Essay on the composition of Indian music

Swami Haridas (15th century) and Tansen 16th century and Baiju Bawra played important role in its evolution.

As the rulers were non-conversant with Sanskrit and the traditions, symbols and the imagery of Hindu mythology, a general indifference to it, devotional character and an ignorance of the literary aspect of music gradually developed among the musicians.

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Consequently the Dhrupad lost most of its vigour and stereotyped. The only direction in which further development seemed possible was that of tonal structure or abstract music in which words were of no special importance. It was in this process that Khayal involved from Dhrupad.

Khayal and Gharanas Khayal (Persian imagination) has more frail structure (than, Dhrupad its massive and sub-line predecessor) and admitted of a great deal of extempore tonal elaboration within a particular composition.

It came into prominence due to the efforts of Sultan Mohd. Sharqi (15th century) and became acceptable as a classical from the time of the Sadarang and Adarang (18th century).

After the downfall of Mughal empire the court music (Khayal) travelled to the princely states like Gwalior, Jaipur, Alwar, Lucknow, Baroda and Hyderabad where it continued to develop and in time led to evolution of ‘Gharanas’ (music dialects and stylistic rendering or by certain masters).

These gharanas became more and more isolated in its blind anxiety to preserve its distinctiveness and kept their style a jealously guarded trade secret.

Major Gharanas or Schools of Khayal:

(i) The Gwalior Gharana (The oldest and the most comprehensive or Rangeela)

(ii) The Agra or Rangeela Gharana (Lyrical).

(iii) The Jaipur-Atroli Gharana, and

(iv) The Kirana Gharana (The Modern School)

Thumri and Thappa The Light and more emotional Thumri (love songs) were devised in the darbar of Wajid Ali Shah (Lucknow).

Here words romantic in nature have as much a dominant role as the music unlike Dhrupad and Khayal, where music is of first importance.

Thumri is very flexible and has immense scope for expressions of varying shades of emotions and lacks the virility of musical expressions of Dhrupad and Khayal.

Lucknow and Banaras became the famous centres for it. Although the Gharanas are absent, two regional styles can be distinguished in Thumri on the basis of tonal quality and thought content.

The Poorbi angas and Paschimi angas with their centres at Lucknow and Banaras are characterized by grace, tenderness in the former and less tenderness and less elasticity in the latter (This is in correspondence with the dialectical peculiarity of two regions).

In addition to the Poorbi and Paschimi angas the third style of thumri is Punjabi angas (Bade Gulam Ali Khan).

The most notable characteristic of this style is the influence that it bears on the supple ‘Tappa’ style which originated as the camel driver’s song (Gulam Nabi).

‘Tappa’ composed in Punjabi language is recognized by very quick turns of phrase with no slower elaboration.

The folk music which may be considered to have supplied the raw material for refined and light classical music, Thumri includes the trends of ‘Chaiti’ ‘Birha’ and ‘Kajri’ which are typical of eastern U.P. and have love mundane as theme or even the ‘Padas’ and ‘Ramainis’ of the Kabir Panthis which have double significance of mundane and spiritual love.

‘Tarana’ is a commonly head type of composition with no meaningful words. Here Syllables are woven into a rhythmic piece in a raga.

‘Dadra’ and ‘Ghana’ (love lyric) are simple melody sung in syncopated line.

In Carnatic music Varnam, Tevaram, Kriti and Kirtana are some basic types of composition. A ‘Varnam’ is composed in such a way that it shows the characteristic phrases, states, melodic movements of raga.

‘Kriti’ is the most popular and considered the finest form. It was Purandardass (Karnataka) who gave shape and form to the Carnatic music by perfecting the Kirti pattern.

This gave the launching pad, and enabled the trinity, Thyagaraja, Shyama Shastri and Muthuswami Dikshitar to emerge as the greatest contributors to the enrichment of Carnatic music.

On the lighter side ‘Padam’ and ‘Javali’ (counterparts of Thumri and Thapa of the Hindustani) are erotic in content and are sung with emotion and a feeling of lyrics. Generally they are love songs, and are used for dances.

Padam are slower in tempo and graver in import and allegoric. Javali are direct description of human love. Then there is ‘Tillana’ the Carnetic counterpart of Tarana.