Origin of Hindustani classical Music

Origin of Hindustani classical Music

 The origin of Hindustani classical music may be traced back to the period of the Delhi Sultanate and to Amir Khusrau (AD 1253-1325), who encouraged the practice of musical performance with particular instruments. He is believed to have invented the sitar and the tabla and is said to have introduced new ragas. Most of Hindustani musicians trace their descent to Tansen.

Hindustani classical Music, Origin of Hindustani classical Music

Hindustani classical Music

It is said that Tansen’s music had a magical effect. He could stop the rising waves of the Yamuna and by the force of his Megha Raga, he could cause the rain to fall. There are 10 main styles of singing and composition in Hindustani Music, Dhrupad, Dhamar, Hori, Khayal, Tappa, Chaturang, Rayasagar, Tarana, Sargam and Thumri.The most popular ragas are Bahar Bhairavi, Sindhu Bhairavi, Bhim palasi, Darbart, Desh, Hamsadhwani, Jai Jayanti, Megha Malhar, Todi, Yaman, Pilu, shyam Kalyan and Khambaj.


This style of singing is traditionally performed by men with a Tanpura and Pakhawaj. The lyrics sung in Dhrupad are in a medieval form of Hindi and typically heroic in theme or in praise of a particular deity. Dhrupads are sung in four styles called Bans Gaurhar, Dagur, Khandhar and Nauhar, initially named after the language or dialect in which the verse was written. Pandit Uday Bhawalkar, Pandit Ritwik Sanyal and the Umakant Gundecha and Ramakant Gundecha (Gundecha Brothers) are some famous Dhrupad vocalists.


It consists of about 4-8 lines of lyrics set to a tune. The performer uses these few lines as the base for improvisation. The Khayal form of Hindustani classical music is ascribed to Hussain Shah Sharqui, the 15th century ruler of the Sharqui dynasty. It was made popular by the 18th century rule of Mohammed Shah. Some of the modern day vocalists are late Bhimsen Joshi, Nagraj Havaldar, Kishori Amonkar, Ulhas and Kashalkar, Ajoy Chakraborty, Prabakar Karekar, Pandit Jasraj etc.

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It is genre of Semi-classical singing, which is popular in Utter Pradesh and Bihar. It comes under the category of seasonal songs.


These compositions are similar to Dhrupad, but are chiefly associated with the festival of Holi. Here, the compositions are specifically in praise of lord Krishna. This music, sung in the Dhamar Tal is chiefly used in festival like Janmashtami, Ramanavami and Holi.


It denotes four colour or a composition of a song in four parts; Fast Khayal, Tarana, Sargam and a Paran of Tabla or Pakhwaj.


Another vocal form of the Hindustani music is Tarana. Tarana are songs that are used to convey a feel of Joy and are usually performed towards the end of a concert.


It is an informal vocal form of Hindustani classical music and is said to have begun with the court of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, The Nawab of Oudh.

Raga Sagara

It consists of different parts of musical passages in different ragas as one song composition. These compositions have 8 to 12 different ragas and the lyrics indicate the change of the ragas. The peculiarity of this style depends on how smoothly the musical passages change along with the change of ragas.


It is a type of composition that has swaras in their lyrics as well. Sargams are composed in different ragas and tals. These are also prominent in initial learning stage of Hindustani classical music.


It is a poetic form consisting of rhyming couplets and a refrain, with each line sharing the same metre. It is an ancient form originating in 6th century Arabic verse. It spread into South Asia during the 12th century, due to the influence of Sufi mystics. Originally, Ghazal was part of Dari and Urdu, but gradually it has been written in many languages of the Indian sub-continent. Some of the important poets of Urdu Ghazal are Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Mirza Ghalib and Firaq Gorakhpuri.

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