Dhrupad - Indian Musical Form
A unification of spiritualism and appeal, Dhrupad is an ancient classical Indian musical form. Dhrupad is the most form of Hindustani classical music that has outlived to this date in its original form. The Dhrupad tradition is a major heritage of Indian culture.The nature of Dhrupad music is spiritual. Its main aim is not to entertain, but to stimulate feelings of peace and contemplation within the listener. The word 'Dhrupad' is derived from 'dhruva', meaning the steadfast evening star that moves through the galaxy and pada, meaning poetry. It is a form of devotional music that traces its origin to the ancient text of Sama Veda. The Sama Veda was chanted with the help of melody and rhythm called Samgana. Slowly this developed into other vocal style called 'Chhanda' and 'Prabandha' with the initiation of verse and meter. The synthesis of these two elements led to the issuing of Dhrupad.
Khayal - Indian Musical Form
Denoting a versatile form of all-pervading imagination, khayal is the most wondrous form of Indian classical music. Khayal is the fruit of the democratisation that North Indian classical music underwent from the 18th century on - a development that was to have far-reaching effects in terms of its wide appeal and its even wider reach. The form, as one hears today is most definitely the result of a cumulative process of experimentation and liberalisation that took place from 18th century onwards, and continues well into the present. Few wonder that the word khayal is Persian means 'imagination', for it has to come to symbolise all those wondrous things one associates with the word. Importantly, khayal is also the outcome of the inter-cultural gratifying and blending. The very presence of the 'unalloyed' music of South India, which was largely free from Islamic conquests, points to the cultural divergence that took place between North and South India, which was followed by Islamic invasions. Khayal is possibly one of the finest creations to emerge from the melting thoughts of Hindu and Muslim imaginations. It is, of all Indian classical musical forms, the living symbol of cultural fusion and integration, of voluminous diversity and unbounded accommodation.
Tarana - Indian classical musical form
Tarana is known to have evolved from the patient and earnest efforts of the legend himself, Amir Khusro. Khusro is himself credited to have initiated several other Hindustani classical musical forms, and tarana is always counted under it. It is also believed that he had heavily borrowed from the dhrupad and Sufi mystical bols, the predominant forms during those times. Tarana relies solely on rhythm, tabla bols and tries to maintain a balanced pattern. It can thus be understood that the tempo or laya is bound to be fast, and not slow like khayal bandishes. The words of the bols are referred to as 'meaningless', unlike the verbal quality of khayal. It induces a sprightly mood and resembles Kathak bols of the Indian classical dance form.
Khayalnuma - Indian classical musical form
This form is possibly the least familiar of classical forms in contemporary concert circuits. The word numa means 'in accordance with' in Persian. Together, the word connotes a musical form, which is in 'agreement' or in harmony with khayal. Khayalnuma is composed in a raaga and set to specific taals and developed and elaborated, exactly the way a khayal is, in all the three tempi. The only crucial difference is that it does not use verbal compositions at all; instead, it recourses to pakhawaj and tabla bols, as also meaningless words and syllables, for developing and elaborating a raaga. In other words, it is a khayal minus a bandish set to words. All the comprehensive modes of raga elaboration, like badhat, taans and laya-kari are distinctly discernible. The very existence of khayalnuma, as a classical musical form, only goes to prove that raga music can be created and sung without hindrances and the constraints of language.
Chaturang - Indian classical music form
It is a very appealing style of singing that compactly combines sections from four diverse classical forms - khayal, tarana, sargam and tirwat, all in the same raga. A crisp bandish with a well-structured sthayi and antara is rendered at first in madhya or drut laya. This is followed by a rapid tarana, which in turn gives way to sargam and the performance is rounded off with an enchanting tirwat, or the melodic use of pakhawaj and tabla bols. Like khayalnuma and tarana, chaturang relies, for the better part on the use of meaningless sounds to develop ragas. Yet, as the word chaturang signifies etymologically, it brings together a spectrum of four (chatur) 'colours' (rang) into one band. Each stands separately, but the whole coalesces to give a 'rainbow' effect.
Light Classical Forms
The term light classical music is an abomination to most singers and devotees of forms like thumri, tappa and dadra, because the word 'light' connotes a vacillating and weakened mode of classical music, devoid of its dignity and grandeur. There are many 'flyweights' in the field of khayal, as there are many 'heavyweights' in the realm of thumri. Yet, its several gifted practicians and passionate devotees avouch that their, relatively speaking, relaxed mode of rendition and use of lighter ragas ought not to be interpreted to mean that these forms are less demanding in terms of expression and performance. Nor should the word 'light' be taken to indicate a conceited division of ranks in the world of classical music. It is better to say that some of the greatest of khayal singers of modern and contemporary eras, like Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, Ustad Faiyaz Khan, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Hirabai Barodekar and Pt. Bhimsen Joshi have been astounding singers of most light musical forms. Gifted instrumentalists of different persuasions like Ustad Vilayat Khan, Ustad Rais Khan, Pt. Ravi Shankar, Pt. Nikhil Banerjee and Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia have readily integrated several modes of thumri and tappa into their styles and repertoires. It is customary for most classical singers and instrumentalists to render a thumri or a dadra as a penultimate or concluding item in their concerts. The reasons for taking a scornful or disdainful attitude towards light classical music are moral rather than aesthetic.
Thumri, Indian classical Music form
Thumri is a lively performance of rhythm and sensuousness, enthralling the audience by its charm. Thumri evokes a sense of sensuality, with its hugely rhythmic accompaniments, rendering a recital exceedingly captivating. This form of classical music bears resemblance to the dance form Kathak, as is referred to by historians. Such a kind of vigorous rendition calls for a whole-hearted participation. It is also said that thumri owes its roots to the chhota khayal and depends heavily on elaborate ragas. Unlike khayal, which tried to expand the recital by introductions of bandishes and detailed emotional chords, a thumri is directed at the overtly romantic senses of a listener.
Dadra, Indian Classical Music Form
Dadra resembles thumri in most respects. It many a time makes use of the dadra taal, hence the name. However, it is also set to other taals like keharva, chanchar and muglai. Dadra is more fast-paced than thumri. It could, thus be regarded as a lighter version of the heavy and slow-paced Poorab-ang thumri. Urdu verses are interspersed with Braj here. The prevailing mood is, of course, one of shringar, but is catchier and conveys greater abandon than does thumri. Importantly, unlike thumri, it does not use bol-banav. Hence the range of moods and meanings conveyed is limited as compared to thumri.
Tappa, Indian Classical Music Form
Tappa is catchy to the ear, due to its unusual aspect of bounce and re-bounce of musical notes. Tappa, understood to have been the staple diction of the erstwhile camel drivers, has since come to a ripened age, by being nurtured in the hands of some of the legendary masters in this genre. The word tappa stands for jumping, bouncing and skipping, implying the extraordinary rule of unremitting attempts made by a singer on the musical notes, not stopping or taking a pause for once. This outstanding formation is unique to tappa only, absent in the other Hindustani classical forms. It is thus composed of rhythmic and rapid notes, and such a style calls for immense and extreme hold over the singing diction. A contrary to which can damage the whole recital. Tappa is very unlike khayal rendition, crisp and highly volatile in its nature. And the few exponents like Ghulam Nabi, Pt. Bholanath Bhatt or Girija Devi have thus become legends in their own right.
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