haveli Sangeet has commercial recordings of Bhajans playing as ambient music. With the commitment of the clergy playing a major role, Haveli Sangeet is almost on the brink of extinction. I was pleased when I heard the Haveli Sangeet in Vraj Temple in New Jersey recently. It was a very pleasant musical atmosphere after the Krishna Pooja. The vocalist likes to sing Haveli Sangeet in many Ragas. Mrudang is a main accompanying instrument in this music. Today, Pt Jasraaj and many others have sung, and popularized Haveli Sangeet in India.
Raga Music and Ayurveda
Raga music has a concept of time, tone and various note patterns that assigns the raga to a time theory. Each note has certain sound, emotion and vibration. Every Raga has certain mood that has an effect on various chakras in our body. Science has confirmed that Indian classical music, an organized form of sound, can directly affect mood, brain waves, and body chemistry. When ragas are played at the correct time and occasion, they have a harmonizing effect on the listener and the surroundings. The ancient Vedic method of sound therapy, where Vedic mantras are recited for specific regions of the body, is used to promote healing. In the same way the ragas of Indian classical music can also be used for certain illnesses and problems. This knowledge already existed in texts such as the Sangita Ratnakar and has been recently rediscovered and practically researched more and more.
Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old system of natural healing rooted in the ancient Vedic culture of India. It literally means “the science of life” (Ayur- life, Veda- science or knowledge). The main objective of Ayurveda is to restore the balance, the inner centre, which it calls Svasthya (established in the Self). Vibrations play an important role in Hindustani classical music and Ayurveda. Thus in the Ayurvedic medicine the whole plant is always used and not just a filtered out active substance. The vibrations of the plant should restore the natural equilibrium in the body without overloading it.
Raga theory is an important medicine in Ayurveda. Raga Madhuvanti has been chosen to balance increased Vaat and can even prevent it at first stage. It is traditionally heard in the late afternoon. People with a large amount of Pitta are animated, occasionally hot tempered, have a sharp intellect and attach importance to aesthetics. If a piece of music is to reduce increased Pitta then it has to go beyond just having a soothing, cooling effect and appeal to these strong qualities, otherwise it will not be listened to. The sitar is an excellent choice for such music because of its characteristic nasal, overtone rich sounds and great variation in the playing possibilities. Raga Ahir Bhairav and Charukeshi are the main ragas which help to cure Pitta dosh. The morning raga Bairagi, has been chosen to balance increased Kapha. You need to listen some of these Ragas like Hindol, Shree, Darbari, Bhairavi, Bageshree, Asawari, Jounpuri, Kedar, Malkans, Malhar, Marawa, Puriya, Shyam kalyaan, Ramkali on instrument or vocal to find their effects in today’s busy lifestyles.
The tradition of Jugalbandi in the Carnatic and Hindustani styles of music is an age old one, where two skilled musicians perform together. This duet could be instrumental or vocal.
Partnership in vocal or instrumental music has been in vogue since the day of Dhrupad. At Emperor Akbar’s court and historian Faqirullah at Emperor Aurangzeb’s court have written that Baiju defeated Tansen in a singing competition at the court of Akbar.
Khayal is usually sung as a solo, but there have also been numerous cases of male duo singers, usually family members who learned music together. Even when two soloists perform together, they divide the improvisation between them so that there is still only one vocal part. Their music making is co-operative, not competitive and it takes considerable skill and intimacy to create a performance to which each contributes equally. What defines Jugalbandi is that the performance of two instrumentalists or vocalist be on an equal level of skill. While any Indian music performance may feature two musicians, whether vocalists or instrumentalists, a performance can only be deemed a Jugalbandi if neither is clearly the soloist and neither clearly an accompanist. In Jugalbandi, both musicians act as lead players, and a playful competition often ensues between the two performers.
It is common knowledge that the popularity of Jugalbandi concerts owes much to virtuosos Pt Ravi Shankar and the late Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. Indian concert stages, which had been dominated by only soloists, assumed a new dimension around the sixties when the great musical pairs started playing Jugalbandi. However, this form was very much in existence in the decades preceding the sixties.
Jugalbandi performances are available online (free) like Pt Bhimsen Joshi and Dr Balmurali Krishnan, Smt Kishori Amonkar and Dr Balmurali Krishnan, Zakir Hussain Alla Rakha Tabla Jugalbandi, Mridangam/Tabla Jugalbandhi and many others.
Guru is one who is regarded as having a great musical background knowledge, talent, wisdom, is authorized, is a master in the music field, and uses it to guide others (as the teacher). He or she uses various techniques for teaching, as well as his or her own intellect, and applies disciplinary rules for the disciple.
Devotion, dedication, and determination together serve the purpose while teaching or learning this art. Music is nothing but concentration of mind. Music is God, it is better to surrender him whole-heartedly.
One should know the main purpose if one wants to become a true Guru (teacher) or true Shishya (disciple). In this relationship, subtle and advanced knowledge is conveyed and received through the student’s respect, commitment, devotion, and obedience.
The student eventually masters the knowledge that the guru embodies. Guru should know and be able to understand and correct the weakness of his disciple; in addition, the Guru should give his best skill, take hard effort, and improve the talent level of his disciple.
In olden days, the disciple had to live with and serve Guru for many years, and by Guru’s permission, he was trained and eligible for the classical knowledge. It was a difficult task to dedicate everything (family) and devote life only for music.
Today it is very hard to find a true Guru. Everyone wants to get this knowledge easily without much effort. The picture is changing according to contemporary lifestyles. The disciple is far from the highest pick of the art.
Hindustani Classical music is a devotional and spiritual art. One should know the importance and enjoy teaching and learning. It is everyone’s duty to know whether both are on the right musical path. Today’s disciple is tomorrow’s Guru.
In this article I want to emphasize the gunas (qualities) of a singer. There are 20 gunas which are given in Sangeet
Ratnakar (old and famous music books).
Below are some of the Gunas (qualities) in a singer. The guna’s name is in Sanskrit which has been translated in
1. Hrudyashabdha- who has a sweet, classical based or melodious voice and having the knowledge of sur or notes, ragas, who
can sing from the heart with concentration.
2. Sushariraha – who has an ability to create a proper mood, perform the same beautifully or according to the raga.
3. Grahmoksha Vichakshanaha- who knows how to begin and end the raga with classical style.
4. Aayattakanthaha- who has a command on voice and notes.
5. Taalgnyaha- who is skilled in many taal, or rhythm.
6. Saavdhanha- who is good in understanding the correct mood and time of the audience.
7. Jeetshramaha- who has a strong voice and can sing without pause for a long time.
8. Kriyaparha- who is well prepared, or has riyazee, classical based voice and can sing in classical style.
9. Yuktalayaha- who knows the correct speed or tempo of a song.
10. Sooghataha- who has a pleasant look, healthy and good behavior. Dear to the sight.
11. Haarirahakrudbhajanodhurha- who has a sense or skill to catch the audience by his/her singing. Dear to the audience.
12. A person who can sing in all three saptak or pitch.
13. Dharanaanvitaha- a person who is expert or blessed and talent in the classical music.
14. A person who can present with a Gharana or Traditional gayakee or style.
Some of the Doshas or defects in a singer – The dosha’s name is in Sanskrit and the translation in English.
1.Sangdosto- A person who sings with his or her teeth clenched tightly.
2.Udhristo- A person who shouts unnecessarily while singing.
3.Sutkari - A person who unnecessarily mentions aaaa,oooo type of sounds while singing.
4.Bhito- A person who sings nervously.
5.Sasankita- Person who does not have self-confidence and sings quickly.
6.Kampita- Whose voice shakes while singing.
7.Karali- A singer who sings by raising the face upwardly like a camel.
8.Bikal- A person whose Shruti (correct vibration of a note) always fluctuates.
9.Kafi- Whose voice is harsh like a crow.
10.Bital- Those who do not have tala gyan (knowledge of rhythm).
11.Karabh- A person who slants his or her head in one side while singing.
12.Jhombok- A person whose veins of face, neck, and forehead gets puffy while singing.
13. Bokri- A person who sings by putting the face sideways.
14.Prosari- Who sings by opening his or her mouth widely so that teeth can be seen.
15.Mishrak- Who mixes two or more ragas.
16.Avyakta- Whose pronunciation is bad.
17.Birasa- Whose singing does not have any expression or rasa.
18.Sanunasika- Who sings with a nasal voice.
19.Bimana- Who sings with his or her mind somewhere else, lack of concentration.
20.Chalaka- Who moves his hand or leg while singing.
21. Dol- Who moves his head constantly while singing.
22.Ekdristo- Who always stares while singing.
23.Urdhagayi- Who sings by putting his or her eyes fixed in upward position.
24.Padapa- Who does not have any knowledge about raga and tala.
25.Shabaka- Who does not know the meaning of the song.
Next time I will emphasize on gunas or qualities of a good singer.
The first generation of the Bhendi Bazar Gharana is credited to three brothers who hailed from the Bijnor Moradabad district of Uttar Pradesh and settled in Bhendi Bazar, Mumbai. The three vocalists are Chajju Khan, Nazir Khan and Khadim Hussain Khan (d.1919). Ustad Aman Ali Khan, the son of Ustad Chajju Khan and later a major exponent of this gharana, dedicated a number of his own compositions to his father under the same pen-name. A great number of the compositions of this gharana are in praise of Lord Shiva.
Features - Aalap based gayaki consisting of smooth meends, Gamak Taan and Sargam Pattern. Presentation of south Indian Ragas are the specialty of this gharana.
Founders - Ustad Chajju Khan, Ustad Nazir Khan and Ustad Khadim Hussain Khan.
Exponents - Ustad Nazir Khan, Ustad Aman Ali Khan, Shashikala Koratkar, Anjanibai Malpekar and others.
The Benaras Gharana evolved as a result of great lilting style of khayal singing made famous by Thumri and Tappa singers of Benaras and Gaya. This gharana is Aakar-based singing.
Founders - Pandit Gopal Mishra
Exponents – Pandit Rajan and Sajan Mishra, Girija Devi and others.
The Mewati Gharana gives importance to developing the mood or melody of the raga through the notes forming it and its style is known as Bhava Pradhan. It also gives equal importance to the meaning of the text. Exponents of this gharana are well versed in rendering bhajans.
Founders - Ustad Ghagge Nazir Khan.
Exponents - Pandit Jasraj, Moti Ram, Mani Ram, Sanjeev Abhyankar and others.
The Patiala Gharana was founded by Ustad Fateh Ali Khan and Ustad Ali Baksh Khan.
This school of music has had a number of famous musicians, many of whom came to be patronized by the royal family of Patiala after the disintegration of the Mughal Empire at Delhi in the 18th century.
Allu-Fattu is frequently attributed with founding this gharana even though Kale Khan is believed to be the brains behind this accomplishment. Khan offered initial training to both his son, Ali Baksh (Allu), and Ali’s friend Fateh Ali Khan (Fattu).
Kale Khan’s celebrated teachers continued the instruction of this gharana. Bade Ghulam Ali Khan’s voice had an astonishing scale and precision, and the natural implementation of even the most intricate ragas is an asset that others adhering to this gharana follow. Khan (1901-69) brought grandeur to this singing convention of Hindustani music.
Features - A fluent and exceedingly appealing style of singing that emphasizes the correct enunciation of saraws. This gives the style a sensuously aesthetic touch. The use of the catchy and intricate tappa singing style is evident in fast figures, as are the use of swift and voluted sargam patterns. The sargams possess an exhilarating swing and astonishing mellifluousness. The Patiala taans are extremely enthralling, given the briskness and vigor with which they are executed. In fact, it has been called a taan-bazi style, because it uses a variety of fast figures and ornamentation for the sake of appeal, equal emphasis given to swara and laya, proficiency in singing light classical forms like thumri, dadra and bhajan.
Founders – Ut Ali Baksh, Ut Fateh Ali
Exponents – Ut Bade Gulam Ali Khan, Pt Ajoy Chakraborty, Ut Amanat Ali, Begum Akhtar
The Delhi Ghaana was represented by Tanras Khan and Shabbu Khan in the Mughal court of the later period. Mohammad Shah (Rangeele) was the patron of Khyaal. NIyamat Khan and Firoz Khan (Sadarang and Adarang) were the famous composers of the Khyal in the court. Bahdur Shah Jahar was a patron as well as a composer of the Khyals.
Ustad Miya Achapal (Gulam Hussain) is supposed to be the founder of Delhi Gharana. Ustad Chand Khan was the representative of this style in the modern period.
Features – Taans (singing notes in fast tempo) suitable in Drut Laya (fast tempo), Different kinds of Taan like Jod-tod ki Taan, Jhoola ki Taan, Ukhade ki Taan are special and attractive feature in this Gharana. Vilambit khyaal have special attractions like Paalki ke khyaal, Swari ke khyaal, Kanpuri Khyaal. Drut Khyaals are faster and presentation of khyaal is very artistic.
Founders - Ustad Mamman Khan
Exponents - Some of the notable exponents of Delhi Gharana are Chand Khan, Nasir Ahmed Khan, Usman Khan, Iqbal Ahmed Khan and Krishna Bisht
Kirana Gharana takes its name from Kirana, a small town near Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh. Beenkar Ustad Baden Ali Khan is thought to be the founder of Kirana Gharana. The brothers Ustad Abdul Karim Khan (1872-1937) and Ustad Abdul Vahid Khan sowed the seeds of this tradition in Maharashtra and today this is the most accepted style of vocal music in Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Ustad Abdul Karim Khan’s voice was very thin and mellow. A master of the Khyaal and Thurmree, he was especially fond of rendering a sargam in Karnataka style. His disciples were Sawai Ghandharv, Heerabai Badodekar, Sureshbabu Mane and Roshan Ara Begum.
They made the Gayaki popular through their performances.
Features – The special feature of this gayaki is its barhat or detailed improvisation of the raga. The distance between two matras is generally longer. Every swar of the chosen raga is elaborated by giving more attention. Taans are faster and are stretched to 3 saptaks.
Emotons are visible through swars. Kirana Gayaki is an Alaap Pradhan Gayaki, Thumri style gayaki.
Founders - Abdul Karim Khan and Abdul Wahid Khan
Exponents - Hirabhai Barodekar, Begum Akhtar, Pt Bhimsen Joshi, Gangubai Hangal and Dr. Prabha Atre.
A Gharana is established through the medium of specialization. Jaipur - Atrauli Gharana is a Khyaal based singing style Gharana formed in late 19th century. Manarang is supposed to be a former of the Jaipur Gharana. Mohammad Ali was his son and Aashik Ali Khan was the grandson. Natthu Khan and Mantaul Khan were the most celebrated singers of this tradition. The founder of this gharana, Utd Alladiya Khan initially developed the unique Gayaki of this Gharana in the early half of the 20th century. He raised the level of artistry to such heights that he was acclaimed as the high priest of khayal gayaki.
Features – Specially cultured voice, full throated aakar, a short but complex composition, more attention is given to Vilambit laya, elaboration with the help of smaller but deviated Taans. Alaap, Taan, Boltaan, Bol-Aalap is always interwoven with variations in Layakari. Sham-Kalyan, Khambawati, Durga, Bihagda, Kafi-Kanada, Suha-Kanada, Gouri, Patbihag, Sawani, Basanti-kedar, Nat-kamod and Sughrai are some of the rare Ragas of this tradition, which are popular today.
Founders - Manarang, Ustad Alladiya Khan
Exponents - Alladiya Khan, Mallikarjun Mansur, Govindrao Tembe, Kesarbhai Kerkar, Kishori Amonkar, Shruti Sadolikar, Padma Talwalkar and Ashwini Bhide Deshpande.
The first known musician of this tradition is Nayak Gopal. The style prevalent in the Gharana was “Dhrupad-Dhamar”. Ustad Ghagghe Khudabuksh (1790-1880 AD) introduced the “Khayal” style of Gwalior Gharana into Agra Gharana. The Agra Gharana is originated from the Gwalior Gharana. Both Gharanas have some similarities. The great musician and founder, Ustad Khudabaksh was a disciple of Haddu Khan from Gwalior Gharana in 17th century. Later he settled down in Agra, Uttar Pradesh in India.
Features - Agra Gharana places a great importance on developing forcefulness and deepness in the voice so that the notes are powerful and resonant. The important characteristics of this Gharana are: Dhrupad based khyaal (slow tempo), bolaalaap and boltaana, tom-nom aalaap and open-mouthed aakaar. The musicians from this Gharana are known to sing even rare raga with clarity and ease. Musicians are good in singing Dhrupad and Dhamar style. This is the only Gharana that has still continued to sing Dhrupad-Dhamar along with Nom-Tom Alap, Khayal, Thumri, Tappa, Tarana, Hori, Dadra, Ghazal etc.
Founders- Haji Sujan Khan, Ustad Ghagghe Khuda Baksh
Exponents- Faiyyaz Khan, Latafat Hussein Khan, Vilayat Hussain Khan, Bhaskar Bua, and Khaadeem Hussain.
Anita Kulkarni - Email:email@example.com
By Anita Kulkarni
Easy steps to learn a Raga
• Understand the structure of the Raga by looking at the swaras. What are the aroha and avaroha scales, and the pakkad phrase that defines the raga? Pay attention to the Vadi and Samvadi Swaras, the notes that are the anchors of the Raga. What is the raga’s challan, or the way it moves?
A good resource for the study of Ragas is the The Raga Guide. It’s a 4-CD collection with an informative book explaining the intricacies of 74 ragas. The CDs have sample performances of each raga. It should be available at better music stores or online retailers.
Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar
Styles of Indian Classical Music
You read about the styles and similarities of Indian music last month. Here I want to emphasize on differences in Carnatic and Hindustani music. The Carnatic and Hindustani music has a history spanning millennia and, developed over several eras, it remains fundamental to the lives of Indians today as sources of spiritual inspiration, cultural expression and pure entertainment.
Styles of Indian Classical Music
Hindustani Classical Music – Followed in the Northern part of India including in Bengal, Assam, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Bihar. Hindustani classical music has been significantly influenced by Indian folk music and Persian music in the part of North India. The Persian and Muslim Maestros helped influence Hindustani Music.
Types of “Taan”
Other types of taan exist, including Ladant taan, Zatkaa taan, Gitkari taan, Jabde ki taan, Sarok Taan, Halak Taan or Palat taan.
Indian Classical Music and spirituality
How to initiate children toward Classical Music
It is important to remember that Hindustani classical music is a “shravan vidya,” a subject that is learned through constant listening. As an oral tradition as well, it has been passed down for generations through one-on-one lessons in which students listen and absorb the guru’s ideas.
• Play classical music in your home. Parents should play good quality music in their home as often as possible. Don’t bring the child’s attention to it, or force him or her to sit in one place and listen. Allow her to continue whatever she may be doing, but keep the music playing in the background. It can be any Hindustani artist that you are fond of. It could be devotional music, or it could be semi-classical as well. Select music that has good lyrical content and a sound musical base.
Fusion in Indian Music
Fusion music combines two or more music styles. It’s not a very old trend in Indian music. Fusion trend is said to have begun with Ustad Ali Akbar Khan’s 1955 performance in the United States. Indian fusion music came into being with rock and roll fusions with Indian music in the 1960s and 1970s. But it was limited to Europe and North America. For some time the stage of Indian fusion music was taken by the sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar.
Influence of Classical music and vocalist on Film Music
The magnificence of Hindustani classical music came alive with Bade Ghulam Ali Khan singing “Premjogan ban ja” in the classic film Mughal-e-Azam (1960), Pandit D. V. Paluskar and Ustad Amir Khan presenting the duet, “Aaj gawat man mero jhum ke” in Baiju Bawra (1952), the duets of Ustad Bismillah Khan and Amir Khan in the movie Goonj Uthi Shehnai, and Pandit Bhimsen Joshi’s song in the movie Ankahee. Manna Dey, who of all the vocalists is best grounded in classical music, has recorded many wonderful classical-influenced songs including, “laga chunri mein daag”, “chalo kahe ko jhoothi banao batiyan” and “phul gendwa na maro.” K. L. Saigal’s resounding Bhairavi, “”babul mora” in the film Street Singer, made in Calcutta in 1939, is one of the immortal creations in Indian film music. Saigal was trained basically in ghazal singing, but was gifted with a purity of voice which is the soul of classical singing. In the movie Tansen made in 1943, he presented Raag Bilawal, “sapr suran teen gram,” with transparent purity of notes. So did Mohammad Rafi when he sang Raga Malkauns, “man tarapat hari darashan ko aaj,” in Baiju Bawra. In Kohinoor, he was even able to run into impressive taans when he sang “madhuban mein radhika nache re.” The song “Manamohana Bade Jhuthe” based on Raga Jaijaiwanti, made famous by the evergreen singer Lata Mangeshkar, came from a classical music background.
Listeners and Connoisseurs of Music
Music is a performing art. The performer is termed as an artist. He or she is a harbinger of tender feelings among the masses, who attend the performance. Among the audience or mass of listeners, there are certain groups that are always alert. Then there are persons, who “grace the occasion” and there are number of people who “just attend.” The performer is generally aware of the whole audience.
Musical Instruments in Hindustani Classical Music
The significance of a Guru (teacher)
Gunas, or Qualities, of a singer –
Most of the readers of this column are now familiar with the traditional famous vocal gharanas and their styles of Hindustani Classical Music. In this article I want to emphasize the gunas (qualities) and doshas (defects) of a singer. There are 25 doshas that are given in Sangeet Makrand and Sangeet Ratnakar (old and famous music books).
Bhendi Bazar Gharana
“The names of different gharana like Gwalior, Agra, Atrauli, Kirana, Patialala were derived from the states to which their chief exponents belonged. Initially four Banis distinguished the different music schools. At the time of Emperor Akbar, there were no Gharanas as we know today. There were only “Banis.” There were four Banis: Ghobarhar, Nauhar, Dagur and Khandar. The gharana came much later.” Agra Gharana is a tradition of North Indian classical vocal music descended from the Nauhar Bani. So far, Nauhar Bani has been traced back to around 1300 A.D., during the reign of Emperor Allauddin Khilji of Delhi.
By Anita Kulkarni