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History of Hindustani ClassicaI Music


Indian music has developed through very complex interactions between different peoples of different
races and cultures over several thousand years. Tracing the musical theory of the past makes clear the
position of the present musical system.

The Chronology
For any discussion of cultural matters pertaining to India the following rough chronological sequence or
historical periodization is useful.
2500 BC — 1500 BC
1500 BC - 500 BC
200 BC - 300 AD
300 AD - 600 AD
600 AD - 1200 AD
1200 AD - 1700 AD
1700 AD onwards

The Indus Valley Civilization
Little is known of the musical culture of the Indus Valley civilization of the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC.
Some musical instruments, such as the arched or bow-shaped harp and several varieties of drums, have
been identified from the small terracotta figures and from the pictographs on the seals that were
probably used by merchants. Further, the famous bronze statuette of a dancing girl, probably
representing a class of temple dancers, clearly indicates the presence of music.
Evidence of Rudra-worship during this period has also been found. Rudra was later to become popular
as Shiva~the supreme deity of dance, drama and music. Vedic Literature The Indus Valley civilization
died with the arrival of the Aryans, who descended into India from the northwest in the first half of the
2nd millennium BC. An important aspect of Aryan religious life was the bard-priest who composed
hymns, in praise of the gods, to be sung or chanted at sacrifices. This tradition was continued in the
Aryans’ new home in northern India until a sizable body of oral religious poetry had been composed.
This body of chanted poetry grew to massive proportions, and the best of the poems were compiled as
an anthology called Rigveda, which was then canonized. The hymns of the Rigveda, the oldest Veda, are
addressed to the elements of nature personified as deities, and are prayers for protection from
calamities and for attainment of prosperity - material as well as spiritual.

Kashyapa and Atri.000 years. up to the present period. Each kind of music effected different changes in Vedic mantras as were perceived to be necessary by the concerned musician. to whom the hymns of the Vedas appeared as revelations. are the authors of those hymns. Vashistha. A fourth Veda. Vedic music is the earliest instance of the deep relationship between religion and music in India. had composed the hymns. gestures and correct intonation in singing. ‘ma‘ refers to the musical notes. The richas or the hymns were often composed on the spur of the moment. autophones. Moreover. singing. Bharadwaja. the Atharvaveda. both having a philosophical content. . describing the procedures to be followed in the sacrifice. Music formed an important part of the rituals. The Yajurveda and the Samaveda were composed after the Rigveda The Yajurveda. The seven Rishis (saptarshis) are referred to in the Shatapatha Brahmana as Goutama. and there has been virtually no change in these texts for about 3. Vedic Music Vedic religion was based on performing sacrifices in order to propitiate the gods.movements. was accepted as a Veda considerably later and is quite unrelated to the other three. The veena. taken as a whole. It is this Veda which is specifically connected with music in India.representing the four major instrumental categories. Four major forms of music were prevalent in Sama- gayan. and the second component. dundubhi. the singer was to touch the middle phalanx of the fingers of the right palm with the right thumb according to the pitch of the note intended. The rishis. A disciple learnt this procedure by imitating his preceptor in pitch. The singing of sama was accompanied by the veena in accordance with a procedure that connected body . aerophones and chordophones. Vishwamitra. which consist of rituals and related examples. presumably. Music was used mainly for two functions: to propitiate deities and to accompany sacrificial offerings. Sages and seers (rishis) with extraordinary powers directly ‘saw and received them’ . lt was not committed to writing. The Vedas are considered to be revealed literature. Seated properly.e. the word sama itself is a compound expression and includes two entities: the first component ‘sa’ refers to hymns. with portions in prose. In fact. The Rigveda relied on recited hymns (richa).The Rigveda came into being between 1500 BC and 500 BC. the slightest change was forbidden. Iamadagni.hence their unique authority and influence. i. Vedic music also included instrumental music of various types. The Samaveda contains hymns to be sung by those who did the chanting. The seven Rishis are represented in the sky by the seven stars of the Great Bear. richa. Both solo and choral music were in vogue. to the next. membranophones. Many features of this music later percolated in various ways and in different proportions into different kinds of Indian music. but the text and the chanting formula were carefully handed down by word of mouth from one generation. instrumental music and dance were described as divine in Vedic literature. replete with magical chants and incantations. which structured the sacrifice. to each Brahmana is attached an Upanishad as well as an Aranyaka. The musical chanting of the Samaveda employed more notes (finally settling on seven notes). In fact. intonation as well as in finger movements. In order to ensure the purity of the Vedas. bhoomi-dundubhi and talav were the prominent instruments . including Hindustani Art music. tunav. is a manual. and is said to be the source of the later secular and classical music. The poems in the Rigveda are arranged according to the priestly families who chanted and. . it was believed that they propitiated deities. Each Veda has two parts: texts of the mantras and Brahmanas.

Shiksha is the first branch of Vedic learning. and there was no religious teaching. Soma-ras (soma juice) raised to the status of a deity in Rigveda. Soma drinking was held legitimate only after attaining a certain status in social and spiritual matters. it is evident that the precise concept of music or sangeet had been adequately established and appreciated.This method has occupied an important place in Indian culture. The Gurukul (guru’s dynasty or family) system dates back to the Vedic period. a pupil or shishya. 500 BC — 100 bc Ramayana and music The first Indian epic. the other. A guru is regarded as the metaphysical father of his disciple and is ranked higher than biological parents. Brihaspati and Vasishtha. For example.Soma No Vedic ritual was complete without the drinking of a sacred intoxicating liquor called soma. Shrotriya and Adhyapak. Bala (articulation). and studied the Vedas and other subjects under his guidance. was described as dharrna-shishya. was endowed with hallucinatory effects and extraordinary powers to heal diseases. The Gurukul was the direct precedent of the concept of gharana in Hindustani music. The gurukuls were well supported by kings who considered it their duty to make them financially viable. Sama (a kind of balance in the total utterance) and Santana (the spacing of the words). The institution was accessible only to the upper classes. even a slight mispronunciation signified ‘death’ instead of ‘life’! And yet. or teacher. Atri. Basically six aspects are dealt with: Varna (syllable). There were two types of shishyas: one. Yagnyvalkya Vashisthi. for a period of 12 years. easy tempo and lilting rhyme. when Rama . Some of the well-known Shikshas are Paniniya. Katyayani. the remainder of the soma was consumed by the officiating priests (Brahmins). Ramayana. Guru-Shishya Parampara Music in India has been passed on in a tradition best described as Guru-Shishya Parampara (preceptor- disciple tradition). lived in the house of his guru. was composed by the sage ‘Valmiki. Gurus were expected to teach everything they knew to the disciple. The Shiksha literature As the early Indian music was based on ritual and mantra. Soma was an integral part of Vedic sacrifices After first being offered as a libation to the gods. There were four kinds of gurus: Acharya. Manduki and Naradiya. in a gharana the learning was confined to the scholastic and the performing arts. It was written in shloka form. It deals with the science of correct pronunciation of vowels. who paid fees to the Guru was known as acharya-bhaga. It is from the samhita period that we have names of Acharyas such as Angiras. consonants and syllables. Matra (duration). music makers in the Sama-gayan did not hesitate to bring about changes in the words of the mantras they sang! Freedom was so liberally enjoyed that rules were made to regularise these deviations because they added to the quality of music produced. Narada. Garga. Pravakta. In the gurukul system of education. From the lavish use of musical metaphors in the epic. after his initiation (sacred thread ceremony). correct pronunciation was of great significance. who learnt by performing domestic chores in the guru’s house. of course. Swara (notes). The word shloka refers to a particular kind of metrical composition known for its brevity. Often. the last being‘ associated with the sage.

or the science of music was called gandharvashastra. Pathyo sangeet Pathya in Indian musicology describes a special mode of making music. The epic tells us that musical instruments were collectively mentioned as atodya. Mahabharata used the term gandharva instead of sangeet. Musicology. playing musical instruments and dancing. Soota. the monkey. leaving less time for music. So was Sugreeva. Pathya sangeet was not expected to entertain. when traditionally narrated in India in different languages and regions. Possibly human life had become more complex and problem- ridden during the time of the Mahabharata. samatala. was also propagated according to the musical norms perfected in the oral tradition. their clans or dynasties. their deeds. The use of technical terms in popular literature signifies that knowledge in the concemed field of study is widespread in society. A wide variety of instruments were used such as the Veena. It was presented before the Gods to please them. Venu. Sugreeva’s kingdom. the apsaras were experts in singing. Bharata laid down six main features of Pathya: 1) seven notes (saptaswara) 2) three basic locations for tone-production (sthanas) 3) four fundamental ways of empowering tonal arrangements (varnas) 4) two basic intonation modes (kakus) 5) six embellishments (alankaras) 6) six aspects (angas). The knowledge of music was widespread. Musical terms such as pramana. matra and shamya regularly feature in the epic. Superhuman beings called Gandharvas were the expert practitioners of this music. It was not meant for entertainment. as an oral epic. Panav and Pataha. kala. Both gandharvas and their consorts.describes Kishkindha. Vansha. whose repertoire ‘included songs in praise of heroes. tala. follows the norms laid down by the ancient Sage. laya. Bheri. There were three important features of Marga Sangeet. when they sang a narrative song in Rama‘s praise at his court accompanied by only a lute. This was the form employed by Rama’s sons Kush and Lava. Mridang.leader. Ramayana. Rama was an expert in gandharva. the ‘classical’ music of the time. to Laxmana. Four major types of instruments were identified. Occasions of festival music were known as samaj. Even today wandering musicians create Pathya sangeet. It was created and propagated by Brahma and other deities. This was the pathya mode of music making. Its aim was to inform and instruct. There is less about music in the Mahabharata than in the Ramayana. Magadha and others. There were professional classes of musicians such as Bandi. he refers to the lute-like resonance of the bees. the rhythmic croaking of frogs and the mridang-like sounds of clouds. The epic therefore referred to a more specific kind of music. Mahabharata and music Krishnadvaipayana Vyasa composed the epic Mahabharata in 24000 shlokas. Ravana the demon-leader was proficient in music. The term Marga sangeet is also used in the epic to denote the accepted and prestigious mode of music. Dundubhi. the story of Rama. Shankha. Even today. . ideal for narration.

a genre of songs in the ancient Gandharva mode of music making. The epic therefore bears testimony to the long living tradition of Indian Classical music. tunak and panak.Arjtma. is said to have been authored by Bharata sometime between 200 BC and 200 AD.300 AD Harivamsha. and the Hallisaka dance. There were. vepamei. Sculptures in Bharhut (200-150 BC) and Sanchi confirm that music flourished during the Buddhist period in spite of theological opposition. the Sthanangsootra lists the merits and demerits of vocalists.waiting in the performing arts. Buddhist and ]ain texts cover a wider gamut than the Sanskrit texts and very often include instruments used in folk music. kadamb and many others.the Chhalikya. Narada was the first sage to whom the laws of music were revealed. Music and Natyashastra With its historical and deep—rooted religious tradition. many classes of professional musicians like the gandharvas who catered to various musical and cultural needs. The names of the seven basic musical notes (shadja) have been clearly mentioned in the Mahabharata. Indian mythology holds music to be of Divine Origin. Natyashastra. many terms are clearly derived from the Sanskrit tradition indicating an overall musical continuity. The jatakas describe Buddhist monks singing and dancing to the accompaniment of instruments like the veena. of which music was a major and integral part. They contain a wealth of material of musicological interest. In all 63 instruments are itemised-bhambha. Music in Jain sources Jain literary sources interpret the prevalent music in important periods in Indian cultural history. or the Science of Theatre. 200 BC . in fact. The opposition was because music was seen as a distraction. Kings maintained their own music schools to train princesses and their maids-in. Iain texts list many instruments not mentioned elsewhere. The use of music in festivals and other social occasions brings out the importance given to music in human life. . and Bharata was the first to draw up rules for theatre. At the same time. Chhalikyq and Hallisqka Harivamsha is a volume of 16. In basic religious texts like Thergatha and Therigatha language was used in a way conducive to music making. machal. these nearly tally with Naradiya-shiksha. Jatakas are stories written in Pali around 300 BC about the previous births of Buddha. Both Buddhist and Jain sources often focus on those strata of society otherwise not described in Sanskrit texts. Tumburu was the first singer. which was composed around 400 BC. one of the heroes in the Mahabharata had learnt these musical arts from Chitrasen gandharva. a treatise on dramaturgy. For example. Music in Buddhist literature Valuable insights into the evolution of music can also begained from Buddhist literature and sculpture in India and in the countries to which the religion spread. Harivamsha is important because it describes two forms that may have inspired many composite genres in Indian cultural expression .374 shlokas appended to the great epic Mahabharata between 200 BC and 500 AD to complete the epic. Interestingly. Saraswati was the goddess of music and learning. Rayappasenaijja lists instruments in 18 classes. mukund. Sculptures based on Buddhist lore are a major source of information on music. Hence it is critical to examine the ]ain sources.

the anubhavas (the physical Consequents) and the vyabhicharibhavas (the Transient Emotional States)”. travelled far and wide in the country for several years during the Gupta period. The poem ‘Meghadoot’. A story in the ‘Panchatantra’ (fifth century).numerous references to music and dance in Kalidasa’s works show the importance accorded to music in man’s life during his period. Vatsyayana wrote his famous manual. the effects of echo and reverberation were felt. which include singing. The Buddhist monk. and the combined arts (like architecture). He noted his impressions about the remarkable prevalence of music in social life. Musical instruments were employed. dance and music. also refers to music. The words. Vamshi and Shankha. The music associated with the sacrificial hall was mainly the mantras. arts and learning in ancient India.Natyashastra devotes itself mainly to theatre. The Gupta king Harshavardhan (606-648 AD). He was a lyrical poet and a writer of epics and plays. 300 AD — 600 AD The Gupta period The period of the Gupta kings shone in literary excellence. Swarasaptaka and Tana and qualities of voice like Kinnarkanthi and Valguvagam. Streegeet and Apsarogeeti. The character of each of these spaces determined the pitch. one of the most celebrated compilations of fables ever produced by mankind. has interested the followers of both the scholastic and the performing traditions in India for the last 2000 years. Kamasutra (400 AD) during this period. There are references to music making in his plays. volume and timbre of music. Mridang. which were recited as well as sung. The chapters on music contain descriptions of various classes of instruments. This theory of Rasa enunciated by Bharata and interpreted by his major commentator Abhinavagupta(10th century). In it. The effect of instrumental and vocal timbres was more pronounced. stages and platforms and princely courts. ‘Ratnavali‘ and ‘Priyadarshika‘. It is the foundation on which Indian philosophical thinking squarely rests. Vipanchi vina. the techniques of playing musical instruments and the rules for talas are explained. technical terms like Murchana. theatre and music). the performing arts (mainly dance. Gandharva music. who was in the court of Vikramditya (380-413 AD). the fine arts (basically painting and sculpture). fiction and drama). the movements of the body and the involuntary reactions that favourably impact the aesthetic sensibility of the spectator. The . This . epitomises the artistic accomplishments of the Gupta period. The theory states that “Rasa arises from a (proper) combination of the vibhavas (the Stimulants). kalidasa’s works mention musical instruments like the Parivadini vina. temple precincts. It is presented by the appropriate modulation of the voice. was himself a singer. Kalidasa. It has provided an invaluable aesthetic framework for the literary arts (chiefly poetry. Natyashastra also defines the Rasa theory. their enunciation and their appropriateness for the ritual were the supreme considerations. ‘Nagananda’. In the closed or semi-closed structures of temple-spaces. It also touches on the related areas of cultural life of India. Hence these were developed. but their role was secondary. playing musical instruments and dancing. different types of songs like the Kakaligeet. Natyarasa is the primary emotion generated by the interaction of the various bhavas. he lists 64 ‘Kala‘s or arts essential to refined living. The tradition of Indian art music flourished in four kinds of performing spaces: sacrificial areas. the epic ‘Raghuvamsha’ and the play ‘Shakuntala‘ are some of his creative masterpieces that adorn the Indian literary tradition. It is often described as the Golden Age of culture. Fa-I-lien. though verse predominates. Pushkar. It is composed in prose and verse.

comes through in the number of instruments used. From the Gupta age onwards varied musical genres were practised within the temples. The music of this Purana deals with the rituals performed during the different phases of a sacrifice. The princely court was the most organised performing space. Music from the stage had to be heard as well as seen. Delicate effects and subtle nuances could be conveyed. lt refers to music as gandharva. Dattilam. touches on almost all the arts. which was a necessary and important part of an auditorium or a theatre. grand epochs.nibandhan. It came into being between 400 and 500 AD. All kinds of music were rendered from the princely court as all the external conditions could be controlled. a king of Nagas or serpents. donations. The Puranas were passed on from one generation to the next through the oral tradition. The stage or the platform was a space. as we know it today. the genealogy of gods and saints. construction of temples and idols.religious and popular music. folk. Through a dialogue between Saraswati and Ashvatara. and the history of the royal dynasties. in human and social life. Stories in the Puranas highlight the universal theme of the receiving of musical. sacrifices. is the main text for this music.of the 18 Puranas. Bharata‘s detailed instructions about the kutapa or the orchestra bring put the close relationship between the kind of music performed and the quality of stage space. Saraswati offers a boon to the King who desires nothing but the knowledge of the musical notes or swaras. is the culmination of a long process of development in musical thinking that aimed to meaningfully organise melodic and tonal material. although having very little original material. Temple-spaces have thus fostered art. three dwell at some length on music. differing in their size and shape. caste duties. The Vishnudharmottarapurana. which was collective dance and music. Into this core subject a Purana incorporates other religious accretions like. and the individual capacity of each to produce a greater variety of sounds. The Markandeyapurana is one of the smallest puranas. Dattilam: gandharvshastra: moving towards rogo The music of ragas. The Vayupurana is regarded as a very early purana that originated around 300 AD. hence the skilful used of stage space was necessary. It is believed that all the major Puranas were in circulation by 100 AD. Natyashastra elaborately described three kinds of theatre. dated roughly 400 AD. and places of pilgrimage. The Puranas also bring out the prestige that music was accorded. customs. There was also a much better interaction between the stage performer and the audience Music in Puranas A Purana traditionally treats five ubjects: the primary creation of the universe secondary creation after periodic annihilation. knowledge as a divine boon. They were gradually compiled and consolidated between 400 AD and 1000 AD. . It devotes one chapter each to Geet and Vadya. Yet another format that evolved in the temple space was the ghata . Visiting artists were also allowed to perform. it offers interesting insights into music. ceremonies. festivals. . A landmark step towards the evolution of the raga was taken when sama-gayan gave way to gandharva gaan as the mainstiream of the sacred music of India. which is traced to 400-500 AD. in these soirees. The courtyard of the temple allowed another kind of music-making called the samaj.

Gauda. The flow of time is now released channelled and directed. and by going from note to note in ways characteristic to the raga. processes. By using only these notes. cowherds and kings in their respective regions”.g. The names of some jatis like andhri. In Matangas discussion of musical scales and micro-tonal intervals he clarifies what Bharata had said in the Natyashastra. The jatis have ten basic characteristics. Raga is the melodic form while tala is the rhythm underlying music. Jati-gayan was entirely pre-composed. of music is explored through beats in time. children. “Deshi is that which is sung voluntarily and with delight and pleasure by women. as do the names of many Hindustani ragas today. Rages. talus and tala-music The present system of Indian music stands on two important pillars: raga and tala. the performer sets out to create a mood or atmosphere (rasa) that is unique to the raga in question. Khamaj. ‘Deshi’ has to be understood in contrast to ‘Mlargi’ music. In Hindustani music it is the artist who bestows quality on Time. Hindustani music stressed improvisation which completely changed its nature.ently puts in successive and equidistant strokes. The duration . The artist then creates a beat to mark the first division or segment. Kanada. became a framework to create music based on a given set of notes (usually five to seven) and characteristic rhythmic patterns. 600 AD . Together. The basic constituents of a raga can be written down in the form of a scale (in some cases differing in ascent and descent). the tala resulted from a similar evolution in rhythm. With this first division in time the flow becomes comprehensible. A musician marks the beginning of his tala whenever he wants. Brihaddeshi is the first major and available text to describe the raga.I200 AD The Deshi in music Brihaddeshi (The Great Treatise on the Regional). Dattilain also describes the 18 jatis which are the fundamental melodic structures for the jati-gayan. Matanga probably hailed from south India. He thus creates the first beat. The idea of the tala is embedded in the concept of time. the process of sequential re-arrangement of notes (murchana). the 22 micro-tonal intervals (srutis) placed in one octave-space. by Matanga was the first work to describe music in the period after Bharata. or notation in the names of notes. Through notes it was formalised into ascending and descending scales. According to Matanga. raga and tala distinguish Indian music from many other musical systems or the world. However. and the permutations and combinations of notesequences (tanas). which has been the central concept in Indian art music for centuries. before the advent of Islam began to influence music. It also introduced the sargarn. by emphasizing certain degrees of the scale. One of Matanga’s major contributions is his scholarly focus on the regional element in music.This text discusses parent tonal frameworks (grama). He thus makes available to us the matra. The rhythm. a measure to compute musical time. which closely resemble the structuring and elaboration of the contemporary raga in Hindustani music. which means colour or passion. Sorath. e. But the approach and concepts of Dattilam made the transition from sama-music to the contemporary raga-music significant and smooth. which is sacred and pan-lndian in its scope. Multani and Iaunpuri. The artist subsequ. oudichya may reflect their regional origins. Thus raga. Melody evolved as the raga through several. Deshi music captured the flavour of a range of human emotions from different regions. He also creates his divisions in time.

Ancient treatises enumerate 108 talas. The advent of Islam at the end of the 12th century brought Persian music and culture with it.d heard in Hindustani music. Amir Khusro began to compose poetry. when he was nine years old. Around the 9th century. The followers of Nizamuddin Chishti (1324 AD) included the ‘Basant’ and ‘Rang’ celebrations in their religious practices. Similarly during the time of Kaikubad (1287-1290 AD). contemporary performances are normally restricted to about 15 talas. long. both Farsi and Hindi songs found a place in performances. Varying degrees of secularity permeated these musical forms. Many Indian and non-Indian cultures took an active part in this transformation. Thus the talas function as accompanying entities in Hindustani music and dance. Each court he stayed in was culturally active and different from the others. instrumental sounds. In every tala in Hindustani art music clapping (tali). qalbana. Ultimately it became an inextricable part of the Indian cultural ethos. During his time at the ruler Kaikubad’s court. These sound syllables. Avadh-based music and musicians secured a firm footing in Delhi. qasida. Others like the great Akbar (1556-1605) were well-disposed towards their Hindu subjects. They also serve as the basis for solo renditions in rhythm music. khusro’s stay in Multan brought him in contact with Persian music. Three Khilji monarchs became his patrons successively. Turkish. Hindawi and Khacli Boli. that is. tapping of fingers and waving of the palm (khali or kal) are analogous. Muslim India had a. formulate sound syllables. the Sufis secured a firm foothold in India with their great love for music and acceptance of many indigenous customs. During 60 of those years. These weave a pattern of sound and silence. while his visit to Bengal exposed him to the music of the Vaishnavite tradition. However. He is supposed to have enriched or invented qawali.between two matras is known as the tempo. complex and eventful cultural history. Khusro lived for 70 years. The attitude of the Muslim rulers toward Hinduism varied. the tala-expression that is actually played an. The Muslim Political Backdrop in India Hindustani art music began to evolve after pre-medieval Indian music passed through certain stages of transformation and development till the beginning of the 11th century. create thekas. between 1265 and 1325. naqsh and many others forms of music. 1200 AD -1700 AD The Delhi Sultanate: Amir Khusro In 1262. as We know them today. Braj Bhasha. Some like Aurangzeb (1658-1707) were strongly anti-Hindu. I-Ie composed almost half a million verses in Persian. Each signalled a rnusico-cultural . The zeelaph and sarparcla ragas are also associated with Amir. Khusro spent time in the courts of as many as ten different Muslim rulers. Talas gain life and body when instruments play their role. when fitted suitably to the tala- divisions. The release of the time flow and the determination of the measure to compute it are the primary requirements to make a tala. when expressed onomatopoeically. Arabic. Cyclical and repetitive time-patterns composed of groups of long and short duration time divisions are talas.

. This musicological treatise is so highly regarded that the two important systems of art music in lndia. Sangeet Ratnakara The medieval age was characterised by an impressive and varied musical expression. Allauddin Khilji worked with Sufi saints through Khusro. and was instrumental in introducing diverse musical elements in Delhi. the music in vogue‘ as against ancient music. The term ‘Bhakti’ is first used around 800 BC in Pali literature. Neither. There was an abundance of musical instruments. Ratnakara emphasised the ever changing nature of music. explains the construction and the techniques of playing 14 kinds of drums. Both Hindu and Muslim musicians were employed in his court.change. He also brought into circulation the two specific musical genres of ‘tarana’ and ‘kaul’. try to trace their basic concepts to it. He replaced traditional Sanskrit songs by. Hindustani and Carnatic. called ‘Indraprastha Mata’ or ‘Chaturdandi : Sampradaya. The Bhakti movement This was a devotional movement emphasising the intense emotional attachment of a devotee towards his personal god. Ialaluddin. The number of different patrons that Khusro had. the first Khilji. Sharangdeva (1210-1247 AD). Raja Mansingh Raja Mansingh Tomar of Gwalior (1486-1516 AD) was the driving force behind introducing and consolidating Dhrupad. He is also credited with composing three volumes of songs: (i) Vishnupadas (songs in praise of lord Vishnu). and (m) Hori and Dhamar songs associated with Holi. Sharangdeva is firmly tethered to the prevalent musical practices of his time. The devotional fervour of the Alwars and the Nayanars. and the places he worked in. also travelled north. enabled him to get exposed to and assimilate diverse musical influences. which complemented the prevalent array of musical forms. however. In due course ’Bhakti’ became a widespread Hindu religious movement and way of life. was enthusiastic about secular music. was novel to the Indian musical scene. in particular were widel y used. Mansingh’s support gave pride of place to these genres. He also thus related music to the lives and language of the laymen He was a generous patron of the arts. a genre of Hindustani music that enjoys esteem even today. The mention of names of ragas like the turushka todi and the turushka gaud in this text show the percolation of the Islamic influence into Indian music. inspiring copious volumes of superb religious poetry and art. His stress is consistently on the ’lakshya’.Hindi songs. It was this project that resulted in the creation of that comprehensive treatise on music in Hindi. Drums and rhythm—instruments. the author of the famous Sangeet Ratnakara. This only reinforced the tact that Khusros Indianisation of the Islamic musical tradition complemented the Hindu tradition. ‘Mankutuhal’ . (ii) Dhrupads. Khusro is said to have created a new system of musicology. With the talent available in his court he initiated a major project to systematise the prevalent music. the saints who lived in South India between the 5th and the 10th centuries. the increasing role of regional influences on it and the increasing complexity of musical material that needed to be systemised time and again.

The legendary Tansen too came under its influence. The Bhakti movement remains an isolated example of a collective use of the structures and stylistic features of art music. His sect was known as the ‘Rudra Sampradaya’.The ‘Bhakti’ cult spread to the north in the 14th and 15th centuries. Vallabhacharya and his contemporary Sri Chaitanya spearheaded two separate Krishna cults in the 17th century. By the 15th century. Abul was a courtier in Akbar’s darbar. It was named after the eight musical acharyas or preceptors who composed the music of the cult. Music was composed mainly to eulogise patrons. ‘Haveli sangeet’ was the temple music practised by the ‘Pushti Margi Sampradaya’. Tansen Tansen. Among the many works attributed to him are a treatise named the ‘Ragamala‘. dance and drama. The Mughals . There were numerous musicians in the court. large parts of the areas under the sway of Hindustani Art Music were well ahead in linguistic and literary development. Ashtochop. Information about music in Akbar’s court comes from the “Ain e Akbari” of Abul Fazl (1551.1602 AD). Chandidas (14th—15th century). Vidyapati (1375 AD). Kashmiris and Turanis. and the shift from the pakhawaj to the tabla. The musicians were divided into seven orders. Pushti and Haveli sangeet. Avadhi or whatever. where it resonated with the Rama and Krishna devotional cults. songs and composite presentations. Using the regional language. Braj. Iranis. Nathadwara in Rajasthan was the main seat of this Vaishnava devotional cult. Theoreticians like Ramanujacharya and Ramananda and saint-poets like Kabir and Tulsidas belonged to the Rama tradition. He is said to have createdmany ragas like ‘Miyan Malhar’ and ‘Miyan ki todi. Tansen reduced the 4000 ragas and raginis of his time into a system of 400. In the Bhakti movement as in Hindustani Art Music. Tansen‘s Senia gharana divided into two streams. all happened during this period. Bhakta Narasimha (1416-1475 AD) and Meerabai (1555- 1603 AD) are ready cases in point. The Vallabha cult directly contributed to the theory and practice of music. Khayal and Tappa. The Vallabhacharya cult revived an older stream of music. The cult has created a rich historical tradition of temple-based music described as ‘Haveli sangeet’. as the vehicle. the legendary musician of Akbar’s court. The musical history of the post-Ashtachap period of Pushti-sangeet coexists with many developments in Hindustani Art Music The advent of the Dhrupad. both men and women.Music in Akbar’s court During the Mughal period. Hindus. The works of composers like Iayadeva (11th century). The religious and musical procedures of the cult were systematized by Vallabhacharya‘s son Goswami Vitthalnathji (1516- 1698 AD). Pushti and Haveli sangeet Vallabhacharya propounded the Shudhadvaita Vedanta (pure non-dualism) or Pushtimarga (the road to grace). ‘Sangeet Saar’. the dissociation of dance from music. many ‘Dohas’ describing the ‘lakshanas or the attributes of ragas. saint-composers were able to reach to people in social strata otherwise impervious to the influence of art and music. According to some scholars. temple music took a back seat and Darbar Sangeet came into being. and ‘Shri Ganesh Stotra’. This impacted Hindustani Art Music as well through Ashtachap. His elder son Bilaskhan headed the Rabab-players gharana and his second son Suratsen the sitar-players gharana. ‘Haveli’ is a temple visualised as a palace that the deity chooses to live in. using elements of speech. played a major role in propagating ideas in art and music. and especially under Akbar’s reign. The ‘Ashtachap’ stream of music was thus established (1607-8 AD). had his early training in the school founded by Raja Mansingh Tomar of Gwalior. There was . He also reduced 92 talas to 12.

The nineteenth century saw the birth of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah’s pageants. nay. 1700 AD onwards The Modern Period Music in India. bin. to result in the Hindustani music of today. went through a metamorphosis for four centuries from the sixteenth. pictorially representing the musical modes. The prototype of the thumri is traced to the ‘Chhalikya’ . and especially art music. Ibrahim Adil Shah was the moving spirit behind the famous Ragamala painting. From the beginning of the nineteenth century many Indian scholars began to publish material on Hindustani music in English as well as in regional languages. karna and tanpura. The modern period saw the birth of many of the musical forms dominant today. in 1665-6 AD. like Khayal and thumri. Headed by the legendary Tansen. Commoners were allowed freedom in matters like religion. He was a loving and generous patron to many musicians. But it contained the history of music between the times of Mansingh and Aurangzeb. One of them was the legendary Muhammadshah Rangile (1716-1748 AD). It was not a complete translation of ‘Mankutuhal’. popularly known as Sadarang. as we know it today. With the central Mughal power in Delhi weakening after Aurangzeb’s death. It also describes the art music of the 17th century. the Khayal. jogia jashan. But he patronised one major effort to shed light on the music current in his times. The musicians came from far and wide. This enabled the emergence of a chunk of art or classical music distinct from devotional or folk music. In various courts a sophisticated court culture evolved and crystallised. evolved and took shape. More than nine rulers vied with each other to promote their own respective court cultures. there was a quick succession of emperors. Aurangzeb (1618-1707 AD) was a puritan unfavourably disposed to music. Jehangir (1605-27 AD) was genuinely interested in music and generously patronised the art. invented a new genre. The thumri form of romantic and devotional music also became popular in the 19th century. of Raja Mansingh’s ‘Mankutuhal‘ written two centuries earlier. The Kitab-e-nauras of Ibrahim Adil Shah-II (1580-1626 AD) of Bijapur vividly describe the court music of this period. There were also multiple cultural forces at work. All these tell us the story of how Hindustani Art Music. The work reflects the confrontation between the prevalent and flourishing musical traditions in the South and the one taking shape under Muslim influence. This was Fakirullah Saifkhan’s translation into Persian. instead of Sanskrit. This was a welcome addition to the works of the early British Indologists. Akbar’s court was witness to a complete fusion of the Persian and Indian music systems. This modern period saw an increasing number of musicological works in Persian. This court music exhibited a great deal of Muslim influence. his palace maids and his subjects paraded as yogis. three who chanted and several instrumental musicians. Muslim influence on music India in the sixteenth century was politically and geographically for each day of the week. Hindi and other regional languages. and the music was rich and varied. there were 19 singers. It was in his court that Nyamatkhan. His Jehangirnama describes in detail the music enjoyed by his court. He enabled the publication of ‘Ragadarpana’. In these pageants the king. Urdu. The main instruments were the sarmandal. These presentations of Krishna- lore sowed the seeds of Modern Hindustani Theatre.

It was Bhatkhande who bridged this enormous gulf. He successfully undertook the arduous task of restating the musicological framework underlying contemporary musical performance. A gharana also indicates a comprehensive musicological ideology This ideology sometimes changes substantially from one gharana to another.N. Some of the -gharanas well known for singing khayals are: Agra. The music made by the gharana is replete with intricate patterns. In the early 20th century. The gharana seems to concentrate solely on khayal. dividing them in ten thaats according to his codification. historical evolution. There are also gharanas for thumris. The Lucknow gharana presents intricately embellished and . and documented and analysed performing traditions. Another musical stalwart of the 19th century was Sourendramohan Tagore. This in turn can be traced to the Sanskrit word ‘griha’. Indore. The treatment of each new raga is always as detailed as that of any known raga. is well known for its penchant for rare ragas.presentation in the Harivamsha (400 AD). The gharana concept gained currency only in the nineteenth century when the royal patronage enjoyed by performers weakened. (1840-1915 AD). He meticulously collected data on music. This assimilated the features of the Tappa in Hindustani music and the lilting rhythm of Bengali music. Performers were then compelled to move to urban centres. two people revolutionised Indian music: Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar and Pandit Vishnu Narayana Bhatkhande V. In the Benaras thumri. It elucidates his views on grammatical structures. He classified a total number of 1800 compositions from the major gharanas accessible to him. a new genre. Mewat. which means ‘family’ or ‘house’. He gave an entirely new perspective to the education and propagation of music. Kirana. Ramnidhi Gupta. performance norms and aesthetic criteria relevant to Hindustani music. teaching. It was his efforts that elevated music and musicians in the social hierarchy V. The mission of his life was to make Hindustani music international in its appeal and reach. even today. or Nidhubabu (1741-1839 AD). He did extensive musicological fieldwork across the length and breadth of the country. For instance. His literature on music remains unparallelled even today and is essential for a systematic study of Hindustani Art Music.Bhatkhande (1860-1937 AD) pioneered the introduction of an organised musical system reflecting current performance practices. Nidhubabu’s compositions were in Bengali and were secular in content They were different from the usual devotional model of singing about love through mythological pairs. music in India has changed so considerably that no correlation or correspondence was possible between Sanskrit musicological texts and the music practised in modern times. Patiala. Since then. Sahaswan. usually Radha and Krishna. The Chhalikya genre combined song and dance with dramatic gestures. Gharunos The term gharana is derived from the Hindi word ‘ghar’. the names of many gharanas refer to places. performance and appreciation of music. They are its staple fare. Gwalior. they fell back on the names of the regions they hailed from. the words in the text of a song are musically embellished to bring out their meaning. Bhendibazar and Jaipur. the leisurely development of ragas as well as the premium placed on emotional content of music narrows the choice of ragas available to the Kirana gharana founded by Ustad Abdul Karim Khan (1872-1937 AD). gave us the Bengali tappa. It directly affects the thinking. Paluskar (1872-1931 AD) introduced the first music colleges. The historical tradition of music in India was completely disrupted during the medieval times. The Jaipur gharana founded by Ustad Alladiya Khan (1855-1945 AD). D. Therefore. The followers of the gharana sang many rare ragas. founded by Ghagge Khudabux (born in 1800 AD) has a rich repertoire of varied types of musical compositions. To retain their respective identities. The Agra gharana.

The gharanas of the tabla are Lucknow. The concept of hereditary musicians was not confined to vocal music alone. It is with this tappa element that the gharana makes its impact. an instrument established earlier than the tabla.delicate thumris that are explicit in their eroticism. Delhi. Hence there are also gharanas in instrumental music. are not named after places but after their main protagonists like Kudau Singh and Panse. departing from the khayal-dominated Benaras thtunris and the dance- oriented Lucknow thumris. The gharanas of the pakhawaj. Ajrada. among others. Punjab. Benaras and History of Hindustani Classical Music) . The principal feature of the thumri of the Patiala gharana is its incorporation of the tappa from the Punjab region. (Courtesy: WWW.

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