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Lesson 3

Indian Vocal Music

Overview

Vocal music in India is a way to express a


deep devotion to God. Samaveda the old musical texts in India. The Samaveda (Sanskrit:smaveda, from sman "melody" + veda "knowledge").

The Sama Veda is the Yoga of Song. It consists of various hymns of the Rig Veda put to a different and more musical chant. The Sama Veda represents the ecstasy of spiritual knowledge and the power of devotion. The Rig Veda is the word, the Sama Veda is the song or the meaning. The Rig Veda is the knowledge, the Sama Veda its realization.

Indian Vocal Music


It is a form of prayer and communication to the
Supreme Being. It is a way to express deep devotion to God manifested through the art of vocalization which is accompanied by long hours of physical practice and yoga.

Examples of Classical Songs of North India

1. 2. 3. 4.

Dhun or Kirtan for the Hindus Bhajan Shabad Kawali (Qawwali) for the Muslims

Dhun
Hindu chanting A common instrumental form. Often a folk song.

Instruments for Playing Dhun


1. Bansuri made of bamboo or reed.
- there are two varieties: transverse - preferred for classical fipple found in folk and film styles. - It typically has six holes.

2. Bulbul Tarang also known as banjo. - its name literally translates to waves of nightingales. - it is made of a number of strings passing over what resembles a finger board. - sometimes the keys are similar to piano keyboard, but more often they resemble type writer keys. - common for folk musicians and children. - it is the Indian version of the Japanese

taisho koto.

Bulbul Tarang

Taisho Koto

3. Dilruba
Has approximately 18 strings. It is close to the esraj and the mayuri
vina.

Popular in north-west India.

4. Esraj
A combination saringda and sitar. The base of the instrument is like saringda
while the neck and strings are like sitar. Often confused with dilurba. Popular in Bengal.

5. Harmonium
It is a European instrument which was
imported in the 19th century. There are no foot pumped models. It has number of drone reeds.

6. Mayuri Vina
A.k.a. Taus. Mayur means peacock. The same with dilurba and esraj.

7. Rabab
A very ancient instrument found primarily
in Afghanistan but common in Kashmir. It is hallowed-out body of wood with the membrane stretched over the opening. It has combination of gut and metal strings.

8. Santur
An instrument indigenous to Kashmir, but
can be found throughout the North. It has as few as 24 or more than100 strings.

It has 3-4 main playing instruments. It has no frets or fingerboard. Its base is square. Pitch is determined by sliding the

9. Sarangi

fingernails against the strings. It is extremely difficult to play. It is traditionally been associated with

kathak.

10. Saringda
A bowed folk fiddle of the sarangi class. Its base is rounded or pointed. The size is 1 to 2 feet in length. Found in Northern India, Pakistan, and
Nepal.

11. Sarod
An instrument derived from the rabab. It is the bass rabab. It has a metal fingerboard with no frets. It has numerous strings.

12. Shehnai
A north Indian oboe. It is referred to as a double-reed

instrument. It has wooden body with a brass bell. It has 8 holes. Common in North Indian Weddings.

13. Sitar
The most well-known instrument of India. A long necked instrument. The usual number of strings is 17. It is plucked with Mizrab. The frets are metal rods and the main
resonator is usually made of gourd. Ravi Shankar popularized the instrument.

Ravi Shankar in his 90s April 7, 2010

Ravi Shankar was born on April 7, 1920), often referred to by the title Pandit, is an Indian musician and composer who plays the plucked string instrument Sitar. He has been described as the most well known contemporary Indian musician.

Ravi Shankar

Performs in Delhi March 2009

14. Tanpura
A drone instrument. It resembles sitar, except it has no frets. It has 4 strings. It is common in the north.

15. Violin
It is not native to India. The musicians props it between the

shoulder and the foot. Used both in North and South India.

16. Tabla
A pair of drums. Consist of:
Dayan small right hand drum. Bayan a larger metal drum.

The dark spots are a mixture of a gum,


soot, and iron fillings.

BHAJAN
Any type of Indian devotional song. It is normally lyrical, expressing love for
the Divine.

SHABAD
Literally means word. Sikh devotional songs. Raagis- special class of performers whose
duties are to sing.

1. Chimpta
It is a fire tong and evolved into musical
instrument by the permanent addition of small brass jingles. Popular in folk music and Shabad.

2. Dhad
An hourglass-shaped drum of India. It is played with the hands.

3. Dholak
A very popular folk drum of India. It is barrel-shaped covered with

membrane on its left and right sides.

It is used in several musical styles like:

Bhajan Hindu devotional songs Filmi Sangeet Indian film music Indian Folk Music Qawwali Islamic devotional songs Kitran/Dhun Hindu chanting Shabad Sikh devotional music

4. Dilruba
Has approximately 18 strings. It is close to the esraj and the mayuri
vina.

Popular in north-west India.

5. Harmonium
It is a European instrument which was
imported in the 19th century. There are no foot pumped models. It has number of drone reeds.

6. Rabab
A very ancient instrument found primarily
in Afghanistan but common in Kashmir. It is hallowed-out body of wood with the membrane stretched over the opening. It has combination of gut and metal strings.

7. Santur
An instrument indigenous to Kashmir, but
can be found throughout the North. It has as few as 24 or more than100 strings.

8. Sarangi
It has 3-4 main playing instruments and a
number of sympathetic strings. It has no frets or fingerboard. Its base is square. Pitch is determined by sliding the fingernails against the strings. It is extremely difficult to play. It is traditionally been associated with

kathak.

9. Sarod
An instrument derived from the rabab. It is the bass rabab. It has a metal fingerboard with no frets. It has numerous strings.

10. Tabla
A pair of drums. Consist of:
Dayan small right hand drum. Bayan a larger metal drum.

The dark spots are a mixture of a gum,


soot, and iron fillings.

11. Mayuri Vina


A.k.a. Taus. Mayur means peacock. The same with dilurba and esraj.

12. Esraj
A combination saringda and sitar. The base of the instrument is like saringda
while the neck and strings are like sitar. Often confused with dilurba. Popular in Bengal.

QAWWALI
Popular in Muslim areas. Islamic devotional songs. A musical tradition that stretches back
more than 700 years ago.

LAKSHAN GEET (LAXANGIT)


The most typical composition used for
vocal instruction. The lyrics of the song describe the features of the rag.

SWARMALIKA
A style in singing where the vocalist sings
the sargam of the song for the Indian gamut). Sargam is derived from Sa-Re-Ga-Ma. The swar are Sa, Re, Ga, Ma Pa, Dha and

Ni.

Notes sung in a song.

Summary
In Indian music, a song is a means of
communication and interaction. Vocal music is a way to express deep devotion to God Most of Indias classical songs are devotional but a few are religiously oriented.

Lakshan Geet is a

style oriented toward musical education

Gangal one style

known for its romantic poetic content

Tamil Nad a song that speaks of the beauty of the land of the Tamils

Swarmalika is

used for pedagogic purposes. In this style, sargam is used instead of words