Don’t we all know India to be the country with a musical history spanning more than a millennium? Whether it be the rich legacy of the Indian classical Music, the heritage, traditions, and frolic which come with the folk genres or the modern elements attached to Indian hip-hop and jazz, Indian musical forms traverse an endless number of varieties originating from different regions of the country.
Let us get to know a little more about these musical forms.
1 Indian Classical Music
Many of us wouldn’t have known that Indian Classical Music is primarily divided into two major parts Hindustani Music and Carnatic Music. Hindustani music is more common in the northern, central and eastern parts of India whereas Carnatic music originated in the Indian Peninsula. Hindustani Music is influenced by ancient Hindu musical traditions, Hindu Vedic Philosophy, Native Indian sounds, Persian and Mughal elements. Dhrupad, Dhamar, Khyal, and Tarana are some of the Hindustani classical genres. Carnatic music originated in South India during the reign of the Vijayanagar Empire. Carnatic music possessing more than 7.2 million ragas is mainly based on vocals. Compositions are principally meant for singing. Every December Chennai hosts an eight-week long music festival celebrating Carnatic Music, this is also considered to be the world’s largest cultural fest.
2 Rabindra Sangeet
Rabindra Sangeet, much popular in Bengal was written and composed by the bard Rabindranath Tagore. These songs are set apart by their distinctive rendition while singing which takes into account lots of ornamentation like the meend, murki etc. Toppled with expressions of romanticism, the music is usually built on Hindustani Classical Music and Folk music of Bengal. His songs are based on themes ranging from humanism, structuralism, psychology, romance to nostalgia, reflection and modernism. During his travels he got acquainted with musical narratives from the west, from the south of India etc and these styles can be found incorporated in some of his works. The song ‘Piyu Bole’ in Parineeta(2005) is an adaptation of the famous Rabindra Sangeet ‘Phoole Phoole’.
Dandiya also called Raas is native to Gujarat. It is a cultural dance form performed with lots of zest and fervour. You’d find men and women decked up in traditional dresses along with dandiya sticks gathering to perform to the dandiya music. The present day musical form for Dandiya has been derived from the traditional music accompaniment to the folk dance. It is mostly performed during the nine-day Navaratri festival. Another variety of dance and music from Gujarat similar to the dandiya/raas is known as Garba. The song ‘Radha Kaise Na Jale’ was seen as a famous dandiya song in the Oscar winning movie ‘Lagaan’.
Though there are three variants of Bihu. The one in which men/women sing and dance falls somewhere in the middle of April. It’s a festival celebrating the new year in Assam. Bihu songs and dances are accompanied by traditional drums like dhol and traditional wind instruments like the Pepa ( made out of buffalo horns) and Gogona. The songs are full of enthusiasm and energy and welcome the mighty festival of Spring. Men and women dress up in traditional dhotis, mekhela chadors etc to celebrate the festival of nature and mother earth in all its glory. The tunes of Bihu have also influenced many Bollywood songs. The song ‘Dola Dola’ from the movie ‘Rudaali’ is a quite famous Bihu track in a Bollywood movie.
5 Uttarakhandi Music
The playful and merry folk music from the astounding hills of Uttarakhand has its source in the lap of Mother Nature and the breathtaking hilly terrains. The prevalent themes we come across in the folk songs of Uttarakhand are the beauty of nature, change of seasons, festivals, religious customs, folk tales, historical figures, brave heroes etc. The regional songs clearly showcase the cultural heritage of the area and also depict how people live their lives in the higher altitudes. Musical instruments like the dhol, damoun, turri, ransingha, dholki, bhankora and thali are played along. In the folk music recorded after the 1960’s instruments like Tabla and Harmonium have been used. A few global instruments from around the world have also been inculcated in the modern folk songs by singers like Narendra Singh Negi, Mohan Upreti etc. The Uttarakahndi folk song ‘Sang Mere Nikle’ could be heard in the movie ‘Phir Wohi Raat’.
A much popular and commonly practiced musical form from Maharashtra, Lavani originates from the term ‘Lavanya’ which signifies love. It has become a part and parcel of the Maharashtrian folk dance performances. Sung mostly by female artists, male artists very rarely contribute to singing Lavani. The dance form performed with Lavani is called Tamasha. This enchanting combination of song and dance is set to tune with the beats of Dholaki. Women get dressed up in nine yards of the nauvari saree and dance to the quick tempo. The vivacity, enthusiasm, rhythms, and beats of Lavani restate pleasure and joy in the dry and arid areas of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. ‘Launga Mirchi’ is a peppy Lavani dance track from the 1982 movie ‘Ashanti’.
7. Rajasthani Music
The rich and culturally diverse land of royal Rajasthan is famous for its musician communities. Some of these communities are nomadic tribes. Langas, Sapera, Bhopa, Jogi, and Manganiyar are some of the musician clans from Rajasthan. Different musical sects create music using different stringed instruments like the Sarangi, Rawanhattha, Kamayacha, Morsing, and Ektara or percussion instruments like the Nagaras, Dhols, and tiny Damrus. The much loved native tunes of Rajasthan which are soulful, full-throated and diverse enjoy a reputable presence in the Hindi FIlm Music industry. The song ‘Morni Bagaan Maa’ is a Rajasthani song which was heard in the Bollywood movie ‘Lamhe’.
8. Hindi Film Music
We know the most highly demanded form of music in India to be Film Music. Bollywood music makes up around 72% of the music sales in India. Our brilliant film industry creates music based on traditional classical music while putting to use the western orchestration to support western melodies. Some extremely talented Music composers like R.D Burman, Shankar Jaikishan, S.D Burman, Madan Mohan, Kalyanji Anandji, A.R. Rahman, Shankar Ehsaan Loy, Salim-Sulaiman, Shantanu Moitra, Pritam etc worked out the principles of harmony while keeping intact the classical and folk flavours. In Indian movies marked by the culture of playback singing the songs aren’t sung by the actors and actresses. The voice is provided by expert playback singers, whereas the actors are simply required to lip sync. Some of the recent Playback sensations leading the present music scenario include Shreya Ghoshal, Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan, Sunidhi Chauhan, Alisha Chinoi, Anu Malik, Alka Yagnik and Arijit Singh.
9. Indian Hip Hop
Indian Hip Hop is growing as a genre. The version of hip-hop in the Indian Subcontinent is referred to as Desi Hip Hop. Originally having developed in New York City, it has grown as a genre in India. At present, the number of independent rappers in India exceeds 2000. The rappers come from different parts of the country and most of them rap in their native languages like Punjabi, Haryanvi, Bhojpuri, Hindi, Khasi etc. Hip Hop’s growing popularity depends on the youth who have begun penning down songs following their moods and preferences. Bohemia, Badshah, Lazarus, Fateh Doe, Ikka Singh, Raxstar, Divine, Yo Yo Honey Singh are a few of the renowned Hip-hop stars. Hiphop Tamizha and Machas With Attitude are two of the most notable hip-hop crews or duos.
10. Indian Jazz Music
Jazz originated in India in the 1920’s. African American Jazz musicians began performing in cities like Bombay and Calcutta. These jazz musicians inspired the Goan musicians to implement elements of jazz into Hindi Film Music. A buzzing and active jazz scene still exists in cities like Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Goa, and Kolkata. The memorable era from the 1930’s to the 50’s is known as the golden era of jazz in India. African American Jazz musicians like Leon Abbey, Crickett Smith, Creighton Thompson, Ken Mac, Roy Butler, Teddy Weatherford and Rudy Jackson toured around India performing jazz and made this musical form quite famous through the country. The song ‘Kaisi Paheli Zindagani’ in the movie ‘Parineeta is a typical example of a jazz song in a Bollywood movie.
The music scenario in India is incredible. Our music has a variety of spectacular forms and variations. Different forms are popular amongst different communities or different age groups depending on the trends, traditions, and culture. To discover some interactive games, interesting quizzes and informative blogs on Hindi Film Music
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