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All About Indian Classical Music

August 01, 2010

Dhrupad and Dhamar

Some of the widely sung, prevalent styles today in North India Classical music are: Dhrupad, Dhamar, Khayal, Tarana, Tappa and Thumri. Other minor modes include Dadra, Sawani, Chaiti, Kajari, Hori. Let us begin by looking at Dhrupad and Dhamar.

Dhrupad: Literally it is formed of two words - 'dhruva' meaning fixed and 'pada' meaning text. It is the origin and foundation of North Indian Classical music, from which other forms have been derived. In Dhrupad there are no apparent decorative touches; only 'meend' (glide from note to note), and 'gamak' (heavy oscillation between notes) are allowed.The songs are pieces of pure poetry, comprising of moral principles, devotional themes, description of seasons etc. It is very difficult to render this solemn style of singing or playing, and that is why the exponents of this style were and are very few.

Dhamar: A style of singing called 'pakki-hori' is set to a rhythm of 14 beats known as 'dhamar' (taal). This is known as 'Dhamar'. A Dhrupad singer also masters Dhamar and it is sung right after Dhrupad. In fact, Dhamar is considered part and parcel of Dhrupad. It generally depicts incidents connected to Holi and romantic situations between Krishna and Radha.

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