Forms Of Music
The two distinct styles, Hindustani and Carnatic came into vogue after the advent of the Muslims, particularly during the reign of the Mughal Emperors of Delhi. Both the systems of music received their nourishment from the same original source. Whereas the Indian music of the Northern part of India assimilated some features of the music of the Persian and Arabic musicians who adorned the courts of the Mughal rulers of Delhi, the music of the South continued to develop along its own original lines.
There are 10 main forms of styles of singing and compositions: Dhrupad, Dhamar, Hori, Khayal, Tappa, Chaturang, Ragasagar, Tarana, Sargam and Thumri. Nowadays Ghazals have become very popular as the ‘light classical’ form of music.
Dhrupad is the oldest and perhaps the grandest form of Hindustani vocal music. Dhrupad is essentially a poetic form incorporated into an extended presentation style marked by precise and orderly elaboration of a raga. The exposition preceding the composed verses is called alap, and is usually the longest portion of the performance. Dhrupad is in decline since the 18th century.
Dadra bears a close resemblance to the Thumri. The texts are as amorous as those of Thumris. The major difference is that dadras have more than one antara and are in dadra tala. Singers usually sing a dadra after a thumri.
These compositions are similar to Dhrupad but are chiefly associated with the festival of Holi. Here the compositions are specifically in praise of Lord Krishna. This music, sung in the dhamar tala, is chiefly used in festivals like Janmashthami, Ramnavami and Holi. The compositions here describe the spring season. These compositions are mainly based on the love pranks of Radha-Krishna.
The tappa is said to have developed in the late 18th Century AD from the folk songs of camel drivers. Tappa literally means ‘jump’ in Persian. They are essentially folklore of love and passion and are written in Punjabi.
Ragasagar consists of different parts of musical passages in different ragas as one song composition. These compositions have 8 to 12 different ragas and the lyrics indicate the change of the ragas. The peculiarity of this style depends on how smoothly the musical passages change along with the change of ragas.
Tarana is a style consisting of peculiar syllables woven into rhythmical patterns as a song. It is usually sung in faster tempo.
Chaturang denotes four colours or a composition of a song in four parts: Fast Khayal, Tarana, Sargam and a “Paran” of Tabla or Pakhwaj.
Following are the characteristics of Carnatic style
1. The intensity of sound can be controlled in this style.
2. Use of helical (Kundali) swaras is evident.
3. Free and typical style of raga.
4. The singer recites the ‘aalap’ and ‘taanam‘.
5. The distorted swars are named according to the shrutis.
Gitam is the simplest type of composition. Taught to beginners of music, the gitam is very simple in construction, with an easy and melodious flow of music.
Very much like the gitam in musical structure and arrangement, the Suladis are of a higher standard than the gitam.
The Varnam is a beautiful creation of musical craftsmanship of a high order, combining in itself all the characteristic features of the raga in which it is composed. Practice in Varnam singing helps a musician to attain mastery in presentation and command over raga, tala and bhava.
This is learnt after a course in gitams. More complicated than the gitas, the Svarajati paves the way for the learning of the Varnams. The theme is either devotional, heroic or amorous.
Very similar to the svarajati in musical structure, this form- Jatisvaram-has no sahitya or words. The piece is sung with solfa syllables only.
The Kirtanam had its birth about the latter half of the 14th century. It is valued for the devotional content of the sahitya. Clothed in simple music, the kirtanam abounds in Bhakti bhava. It is suited for congregational singing as well as individual presentation.
The Kriti is a development from the Kirtana. It is an highly evolved musical form. The highest limit of aesthetic excellence is reached in the Kriti composition. The raga bhava is brought out in all the rich and varied colours in this form.
Padas are scholarly compositions in Telegu and Tamil. Though they are composed mainly as dance forms, they are also sung in concerts, on account of their musical excellence and aesthetic appeal. The music is slow-moving and dignified.
A javali is a composition belonging to the sphere of light classical music. Sung both in concert programmes and dance concerts, the javalis are popular because of the attractive melodies in which they are composed. In contrast to the padas which portray divine love, javalis are songs which are sensuous in concept and spirit.
The Tillana, corresponding to the Tarana of Hindustani music, is a short and crisp form. It is mainly a dance form, but on account of its brisk and attractive music, it sometimes finds a place in music concerts as a conclusion piece.
This is the most important branch of creative music. It is in this branch of manodharma sangeeta, that the musician has ample opportunities of displaying his or her creative talents, imaginative skill, and musical intelligence.
This is a branch of raga alapana. It is raga alapana in Madhyamakala or medium speed. There is perceptible rhythm in this. The rhythmical flow of music, flowing in fascinating patterns, makes tanam singing the most captivating part of raga exposition. also read:-Dance Forms of India.
Practice the following Questions-
Q-1 While folk music and dance in India share common themes and concerns, there is a wide variety of forms. Comment.
Q-2 Trace the roots and evolution of classical music in India. Also identify the distinguishing features of Carnatic Music.