History of Music of Assam
Historians claim that a distinctive culture of the conglomeration of Songs, Musical Instruments and Dance was observed in Assam from the 2nd century. The legend of Princess Usha of Sonitpur (now Sonitpur District) and her associate Chitralekha also enlightened the Assamese women on the musical expertise. History also claims that Assamese Music was admired even in China. During the period of the Early Vedic times and the later Vedic times, Assam was introduced with "Ragas" and "Dhrupad Shailee" of the Indian Classical music. The connoisseurs however have divided the classical Assamese music into two parts - Borgeet and Oja-pali. The composer of Borgeet, Srimanta Sankardeva and his disciple Madhavdeva gave a new definition to the Assamese music. However, it could be stated that Assam has been musically affluent since the birth of the Brahmaputra River.
Features of the Music of Assam
A basic characteristic of the ethnic Music of Assam is its descending scale, which differentiates it from the raga-based music or folk music of the rest of India. This style is shared by ethnic music of the hill people surrounding the state of Assam, and by the music of Thailand, Myanmar and China. Furthermore, the tunes are structured in a pyramid form, in contrast to the music of rest of India which is "meend" based. Meend in Indian Classical Music is a term that actually describes a large variety of glissandos between two pitches. In a strict sense, it designates a glissando executed very slowly; other, more rapidly sung forms are designated by their own technical terms.
Types of Music of Assam
There are several types of Music of Assam, which can be differentiated according to their genres. The types are given below:
Regional Folk Music: In regional music, there are Kamrupi Folk Song, Goalpariya Lokageet, Oja-pali, Tokari geet, Deh Bisaror Geet, Baramahi geet and Malita (ballad).
Ethnic Folk Music: Jhumur song and Bharigaan songs are the famous ethnic folk Music of Assam.
Bihu songs: Bihugeet and Husori songs are the categories of the Bihu songs
Allied Syles Music of Assasm: Borgeet, Biyanaam, Nisukoni geet, Gorokhiya Naam and Bongeets are the major classifications of the Allied Style Music of Assam.
Bhakti Music of Assasm: Borgeet, Zikir and Zari, Ainaam, Dihanaam and Hiranaam are the Bhakti Music of Assam.
Contemporary Music: In contemporary music of Assam, the musical instruments are Dhol, Gogona Pepa, Taal, Toka, Xutuli, Khol, Mridanga, Madol, Dotara, Dogor, Baanhi, Nagera, Ektara Bhortala, Doba, Bah jantra (Bamboo sound), Zuri tala and Kaali etc. Some of the well-known contemporary music artists are Bhupen Hazarika, Bishnuprasad Rabha, Jayanta Hazarika, Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, Khagen Mahanta, Pratima Barua Pandey, Rameshwar Pathak and many others. Some prominent composers of Assamese songs are Axl Hazarika, Angaraag "Papon" Mahanta, Ambikagiri Rai Choudhury, Beauty Sharma Barua, Begum Parveen Sultana, Bornali Kalita, Debojit Saha, Dipak Sarma, Jim Ankan Deka and many others who entertain the people of Assam and the North East and the rest of India as well.