form of music is the strongest and the most dominant component of
Indian music. Vocal music was considered to be a major part of Natya
Shastra historically too. There are several old and new genres of
Indian Vocal music such as:
is the oldest style of North Indian classical music and it was very
popular during the times of Tansen. Since it originated in King's
court, by nature it is either devotional or depictive of King's
glory. It is traditionally accompanied with Pakhawaj (an ancient
Mridang), and has four characteristic components namely - Sthaee,
Antaraa, Sanchari, Abhog. Dhruvpad is mostly sung in Chautal, Jhampa,
Teevra, Brahma, Rudra and other ancient classical Taals. Taans are
not used in Dhruvpad but Boltaans and tempo variations such as Dugun,
Chaugun etc. are inherent.
is similar to Dhruvpad, but romantic in nature rather than devotional.
Its form is identical to Dhruvpad but it was traditionally employed
to sing stories about Lord Krishna and his romantic adventures with
Gopis, especially during the festival of Holi. It is traditionally
sung in Dhamaar Taal of 14 beats, hence the name. Like Dhruvpad
it also has Boltaans and tempo variations such as Dugun, Chaugun
etc. and needs a lot of knowledge and expertise to be sung properly.
For this reason it is also known as Hori and has evolved into a
lighter version which is very popular form of folk singing in North
means a thought or an imagination in Farsi and Urdu. Musically speaking,
Khayal means an imaginative elaboration of a Raag while being within
its confines. Since this form of singing originated in quiet environment
of small Mehfils as opposed to King's court, Khayals are characteristically
sung softly and involve romantic compositions. Taans and Alaaps
are employed frequently and abundantly in its rendition. It is sung
in two basic tempos, Vilambit (slow) and Drut (fast). Those sung
in slow tempo are called Bada or Vilambit Khayal and the ones sung
in fast tempo are known as Drut or Chhota Khayal. Most common Taals
used for singing Khayals are Teentaal, Ektaal, Jhaptaal and Adachautal.
is a form of Khayal. It only differs from Khayal in that it doesn't
have lyrics and is sung based on meaningless syllables such as Ta,
Na, Da, Re, Dim etc. It is mostly sung in Madhya (middle) and Drut
(fast) laya (tempo) and characteristically becomes faster and faster
as the composition progresses. Taans and Boltaans are very common
composition comprising Swar (notes) of a Raag and bound in a Taal
is called Sargam-Geet. Lyrics are absent and the chief objective
is to become familiar with the notes of a Raag.
descriptive song listing the properties of a Raag, such as its Vaadi,
Samvadi swar, Jaati, Recital time etc., composed using the same
Raag that it describes is called Lakshangeet of that Raag.
may be considered as a version of Tarana since its form and rendition
are almost identical to Tarana except that it is sung to the bols
of Mridang. Since it is difficult to master, it is less popular
composition that comprises all the four basics namely Khayal, Tarana,
Sargam and Tirvat in same order is known as Chaturang (Chatur means
four and Ang means part, thus, four parts). First part has lyrics
followed by Tarana bols followed by Sargam of the Raag and the composition
ends with Tirvat.
is a semi-classical form of Vocal music. It is considered semi-calssical
since it does not remain loyal to one single Raag. It is a form
of singing which gives prime importance to expressiveness rather
than the lyrics or purity of Raag. It is also considered semi-classical
since it does not use classical Taals often but rather the lighter
versions such as Addha Tritaal, Keherva and Deepchandi. Its origin
is considered to be in court of the famous Nawab Asifuddaula of
Lucknow by a Punjabi singer named Miyan Shauri. Thumari singing
is known for its variations, improvisations and experimentations
with the structure of Raag in a bid to achieve the best possible
expression. Probably this is why musicologists do not consider it
a respectable form of singing.
is Punjab's version of singing Khayals but with a faster tempo and
more interesting Taals rather than the classical Taals. Tappa compositions
are characteristically very catchy and employ a lot of short but
melodious Taans. It is considered to be the fore runner to Thumari
style of singing.
is a light classical form of singing Dhamaar. When Dhamaar is sung
in lighter Taals rather than Dhamaar itself, the resulting composition
is known as Hori. This is traditionally sung during the festival
of Holi and describes the celebrations of Lord Krishna. Just like
Dhamaar, use of tempo variations such as Dugun and Chaugun with
Boltaans is very common in Hori.
is the name given to songs sung in North India describing the rainy
season. Since this season saw many brides waiting for their grooms
to come back home, traditionally Kajari has also become associated
with songs of separation. Its nature is romantic.
is a month in Hindu calendar synonymous to March-April. Hence, the
name Chaiti is given to traditional songs sung during spring in
North India. This form of singing is very old and typically describes
episodes from life of Lord Ram. Its lyrics are mostly Bhojpuri or
is a lighter and easier version of Thumari. It is mostly sung in
Madhya (medium) and Drut (fast) Lay (tempo), in Taals such as Dadra,
Keherva or Roopak.
songs written in pure Devnaagari language and sung predominantly
in Taals of 8 beats are known as Bhajans. This Taal is so typical
that it is known as Bhajan Theka. Bhajans can be composed in pure
Raags or in variations or combinations of Raags. Contemporary Bhajans
are sung in almost all Taals including Dadra, Roopak, Deepchandi
or even Teentaal.
are devotional songs sung in praise of Gods such as Ram and Krishna.
These have typically one or two line lyrics which are sung by a
group of devotees in a repetitive composition that gains tempo as
it progresses. Traditionally Keertans are accompanied with percussion
instruments such as Kartal, Jhaanjhar, Manjeera or even mere claps.
Membranous percussion instruments such as Tabla or Dholak are optional.
are melodious recitations of Urdu or Farsi poems. Since Ghazal singing
originated from poems, lyrics are of supreme importance and the
composition and its rendition are merely employed to embellish the
lyrics. For this reason a good command on language is essential
along with a profound understanding of music in order to sing Ghazals,
so that the singer can do justice to the lyrics.
Geet means song. The term Geet is used to denote a verse in Hindi
which is not Bhajan, Keertan or any other classical form of Hindi
verse or poetry. The songs from movies fall into this genre. There
is no hard and fast rule for composition of Geet and the composer
and singer have full liberty for all kinds of improvisations and
experimentations. Geet may or may not be based on a Raag. It is
the lightest version of Indian Vocal music.
is a form of spiritual singing originated by Sufis in the 12th century.
Typically the Qawwali starts with simple lyrics sung in a melodious
composition and as it progresses the singer or Qawwal strives to
find deeper meaning of the lyrics by improvising the compositions.
When sung perfectly the singer and the listener both go in trance.
Its nature has been devotional traditionally but contemporary Qawwalis
are often romantic.
and traditional communities throughout India have evolved with their
own regional customs and festivals which are celebrated with Folk
music unique to that community. It is almost impossible to identify
all kinds of Folk music in India however, some of the more popular
specimens are Banna, Virha, Chandaini, Sohar, Jhoomar, Savani, Lavani,
Barahmasi, Maand, Gauri, Janeoo, Bhaat, Pandvani, Suaa etc.