Classical Vocal Music
Origins of Indian classical music can be found in
the Vedas, which are the oldest scriptures in
the Hindu tradition.
Derived from Samveda.
Chanting style evolved into Ragas.
Bharat Muni’s Naatyashastra is the first book of Music.
Divided into 12 semitones, of which 8 basic notes are Sa
Re Ga Ma Pa Da Ni Sa (In ascending tonal order)
Singing is based melodically on particular Ragas and
rhythmically on Talas.
Notation system is created by Vishnu Narayan
Bhatkhande in 20th century.
MusicMainly found in North
Three main forms –
Khyal, Tarana and
used in Hindustani
the sitar, sarod, surbaha
r, veena, tanpura, bansu
ri, shehnai, sarangi, violi
n, santoor, pakhavaj an
Bada Khyal (in Vilambit Laya)
Chota Khyal (in Madhay Laya/ Drut Laya)
Tarana (in Drut Laya)
Aalap: Slow elaboration of the raga
along with Aaroh, Avroh and Pakad.
Bandish: Lyrics part, accompanied by
tabla, around which the raga is
Taan: Fast elaboration of the raga
Tihaayi- Bandish ends with tihaai
Performed with tabla and tanpura (other
sarangi and harmonium)
medium- to fast-paced songs that
are used to convey a mood of
usually performed towards the
end of a concert.
Have meaningless words, such as
‘Ta Na’, ‘Dir- Dir’ ‘Dere Na’, etc.
Performed with tabla and sitar.
Old style of singing.
traditionally performed by
performed with a tambura and
Tansen invented it.
A lighter form of
dhrupad, called dhamar, is sung
primarily during the festival
Classical music from South India.
More rhythmically intensive and structured than
Raga elaborations are generally much faster in
tempo and shorter than their equivalents in
Accompanists have a much larger role in Carnatic
concerts than in Hindustani concerts.
The opening piece is called a varnam, a warm-up for
A series of interchanges
between ragams (unmetered melody)
and thaalams (the ornamentation, equivalent to
This is intermixed with hymns called krithis.
Instruments typically used in Carnatic music
include venu, gottuvadyam, harmonium, veena, mrid
angam, kanjira, ghatam and violin.
Semi-classical vocal form said to have begun in
Uttar Pradesh with the court of Nawab Wajid Ali
Three types of thumri: poorab ang, Lucknavi and
Lyrics are typically in a proto-Hindi language
called Brij Bhasha and are usually romantic.
Some recent performers: Abdul Karim Khan, the
brothers Barkat Ali Khan and Bade Ghulam Ali
Khan, Begum Akhtar, Girija Devi, Beauty Sharma
Barua, Nazakat-Salamat Ali Khan, Pt Ajoy
Chakrabarty, Prabha Atre, Siddheshwari
Devi, and Shobha Gurtu.
A form of Indian semi-classical vocal music whose
specialty is its rolling pace based on
fast, subtle, knotty construction.
Originated from the folk songs of the camel riders of
Punjab and was developed as a form of classical
music by Mian Ghulam Nabi Shori or Shori Mian, a
court singer for Asaf-Ud-Dowlah, the Nawab of
Performers: Laxmanrao Pandit, Shanno
Khurana, Manvalkar, Girija Devi, Ishwarchandra
Karkare, and Jayant Khot.
Originally Persian form of poetry.
Became the most common form of poetry in the
Popularized by classical poets like Mir Taqi
Mir, Ghalib, Daagh, Zauq and Sauda amongst the
North Indian literary elite.
Vocal music set to this mode of poetry is popular with
multiple variations across Iran, Afghanistan, Central
Asia, Turkey, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Diverse because of India's vast cultural diversity.
Lyrics are dialects/ regional languages based.
Sung in groups.
Represents the particular society or region.
Famous performers: Ila Arun, Malini
Awasthi, Hemant Chauhan, Hans Raj Hans, Sharda
Sinha, S. D. Burman, etc.
Devotional songs sung by a group of mystic minstrels from Bengal.
They can often be identified by their distinctive clothes and musical
Baul music had a great influence on Rabindranath Tagore's poetry
and on his music (Rabindra Sangeet).
It is said that Lalon Fokir (1774 -1890), the greatest of all
Bauls, continued to compose and sing songs for decades without
ever stopping to correct them or put them on paper. It was only
after his death that people thought of collecting and compiling his
In 2005, the Baul tradition was included in the list of "Masterpieces
of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO.
Any type of Hindu devotional song.
Has no fixed form: it may be as simple as
a mantra or kirtan or as sophisticated as the
dhrupad or kriti with music based
on classical ragas and talas.
The Dhrupad style, Sufi, qawwali and the kirtan or
song in the Haridasi tradition are related to bhajan.
Nanak, Kabir, Meera, Narottama
Das, Surdas and Tulsidas are notable composers.
Also known as Tagore Songs
Songs written and composed by Rabindranath
Characterized by its distinctive rendition while
singing which includes a significant amount of
ornamentations like meend, murki, etc. and is filled
with expressions of romanticism.
Singers: Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle, Kavita
Krishnamurthy, Debabrata Biswas, Malati
A light classical vocal form in Hindustani classical
music, mostly performed in Agra and
in Bundelkhand region.
Originally accompanied by dadra tala (from where
the term for the genre was borrowed).
Lag jaa gale by Lata Mangeshkar
Humri Atariya pe by Begham Akhtar.
Popular in South Asia, particularly in
the Punjab and Sindh regions of Pakistan, also
in Hyderabad, Delhi and other parts of India.
Performed mainly at Sufi shrines or dargahs. It has
also gained mainstream popularity.
Singers: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Sabri
Brothers, Bahauddin Qutbuddin, Aziz Mian etc.
A semi-classical songs sung in the Hindu
calendar month of Chait, during the Holy month
of Sri Rama Navami in March/April.
The songs typically has the name of Lord Rama.
Traditionally sung in the villages and towns of Uttar
Banaras, Mirzapur, Mathura, Allahabad and the
Bhojpur regions of Bihar.
Also known as Kohl.
Popular in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Often used to describe the longing of a maiden for
her lover as the black monsoon cloud come hanging
in the summer skies, and the style is notably sung
during the rainy season.
Exponents of Kajari are Pandit Channulal
Mishra, Shobha Gurtu, Siddheshwari Devi, Girija
Devi, and Rajan and Sajan Mishra.
• Devotional songs of the Sufis, inspired by the works
of Sufi poets, like Rumi, Hafiz, Bulleh
Shah and Khwaja Ghulam Farid.
• Mostly common in parts of Pakistan and India.
• Singers: Abida Parveen, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, A. R.
Rahman, Lalan Fakir, Kazi Nazrul Islam, etc.