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as in the Dagar Tradition The Origin and the Grammar of Dhrupad Dhrupad singing evolved from the singing of prabandhas i in the medieval period, and like the writings of the bhakti saints of the time, it is suffused with a mystical devotion to God. It later received the patronage of the Mughal court, and its survival to the present times owes much to the support of its various royal patrons. Despite a decline in its popularity over the last two centuries, Dhrupad is still considered to be the purest of all classical forms, and its treatment of ragas is still taken to be the ideal one. A Dhrupad performance starts with the alap, which in its initial stage, is a slow and elaborate delin eation of the raga using free flowing melodic patterns. Usually starting with the sa of the middle oc tave, the alap patterns gradually descend to the lower octave, and then returning to the middle octave, they rise to the higher register in a gradual succession of melodic patterns. A final return to the middle octave sa concludes the first part of the alap. In uttaranga pradhan ragas like Bahar or Adana, the alap is done mainly in the higher registerii. The alap is sometimes preceded by the singing of a Sanskrit shloka, which is set to the same kind of free flowing melodic patterns. This shloka serves as a prelude to the alap. In this methodical note by note elaboration, the melodic patterns at any stage seem to be focused on some individual note or resting point of the raga. The patterns take up the different facets of the raga one by one, and their gradual succession creates an impression of the raga slowly unfolding itself. In some ragas with a vakra roop like Shankara or Hem Kalyan, this kind of a note by note elaboration cannot be done. The alap employs variations of traditional melodic patterns that the musician has to assimilate through years of training and practice. It is essentially exploratory and improvisational, and through it the musician explores the relationships between the notes, their mutual consonances, and all the melodic variations that are possible within the framework of the raga. Dhrupad alap is syllabic, because it employs the syallables aa, ra, na, naa, ra, naa, noom, na, te, ta, ra, na, na... which are abstrations of the mantric phrase “Om antaran tvam, taran taaran tvam, ananta Hari Narayan Om” , the words having been broken down to their syllables to facilitate melodic improvisation. The syllabic nature of the music actually adds to the melodic possibilities, because the character of any melodic phrase can be altered by shifting or changing the syllables. As the use of the syllables of Hari Narayan Om suggests, Dhrupad singing is in its essence a spiritual pursuit. It can be seen to be a form of meditation in which nada is used to attain liberation or the realization of Bramha. Dhrupad alap, with its succession of free flowing patterns, produces a deeply meditative atmosphere, and although the rasas karuna, shringar, adbhut and, at a later stage, even veer rasa make an appearance, the overriding predominance is of bhakti. The great masters of the Dagar tradition Ustads Zakiruddin Khan, Allabande Khan and Nasiruddin Khan were especially renowned for their serene and meditative alap singing. Once the elaboration of the raga through free flowing patterns is completed, the alap enters a phase in which the patterns are set to a rhythmic pulse, with a moderate tempo in the beginning, which is increased in stages later. In this portion, the presence of a rhythmic pulse combines with the syllabic character of the music, and alters the nature of the melodic patterns. This enables a melodic elaboration different from the one achieved with free flowing patterns. The patterns in the later part of this stage are embellished with ghamaks iii. The alap is followed by a composition sung to pakhawaj accompaniment. The talas that commonly occur here are choutaal, jhaptaal, sultaal and dhamar taal. Although the word Dhrupad refers to the composition (Dhrupad means a composition that is immutable), there is a commonality between the alap and the composition since they both employ the same kind of melodic patterns. The techniques meend, ghamak, lahak, kampit, andolit etc. that occur in the alap, appear in the same way in the patterns of the composition. The composition can in fact be seen to be an encapsulation of the alap patterns, and Dhrupad musicians of the Dagar tradition actually use the composition patterns as models for alap patterns. The composition with its four parts sthayi, antara, abhog and sanchari summarizes everything that preceded it and brings the exposition of the raga to an end iv.
Indian classical music has today reached a stage. Each raga employs a distinct shade of sa. and the pace of Dhrupad alap must necessarily be slow. and that is a consequence of the sa of the two ragas being different. This voice is different from the throaty voice that is ideal for Khayal and Thumri singing. The two center strings of the tanpura establish the sa. which describes this method of producing nada (chapter 3 shloka no. Ultimately. which uniquely characterizes its swarup. The correct shade of sa (or of re or of any other note of the raga) is sufficient to establish the swarup of the raga. and seems to permeate the very being of the singer. but the ornamentation is essentially microtonal. and explore the relationships between just a few notes at a time without losing the characteristic ambience of the raga. Yet there still survives a musical tradition which recognizes that a whole World of musical possibilities opens up when the notes cease to be mere points. In the Dagar tradition of Dhrupad. and further down to the heart (hriday) and the navel (nabhi) till a stage is reached with the entire region from navel to head (murdhanya) vibrates as one. can establish the swarup of the raga to be performedv. But this is a world that cannot be accessed easily. so that the instrument itself. and all other notes employed are merely overtones of this sa. in some of his old recordings. Consonance or samvad is especially important in Dhrupad because a raga in Dhrupad is identified by its swarup or characteristic ambience. employing the notes in their subtle microtonal shades vii. This can be experienced in the recording of Megh released by the Mewar Foundation. and the same applies to re or pa because they arise as overtones of sa. Ustad Nasiruddin Khan was especially renowned for his accomplishment in nada yoga. Ashish Sankrityayan . and the sa of the raga varies in relation to this. and all ornamentation is avoided to produce a very austere and rigid kind of music. In the voice of a Dhrupad singer who has achieved siddhi in nada yoga. It is often heard that Dhrupad employs just plain notes.The Concepts of Swara and Raga in Dhrupad Dhrupad singing requires the practice of nada yoga. The prominence of overtones that is achieved through the nada sadhana of Dhrupad also creates a consonance between the voice and the tanpura. that this sadhana involves shifting the source of sound gradually to the base of the throat (kanth mool). The author of this article can say from his personal experience of training under various Ustads of the Dagar tradition. They somehow seem to elude a definite grasp x. by its very tuning. The sadhana of nada yoga produces a resonant voice that comes from deep within. This prominence of overtones enforces a consonance or samvad between the notes. the swarup concept enables a treatment of ragas in which a characteristic note sequence need not be constantly repeated vi. The concept of the swarup of a raga comes from the fact that the sa is itself a variable and undergoes mi crotonal shifts from one raga to another. the intonation of sa produces very prominent overtones of pa and ga. The swarup concept in the Dagar tradition. There is a shloka in the Sangit-ratnakar of Sarangdev. and it is this consonance that produces a dense and meditative atmosphere that is so characteristic of the singing of the Dagars. because consonance cannot be experienced without lingering on the notes. can be experienced in the recordings of Darbari Kanada and Asavari of the Elder Dagar Brothers that were released in the 1960s. that the voice sounded like the tanpura and appeared to blend with it. A similar prominence of overtones is seen in the rudra veena and the sursingar. It is therefore possible to linger on the notes. The sa of Miya Malhar differs from that of Megh. the Dagar Dhrupad tradition sees the notes as fluid entities with endless shades that seem to flow and merge into each otherix. Ustad Nasir Moinuddin Dagar establishes the swarup of Megh. and also in the instrument of percussion accompaniment the pakhawaj.4). enables the tanpura or the veena to be tuned differently for different ragas. The re of Megh has a lower pitch than the re of Miya Malhar. where the very mention of a variable sa or pa would be greeted with derision. This quality can also be seen in the voice of his younger brother Ustad Rahimuddin Khan Dagar. The fact that the tuning of the tanpura and the very first sa can establish the swarup of the raga. in which with the very first low and subtly modulated re. This subtle and microtonal ornamentation of Dhrupad seems to be lost on listeners who are used to ornamentation at a grosser level that occurs in other formsviii. It is a voice that is very rich in overtones. There is actually a whole world of ornamentation in Dhrupad. and it is said that the prominence of overtones in his voice was such. which is a form of laya yoga. and is not seen to be merely a certain sequence of notes. which are regarded as the ideal instruments for Dhrupad alap.
and the beauty and imaginativeness of their melodic elaboration. In many of his performances he would actually demonstrate the stylistic peculiarities of his great predecessors. They were trained in the musical tradition of their family by their father Ustad Nasiruddin Khan (1889-1936). a deep resonant voice and flowing patterns full of devotional feeling formed the perfect jugalbandi (duet) partner for his elder brother. In their jugalbandi (duet) singing. 1 . who usually dominated the proceedings. with just one or two of them having a grasp of the tradition in its totality. Ustad Ziauddin Khan. and it is to be hoped that this knowledge will be built upon and the tradition will rejuvenate itself. His singing had all the characteristics of the nada sadhana of the Dagar gharana. and their uncles Ustad Ziauddin Khan (1886-1946) and Ustad Riyazuddin Khan (1885-1947). There was a dynamism. a richness of subtle microtonal ornamentation. was particularly known for his mastery over the deeper and subtler aspects of the Dagar tradition. and his music contained stylistic influ ences of his father Ustad Nasiruddin Khan and his uncle Ustad Ziauddin Khan. always runs the risk of suffering a decline due to the loss of a crucial member.App. The untimely deaths of outstanding musicians like Ustad Nasiruddin Khan.The Elder Dagar Brothers The Elder Dagar Brothers Ustad Nasir Moinuddin Dagar (1919-1966) and Ustad Nasir Aminuddin Dagar (1923-) were recognized as the foremost singers of the Dagar tradition of their generation. his younger brothers Ustad Nasir Zahiruddin Dagar and Ustad Nasir Faiyazuddin Dagar continued the tradition of Dhrupad jugalbandi singing. and shared a rapport that is possible only between musicians who have undergone their entire process of musical development together. which depends on a very small number of musicians for its survival. The younger brother Ustad Nasir Aminuddin Dagar with his slightly restrained style. they complemented each other with their slightly contrasting styles and differing voice qualities. Their singing was characterized by serene and dignified alap. . After the death of Ustad Nasir Moinuddin Dagar. a certain element of surprise in the sudden turns that his melodic improvisation could take. A musical tradition. Ustad Nasir Moinuddin Dagar and others has deprived the Dagar tradition of such crucial torch bearers. Ustad Hussainuddin Dagar (Tansen Pandey). Yet a core body of knowledge still survives. The elder brother Ustad Nasir Moinuddin Dagar.
Geet Govinda Rasik-Priya Tika. namely Gobarhar Vaani. Both these maestros of Udaipur. Rana Kumbha demonstrates his complete mastery and indepth knowledge of the three pillars of music. further. as one of the greatest figures for all times. which is Rana Kumbha's greatest contribution to the world of Indian music. and Nritya. Rana Kumbha was a ruler of multifaceted talents: a man as intensely and passionately devoted to music and literature as to the rigours of warfare. romanticism and the sheer shakti or energy of Veer-ras. Maharana Bhagwat Singhji 1921-1984 continued his tradition by giving patronage to Khan Sahib Nasir Moinuddin Dagar and Khan Sahib Aminuddin Dagar. Vadya-Praband are some of the epic works credited to the genius of this great 15 th century ruler of Mewar. Nandi-keshav-avatar. serious and thought provoking style of classical vocal music. 2 . Dagar Vaani and Nauhar Vaani. The association of the Dagar Dhrupad tradition in the Mewar court started when Maharana Sajjan Singhji 1859-1884 appointed as his court musicians Ustad Zakiruddin Khan Dagar 1840-1923 and Ustad Allabandhe Khan Dagar 1845-1927 the foremost exponents of Dhrupad of their times. is a shaili or style derived from Prabandh Gayan. He further embellishes the Prabandh with six angs or facets that lend greater depth to the singing of Dhrupad xi. one of the purest musical forms that has its roots in ancient Vedic culture. The classification of Prabandh Gayan. Rana Kumbha: Devoted to Dhrupad In his quest to preserve the ancient traditions of classical music. the multi-faceted ruler of Mewar in the 15th century. Classical music is no longer confined to the realm of mere scholarly pursuits or general entertainment. Rana Kumbha. In Sangeet-Raj. With the accompaniment of percussion instruments like mridang or pakhawaj. Sur-Praband Sangeetratnakar Tika. as we know it today. Antara and Aabhog. yet another element of Dhrupad-Gayaki. Melapak. Rana Kumbha classifies the sections of Dhrupad-gayaki as Udgrah. Mewari Tika. often likened to man's search for moksha or salvation. with over 16000 shlokas or couplets. In his musical works on Prabandh Gayan. This magnum opus of the medieval world. thus builds the strongest founda tions for Indian classical music and emerges beyond doubt. Sangeet-Raj. sultaal. Rana Kumbha's indepth knowledge and mastery of Prabandh Gayan can be seen in the light of these musical achievements. Dhrupad. Dhruv. perfecting and codifying Prabandh Gayan. Rana Kumbha codifies 15 bhed or meanings and defines their usage and significance in the development of the musical form. Its devotion and commitment to preserving and developing Indian classical music is manifested in an age of violent wars and rampant destruction of Indian heritage. It is from the Dhruva Prabandh that Dhrupad is developed as a forceful. it is elevated to its purist form and becomes the ultimate spiritual experience. His unflinching commitment to the preservation of Vedic learning and ancient cultural traditions remains the most remarkable attribute to his genius. . Dhrupad is sung in chau-taal.App. Dhrupad emerges as a musical form of the supreme Nad Brahma. Ustad Zakiruddin Khan was succeeded by his son Ustad Ziauddin Khan and after the merger of Mewar with the union of India. In Dhrupad is discovered the power of peace. and Natakraj Ka Krata.The musical renaissance by Rana Kumbha One of the greatest Suryavanshi Kings of the Sisodia Dynasty of Mewar. Rana Kumbha devotes himself to learning. and teevr-taal. facilitates the emergence of the four schools or Vaaniyon of Dhrupad singing. Since then the position of the principal musicians of the Mewar court has always been held by a member from the Dagar family. When he focuses his attention on gamak. have been acknowledged by musicologists as the most outstanding exponents of Dhrupad. a maestro unsurpassed in his quest for excellence in Indian classical music. Geet. Khandar Vaani. There is a strong and distinct element of spirituality in the musical legacy of Rana Kumbha. Vadya. Rana Kumbha is hailed as 'Sangeet Shiromani'. Rana Kumbha emerges as a pious devotee of Nad Brahma and is graciously blessed with titles like Abhinavbharatacharya. Music as the purest of the art forms is venerated as Nad Brahm: with Rana Kumbha's intense devo tion and commitment to the ancient forms of classical Indian music. is considered not only as a pioneering and path breaking scholarly work on Indian classical music but also is often venerated as the fifth Veda.
as a homage to the Dagar family and is dedicated to the music lovers of the world.Maharana Bhagwat Singhji invited both the elder Dagar brothers on several occasions in the 1950's to perform at Udaipur and displayed remarkable foresightedness by recording these performances. He further settled all his musical collection in a public charitable trust and befittingly named it the Maharana Kumbha Sangeet Kala Trust. He feared that this musical tradition would come to an end if it was deprived of Royal patronage and therefore recorded their performances for the sake of preserving it for posterity. Arvind Singh Mewar . Maharana Bhagwat Singhji's successor Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar has now taken up the task of digitally restoring this collection and releasing them.
The raga in Khayal is essentially a certain sequence of notes. To give an example. which is usually tuned to pa. In this connection Ustad Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar says that the abhog is used to demonstrate a special aspect of the raga using an alankar called hudak (us ang ko woh alankar his darshata hai). number 2. and the sa of the main string is tuned according to the raga to be performed. New Delhi. In the words of Ustad Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar "ek swar jaise doosre mein samaa jaana chahata hai" Birendrakishore Roychoudhary has mentioned this in his book on the musical heritage of Tansen. June 1980 that Dhrupad has evolved from Prabandha. which varies in relation to this. The other strings are tuned to match the overtones of the main sa string. Dhrupad has evolved from the singing of prabandhas and not from Haveli Sangeet. Their successive appearance at various points of the alap does not adhere to a rigid framework. The author has heard several demonstrations of this treatment of komal ga in Jaijaiwanti from Ustad Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar. Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar and Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar. Antara. and the sa of the raga to be performed. The meends seem to actually progress through the various microtonal shades. Development and decline of Dhruvapada (Dhrupada)'in the Quarterly Journal of the National Centre for The Performing Arts.The stays on the nishads seem to touch several shades of these notes. ("jaise jaise gati badalti hai waise waise yes alankar apne aap prayog hoti hui jati hai") The Dagar tradition regards this as the correct sequence. is made to coincide with an overtone of the fourth string. but can create an illusion or aabhas of komal ga by making a minute microtonal inflection on re. The two center strings of the tanpura establish the sa. ma or ni. Thakur Jaideva Singh has stated in his essay 'The Origin. He has written about the amosphere of mystery and strangeness that is created when the notes are not touched or grasped as definite points. an accomplished Dhrupad singer can sing raga Jaijaiwanti without employing komal ga. while the sanchari or samachari summarizes the four parts and concludes the composition. translated by Madanlal Vyas. with the patterns showing the subtle microtonal gradations of the notes. Ustad Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar states that even in uttaranga pradhan ragas the singer should descend to the lower octave at least once ("yeh paramparagat usool hai"). In the recording of Miya ki Malhar by the Elder Dagar Brothers released by the Mewar Foundation this concept of microtonal ornamentation can be seen in the interplay of the two nishads and dhaivata. volume IX. lahak etc manifest themselves automatically with a change of tempo. iv v vi vii viii ix x xi . If the chikari has three strings. then the third string can be tuned to the sa of the raga to be performed. Sanchari and Aabhog. is tuned onto the fourth string (the kharaj string). (Hindustani sangeet mein Tansen ka sthan by Birendrakishore Roychaudhary. instead. Ustad Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar says that different alankars like ghamak. This is achieved in the following way. namely Sthai. and the transitions from ni to sa seem to occur in stages through subtle gradations. Laybaat and Bol-Baat. Prabandh Geet. and Dhrupad is restricted to only four angs. and the ambience of the raga in Khayal is maintained by frequently repeating its characteristic phrases. the two chikari strings establish the sa. In the rudra veena. The first string.i ii iii In the opinion of Ustad Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar and Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar. page 59). Today there are four sections or bhaags of Dhrupad-gayaki. published by Vani Prakashan. namely Raagalapti.
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