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Music of India – a brief outline – Part Twenty-two

Continued from Part Twenty one – Dhrupad Part One

Part Twenty two (of 22) – Dhrupad – Part Two

akbar_and_tansen_visit_haridas

Bani

Dhrupad flourished as the principal  music format during the 16th century in the Mughal Courts.  During its affluent times, Dhrupad developed into four distinct melodic forms known as Vani or Bani. It might be rather incorrect to call them as ‘styles’.  Because, apart from the ways of rendering the songs many other  complex elements were associated with each Bani, such as :  the ideology ( spiritual or otherwise) , the intent, devotion, melodic types, nature of compositions, repertory , ways of transmitting orally from generation to generation, how they viewed their own Music and how they like the world to view their Music  etc. And, above all there was the question of tradition; because, for a Dhrupad performer Tradition is of prime importance. According to their traditions, Dhrupad is a body of spiritual and mystical knowledge to be practiced with devotion (Bhakthi) and dedication (Shraddha). It is primarily an act of submission to ones indweller; not a tool for entertainment.

During the time of Akbar four classes of Bani-s seem to have gained prominence. Though they might have been distinct in their initial stages, later each assimilated some aspects of the other Bani-s.  Therefore, by about the 17-18th century they almost had merged into one ancient tradition.

A Dhrupad singer of Akbar’s time was addressed as Kalawant. The Kalawants identified themselves with a  Bani, which they came to regard as their tradition.

The four Bani-s of Akbar’s time were: Govarhar, Khandahar, Nauhar and Daguar, each named after the place of its origin or its originator.

 [ Giti-Bani

 Before going further, lets talk a bit about Gitis.

Giti is a familiar concept in the ancient Indian music; and, is associated with Alamkara and Gamaka.  The very ancient scholars such as Kashyapa, Yastika, Shardula, Durga Shakthi, Bharata and Matanga; and, later Sarangadeva, all have discussed about Gitis.

These Gitis were not Ragas or similar forms. Here, in these texts, Giti was understood as the methods or styles of producing a song; as various styles of rendering Grama Ragas and regional tunes ;   singing  the songs composed in deśa-bhāā; also rendering the songs coming from various regions and people. In general, Giti could be taken to have meant charming song-forms; or as modes of singing a piece of music combining poetry, melody and rhythm.

Kashyapa mentions two Gitis (Bhasha and Vibhasha); according to Bharata Yashtika spoke of three Gitis (bhasha, vibhasha, and, antar bhasha);but, Matanga says that Yashika mentioed five Gitis (Shuddham, Bhinna, Vesara, Gaudi and Sadharita) ; Shardula recognized only one Giti (bhasha); Durgashakti accepted five Gitis (shuddha, bhinna, gaudi, raga (vesara/ vegasvara), sadharana); and, Bharata talked of four (pada) Gitis (magadhi, ardha magadhi, sambhavita, prithula).

Matanga, in his Brihaddeshi (302-308), discusses, in fair detail, the seven kinds of Gitis: (1) Shuddha; (2) Bhinnaka; (3) Gaudika; (4) Raga-giti; (5) Sadharani; (6) Bhasha-giti; and, (7) Vibhasha—gitis.  

Of the seven classes of Gitis, it is said; the Shuddha and the Bhinnaka have each five varieties; Gauda has three varieties; Ragas are of eight varieties; Sadharani is of seven varieties; Bhasha is of sixteen kinds; and, Vibhasha as of twelve kinds.

He also relates the various Gitis to the Shadja grama and Madhyama grama Ragas,current in his time; and explains the Ragas with reference to these seven classes of Gitis, . [For more; please click here.]

Matanga talks about the Gitis in association with Alamkaras and Gamakas. For in instance; while discussing about Raga-giti, one of the seven charming Gitis; the fourth in his enumeration (Raga-gitis-caturthika); and, with attractive ” svara compositions, with beautiful and illuminating graces”, he mentions:

 :- Raga-giti , adorned with ( shobhane bhavath) delightful Svara articulations of lucid, powerful (raurasau), of even quality (sama), should be rendered with varied delicate Gamakas (lalithau–Gamakau-vichitrau); and, should be ornamented with delightful Svara articulations in all the four melodic movements ( chaturnamapi varnanamthat are  lucid (prasanna) , powerful (raura) and even (sama) (300-301);

:- Shuddha Giti is that which  is full of Svaras and Srutis that are straight ( samaihi) , delicate  (lalita) and steady  (ruju) in the mandra, madhya (lit. not mandra) and Tara  ranges (shruthibhi purna), (291-2)

:- Bhinna Giti is that which consists subtle, quick moving, turning, swinging, scattered, (sukshmashca prachalai vakra sullasita prasaritau ) delicate (lalitha)  Svaras, high (Tara) and low (Mandra)- ( 292-293)

:- The three Gauda (melodies) are beautiful (shobhanah) with Svaras rendered with delicate Ohala (a type of shakes) , made up of  sounds like ‘haa-s’ (ha-kara)  and ‘ooh-s’  (U-kara). The Õhali gives expression to mandra tones, with the chin resting on the chest (chibukam hrudaye –nyasya).

The delicate Ohali should be rendered  by expert singers ( geyo-vidhuhu)  in quicker and quicker tempo ( druta-drta-taro), full of shake (saha kampane pidita), rendered both by distinct and barely visible hand movements ( drusta-drustena panina) (on the Veena?) with karanas over the three octaves ( tristhana) and full of movement over the entire octave range  ( svara-sthana-chalanakula). (293-299)

:- Sadharana Giti, according to experts on Giti ( Gitignau) , should be made up of a judicious combination (su–yogitau) of straight and delicate, a little subtle (sukshma-sukshmaischa), a little plain, pleasant (su-shravya), slightly quick paced (irsha-druta), soft ( mrudu) and gentle (lalita) , movements and Svaras, that are smooth, with subtle variations in tone (kaku misrau) . Thus, Sadharana Giti is understood (jneyo) as resting on all the Gitis (sarva-giti-samashrayah). (302-303)

:- Bhasha  Giti is defined by the experts on the Giti ( Giti-vichakshnau) , as being characterised by movements that spring from the throat (gatrajau), smoothly (lakshanau), drenched with expression ( kakurakthau), well-structured (suyogitau), shaken delicately ( kampitai)  and powerfully, imbued with Prakrit intonations coming from Malva region  (Malavi )   (Malavi kaku nanchitau), and expressed in gentle, soft ovements  ( lalitha sukumarascha) in a controlled manner (samyate)-( 304-306).

:- Vibasha Giti should be rendered blending in the Gamakas that are pleasant on the ears (Gamakau–srotra-sukhadai-lalithairasthu), following public taste (rajyate lokah) , with delicate as well as bright (lalitau bhrahubhi diptau), strong shakes   ( kampitai)  and plain (samaihi)movements, shooting up to the Tara and Atitara  ranges, and softened as well as flaming ones in the middle range ( madhyama diptau) , incorporating gamakas that are pleasant to the ear and delicate ( srotra–sukhadai lalitai astu), according to the singer’s will (yadrucchaya samyojya)  , and to the delight of the people  (lokan ranjate) – (306-308).

But , Sarngadeva accepted just five out of the seven Gitis:  shuddha, bhinna, gaudi, rag (vesara/ vegasvara), and sadharani.  He was just before  the period that came under Persian influence.

Perhaps , because of that reason, during the early Mughal times too, these five types of Gitis continued to be recognized; and, each type of Giti was associated with a group of Ragas.

Now, Giti meant the way of singing (Gita), giving a form to the Ragas.  During the Mughal times, it is said,  Shuddha Giti (the pure) used straight and soft notes; Bhinna Giti (innovative) with articulated, fast and charming Gamaka phrases (Alamkara); Gaudi Giti (Eastern) sonorous with soft , unbroken mellow stream of singing in all the three tempos (Kaala) Mandara (slow), Madhya ( middle) and Tara ( upper) with appropriate Gamaka Alamkaras;  Vesara or Vegasvara  Giti (fast notes) suited  for speed or fastness in rendering the notes (Svaras) ; and, the Sadharani or Sadharan Giti  (General) combined in itself the virtues and merits of the other four Gitis.

[ Matanga also describes Sadharana Giti (302-303) as  the universal of form of Giti , combining in itself the merits the other four Gitis.  He described Sadharana Giti as that which is sung with svaras that are smooth and fine (Lalita); is gentle, pleasant to the ear, slightly quick, and soft. And, when rightly produced, it is related with all types of Gitis. It is therefore universal or Sadharana. And, in this way, it is considered to be connected to all the Gitis.

Rujubhir lalitah kinchit suksmasuksmais cha susravaih / isaddrutais cha kartavya mrdubhir lalitais tatha / / prayogair masrnaih suksmaih kaku misraih suyojitaih / svaraih sadharana Gitir gitijanaih samudahrta / evem sadharana jneya sarva giti samasraya // 302-303// ]

[ King Nanyabhupala (who reigned in Mithila between 1097 and 1133 A.D) in his Bharatabhashya, connects each type of Giti to specific hours (yamas) of the day. For instance; the two Gitis, shuddha and bhinna, are assigned to the first yama or prahara (a three-hour period) of the day. The Giti, gaudi, is placed at mid-day; vesara is in the first part of the day; and sadharana is said to be common to all hours of the day.

Nanyadeva was referring to Gitis in association with the Ragas with the time of singing. He extended the concept to the relations between the seasons and the Ragas. For instance, Nanyadeva , in his Sarasvati-hrdaya-alamkara hara, while discussing seasonal Grama ragas, quotes Matanga thus – yadah matanga – 

sarve raga mahadeve samyak santoshkarakaha |hemant-greeshma-varshasu kaleshu gan-shasimiha | shadja-madhyam-gandhargrama geya yathakramam ||3

All Ragas are dear to Lord Mahadeva. Yet; it would be proper to sing the songs of shadja; madhyama; and, gandhara gramas during winter, summer and rainy seasons.

At another place ,Narada, in the third khanda of the chapter Sangeetadhyaya of his Sangeet Makranda, had categorized ragas according to the suryansh (solar) and chandransh (lunar) groups, i.e. sun- and moon-based ragas. He further said

evam kalavidhin gyatva gayedhyaha sa sukhi bhavet || ragavelapraganen raganan hinsako bhavet | yaha shrinoti sa daridri ayurnashyati sarvada

One who sings the raga-s according to their designated times, attains peace and prosperity. The raga-s themselves shall become violent and lose their attraction if sung off their times. Such (singers) become poor and live a short life

Nanyadeva recommends :  Hindola raga is best in spring; Pancama in summer; Sadjagrama and Takka during the monsoons; Bhinnasadja (Bhairava) is best in early winter; and, Kaisika in late winter

Somesvara (Manasollasa 1131 CE) is said to be the earliest to codify the tradition of allocating the six Ragas to the six seasons: (1) Sri-raga is the melody of the Winter (2) Vasanta of the Spring season (3) Bhairava of the Summer season (4) Pancama of the Autumn (5) Megha of the Rainy season and (6) Nata-narayana of the early Winter.

Following that tradition, Sarangdeva (12th century) in his Sangeet Ratnakara, emphasized the importance of the performance of the ragas in their proper season and time.

In the chapter Raga-viveka-adhyaya, Sarangdeva laid special emphasis on the specific times and seasons for the performance of ragas. He also makes mention of the allotted times and seasons for the rendition of the ancient Gram-ragas. For e.g. he says Shadjagrama raga is to be performed in Varsha ritu; Bhinna Kaishik in Shishira ritu; Gaud Pancham in Grishma ritu; Bhinna Shadja in Hemanta ritu, Hindol in Vasanta ritu,;and , Raganti in Sharad ritu

Sarngadeva  also mentions the hour of the day against every Raga that he describes, using phrases like geyo’hnah prathame-yame (to be sung during the first yama or prahara of the day); and, madhyama’hnogeyo (to be sung during mid-day). He associated pure and simple ragas to early morning; mixed and more complex ragas to late morning; skillful ragas to noon; love-themed and passionate ragas to evening; and , common (sadharani)  ragas to night. Sarngadeva also connects the Ragas to seasons.

In the later times, the idea of linking the ethos or character of a Raga with the hour of the day was carried on by many writers.

This concept was explained and systematized by Pandit VN Bathkhande by establishing the relation between the pattern of Svaras and hour of the day/night; and, its impact on the singer and the listener. He also putforth a system of forging a relation between Vadi Svaras, Tivra Madhyama and PurvangaUttaranga Ragas with the time of the day/night. For more please click here ]

Source :The Dictionary of Hindustani Classical Music by Bimalakanta Roychaudhuri ]

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During the Mughal period,  each type of Giti came to be associated with a particular Dhrupad Bani ( akin to the different gayakis of present-day) ,  in its rendering of Alaap. In that process, Shuddha Giti corresponded with Daagar Bani; Binna Giti with Khandar Bani; Gaudi Giti with Gaudhara or Gobarahara Bani; and Sadharani Giti with Nauhar Bani. As regards the Vesara Giti, it corresponded with songs of any type of Bani that need to be rendered with speed. ]

*

Govarhar or Shuddha Bani:

Tansen is said to be the originator of this Bani. It is said; he was originally a Gauda Brahmin (Ramtanu Pandey). And therefore, his style came to be known as Gaudiya or Govarhari Bani. This Bani was characterized by its smooth glides, almost linier in character. Its gait was slow and contemplative; spreding a feeling of repose and peace.

Gauhar Bani was described as Shuddha Bani that is chaste and pure. Its rendering was straight and simple with the gaps between the words and between the stanzas , bridged by aans or meands. It iwas    ideally suited for compositions in slow tempo (Vilamba kala) portraying Shantha, Gambhira and Bhakthi Rasas.

Khandahar Bani:

Raja Samokhan Singh was a famous Beenkar. He belonged to Kandahar region. Thus, his style of singing came to be known as Kandahar Bani. This Bani was rich in its variety. Its gait was majestic and robust, using heavy and vigorous Gamakas, expressive of valor. In contrast to Gaudiya or Govarhari Bani , it usually was not sung in slow tempo.

Khandar Bani was prominent in Jor Alaap of the Rudra Bina.  Along with bewildering pattern of vigorous Gamakas, it could also bring out soft and delicate notes. The Dhrupad compositions of this Bani were set mostly in Madhya and Dhrut laya, with the singer innovating series of Bol-tans in rhythmic patterns along with the Pakhawaj. The Bani was  best  suited for expressing   the fast and furious Vira Rasa.

Nauhar Bani:

Its founder was Rajput Shri Chand who belonged to Nauhar. It style was characterized by quick, jerky passages employing a variety of Gamakas. It usually moved in quick successions, moving as it were in slow deliberate curves from the first to its third or fourth note, and then changing course . Thus, the Nauhar Bani with its jumpy chhoots (short, quick musical run) surprised the listeners at each of its movements.

Nauhar Bani was  technically called Chhoot style with predominance of Madhya laya , spacious Dhrupad  compositions .It  was ideally suited for depicting the joy and wonder of Adbhuta  Rasa of songs set to smaller beats.  This style of rendering is very popular with wandering minstrels singing songs of love and war.

Daguar Bani:

It said to have been founded by Braj Chand who belonged to a place called Daguar. Hence his style came to be known as Daguar Bani. It was characterized by its delicately executed meends (glides) with Gamakas. It was marked by correct intonation, purity of design, simplicity of execution and a massive structure. It adopted the contemplative elaboration of Govarhar.

 The rendering of the songs and Dhrupad in  Daagar Bani  was  mostly in Vilambit and Madhya laya, providing greater scope for portraying various Rasas in different Taalas .It was well suited for Dhamar songs. And, in its medium tempo it judiciously blended in the Kandahar Bani to add color to its performance.

(Source : Bimal Mukherjee in his Indian Classical Music – Changing Profiles outlining the characteristics of the Banis )

The following stanza pithily captures the salient features of each of the four Bani-s.

Jor Jor se Kandhar gave,

Madhu bole se Nauhar leve,

Saans badi hai gauhar ki,

Alaapchari hai Dagur ki.

The poem indicates that Kandahar Bani became famous due to its voice culture; broad and high pitched tones , forceful expression   and the smoothness of its style.

The Nauhar Bani was famous for its sweet and delicate expression. Its attention was on the bol-bant.  The Bol-banav must have developed , here ,  in Layakari.

The Govarhar Bani was known for its deep and sustained breath control.

And, the Daguar Bani developed great expertise in Alapchari, with much attention on the treatment of the Svaras.

During the later centuries when the Gharanas came into being, each Gharana adopted into its own style one or more features from among the four Bani-s. The Bani-s gradually lost their distinctive qualities. For instance; the Gayaki of Ustad Alladiya Khan of Jaipur – Atrauli Gharana was influenced by Govarhar Bani through its contemplative elaboration , deep breath and smooth glides; the Agra Gharana derived from Nauhar Gharana adopted most of its features, specially the sweetness in its essence;  And, the family of Daguar singers and the Beenkars, of course, adopted the Daguar Bani with its insistence on purity and delicately executed meends;   The Kirana Gharana seems to be influenced by Daguar Bani.   The voice culture of the Kandahar Bani is , of course ,  a desired virtue of all Gharanas. Thus, in Dhrupad the concept of Gharanas seemed to operate as crystallization of ideas about the ways of combining musical styles and features of the bygone Bani-s.

Mughal Shamsa, smallest

Gharanas

With the disintegration of the Mughal Empire, the political structure of North India fragmented into numbers of small states ruled by Nawabs and Maharajas. With that, the historical tradition of Music of India was rudely disrupted, as the Musicians denied of patronage had to move from Court to Court in search of a livelihood. And, the Musicians were forced to leave behind the theoretical aspects of their  Music, but to practice Music as a craft to please their new–found patrons.

Raja Aniruddh Sing

Interesting fallout of the political re-arrangement was that each ruler of a small state competed with his rival in studding his court with famed musicians. It is said, rulers of some states borrowed heavily to get hold of top-notch performers. Each ruler was keen to establish the superiority of the Music of his court over that of others. Each would goad his musicians to come up with specialized styles and techniques of singing. The Music across North India, thus, came to be stratified into styles of various court-music. Each was known as a Gharana (‘family’ or ‘house’), named after its patron-state (such as: Gwalior Gharana, Patiala Gharana, Jaipur Gharana and so on). Each ruler desired to have his very own personalized Gharana of music.  And if no particular geographical region can be identified then a Gharana would take the name of the founder; as for instance: Imdadkhani Gharānā named after the great Imdad Khan (1848 -1920) who served in the Royal Courts of Mysore and Indore.

A  Gharana, in due course,   turned into a symbol of social standing, affluence and power among the rulers.

[ A noted musician Ustad Hameed khan explained that, ‘In order for a Gharānā to come into existence, the same style of musical esthetic ideology and collection of musical knowledge should be maintained by a family of musicians at least for three generations. The musical knowledge passed to members of the family and blood relatives under strict manners’. The necessary criteria to recognize a Gharānā is that, the musical knowledge should preserve and only transformed to family members. But it is also accepted that in such cases where the continuity of generations lacks, in that cases Gharānās were continued through the lineage of prime disciples who has complete knowledge particular Gharānā.

 Chapter iii.pdf – Shodhganga]

The Musicians who suffered most under the changed circumstances were the Dhrupad singers. All along their history they were sheltered by the patronage of Royal Courts.  And, their Classic Music of contemplative devotional nature was not favored by the new breed of Nawabs   who were looking for entertainment. And, Dhrupad, rigid and somber as it was, they said, surely was not entertainment. Dhrupad was hard put to survive in a Music world that was dominated by the attractive Khyal, Thumri, Tappa and such other popular styles. The Been and Pakhawaj which were closely associated with the Dhrupad also found it hard to secure patronage.

If Dhrupad as a class of pristine pure Music has survived to this day it is primarily due to the dedication, faith , steadfastness and sacrifices of certain families who selflessly dedicated their lives , generation after generation, in protecting , preserving and propagating the ancient Music they inherited from their ancestors in its pure and traditional form. We all owe these families a deep debt of gratitude.

The Classical Dhrupad is today represented by descendents of five major families, each preserving its stylistic music tradition. These have come to be known as the Gharanas of Dhrupad.

Daguar Gharana

dagar-brothers-2

The most well known among the Dhrupad traditions or Gharanas is the Daguar Gharana , which is said to have been initiated by the sixteenth century musician Nayak Haridasa Daguar.  And , it was preserved and continued since the eighteenth century by  a Pandeya Brahmin from Rajasthan,  who converted to Islam  under the influence of the Sufi Saints.  The Dhrupad of the Daguars’ is said to represent the Daguar Bani of the 16th century. Its performance is characterized by very restrained, contemplative Raga elaboration. It pays much attention to the purity of its music and voice production. The primary emphasis is on accurate, exhaustive and meditative exploration of Raga in  the Alap. The composition (Bandish) is often given a lesser amount of time. The overall ambiance of Daguars’ Dhrupad is contemplation, grandeur and a deep sense of devotion.

The singers of the Daguar Gharana are renowned for their high standard of voice culture and purity of vocal delivery. Their   presentation   is  governed by theoretical rules and norms.  Most of its singers are well acquainted with music-theories (Shastra).

In the modern times , the Dhrupad of Daguar Gharana is represented the four senior  exponents : Ustad Nasir Aminuddin Daguar of Calcutta, Ustad Rahim Fahimuddin Daguar of Delhi, Ustad Zia Fariduddin Daguar of Bhopal and Ustad Hussein Sayeeduddin Daguar of Pune.

Dharbhanga Gharana

The Dharbhanga Gharana is said to have been founded by two brothers Radhakrsna and Kartarama, Gauda Brahmins from Vraja, who later found patronage in the Court of Dharbhanga, in North Bihar.

Dharbhanga Gharana is said to have adopted the Gaurahara Bani as its basic style. But , it also combines in its tradition the  robust voice culture of Kandahar Vani and the swiftness of the Nauhar Bani.  The distinctive feature of the Dharbhanga Gharana is, therefore, powerful and expressive vocal delivery, combined with very lively, joyful style of performance, skilful Layakari improvisation. There is not much emphasis on restrained, meditative slow movements or on voice culture and such other technical aspects.

The senior musician of the Dharbhanga tradition is Pandit Vidur Mallik of Vrindaban who succeeded the legendry Pandit Ram Chatur Mallik (1906-1990).

Talvandi Gharana

Talvandi Gharana from North-West India is purely a Muslim tradition founded by Chanda Khan and Suraja Khan from Punjab; and, it appears, it is continued in Pakistan.

Since the Talvandi Gharana descended from Muslim tradition, the conventional designations of the various stages of the Alap elaboration and the names denoting Dhrupada performance are in Urdu terms. The entire performance is regarded as an offering to Allah. Yet, the repertoire includes some Hindu devotional songs along with the majority Muslim religious themes. In the Talvandi Gharana, there is full-length Raga Alap ;but  , the improvisation in the rendering of the pre-composed Bandish is rather restricted.

Its leading exponent is Ustad Hafiz Khan Talvandivale of Lahore.

Betiya Gharana

The Betiya Gharana of Dhrupad is from Eastern India ; and , it is associated with Royal Court of Betiya in Bihar.  It flourished mainly during the nineteenth century, after it was founded by Kathakas (story-tells or bards)   from Varanasi (Banaras). A Muslim teacher from Kapi, a disciple of Ustad Haidar Khan of Lucknow, is also associated with the Betiya Gharana.

The Betiya Gharana gathered strength in Eastern India because of its association with the Vishnupur Gharana, a tradition of Dhrupad and Khyal that emerged from the Court at Vishnupur in West Bengal. The Dhrupada of Betiya and Vishnupur Gharana influenced the devotional music that developed in Bengal during 19th century (e.g. Brahma-samgit).

Because of the congregational nature of its rendering, the emphasis of the Dhrupad of the Betiya Gharana is on the composition and the clarity in its presentation. The Alap is kept to a minimum, while the improvisation (Layakari, Bola-bamta) is hardly attempted.

Mathura Gharana

The Mathura Gharana originates from the Dhrupad music of the Vaishnava temples in the Vraja region. The originators of this branch of Dhrupad are said to be Chaturvedi Brahmins from Mathura who having been trained in the temple-music lore and tradition entered the mainstream of classical music.

The Mathura Gharana, similar to the Dharbhanga Gharana, focuses on the composition and on its presentation in powerful, vigorous manner. And, just as in Betiya Gharana, here too the Alap is very short. But, it allows for improvisation though in a limited, straightforward manner. Because of its primary association with temple-rituals, there is a strong emphasis on the clarity in the presentation of the text; the words take preference over musical features.

Over the centuries, the ancient Dhrupad as a musical genre and a structural model has inspired generations of traditions as a classic art -Music and also as a sublime devotional over pouring. If Dhrupad has survived its misfortunes and re-emerged as a form of chaste Music despite the encircling callousness and neglect verging on destitution, it is mainly because of three factors.  One; it is the intrinsic merit, power, the purity of form and intent of the pristine Dhrupad.  The other is commitment, dedication and sacrifice of generations of families that have protected preserved Dhrupad in its purity; and ensured its propagation as a living tradition. The parallel, Vaishnava temple – rituals have  also helped Dhrupad  to continue as a  strong tradition.

Rendering of Dhrupad

sri_raga

The musical objects in singing Dhrupad are the exposition and development of Raga;  the expressive rendering of the composed text with its  melody; and , the demonstration of the melodic sensitivity, rhythmic dexterity and the vocal technique of the singer.

Dhrupad is therefore normally performed by a soloist or by two singers who improvise alternately and combine in performance of the composed song. A solo melodic instrument (traditionally Veena, but now a Sarangi or harmonium may also accompany, in a subdued manner.

The essential accompaniment is the  Tanpura or Tambura which provides the Sruti drone throughout the performance. Then there is the Pakhawaj which plays a very significant role in performance

The rendering of Dhrupad which is bound by tradition follows a certain prescribed format in its  performince- sequence.

The broad pattern of Dhrupad performance consists two phases. The opening and the major phase is Alap which elaborately explores the chosen Raga in great detail, developing each note with purity and clarity and unfolding the Raga in slow, medium, and fast tempos. Alap usually occupies over two-thirds of the entire performance.  In the second phase, a Dhrupad composition is sung to the accompaniment of the Pakhawaj.

The Raga development begins in slow (Vilambit) contemplative elaboration of the Svaras (notes) of the Raga in meditative tones, leading to expansion in the medium (Madhyama) tempo and finally cascading in fast (Dhrut)  role of notes. The Alap is the soul and substance of a Dhrupad performance. Alap is performed in stages, with each stage developing the notes in progressively higher notes; but, it is difficult to demarcate the stages.

Ragalipita According to Sarangadeva

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Sarangadeva  ( 13th century)  in  the Third Chapter (Prakirnaka Adhyaya)  of his Sangitaratnakara  describes two forms of Raga elaborations: Ragalapti  which is Anibaddha –  unstructured , not bound either by meaningful words (pada)  or by Taala (time units) – free-flowing improvised development and exploration of the Raga ( similar to Alap of the present-day) ; and . Rupakalapti  , which is Nibaddha , where melodic improvisation is done with the aid of the words of the song and the Taala ( similar to Bandish of Dhrupad).

Sangitaratnakara (3.189-196) gives the earliest known descriptions of the formal structure of Alap (Ragalapti). According to Sarangadeva, Ragalapti or Ragalapana is the demonstration of the Raga , with  emphasis on  the important notes and ornamentation  of the Raga.  And, it has to be developed in four stages. Then he goes on to provide the technical details of Ragalapti. Here,  some of the terms he employs  have either since  gone out of use  or have acquired different meanings or connotations.

He says, the Svara (note) on which the Raga is established is known as Sthayi (yatro-praveshyate ragah Svare). This note functions as the initial (Adi-Svara), sectional final (Apa-nyasa, note with which a section of the song ends –Vidari); and final (Nyasa)-  (SSR 3.191). 

[Here, the term Sthayi term should not be confused with modern Sthayi or the first section of the Dhrupad composition.]

Then he says, the fourth note from this (Sthayi) should be called Dvayardha. There should be a phrase (chalanam – movement) called the opening phase (mukha-chala) about a note lower than the fourth. This is the first section. (SSR.3. 192)

Having made the movement (chalanam) about the fourth (Dvayardha) ,  there should be an increase in tempo (gati)  . This is the second section. The eighth note from the Sthayi is called the Dvi-guna (octave) – (SSR.3.1.193).

The Svaras (notes) occurring between the fourth (Dvayardha) and the eighth (Dvi-guna) are called Ardha-sthita (intervening notes).  After having made movements (Chalanam) about the Ardha-sthita, there should be an increase in the tempo (gati). This is the third section. (SSR.3. 194)

Progressing further,  there should be an another increase in the tempo   . This is the fourth section. Thus, Ragalapti is held by the learned as having these four sections- (SSR.1.195).

Thus, the establishment of the Raga should be made by means of very gradual, clear, circuitous ornamentations (Gamaka or Sthaya) ; and should be pervaded by the vital notes (jivasvara) of the Raga- (SSR.1.196).

In the four sections of Ragalapti as described by Sarangadeva, the Raga development takes place through  Sthayi, i.e. from below the fourth (Dvayardha) , around the fourth in the Purvanga  and proceeds on to    Dvi-guna the eighth note in the Uttaranga.

It is clear from Sarangadeva’s descriptions that the gradual extension of the range from the region of Sthayi the initial note   to the eighth note (Dvi-guna) , in a number of stages , with increase in tempo at stage [ moving from the slow tempo (Vilambit)  of Sthayi  to the fast tempo (Druta)  of Dvi-guna] , was the most prominent feature of Ragalapti .

This was, perhaps, the format over which the Alap of the Dhrupad was developed in later times.

Present Practice

The Classical Dhrupad of the present times is usually rendered in three segments :Alap. nom-tom and Bandish (composition).

Singing

Alap

Alap is often the most extended part of the Dhrupad performance. Because, it is here that the performer enjoys full freedom to develop and improvise the various facets of the musical elements of the Raga. Alaap is developed in three stages, in three tempos (Laya) : Vilambit (slow) , Madhya (medium) and Drut (brisk) .

The Alap in Vilambit Laya (slow tempo) begins in contemplative, meditative elaboration of the notes (Svara) from the lower octave (Purvanga).

The basis of the North Indian Raga is the scale of five or more notes of which Shadja (Sa) is the Adhara Svara (ground note). The melodic expression of the Raga depends on it. Since the Alap is the exposition of the characteristics of the Raga, Shadja is sustained throughout the performance as a drone (together with the fourth or the fifth note). The singer begins each stage by first singing the note Shadja from the middle octave and then proceeds to establish the mood of the Raga by singing the various notes forming that particular Raga. Thus, the development of the Raga proceeds in several phrases each of which returns to the Shadja.  Therefore Shadja plays an important part in the structure of the Alap.

The absorbing resonant peaceful musical sounds suggest to the listener the essential nature of the Raga; and then gradually the complete picture is uncovered. The Alap is a free floating pure rendition of the Raga, not fettered by words or time-units. The performer, however, takes the aid of meaning-less musical sounding syllables (om, num, re, ri, na, ta, tom) as a prop to support his elaboration of the Raga and to lend it a personality.

The second stage of Alap would be in Madhya Laya (medium tempo) . Its melodic span and structure are similar to the Vilambit Alap.  The singer , here,  embarks  on the notes of the middle octave.  And, the melody will now acquire a faster tempo- Dugun (twice)

The third stage of Alap would be in Drut Laya (brisk tempo).

This is called the Drut  Alap. Its melodic structure can be similar to the Alap in medium tempo. but the melody is rendered to a distinct fast tempo-  Tigun (thrice) and Chaugun ( four times).; and it escalates into a crescendo as it nears the conclusion.

In the second and third stage the singer may not , however , use  the notes of the lower octave ,but keep to the middle and higher octaves. But,  this would depend on the nature of the Raga whether it is  Uttaranga or Purvanga  Pradhana   (oriented) Raga.

To sum up ; in the Dhrupad performance, the tempo changes a number of times. As said earlier; initially, the singer begins in slow tempo, which is then quickened as the performance progresses. This is done in stages. The initial tempo is called Thah-Laya; and it is increased in multiples.  That tempo, when it escalates   is known as Dugun (twice) , Tigun (thrice) and Chaugun ( four times). Sometimes this increase can also be in fractions such as ½ (Adi) or even 1/1-4 (Khud).

Nom tom

The Alap then slides into the more rhythmic nom-tom section, where the Raga develops with a steady pulse employing meaningless syllables such as nom tom dir tana etc, but without the binding of the Taala.

Nom tom of Dhrupad is derived from Tena, mentioned as one of the Six Angas (limbs or elements)  of Prabandha: Svara, Birudu, Pada, Tena, Paata, and Taala.

Tena or Tenaka was described as vocal syllables, meaningless and musical in sound with many repetitions of   the syllables or sounds like tenna-tena-tom, conveying a sense of auspiciousness (mangala-artha-prakashaka). It was sung after Ragalapti; but, before the main section of the Prabandha i.e. the Dhruva , which was set in meaningful words (pada) and meter (Chhandas) with appropriate Taala cycles. A similar practice of singing nom tom after rendering the Alap but before the Bandish   came into vogue in Dhrupad.

In the instrumental music, Tena was meant to be played on the Veena in the Nanda type of songs of the Viprakirna class of Prabandha. It gained prominence as Taanam (played soon after the latter part of the Alapana) in the Veena play of the Karnataka Sangita. The equivalent of Tena in Hindustani instrumental music (particularly Sitar) is the Jor.

The Jor in instrumental music and   the of Nom tom of Dhrupad both have a simple pulse, but with no well-defined rhythmic cycle.

The melodic outline of non tom usually echoes the rising and falling arches of the Alap although less attention is paid to development of individual notes. The individuality of nom tom rests mainly on style and vocal technique , rather on form.

Bandish

Prabandha is defined by Matanga as a type of composition that is well structured (Prabhadyate iti Prabandhah).  The term Bandish is the re-formed name for Bandha of the Prabandha Music. Bandish in Dhrupad refers to a well structured composition where the words (Pada), music (Raga) and rhythm (Taala) are fixed (Dhruva or Sthayi) in relation to each other, with an even stress on all the three components.

The ancient Salaga Suda class of Prabandha compositions usually had four divisions or sections (Dhatu): Udgraha, Melapaka, Dhruva and Abhoga. And Antara was an additional optional section.

Udgraha is the commencing section of the song. Here the song is first grasped (udgrahyate), hence the name Udgraha; Dhruva is the main body of the song and that which is repeated. Dhruva is so called because it is rendered again and again (refrain); Melapaka is the bridge, the uniting link between the two Udgraha and Dhruva; and, Abhoga is the conclusion of the song. Abhoga gets its name because it completes (Abhoga) the Dhruva. Once the Abhoga has been sung, Dhruva should be repeated.

Since the Dhruva-Prabandha originated from the Salaga Suda class of Prabandha, the two have similar structure. The Dhruva-Prabandha was cyclic song with the formal structure of Udgraha, Dhruva and Abhoga and an additional section Antara, if needed. Here, Antara was in a high register; the first phase of Dhruva served as refrain, repeated at the end of the song and also at the end of the first and the second sections.  In all these aspects, the Dhruva Prabandha somewhat resembles the modern Dhrupad.

The Dhrupad (Dhruva-pada) which evolved from the Dhruva Prabandha of the Salaga Suda Prabandha split Abhoga, which was quite lengthy,   into two sub parts the Sanchari and the Abhoga. The opening Udgraha and Melapaka were combined into one section called as Sthayi. Thus, the present-day Dhrupad composition usually consists four sections (Dhatu): Sthayi, Antara, Sanchari and Abhoga.

Sarangadeva’s descriptions of Dhruva Prabandha illustrate the remarkable continuity in the musical form over a period of six to seven hundred years, a period during which many changes took place in North Indian Music.

The four Dhatus (sections) of a Dhrupad composition are, briefly:

: – Sthayi – The initial or the opening section of the composition; and, that which establishes the Raga in Madhya and Mandra octaves (Saptaka). Sthayi is often repeated during the performance.

: – Antara–follows immediately after the Sthayi and explores the Raga more extensively, especially accentuating the upper half of  the Madhyama ( middle octave) and in the upper half of  the octave (Uttaranga) , which is then repeated

: – Sanchari- Allows free movement to explore the Raga fully.

: – Abhoga – Gives a sense of completion to the elaboration ; and rounds off the development stage of the composition.

pakhawaj

The percussion accompaniment, the Pakhawaj joins the performance at the commencement of the composition-rendering. Dhrupad compositions are usually set in Chautaal (12 beats cycle) generally performed in slow or medium tempo; those set to Sultaal (10 beats cycle) are performed at a lively  brisk tempo ; Tivrataal (7 beats cycle) ; Dhamar (14 beats cycle) or Aditaal (16 beats cycle). A composition in Dhamar Taal is called Dhamar; and the one set also set in Dhamar Taal, performed in medium tempo, describe the Krishna-Gopis enactment of Holi festival is known as Holi Dhamar. And, the composition set to Jhap Taal is known as Sadra

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After going through the structured sequential rendering of the composition, the performer delves into series of variations and rhythmic improvisations. this section of the performance is marked by  a lively interplay between the vocalist and the Pakhawaj player, weaving out patterns of rhythmic improvisations. The playful rivalry  or lively dialogue (sawal –javab)  between the singer and the instrument player, one kindling and inspiring  the other to do one better, is a very entertaining part of the performance.

Improvisations are executed mainly through playing on the words of the text by breaking it up , but keeping intact  the group of words   so formed . This division of words  that synchronize  with the beats and cross rhythms is called Bol- Bant. In addition, melodic ornamentations, such as meend and Gamaka are also employed for improvisation and adornment .

Both non tom and Bamt have counterparts in Karnataka Sangita. Nom tom which is derived from the jor and Jhala style of plucked string instruments and from the use of meaningless nom-tom syllables, is analogous to Tanam , a delightful  idiom of the Veena  which features prominently in the performance of the Ragam-tanam-pallavi and in the instrumental  (veena  in particular) rendering of Kriti ( but not often in vocal music).

The strict diminution of Laya-bamt has its counterpart in the South Indian Anuloma which may also involve augmentation. The Neraval technique, in which the melody is varied while the rhythm and words of the song remain intact, perhaps bears some resemblance to Bol-bamt of Dhrupad.

The sonorous Pakhawaj contributes brilliantly to the final effect. But, all variations and improvisations must end and come together at the Mukhda, the initial melodic phase ends on the sum.

The Dhrupad concert concludes with auspicious sonorous long drawn out Hari Omkara in a prayerful mood of submission and fulfillment.

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rangoli

Generally, the Classic Dhrupad is distinguished by strict adherence to a performing sequence.

[But in the present times the formats are adopted depending on the performance – duration, class of audience and for other reasons. Following are some of the format options:

(a) A 3-tier Alap, followed by a Chautala composition.

(b) A 3-tier Alap, followed by a Chautala composition, and then by a Dhamara composition in the same Raga.

(c) A 3-tier, or even a single-tier (Tier 1) Alap, followed by a Dhamara composition.

(d) A 3-tier or a single-tier (Tier 1) Alap, followed by a Dhamar composition, and then by a Sula Taal composition in the same Raga.

(e) A 3-tier Alap, followed by a Chautala composition, and then a Sula Taal composition in the same Raga. ]

Shamsa with name of Shah Jahan, Mughal, 17th c, India

Gharanas of Instrumental Music

The instrumental music of Sarod, Sitar and Surbahar developed their own system of Gharanas. And, almost all of them flowed from the line of Tansen, his sons and daughter. The more well known of such instrumental-music Gharanas were :

(i)  Gulam Ali Sarod Gharānā founded by Gulam Ali (1775?-1850) – disciple of Pyar Khan of Tansen’s son line;

(ii)  Jaipur sitar Gharānā of  Amrit  Sen (1813-1893) , great grandson of Masid Khan of Tansen’s son line;

(iii)  Indore Beenkār Gharānā of  Bande Ali Khan (1826-1890)  , disciple of Nirmal Shah of Tansen’s daughter line;

(iv)  Vishnupur Gharānā of Gadhadar Chakravarti (18-19th century ),  disciple of Bahadur Khan of Tansen’s son line;

(v)  Imdadkhani sitar, surbahār Gharana of  Imdad Khan (1848-1920) , disciple of Amrit Sen of Tansen’s son line;

and (vi) the  Senia Maihar Gharānā of Ustad  Allauddin Khan(1881-1972), disciple of Wazir Khan of Tansen’s daughter’s line (Chapter iii.pdf – Shodhganga)

However during the later times ( say from late 19th  century) the separating walls have melted down.   The playing of each instrument searched for and adopted the best possible techniques suited to that instrument. And, across instruments each has influenced other instruments.  Senia musicians, in particular, spread all over India encouraged inter-mingled experiments with other musicians- Indian and Western. They were more open to various aspects of rendering music as well as new musical instruments and their performance methods.

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Beenkars

I cannot resist talking about Beenkars despite the length of this post. Let me put it briefly.

Though Dhrupad is basically a vocal tradition, many musical instruments, particularly the Veena, are closely associated with its music. The Rudra Veena players, generally called as Beenkar Kalawant, made the Dhrupad way of rendering as completely their own style of playing. They took up to elaborate expansion of Raga – Alap- in slow, resonant, long drawn out pure (Shuddha) notes in a grand manner. The Jor – Jhala on Been was developed wonderfully well with improvised and exhilarating rhythmic patterns. The rendering of the structured composition was systematically executed with enterprising variations to synch with contrasting Taala-s to the accompaniment of Pakhawaj.

The Been was associated with the Gwalior singers who came to Akbar’s court. Tansen (1520-1589), the most celebrated of them all, was initially in the service of Raja Man Sing Tomar of Gwalior.  Along with the Dhrupad-singing, Tansen had learnt to play on Veena from his Guru Swami Haridas of Vrindaban. Dhrupad was said to be at its peak while Tansen was in the Court of Akbar. It is said; the Dhrupad performers of those times sang as they played on the Veena.

It is said; Tansen’s daughter Saraswathi became a leading player of the Veena, which was her father’s favourite instrument.  Her husband, Prince Misri Singh of Rajasthan, a pupil of Swami Haridas, was also an eminent Veena player.

Their descendants were Beenkars as well as Dhrupadiyas. And, they carried forward and developed the traditions of instrumental music (particularly of Veena and Sitar) as well as Dhrupad singing. They came to be known as Seniya Beenkars; and, established what is now known as Seni Beenkar Gharana, the most important musical family in North Indian Classical Music.

The descendents of Bilas Khan (Tansen’s son) were Rababiyas (players of Rabab) and also Dhrupadiyas. The Sarod tradition originated from the Rababiyas.

These two branches, together, constitute the Seni Gharana. All their members are Beenkars (Veena Player) and Dhrupadiyas.

Apart from Seniyas and their disciples, there were other streams of the Been tradition in different courts of North India. The prominent among them were the Courts at Lucknow, Gwalior and Jaipur. But, all that ended abruptly in 1856 when the British deposed the princely rulers and annexed their states. By the end of the 19th century, Rampur was the only state that supported Musicians; and, was considered – the most important seat of Hindustani classical music.

[Been and Rabāb , playing Dhrupad music, were the prime instruments in Indian music about two centuries after Tansen ; and that lasted  until 18 century,. But with the change s in the socio-cultural scenery, Been and Rabab which were based in serious and difficult Dhrupad music lost their   position to Sitar and Sarod which were amenable to experimentation.

Sarod seems to have appeared in mid-eighteenth century, which is later than Sitar. But, it quickly it acquired the place of the traditional Rabāb which had many limitations for performing khayāl based music.]

With the loss of patronage, change in life-styles and tastes in music, the Beenkars and their art lost their relevance. Been was considered cumbersome, and its music ‘old-fashioned and unattractive’. Its Music had no ‘demand’. The agony was exacerbated with the Beenkars, coming from traditional background, were hopelessly ill-equipped to adapt to the strange new world outside of the Royal Courts.

In modern times, only a few of the most dedicated Beenkars have been able to survive and preserve their traditions.

Given the long and rigorous training required to gain mastery over the instrument; and, bleak prospects   of making a living as a Dhrupad singer or Beenkar, few would venture to take a leap into the unknown.

Even though there has been a revival of sorts in listening to Dhrupad and Dhammars over the past few years, the appreciation for this music remains rather tepid. Many therefore feel the future of the Been does not seem particularly bright, unless a Chamatkar occurs.

[For more on Beenkars , please check Peter Weismiller’s very informative article at:

http://www.rudraveena.org/peter_weismiller.html ]

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References and Sources

  1. Singing the praises of the Divine by Selina Thielemann
  2. Music and Tradition: Essays on Asian and Other Musicsby D. R. Widdess, R. F. Wolpert
  3. Tradition of Hindustani Music by Manorma Sharma
  4. Social Mobilisation And Modern Society by Jayanti Barua
  5. Music Contexts: A Concise Dictionary of Hindustani Musicby Ashok Damodar Ranade
  6. Sagītaśiromai: A Medieval Handbook of Indian Musicedited by Emmie Te Nijenhuis
  7. ALL PICTURES ARE FROM INTERNET
 
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Posted by on June 21, 2015 in Music, Sangita

 

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Music of India – a brief outline – Part Eleven

Continued from Part Ten – Anibaddha, Nibaddha and Prabandha

Part Eleven (of 22) – Prabandha

As said earlier, the major types of Prabandha were counted as four: Shuddha Suda, Salaga Suda, Alikrama and Viprakirna.

Suda

1.1. The two major types of Prabandha – Shudda and Salaga – are usually mentioned with the suffix Suda. However, it appears the term Suda was not in use during the early stages, say in the 5th century. For instance; Matanga in his Brhaddeshi does not employ the term Suda. He merely lists out the phrases: Ela, Karana, Dhenki Vartani, Jhombada, lambaka, Rasaka and Ekatali

But, the term Suda has been in active use since 11-12th century in the works of Somesvara (Ca, 1130), Haripaladeva (Ca.1175), Prasvadeva (Ca.1200) and other writers who preceded Sarangadeva (13th century).

And, Sarangadeva  was the first to present the class of Suda systematically, lending it a theoretical base.  (However, he did not seem to have defined the term Suda). For about 300 years thereafter, the terms and descriptions provided by Sarangadeva were adopted by all the later authors.

2.1. Later in the 15th century, Kallinatha (Ca.1440) in his Sangita kalanidhi explains the term Suda as a Desi shabda (regional or vernacular term) that signifies a particular group of songs (Gita-vishesha-samuha-vachi) –

Suda iti Gita-vishesha-samuha-vachi Desi sabdah.

Venkatamakhin (Ca.1650) also describes Suda in almost similar terms, calling it Deshiya Sabda (vernacular term) which stands for a type of songs –

Suda ityesha desiya-shabdo gitaka vachakah.

There is another explanation where Sudu is said to be a Kannada term meaning ‘ a small bundle of grass’ ; and it signifies knotting together (  ekatra-gumpham ) of different Taalas .

2.2. Mahamhopadyaya Dr. R .Satyanarayana surmises that since both Kallinatha and Vekatamakhin hailed from Kannada country, Suda may have been an Old -Kannada term derived from the root Sul (meaning sound in old Kannada). And, Suda denoted a group of certain type of songs.

The elements of   Prabandha – Anga and Dhatu

 

prabandha (1)

 

General features

3.1. Prabandha in the early texts has been explained or identified with reference to its general physical features.

Parshvadeva  (10-11th century) defines Prabandha as the Giti-s (songs) that are made of four Six Angas or Avayava (limbs or organs) and four Dhatus (substance or elements) –

chaturbhir- dhatubhih shadbhishcha-angairyah syat prarbandhate tasmat prabandhah”.

3.2. Somesvara (Ca. 1126–1138 CE) in his Manasollasa confirms and expands further. And, Sarangadeva (Ca.1230) in the fourth Canto of Sangita-ratnakara sums up the formal features of Prabandha as: Six Angas (Svara, Birudu, Pada, Tena, Paata, and Taala) which like the limbs of a body are the integral parts of a configuration called Prabandha; and four Dhatus (Udgraha, Melapaka, Dhruva and Abhoga) which are like substances or elements that regulate the proper working of the body.

3.3. Among the Angas: Svara signifies the notes (sol-fa passages); Birudu stands for  words of praise, extolling the subject of the song and also including the name of the singer or the patron;  Pada the meaningful  words; Tena or Tenaka are vocal syllables , meaningless and musical in sound with many repetitions of   the syllables like Te and Tna conveying a sense of  auspiciousness (mangala-artha-prakashaka); Pata vocalized drum syllables  or beats of the percussion and other musical instruments; and,  Taala is musical meter or the cyclic time units.

 

4.1. The Angas and Dhatus were explained with reference to organs and elements of the human body

Of the  six Angas, it was said :  Tena and Pada, reflecting auspiciousness and meaning respectively are its two eyes; Pata and Birudu are the two hands because they are produced by the hands, the cause being figuratively taken for effect; Taala and Svara are the  be two feet as they cause the movement of the Prabandha.

As regards the Dhatus – Udgraha, Melapaka, Dhruva and Abhoga – were said to be  like the Dhatus ( energies or Doshas) of Vata (wind), Pittha (bile) and Kapha (phlegm) that support (Dharana) and sustain (Bharana)  body functions and the physical constitution; and, Prakriti   which is the basic nature of body.

Thus Prabandha, like a well functioning human body, with its textual, melodic and rhythmic components was conceived as  a well structured musical composition.

5.1. The Prabandha was also classified (Prabandha-Jaati) depending on the number and type of Anga-s that went into its structure. For instance; the Medini Jaati Prabandha has all the six Angas. The Anandini Jaati has only five Angas (in which pada and Taala along with any three other Angas are present).  Similarly, the Dipani Jaati four Angas (in which pada and Taala along with any two other Angas are present); the Bhavani Jaati  three Angas (in which pada and Taala along with any one other Anga are present;  and the Taravali Jaati has only two Angas ( in which pada and Taala are present) . No Prabandha could be conceived with only one Anga.

Similarly, Prabandha was also classified according to the number of Dhatu-s : Dvi-dhatu (Udgraha and Dhruva); Tri-dhatu (Udgraha, Dhruva and Abogha);  and Chatur-dhatu (Udgraha , Melapaka, Dhruva and Abogha).

Dhatu

6.1. The term Dhatu has many meanings such as substance (dravya), thing (Vastu) , element , layer, constituent part, ingredient, element etc. In the present context, Dhatu could be taken to mean an element or a  section or sections of a Prabandha composition.

6.2. Somesvara in his Manasollasa explains the four Dhatu-s:

: – Udgraha is the commencing section of the song. Here the song is first grasped (udgrahyate), hence the name Udgraha.

Udgraha is said to consist a pair of rhymed lines, followed by an ornamental passage; and, then by a passage of text describing the subject of the song. Thus there should be pair of lines in the Udgraha and also in the third section.

: – Melapaka is the bridge, the uniting link between the two Udgraha and Dhruva.

The Melapaka should be rendered adorned with ornamentation (Alamkara).

: – Dhruva is the main body of the song and that which is repeated. Dhruva is so called because it is rendered again and again(refrain); and, because it is obligatory or constant (dhruvatvat).  [It is also said ’the Dhruva is in the Udgraha itself – Udgraha eva yatra syad Dhruvah]

: – and, Abhoga is the conclusion of the song. Abhoga gets its name because it completes (Abhoga) the Dhruva. It should mention the name of the singer.

Once the Abhoga has been sung, Dhruva should be repeated.

 

6.3. Among the four Dhatus, the two – Udgraha and Dhruva – are essential and indispensable. And the other two, Melapaka and Abhoga may or may not be included.

6.5. In addition, there is an optional fifth Dhatu called Antara (or Antara-marga, the intermediate note) which connects Dhruva and Abhoga. (Antara was used exclusively in Salaga Suda).

[Antara-marga is described as an intermediate note which occurs somewhere in the midst of Jaatis. It is not a dominant note; and, it is employed rarely (alpatva) in the middle (madhye-madhye alpatva yujam). And when it is used it is not repeated much (anabhyasa). It brings in variety (vichitratva-kariny). And, as a rule it occurs in the modified (Vikrta) Jaati (krta sa antara-margah syat prayo vikrta Jaatishu).]

Rendering of a Prabandha

7.1. The scholars surmise that a typical Prabandha might have been rendered in the following sequence.

The opening Udgraha will begin with a couplet set to mater (Chhandas), in meaningful words (Pada) setting out the main theme of the song and continuing with elaboration of the melodic syllables (Svaras). Then, in the interlude which functions as the bridge (Melapaka), one may or may not have passages of Tena. Then comes the main section Dhruva set in meaningful words (pada) and meter (Chhandas) with appropriate Taala cycles. Here, the rhythmic element of the song gets more intense. Then, one could have an optional section (Antara) perhaps with rapidly recited Pata syllables – before coming to the concluding section. For the concluding section (Abogha), the Anga Birudu is required as the signature (Mudra) of the composer or singer or as a dedication to the patron. The performance could conclude with repletion (refrain) of main lines from Dhruva.

[Udgraha and Dhruva are taken to be the equivalents of the present-day Pallavi; Dhruva is also be the body of the Kriti. Melapaka is the bridge just as  of Anu-pallavi; and Abhoga as that of the concluding charana (stanza) with the Mudra (signature) of the composer.]

[The Dhrupad (Dhruva-pada) evolved from Salaga Suda Prabandha, which had five Dhatus namely Udgraha, Melapaka, Dhruva, Antara and Abhoga. Of these, the Abhoga, being very long was split into two sub parts the Sanchari and the Abhoga. The Dhruva was also dropped. The Dhatus of the Dhruva-pada-prabandha thus became Udgraha, Melapaka, Antara, Sanchari and Abhoga. Later Udgraha and Melapaka were combined into one division called the Sthayi.  Thus the modern Dhrupad has four divisions: Sthayi, Antara, and Sanchari Abhoga.]

Shuddha Suda

8.1. As mentioned, the ancient Prabandhas were arranged in four classes: (1) Shuddha Suda – the pure or the classic type; (2) Alikrama, the intermediate type to be inserted in Shuddha Suda ; ( 3) Salaga Suda the pseudo-classical  songs of mixed nature intended for art-music,  theatre and dance; (4) Viprakirna, separate or different type of songs.

8.2. Of these, the songs of the Shuddha Suda, governed by strict rules, were regarded as the classical musical suit of the middle ages. They had to conform to the prescribed Raga, Chhandas and Taala in addition to the other criteria as specified- (Ragadi –anyatyad asya shuddhatvam ishyate).

8.3. The Shuddha Suda was divided into eight types: Ela, Karana, Dhenki, Vartani, Jhombada, lambaka, Rasaka and Ekatali. While rendering, it had to consist between four and eight songs from among these eight types.  They were sung in Jaatis and Grama Ragas and their derived archaic Ragas.

9.1. It appears the Shuddha Suda songs were mainly prayers and songs that eulogise various virtues.

Ela

For instance; in the Ela the first song of the Shuddha Suda  , which have Chhandas, Alamkara and Rasa etc , praise the virtues of detachment (hana or vairagya), generosity (audarya), benevolence (saubhagya), heroism (shaurya) and courage (dhairya). The Ela songs were said to be blissful to the performer and to the person who figured as the main character in the song. It was said that by singing the Ela with devotion (bhakthi) and sincerity (shraddha) one would be blessed with the grace of the goddess Sarasvathi .And Varahi would increase the passion, Durga the ferocity and Indrani the regal valour.  It appears that Ela was not sung separately but as a part of suit of cycles (Suda) . It is said; Ela in praise of Goddesses Sarasvathi and others were sung in Raga Takka, Sriraga, Vasantha, Hindola, Malavakaisika and Kakubha. But, sadly no example of a suit having at least four songs ahs come down to us.

Jhombada

And, Jhombada compositions were rich in figures of speech (Alamkara). Several types of Jhombada which had ornate similes in which the dispositions and emotions the main character were described in terms of the idioms of experiences of the legendry (Puranic) figures. For instance ; the pains and pangs of separation in love were described through the suffering of Rama and Sita (Rama-jhombada); the joy of the lovers in their meeting as the love of Krishna and Malathi (Madhava jhombada); love in sublime union as of Vishnu and Lakshmi (Purushottama jhombada); , anger and fury of the king destroying enemies as that of the Rudra (Rudra jhombada) ; and,  the victorious  King returning from the battle glowing with  pride as the  glory of Shanmukha the Commander of the Divine forces (Shanmukha jhombada)  and so on

Some jhombada songs were meant for special occasions, such as : Nandi jhombada to please gods at the beginning of a theatrical performance to please gods; Sapeksha jhombada : to seek special favours from  the King  etc

Rasaka

The Rasaka songs under Shuddha Suda were similar in structure to Jhombada song. They also had the first section (Udgraha), bridge phase (Melapaka), refrain (Dhruva), conclusion (Abogha) , and again  refrain– punar-punar-upadana –   (Dhruva) or Udgraha; and in addition it would also have  an improvised introduction Aalap.

Srimad Bhagavatha (Canto 5, Chapter 31) provides rare examples of the Rasaka songs (of both the Shuddha Suda and Salaga Suda cycles) . They celebrate the celestial dance and songs of Krishna and the Gopis.

Karana

Karana songs had three Dhatu-s: Udgraha, Dhruva and Abogha (But not the Melapaka) . Dhruva was made of Pata (vocalized sounds or beats of the percussion) ; and auspicious (mangala)  sounding words  or  sounds like tenna-tena-tom . Karana was said to be of nine kinds.

Dhenki

Dhenki songs were set to combination of different Taala-s. In contrast, the stanzas Vartani songs were different Ragas.

Ekatali

The Ekatali songs of the Shuddha Suda consisted of Udgraha , Dhruva ,Abogha and Dhruva again. The first section of the Udgraha could have the structure of an Aalapa.

Salaga Suda

10.1. Salaga is the Apabhramsa (or the localized name) for Chayalaga (suggesting that it is a shadow of the Shuddha variety).  Salaga Suda was Niyukta Prabandha and belonged to Taravali Jaati because it had only two Angas– Pada and Taala. It also had only three Dhatus:  Udgraha, Dhruva and Abhoga (but not Melapaka). Hence, the Salaga Suda came to be known as Tri-dhatuka Prabandha; and, was considered pseudo-classical. And, the Salaga was set to Desi Ragas (Desi-ragadi-samabandat Salagatvam api smrtam). Yet, the Salaga Suda ranks high among the ancient type of refined songs.  Venkatamakhin, in his work, takes up only the Salaga Suda for the discussion on the Prabandha-s.

10.2. The seven types of Salaga Suda songs that Sarangadeva mentions in his Sangita –ratnakara are: Dhruva, Mantha, Prati-mantha, Nihsaru, Addatala, Rasaka and Ekatali. A similar classification is mentioned in Sangita-siromani and in Kumbha’s Sangita-raja.

Here, excepting Dhruva, all the other song-types are named after their Taala.

The Rasaka and Ekatali songs of the traditional Shuddha Suda re-appear in the Salaga Suda. Their Taala is still the same. but the musical setting of the main section  has changed.

In the Rasaka of Salaga Suda, the Udgraha (initial) section itself could be rendered as Aalapa or the Aalapa phrases could be used at the beginning , in the middle or  at the end of the Dhruva section.

In the Ekatali of the Salaga Suda, the Antara , which in the other songs of this class functioned as an optional section following the Dhruva, became obligatory and was sometimes performed with Aalapa phrases.

[  It is interesting to see how the Taala of the medieval mixed suit Salaga Suda found their way into the South Indian Music. In his treatise Sangita-sudhakara (Ca.1179) the Gurjara King Haripala describes seventy-six Prabandha songs. Among these songs one may recognize some compositions of the Salaga Suda class: Dhruva, Mantha, Jhampa, Addatala and Ekatala, but also other songs such as Rupaka and Tivida (= Triputa). The names of the seven songs called after their Taala correspond to the names of the seven Taalas of the modern Karnataka system.

In the songs of the medival Salaga Suda each Taala variety is associated with a particular Rasa.]

Dhruva

11.1. Of these seven varieties of the Salaga Suda compositions, the Dhruva type was  the prominent one.  And, the Dhruva was different from the others in its construction. The others also had similar structures but they lacked the invisible-auspicious benefits (adrustaphala).

11.2. Dhruva, in the context of Natyashastra, initially meant stage-songs, which formed an important ingredient of the play. Natyashastra mentions different types of Dhruva-s and their uses in different dramatic sequences. It is said; these were called Dhruva-s because their words, Varnas, Alamkaras and Jaatis were are all regularly (Dhruvam) connected with one another. . Dhruva is also explained as Nityatva and Nischalatva having a character of stability. Natyashastra describes five kinds of Dhruva-s : Praveshika, Nishkamanika, Prasidita , Akshepita , and Antara. They were, of course, employed depending upon the context in dramatic situations.

But, in Prabandha, the Dhruva Prabandha refers to a rigid and tightly knit structure consisting three sections or Dhatus (Udgraha, Dhruva and Abogha) and an additional section Antara, if needed.

Sangitaratnakara lists sixteen types of Dhruva Prabandhas:  1.Jayanta; 2.Shekhara; 3.Utsaha; 4.Madhura; 5.Nirmala; 6.Kuntala; 8.Chara; 9.Nandana; 10.Chandrashekhara; 11.Kamoda; 12.Vijaya; 13.Kandarpa; 14.Jayamangala; 15.Tilaka; and, 16.Lalita. The objectives of these songs were ,generally, the  attainment of auspicious (mangala–prada) things in life, such as : longevity, worthy progeny, progress in life, growth in luster, enhancement of intellect, enjoyment, victory, and securing ones desires etc.

Kallinatha in his commentary suggests a correction to the general rule. He tries to view the virtue of a composition in terms of its ‘meaning-content’- Akshara-artha and Pada-artha. He remarks that a composition which is ‘irregular’ (aniyama) in regard to the number of its syllables (akshara-sankhya) could still be considered as Dhruva Prabandha, if the Pada aspect is according to the rules. And, even otherwise, when the composition is irregular in regard to the number of words in the text (Pada-sankhya) , it can also be considered as Dhruva Prabandha if it is endowed with other virtues (guna) such as Rasa, Taala ,etc.  That perhaps was to suggest that the evaluation or classification of a composition did not entirely depend on the presence/absence of  certain structural components.

11.3. Dr. R. Satyanarayana explains that while rendering a Dhruva Prabandha a particular order was followed: First Udgraha containing only one section (only one Dhatu), then a pause. Thereafter, the melodic element Dhruva is sung twice (refrain). If there is no Antara, Dhruva is followed by the Abhoga, sung once. This is followed by the Dhruva on which the song rests.

If there is an Antara, it is sung in any order at the pleasure of the singer; but, it should be followed by Dhruva, Abogha and Dhruva each rendered once in the same order.

[In the Ekatali song of the Salaga Suda, the Antara (which in other cases was an optional section) became obligatory and was sometimes performed with Aalapa phrase.

In the Rasaka of the Salaga Suda, the Udgraha section itself could be performed as Aalapa or the Aalapa phrases could be used at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of the Dhruva section.]

12..1. Dr. R. Satyanarayana explains that till about the 12th century, a Salaga Prabandha was often named after its Taala, since the Taala provided the rhythmic description of the song. In this manner, he says, we have Varnas which signify the names of a Nrtta, Vrtta, Taala and Prabandha.

Dhruva Prabandha, he explains, was unique in the use of Taala-s in that it employed nine separate Taalas, while they were sung as a series of separate songs. Thereafter, there came into vogue a practice of treating each song as a stanza (or charana as it is now called) of one lengthy song. And, it was sung as one Prabandha called Suladi. Thus, the Suladi was a Taala-malika, the garland of Taalas or a multi-taala structure.

There was also a practice of singing each stanza of a (Suladi) Prabandha in a different Raga. Thus, a Prabandha was a Taala-malika as also a Raga-malika.

12.2. Matanga mentions about Chaturanga Prabandha sung in four charanas (stanzas) each set to a different Raga, Taala and language (basha). Similarly, Sharabha-lila had eight stanzas each sung in a separate Raga and Taala.

12.3. Sarangadeva mentions several types of Prabandhas which were at once Raga- malikas and Taala-malikas: Sriranga, Srivilasa, Pancha-bhangi, Panchanana, Umatilaka, and Raga-kadamba.

12.4. The Raga malika, Taala malika and Raga-Taala- malika concept was adopted and improved upon by the Haridasa (Sripadaraya, Vyasaraya, Vadiraja, Purandaradasa and others) to produce series of Suladi songs.

Alikrama

13.1. It is said; the term Ali denotes a line or a row; Krama indicates the ordered sequence. It appears, the Ali when rendered along with or inserted into the Shudda was called Alikrama. The Alikrama Prabandha is, thus, a series of systematically arranged Prabandhas, perhaps ordered according to syllables (Varna) or Matraka (Akshara). It was believed such singing was equivalent to chanting the Mantras. The origin of such practice must have served a ritual as well as an artistic purpose. Manasollasa provides instances of the arranged Ali Prabandhas.

13.2. The Ali Prabandhas were twenty-four in number (Varna, Varnasvara, Gadya, Kaivada, Angacharini, Danda, Turangalila, Gajalila, Dvipadi etc. and when the Ali Prabandhas were combined with Suda they were said to be thirty-two. Several Ali Prabandhas were fused together to form a single Prabandha (in contrast to Viprakirna which were scattered and rendered individually).

13.4. Many songs of the Ali Krama were named after their Chhandas. In the Ali Krama songs some well known types of Chhandas from classical Sanskrit poetry, such as Arya, Totaka and Dvipatha as well as their Prakrit equivalents (Gatha, Dodhaka etc) were employed.

14.1. Some instances of Ali Prabandha are mentioned.

: – Krauncha-pada was a type that opened with Svaras (sol-fa syllables) in its Udgraha section followed by words in the Dhruva section. The Abhoga section carried words conveying the Prabandha name and the two signatures (Mudra).

: – The Svara-artha Prabandha of Alikrama had the seven Svaras arranged in such a manner that it would form a meaningful sentence in which the Prakrita words were also, often, used.

:- The Dhvani-kuttanl was a type of Ali Prabandha, in which two different Taalas were used in its two sections (Dhatu) , as a result the Laya also varied in its tempo. The sections were separated by a brief pause.

: – The Pancha-Tala -Svara Prabandha s of Alikrama class used to commence with an Aalapa. Five Padas out of all the Padas were repeated twice. The instruments such as Mujara-vadya ( a type of percussion) were used along with Pata (vocalized drum beats) . After each Khanda (section) of singing a different instrument was used.

: – The Raga-kadamba  Prabandha of the Alikrama class employed different types of Taalas with different Chhandas ( meter) while presenting a series (garland ) of Ragas.

 

Viprakirna

15.1. Viprakirna conveys the sense of being scattered, disbursed, dishevelled or extended. The Viprakirna or the mixed class of Prabandhas were separate pieces of songs set in simple Chhandas and in simple words. Many Viprakirna songs were in the regional languages.

In the Viprakirna Manthaka songs, particular variety of Mantha Taala was used in combination with other musical metres or other varieties of the same Taala in each of the sections. The names of the songs indicate their subject: Lakshni-kirti, Hara-smaraka, Gauri-priya, Madana-vallabha .etc. There were also other   popular types of songs praying: for fortune (Sriprada, Srikara, and Sampathkara); for begetting sons (Putra-prada), for begetting daughters (Tanaya-prada), for mental peace (Mati-vilasa), for good for destruction of enemies (Shatru-mardana).

Several of the of the above mentioned auspicious Manthaka songs were performed in special Ragas. For instance ; Lakshmi-kirti in Raga Mallara; Hara-smaraka  and Gauri-priya  in Raga Kedara; Putra-prada in Panchama; Satpitaputra in Gurjari; Srikara in Sri Raga ; Tanaya-prada in Vasantha or Lalitha ; Rati-lila in Saurastra Raga and Shatru-mardana in Varali raga.

In due course, the Viprakirna replaced ancient complex songs of Shuddha Suda and Alikrama suits.

15.2. It is said; the North Indian poetical pieces such as Doha (Dohada) couplets and Caupai (Chatus-padi) the four lined songs were derived from the Viprakirna Prabandha. Similarly, in the South the devotional poetry of Kannada adopted meters of Tripadi and Shatpadi. In a like manner, each linguistic region of India developed its own types and forms of poetry, especially in devotional music.

16.1. The Viprakirna Prabandhas were said to be of thirty-six types, such as shrirariga, tripadi, chatushpadi, shatpadi, vastu, vijaya, Tripatha, Rahadi, Virasri, Srivilasa   etc.

Some instances of the Viprakirna Prabandha are mentioned.

: – Rahadi songs of the Viprakirna class were composed describing battle sequences in Vira Rasa.

:-In the Virasri of Viprakirna one stanza was composed in the spoken language (Basha pada) and the next was made of Birudu , the epithets or expressions of admiration.

: – Srivilasa songs of the Viprakirna employed five Ragas and five Taalas; while the Saranga songs were set in four Ragas and four Taalas.

:- Tripatliaka had three Dhatus (sections) composed of syllables of Vadya (Pata), words of praise (Birudu) and Svaras, in a serial order (karma).

: – Chaturanga was composed of four Dhatus (sections) each section was in different language, different Chhandas,  different Raga, different Taala .

:- Caccari songs were sung during the spring festival (Vasanthotsava) composed rhyming couplets in regional languages (Prakrit), set to Hindola Raga and Caccari –Taala or Krida-Taala. The rhythm was  of importance in these songs that were sung  with group dances.

 

Gita Govinda

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17.1. While on the subject of Prabandha, I cannot resist talking about the most enchanting Gita-Govinda of Sri Jayadeva Goswami (about 1150 A.D) who was a court poet of the King Lakshmana  of the Bengal region ( 12th century ) . It is the most celebrated and the best loved among the Prabandha class.

It is a semi-dramatic  composition of twelve episodes (Adhyayas ) consisting monologues in sixty slokas and twenty-four songs of eight lines (Astapadi).   

17.2. Though it is recognized today as the sublime Shringara-mahakavya that lovingly describes the emotive sports of Sri Radha the Mahabhava highly idealized personification  Love and Beauty; and  Krishna the eternal lover (Sri Radha-Krishna lila) , it is basically a Prabandha composed of Anga, Dhatu, Sahitya, Raga, Taala, Murchana, Rasa and Bhava.

Sri Jayadeva at the commencement of his Khandakavya states that he is composing a Prabandha Kavya (Etam karoti Jayadeva kavih prabandham). The Ashtapadi (eight footed) is a Dvi-dhatu Prabandha, i.e. consisting two sections (Dhatu):  Udgraha and Dhruva.

The Gita Govinda abounds in a large number of song-sequences; and, each is titled as Prabandha viz. Prabandha-I, Prabandha-II etc. Yet; it is nearer to the Prabandha songs than to a Kavya (classic poetry).

Gita Govinda is the most enchanting collection of twelve chapters (Sarga). And, each Sarga commences with soulful a Sloka followed by one or two songs arranged in couplets. These songs are known as Giti, Prabhanda or Ashtapadi, since twenty-four of such  (but not all) employ eight couplets. Sri Jayadeva himself calls them as sweet and delicate Padavali-s (Madhura komala padavalim).

17.3. Gita Govinda in simple, delightfully lucid Sanskrit is one of the finest Khandakavya-s that is classified as a Prabandha.  At the same time, it is permeated with intensely devotional and delicate Madhura Bhakthi. The Gita Govinda was one of the inspirations of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprbhu who was steeped in Krishna-bhakthi; and, it  is the primary text of the Gaudiya Vaishnava School of Bengal.

The Gita Govinda one of the principle texts of the Bhakthi movement has also been a unique phenomenon in Indian music. This evergreen lyric sequence is set to music and rhythm by the poet himself. And, musically, each of the twenty-four songs or Prabandhas in Gita Govinda is set to a Desi Raga and a Taala. His Ragas were : Malava, Gurjari, Vasantha, Ramakari, Malavagowda, Karnata, Desakya, Desivaradi, Gowdakari, Bhairavi and Vibhasa. And his Taalas were: Yathi, Rupaka, Eka, Nissara and Ashta.

Sadly, we, now, do not know how the Raga mentioned therein actually sounded or what their scales were. Therefore, their correct interpretation and rendering are lost to us.   The Astapadis in the modern days are rendered in Karnataka and Hindustani Ragas currently in use  . 

There are many legends associated with Gita Govinda. For instance; in the nineteenth Ashtapadi, Krishna requests Sri Radha: The poison of love has gone to my head, Place your tender rose-colored feet on it to let the poison recede (Smara garala khandanam, Mama sirasi mandanam, Dehi pada pallava mudaaram).

After he wrote these lines, Sri Jayadeva wondered whether it was appropriate for Sri Radha to place her foot on the head of the Lord. Then, he promptly scored out those lines. And, next morning to his wonder and amazement those very lines appeared again in his script. Sri Jayadeva took that as the Lord’s blessing and approval of his Prabandha.

Jayadeva Goswami

17.4. The immense popularity of Gita Govinda is phenomenal . Each region and each language of India embraced with love and devotion; adopted it as its own; sang in its own chosen Raga; and, interpreted it in its own dance form.

Several poets , inspired by the Gita Govinda, have created lyrical poems in Sanskrit and in the regional languages, elaborating on parallel themes.

The most noted of such delicately beautiful poems (Madhura komala padavalim) are; Sri Krishna Lila Tarangini of Narayana Thirtha (Ca.16th century); Mahakavi Vidyapati Thakur’s (15th century) love-poems in Sanskrit and in Maithili; and, hundreds of Padavali-s in regional dialects by Vaishnava saint-poets.

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Prabandha in Historical perspective

18.1. The Prabandha served as an extremely versatile, resourceful and ever changing musical format allowing scope for many of regional variations.  Prabandha as a class of Music had a very long and useful life spread over centuries. It was the dominant form of Music, Dance and other poetical works for more than a thousand years ending by 1700 AD or a little later.

The term Prabandha almost went out of use after the 17th century. And, in its later stages, Prabandha came to be understood as the final component of a four-fold system (Chatur-dandi) devised by Venkatamakhin: Raga; Thaya; Gita; and Prabandha.

[Strangely, it appears that while the Chatur-dandi was being written, Prabandha as a class of Music was almost on its way out.]

18.2. Although, Prabandha, as a genre, has disappeared, its influence has been long-lasting, pervading most parts, elements and idioms of Indian Music – both of the North and of the South. The structures, internal divisions, the elements of Meter (Chhandas), Raga, Taala and Rasa , as also the musical terms that are prevalent in the Music of today are all derived from Prabandha and its traditions. Many well-known musical forms have emerged from Prabandha.  Thus, Prabandha is, truly, the ancestor of the entire gamut of varieties of patterns of sacred-songs, art-songs, Dance-songs and other musical forms created since 17-18th century till this day.

18.3. For instance; the Dhrupad (Dhruva-pada) of the Hindustani Sangita Paddathi, which insists on maintaining purity of the Ragas and the Svaras, evolved from Salaga Suda Prabandha, which had five Dhatus namely Udgraha, Melapaka, Dhruva, Antara (optional) and Abhoga. Of these, the Abhoga, being very long was split into two sub parts the Sanchari and the Abhoga. The Dhruva was also dropped. The Dhatus of the Dhruva-pada-prabandha thus became Udgraha, Melapaka, Antara, Sanchari and Abhoga. Later Udgraha and Melapaka were combined into one division called the Sthayi. Thus the modern Dhrupad , rooted in Prabandha, has four divisions: Sthayi, Antara, and Sanchari Abhoga.

Dhrupad retained the essential nature of the Prabandha tradition of deep introspection in elaboration of the Raga and in expanding the rhythmic patterns.  Accordingly, the Dhrupad has continued to maintain the distinctions of Anibaddha (un-structured) and Nibaddha (structured) Gana through its Aalap and Bandish sections.

In the Prabandha, Tena or Tenaka , one of its  Six Angas, described as vocal syllables, meaningless and musical in sound with many repetitions of   the syllables or sounds like tenna-tena-tom, conveying a sense of auspiciousness(mangala-artha-prakashaka), was sung after rendering Ragalapti; but, before the main section of the Prabandha i.e. the Dhruva which was set in meaningful words (pada) and meter (Chhandas) with appropriate Taala cycles.

A similar practice was adopted in Dhrupad.  The Tena of Prabandha became the Nom tom of Dhrupad. It was elaborated after rendering the Alap but before taking up the Bandish.  The latter part of Alap slides into the more rhythmic nom-tom section, where the Raga develops with a steady pulse employing meaningless syllables such as nom tom dir tana etc, but without the binding of the Taala.

The counterpart of Nom tom in the instrumental music is the Jor –Jhala of Sitar.

Now, the term Bandish meaning the structure of the song is the re-formed name for Bandha of the Prabandha Music.  And, similarly, Vastu of Sangita-ratnakara took on the Persian name Chiz to denote either a text, or a text and its melodic setting.

The latter part of Bandish is the series of Improvisations executed mainly through playing on the words of the text by breaking it up, but keeping  the group of words , so formed distinct. This division of words synchronized with the beats and cross rhythms is called Bol- Bant. In addition, melodic ornamentations, such as meend and Gamaka are also employed for improvisation. And , with Pakhawaj  , Laya –bamt , an improvised and playful rhythmic patterns are woven in an enterprising manner.

18.4. In a similar manner , in the Karnataka Sangita , the Udgraha and Dhruva of the Prabandhas took on the name of Pallavi , while Melapaka , the bridge, came to be known as Anu-pallavi (that which follows the Pallavi).  The length of Dhatus (sections of the song) was extended by introducing the Antara as the second theme into Anu-pallavi. At the same time, the large number of sections (stanzas) was reduced. And, Abhoga the concluding section of the Prabandha became the last charana (stanza) of the Kirtana or Kriti accommodating the Mudra (signature) of the composer.

Tena that were originally used in the Tena-karana of the Prabandha lost their mystique nature and became meaningless musical syllables- Taana-s.

In the Ragam-Tanam-Pallavi , particularly in Veena , the Tanam , was derived from the Tena-karana  which was meant to be played on the Veena in the Nanda type of songs of the Viprakirna class of Prabandha. The  Taanam (played soon after the latter part of the Alapana)  is a particularly endearing segment of the Veena play of the Karnataka Sangita.

Svaras which had been prominent in the ancient Vartani and Svara –karana songs of the Shuddha Suda  and in Ali Krama  song Svarartha  re-appeared as Chitte Svara in Karnataka  Kritis;  and asSapta tan in Khyal of Hindustani Music.

The Neraval of Karnataka Sangita is similar to Bol- Bant of Dhrupad.

The application of the Drum syllables (Pata) once the a characteristic feature of the Paata and Bandha–karana of the ancient Shuddha Suda and of the vernacular Sukanku song of the Viprakirna led to the creation of new forms such as Hindustani Tarana and the Karnataka Tillana.

The simple devotional form Viprakirna type of Prabandha served as the model for various types of Padas, songs etc. In addition to the regular words (Pada) , the tone-syllables (Svara) , drum-syllables(Pata) , epithets (Birudu) , invocatory syllables (Tena) and musical meter (Taala) were used again for composing many song-forms in regional languages .

The Suladi and Ugabhoga songs of the Haridasa-s were derived from Salaga Suda Prabandha. And, Suladi Taala-s were also derived from the Prabandha practices.

The epithets Birudu which once had been the important element in the Birudu Karana of the Shuddha Suda and which mainly constituted the famous lauds (Namavali stotra) of Sanskrit literature (in the musical treatise called Stavana manjari) became the basic element of the Namavali and Divya nama Kirtanas of the Karnataka sangita.

As regards the Taala of the ancient Shuddha Suda, they found their way to the Karnataka Kirtana and Hindustani Dhrupad through the mixed forms of Salaga Suda, perhaps during the second half of the 12th century.

Thus, almost all musical forms in the realm of Karnataka sangita owe their origin to one or other types of Prabandhas. Many elements of the Prabandha found their re-birth in various musical forms such as Kriti, Kirtana, Varnam, Padam, Daru, Javali, Tillana etc.

19.1. By about the end of 17th century a realisation dawned on the musicologists and composers that Prabandha format had grown very rigid, laying more emphasis on the text than on the musical content; and, that the faithfulness to the form was, at times, carried to its limits.

19.2. And, Prabandha, naturally, had to give place to improvised, easier and innovative (manodharma samgita) forms of music having distinctive features of their own. Yet; here too, it is the basic elements of Prabandha that provided guidelines to modern composers of classical music.

19.3. Most of the medieval Prabandha-s eventually disappeared because of the stiffness of their musical construction. Yet; it should also be mentioned that Prabandha helped the Karnataka Sangita, enormously, in defining its  concepts and terms, specifying the structures of its songs , refining its Grammar  and in ensuring continuity of our ancient tradition.

In the next segment lets talk about the Desi Sangita and the Ragas.

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Continued in Part Eleven

Desi Sangita

 

 

Sources and References

Indian Music: History and Structure by Emmie Te Nijenhuis

A History of Indian music by Swami Prajnanananda

Sagītaśiromai: A Medieval Handbook of Indian Music edited by Emmie Te Nijenhuis

Dattilam: A Compendium of Ancient Indian Music edited by Emmie te Nijenhuis

The Traditional Indian Theory and Practice of Music and Dance edited by Jonathan Katz

Music and Musical Thought in Early India by Lewis Eugene Rowe

Kalātattvakośa: by Ramesh Chandra Sharma

Sangiti Sabda Kosa by Bimal Roy

Suladis and Ugabhogas  by  Mahamahopadyaya Dr. R .Sathyanarayana

Prathamopalabda Swarasahita Samkeerthana Sila Lekhanamu by I.V Subba Rao

Darus in Carnatic Music by Dr. Gowri Kuppuswami and Dr. M Hariharan; Published in ‘Shanmukha’, October 1986 (Vol.XII; No.4)

http://musicresearchlibrary.net/omeka/files/original/5cd7cea3c70763af8fcaa7357b7a16df.pdf

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2015 in Music, Sangita

 

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