An Overview of Hindustani Music?

What is Hindustani Music?

Hindustani Music is a form of Indian classical music. It marks its beginning in the northern part of India. According to pieces of evidence, its emergence can be found in Samaveda(“Saman” means melody, and “Veda” means knowledge). Earlier, it started as a system of meditation based on raga and tala, which in turn affects the human system. Unlike Carnatic music, it gives more importance to improvisation and ragas. One of the important aspects of this music is that it is beyond the walls of any religion. Hindu musicians(pandit) may sing this in praise of Muslim gods and Muslim musicians(Ustad) in praise of Hindu gods. Ravi Shankar, Zakir Hussain, Hariprasad Chaurasia are some of the famous Hindustani classical musicians.

Styles of Hindustani Music

Here are the different styles of Hindustani classical music:

  1. Dhrupad: This is the most ancient form of Hindustani music. Male singers are the main performers. Here, the content is mainly devotional in nature. So, they were often in praise of certain deities. The great musician, Tansen used this style of singing. Also, the music of this style was performed in the court of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The instruments used are tambura and pakhawaj.
  2. Khyal: Khyal is an Urdu word, which means imagination or thought. Here the singer depicts the emotional significance of the khyal through music. Mughal Emperor, Mohammed shah popularised this style of singing. The compositions include topics like divine love, the praise of kings and gods, the seasons, etc. Similarly, musical instruments like tabla, sarangi, harmonium accompany the singer.
  3. Thumri: It is a lighter form of classical music. It allows more flexibility and freedom for the singer. This style portraits a wide range of emotions and feelings through music. The text normally has emotions like romance or devotion.
  4. Tappa: It has its origin from the folklores of the camel riders of Punjab. Therefore, it has certain Punjabi words in it. This style of singing is truly melodious to hear and it mainly portraits love and partition.
  5. Tarana: We can see this style of music in the compositions of the Sikh Guru Gobind Singh. Similarly, it uses a number of syllables and is also melodious to hear.

What is Hindustani Music?

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