(Last Updated on : 25/05/2010)
Indian tribal music is considered to be a version of house music. The music is mostly accompanied by drum-beats, with no presence of specific melody. During an ongoing performance, there exists no prolonged synth sound in such music. Due to the Indian variation being of much rugged origin, the instruments utilised are not as refined as the ones used in classical music. Tribal musical instruments are generally manufactured by the musicians themselves, making use of materials like coconut shells, animal skin, etc.
The musical beats are based on sophisticated and synchronised drum patterns, establishing a rhythm. Into a wholesome Indian tribal musical session, there can be a mixture of drum sounds in a particular track. Other instruments utilised include horse hair violin, duduk, bamboo flutes, santoor, sitar etc.
The strict definition of tribal music in India is pretty formless, since tracks are acknowledged as ruggedly tribal because of their booming sound. However, present times witness much of lyrical chanting and traditional sounds, comprising contemporary musical variations. The aboriginal, ethnic tribal music is reproduced live with drums, in accompaniment with other musical instruments.
Tribal music in India is not taught the same way as classical music is. There are no finishing schools that instruct tribal music. It has a hereditary process of learning. The music is passed down from generations to generations. However, as times and tastes have changed, variations in the current form are foreseeable. Included in the present-day tribal variation, tribal house music is the end-product of digitalised instrumentation.
Indian tribal music with its closed-group form of ethnicity, is remarkable in the sense that it can never be studied in isolation from the social and ritual contexts of the people concerned. Tribal music possesses a well-built community basis. The fact can be comprehended in the domains of musical-socialisation, kinds of ownership, levels of participation and nature of specialisation. Learning music in a typical tribal society forms a cardinal part of the entire process of association of its members. It is learnt together with the umpteen customs and practices conforming to the standards reckoned apt by the society. Any given tribal community as a whole initiated its children in learning music, i.e., singing, drumming or dancing, from an early age. Children from the Santhal tribal society are initially supplied with the katic murli (small sized flutes) of five to six inches in length with three to four envoys to blow and the drums of smaller size to beat.
As with any other tribal society, Indian tribal music scenario also possesses its aboriginal restrictions as well. Music amongst tribals are not conceived as exclusive property of its individual members, but of the community as a whole. For this very reason, tribal music even if framed by individual composers remain anonymous. For instance, none of the Santhal songs can be seen to contain the names of individual Santhal composers. Modernisation has however completely overhauled this tradition. Individualism is keenly looked after.