(Last Updated on : 17/01/2011)
Gitis in Indian Classical Music
are a kind of melodic development which comprise the Varnas (melodic movements) and Alankaras (ornamentations). The Gitis have a Pada (the syllable) and Laya (the tempo). There are three aspects of Gitis- Pada (text), Tala (rhythm) and Svara (notes). In the Natyashastra
, consideration has been given only to the first two of these aspects and the Gitis have been classified on the basis of these. In later centuries it is seen that the third aspect i.e. that of Svara has also been given due consideration and Matanga, Parsvadeva and Sarhgadeva have all typified Gitis on the basis of Svaras as well.
Four types of Gitis are distinguished on the basis of Padas and Talas. These are Magadhi, Ardhamagadhi, Sambhavita and Prthula. These Gitis have been called Padatalasritagitis (Gitis dependent on Pada and Tala) as it was the Pada or the syllable and the Tala or the rhythm which was the basis of distinction between the different types. The most important aspect of these Gitis was that the singer was required to keep the number of Matras (beats) constant in all the lines despite the fact that the number of syllables in each line was different. The different lines had to be sung in different tempos. It has been written by Bharata that the use of Gitis in Dhruvas (stage songs) was prohibited as they were to be exclusively used in Gandharva music.
Apart from these Padatalasritagitis described by Bharata, Sarhgadeva has mentioned five other types of Gitis which are distinguished on the basis of their Svaras. These Gitis are called Svardrista Gitis as they were based on Svara. Both Padatalasritagitis as well as Svarasritagitis have been dealt with by Sarhgadeva. Sarhgadeva describes five types of Svarasritagltis viz, Suddha, Bhinna, Gaudi, Vesara and Sadharan. In Suddhagiti, the notes are sung in their natural sequence (Avakraih Svaraih). This manner of singing imparts to Suddhagiti an aesthetically pleasing quality. In Bhinnagiti the notes are sung in a zig-zag sequence (Yakraih Svaraih) and they are embellished with special Gamakas like Sphurita. This imparts to Bhinnagiti an altogether different melody and rare appeal.
The Gaudigiti is characterized by a lavish use of special Gamakas which are sung in all the three Sthanas (registers), i.e., Mandra (the lower), Madhya (the middle) and Tara (the upper) without any loss of aesthetic appeal. In Vesara or Vegasvaragiti the Svaras are sung in four types of Varnas with such swiftness as to produce a high degree of musical appeal. The Sadharanigiti is an amalgam of the preceding four Gitis - Suddha, Bhinnd, Gaudi and Vesara.
Gitis form an important part in the composition of Dhrupad
and the qualities of both types of Gitis are to be found in the Dhrupad. The equal importance given to Pada (the text), Tala (the rhythm) and Svara (the note) is because of the heritage of Dhrupad from both types of Gitis - the Padatalasritagitis as well as the Svardsrita. The sophistry of Laya (the tempo) and Tala (the rhythm) are the legacy of Padatalasritagitis while the Banis are the legacy of Svarasrita Gitis.