Indian classical music
Indian classical music is the classical music of the Indian subcontinent. It has two major traditions: the North Indian classical music tradition is called Hindustani, while the South Indian expression is called Carnatic; these traditions were not distinct till about the 16th century. There on, during the turmoils of Islamic rule period of the Indian subcontinent, the traditions separated and evolved into distinct forms. Hindustani music emphasizes improvisation and exploring all aspects of a raga, while Carnatic performances tend to be short and composition-based. However, the two systems continue to have more common features than differences; the roots of the classical music of India are found in the Vedic literature of Hinduism and the ancient Natyashastra, the classic Sanskrit text on performance arts by Bharata Muni. The 13th century Sanskrit text Sangita-Ratnakara of Sarangadeva is regarded as the definitive text by both the Hindustani music and the Carnatic music traditions. Indian classical music has two foundational elements and tala.
The raga, based on swara, forms the fabric of a melodic structure, while the tala measures the time cycle. The raga gives an artist a palette to build the melody from sounds, while the tala provides them with a creative framework for rhythmic improvisation using time. In Indian classical the space between the notes is more important than the notes themselves, it does not have Western classical concepts such as harmony, chords, or modulation; the root of music in ancient India are found in the Vedic literature of Hinduism. The earliest Indian thought combined three arts, syllabic recital and dance; as these fields developed, sangeeta became a distinct genre of art, in a form equivalent to contemporary music. This occurred before the time of Yāska, since he includes these terms in his nirukta studies, one of the six Vedanga of ancient Indian tradition; some of the ancient texts of Hinduism such as the Samaveda are structured to melodic themes, it is sections of Rigveda set to music. The Samaveda is organized into two formats.
One part is based on another by the aim of the rituals. The text is written with embedded coding, where swaras are either shown above or within the text, or the verse is written into parvans in simple words this embedded code of swaras is like the skeleton of the song; the swaras have about 12 different forms and different combinations of these swaras are made to sit under the names of different ragas. The specific code of a song tells us what combination of swaras are present in a specific song; the lyrical part of the song is called "sahityam" and sahityam is just like singing the swaras altogether but using the lyrics of the song. The code in the form of swaras have the notation of which note to be sung high and which one low; the hymns of Samaveda contain melodic content, form and metric organization. This structure is, not unique or limited to Samaveda; the Rigveda embeds the musical meter too, without the kind of elaboration found in the Samaveda. For example, the Gayatri mantra contains three metric lines of eight syllables, with an embedded ternary rhythm.
In the ancient traditions of Hinduism, two musical genre appeared, namely Gana. The Gandharva music implied celestial, divine associations, while the Gana implied singing; the Vedic Sanskrit musical tradition had spread in the Indian subcontinent, according to Rowell, the ancient Tamil classics make it "abundantly clear that a cultivated musical tradition existed in South India as early as the last few pre-Christian centuries". The classic Sanskrit text Natya Shastra is at the foundation of the numerous classical music and dance traditions of India. Before Natyashastra was finalized, the ancient Indian traditions had classified musical instruments into four groups based on their acoustic principle for example flute which works with gracious in and out flow of air; these four categories are accepted as given and are four separate chapters in the Natyashastra, one each on stringed instruments, hollow instruments, solid instruments, covered instruments. Of these, states Rowell, the idiophone in the form of "small bronze cymbals" were used for tala.
The entire chapter of Natyashastra on idiophones, by Bharata, is a theoretical treatise on the system of tala. Time keeping with idiophones was considered a separate function than that of percussion, in the early Indian thought on music theory; the early 13th century Sanskrit text Sangitaratnakara, by Sarngadeva patronized by King Sighana of the Yadava dynasty in Maharashtra and discusses ragas and talas. He identifies seven tala families subdivides them into rhythmic ratios, presenting a methodology for improvization and composition that continues to inspire modern era Indian musicians. Sangitaratnakara is one of the most complete historic medieval era Hindu treatises on this subject that has survived into the modern era, that relates to the structure and reasoning behind ragas and talas; the centrality and significance of music in ancient and early medieval India is expressed in numerous temple and shrine reliefs, in Buddhism and Jainism, such as through the carving of musicians with cymbals at the fifth century Pavaya temple sculpture near Gwalior, the Ellora Caves.
The post-Vedic era historical literature relating to Indian classical music has been extensive. The ancient
The sitar is a plucked stringed instrument, originating from the Indian subcontinent, used in Hindustani classical music. The instrument flourished under the Mughals, it is named after a Persian instrument called the setar; the sitar flourished in the 16th and 17th centuries and arrived at its present form in 18th-century India. It derives its distinctive timbre and resonance from sympathetic strings, bridge design, a long hollow neck and a gourd-shaped resonance chamber. In appearance, the sitar is similar to the tanpura. Used throughout the Indian subcontinent, the sitar became popularly known in the wider world through the works of Ravi Shankar, beginning in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In the 1960s, a short-lived trend arose for the use of the sitar in Western popular music, with the instrument appearing on tracks by bands such as The Beatles, The Doors, The Rolling Stones and others. Sitar originates from the Persian seh + tar meaning "three strings." There are multiple theories surrounding the origin of the sitar.
Delhi Sultanate origin According to various sources the sitar was invented by Amir Khusrow, a famous Sufi inventor and pioneer of Khyal and Qawwali, in the Delhi Sultanate. Others say that the instrument was brought from Iran and modified for the tastes of the rulers of the Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Empire. Veena origin Another theory is that the instrument is thought to have been derived from the veena, another prominent instrument in Carnatic and Hindustani music, altered in order to conform with Mughal tastes; the sitar flourished in the 16th and 17th centuries and arrived at its present form in 18th-century India, gaining prominence in the royal court of the Mughal Empire based in Northern India. A sitar can have 19, 20, or 21 strings. Six or seven of these are played strings which run over curved, raised frets, the remainder are sympathetic strings which run underneath the frets and resonate in sympathy with the played strings; the frets, which are known as pardā or thaat, are movable.
The played strings run to tuning pegs on or near the head of the instrument, while the sympathetic strings, which are a variety of different lengths, pass through small holes in the fretboard to engage with the smaller tuning pegs that run down the instrument's neck. The Gandhaar-pancham sitar has six playable strings, whereas the Kharaj-pancham sitar, invented by legendary Sitar Ratna Ustad Rahimat Khan, founder of Dharwad Gharana of Sitar was used in the Maihar gharana, to which Ravi Shankar belonged, other gharanas such as Bishnupur, has seven. Three of these, called the chikaari provide a drone; the instrument has two bridges: the large bridge for the playing and drone strings and the small bridge for the sympathetic strings. Its timbre results from the way the strings interact with the sloping bridge; as a string reverberates its length changes as its edge touches the bridge, promoting the creation of overtones and giving the sound its distinctive tone. The maintenance of this specific tone by shaping the bridge is called jawari.
Many musicians rely on instrument makers to adjust this. The bridges are fixed to kaddu, at the base of the instrument; some sitars have the tumbaa, near the top of the hollow neck. Materials used in construction include teak wood or tun wood, a variation of mahogany, for the neck and faceplate, calabash gourds for the resonating chambers; the instrument's bridges are made of deer horn, ebony, or occasionally from camel bone. Synthetic material is now common as well. There are two popular modern styles of sitar offered in a variety of sub-styles and decorative patterns; the two popular styles are the "gayaki style" sitars and the full decorated "instrumental style" sitars. The gayaki style sitar is of seasoned toon wood, with few or no carved decorations, it has a dark polish. The inlay decorations are of mother of pearl; the number of sympathetic strings is limited to eleven but may extend to thirteen. Jawari grinding styles are different, as is the thickness of the "tabli"; the other type of sitar, the instrumental style, is most made of seasoned toon wood, but sometimes made of teak.
It is fitted with a second resonator, a small tumba on the neck. This style is fully decorated, with floral or grape carvings and celluloid inlays with colored and black floral or arabesque patterns, it has thirteen sympathetic strings. It is said that the best Burma teak sitars are made from teak, seasoned for generations. Therefore, instrument builders look for old Burma teak, used in old colonial-style villas as whole trunk columns for their special sitar constructions; the sources of old seasoned wood are a guarded trade secret and sometimes a mystery. There are various additional sub styles and cross mixes of styles in sitars, according to customer preferences. Most there are some differences in preferences for the positioning of sympathetic string pegs. Amongst all sitar styles there are student styles, beginner models, semi-pro styles, pro-models, master mo
A bansuri is a side blown flute originating from the Indian subcontinent. It is an aerophone produced from bamboo, it is one of the most common instruments in the North Hindustani classical music. A similar flute is called venu in Carnatic classical tradition, it is referred to other Vedic texts of Hinduism. Its importance and operation is discussed in the Sanskrit text Natya Shastra. A bansuri is traditionally made from a single hollow shaft of bamboo with seven finger holes; some modern designs come in ivory and various metals. The six hole instrument covers two and a half octaves of music; the bansuri is between 30 centimetres and 75 centimetres in length, the thickness of a human thumb. One end is closed, few centimeters from the closed end is its blow hole. Longer bansuris feature lower pitches; the traditional design features no mechanical keys, the musician creates the notes he wants by tapping the various finger holes. The bansuri-like flute is depicted in ancient Buddhist and Jain temple paintings and reliefs, as well as is common in the iconography of the Hindu god Krishna.
It is intimately linked to the love story of Radha. The bansuri is revered as Lord Krishna's divine instrument and is associated with Krishna's Rasa lila dance; these legends sometimes use alternate names such as the murali. However, the instrument is common among other traditions such as Shaivism; the early medieval Indian texts refer to it as vaṃśi, while in medieval Indonesian Hindu and Buddhist arts, as well as temple carvings in Java and Bali dated to be from pre-10th century period, this transverse flute has been called wangsi or bangsi. The word bansuri originates in the bans + sur. A phonetically similar same for the same instrument, in early medieval texts, is the Sanskrit word vaṃśi, derived from root vaṃśa meaning bamboo. A flute player in these medieval texts is called vamsika. Other regional names of bansuri-style, six to eight play holes, bamboo flutes in India include bansi, kulal, kukhl, murali, nadi, pawa, pillana grovi, vansi and venuvu. Ancient regional innovations, such as those in the Himalayan foothills of India, developed more complex designs, such as the algoza, a "twin bansuri" in different keys constructed as a single instrument, allowing the musician to play more complex music.
In central and south India, a similar innovation is called nagoza or mattiyaan jodi, Buddhist stupa reliefs in central India, from about the 1st century BCE, depict the single and twinned flute designs. According to Ardal Powell, flute is a simple instrument found in numerous ancient cultures. According to legends the three birthplaces of flutes are Egypt and India. Of these, the transverse flute appeared only in ancient India, while the fipple flutes are found in all three, it is states Powell, that the modern Indian bansuri has not changed much since the early medieval era. However, a flute of a somewhat different design is evidenced in ancient China which Powell, quoting Curt Sachs' The History of Musical Instruments, suggests may not have originated in China but evolved from a more ancient Central Asian flute design, it is, not clear whether there was any connection between the Indian and Chinese varieties. The early medieval Indian bansuri was, influential, its size, bindings, mounts on ends and playing style in medieval Europe artworks has led scholars, such as Liane Ehlich, a flute scholar at the music school in the University of Lucerne, to state that the bansuri migrated from India into the Byzantium Empire by the 10th century and from there on to medieval Europe where it became popular.
The flute is discussed as an important musical instrument in the Natya Shastra, the classic Sanskrit text on music and performance arts. The flute is mentioned in many Hindu texts on music and singing, as complementary to the human sound and Veena; the flute is however not called bansuri in the ancient, is referred to by other names such as nadi, tunava in the Rigveda and other Vedic texts of Hinduism, or as venu in post-Vedic texts. The flute is mentioned in various Upanishads and Yoga texts. According to Bruno Nettl, a music historian and ethnomusicologist, the ancient surviving sculptures and paintings in the temples and archaeological sites of India predominantly show transverse flutes being played horizontally. However, beginning in the 15th century, vertical end blowing style are represented; this change in the relevance and style of bansuri is states Nettl, because of the arrival of Islamic rule era on the Indian subcontinent and the West Asian influence on North Indian music. A bansuri is traditionally produced from a special type of bamboo, that grows to long lengths between its nodes.
These grow abundantly in Himalayan foothills up to about 11,000 feet with high rainfall. These are found in the northeastern and Western Ghats states of India where numerous bamboo species grow with internodal lengths greater than 40 centimetres; the harvested bamboo with a desired diameter is cut and treated with natural oils and resins to strengthen it. Once ready, the artisans measure the dried hollow tube, they mark the exact positions for the holes use hot metal rod skewers of different diameters to burn in t
Music is an art form and cultural activity whose medium is sound organized in time. General definitions of music include common elements such as pitch, rhythm and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture. Different styles or types of music may de-emphasize or omit some of these elements. Music is performed with a vast range of instruments and vocal techniques ranging from singing to rapping; the word derives from Greek μουσική. See glossary of musical terminology. In its most general form, the activities describing music as an art form or cultural activity include the creation of works of music, the criticism of music, the study of the history of music, the aesthetic examination of music. Ancient Greek and Indian philosophers defined music as tones ordered horizontally as melodies and vertically as harmonies. Common sayings such as "the harmony of the spheres" and "it is music to my ears" point to the notion that music is ordered and pleasant to listen to. However, 20th-century composer John Cage thought that any sound can be music, for example, "There is no noise, only sound."The creation, performance and the definition of music vary according to culture and social context.
Indeed, throughout history, some new forms or styles of music have been criticized as "not being music", including Beethoven's Grosse Fuge string quartet in 1825, early jazz in the beginning of the 1900s and hardcore punk in the 1980s. There are many types of music, including popular music, traditional music, art music, music written for religious ceremonies and work songs such as chanteys. Music ranges from organized compositions–such as Classical music symphonies from the 1700s and 1800s, through to spontaneously played improvisational music such as jazz, avant-garde styles of chance-based contemporary music from the 20th and 21st centuries. Music can be divided into genres and genres can be further divided into subgenres, although the dividing lines and relationships between music genres are subtle, sometimes open to personal interpretation, controversial. For example, it can be hard to draw the line between heavy metal. Within the arts, music may be classified as a fine art or as an auditory art.
Music may be played or sung and heard live at a rock concert or orchestra performance, heard live as part of a dramatic work, or it may be recorded and listened to on a radio, MP3 player, CD player, smartphone or as film score or TV show. In many cultures, music is an important part of people's way of life, as it plays a key role in religious rituals, rite of passage ceremonies, social activities and cultural activities ranging from amateur karaoke singing to playing in an amateur funk band or singing in a community choir. People may make music as a hobby, like a teen playing cello in a youth orchestra, or work as a professional musician or singer; the music industry includes the individuals who create new songs and musical pieces, individuals who perform music, individuals who record music, individuals who organize concert tours, individuals who sell recordings, sheet music, scores to customers. The word derives from Greek μουσική. In Greek mythology, the nine Muses were the goddesses who inspired literature and the arts and who were the source of the knowledge embodied in the poetry, song-lyrics, myths in the Greek culture.
According to the Online Etymological Dictionary, the term "music" is derived from "mid-13c. Musike, from Old French musique and directly from Latin musica "the art of music," including poetry." This is derived from the "... Greek mousike " of the Muses," from fem. of mousikos "pertaining to the Muses," from Mousa "Muse". Modern spelling from 1630s. In classical Greece, any art in which the Muses presided, but music and lyric poetry." Music is composed and performed for many purposes, ranging from aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, or as an entertainment product for the marketplace. When music was only available through sheet music scores, such as during the Classical and Romantic eras, music lovers would buy the sheet music of their favourite pieces and songs so that they could perform them at home on the piano. With the advent of sound recording, records of popular songs, rather than sheet music became the dominant way that music lovers would enjoy their favourite songs. With the advent of home tape recorders in the 1980s and digital music in the 1990s, music lovers could make tapes or playlists of their favourite songs and take them with them on a portable cassette player or MP3 player.
Some music lovers create mix tapes of their favorite songs, which serve as a "self-portrait, a gesture of friendship, prescription for an ideal party... an environment consisting of what is most ardently loved."Amateur musicians can compose or perf
Sheet music is a handwritten or printed form of music notation that uses modern musical symbols to indicate the pitches, rhythms or chords of a song or instrumental musical piece. Like its analogs – printed books or pamphlets in English, Arabic or other languages – the medium of sheet music is paper, although the access to musical notation since the 1980s has included the presentation of musical notation on computer screens and the development of scorewriter computer programs that can notate a song or piece electronically, and, in some cases, "play back" the notated music using a synthesizer or virtual instruments. Use of the term "sheet" is intended to differentiate written or printed forms of music from sound recordings, radio or TV broadcasts or recorded live performances, which may capture film or video footage of the performance as well as the audio component. In everyday use, "sheet music" can refer to the print publication of commercial sheet music in conjunction with the release of a new film, TV show, record album, or other special or popular event which involves music.
The first printed sheet music made with a printing press was made in 1473. Sheet music is the basic form in which Western classical music is notated so that it can be learned and performed by solo singers or instrumentalists or musical ensembles. Many forms of traditional and popular Western music are learned by singers and musicians "by ear", rather than by using sheet music; the term score is a common alternative term for sheet music, there are several types of scores, as discussed below. The term score can refer to theatre music, orchestral music or songs written for a play, opera or ballet, or to music or songs written for a television programme or film. Sheet music from the 20th and 21st century indicates the title of the song or composition on a title page or cover, or on the top of the first page, if there is no title page or cover. If the song or piece is from a movie, Broadway musical, or opera, the title of the main work from which the song/piece is taken may be indicated. If the songwriter or composer is known, her or his name is indicated along with the title.
The sheet music may indicate the name of the lyric-writer, if the lyrics are by a person other than one of the songwriters or composers. It may the name of the arranger, if the song or piece has been arranged for the publication. No songwriter or composer name may be indicated for old folk music, traditional songs in genres such as blues and bluegrass, old traditional hymns and spirituals, because for this music, the authors are unknown; the type of musical notation varies a great deal by style of music. In most classical music, the melody and accompaniment parts are notated on the lines of a staff using round note heads. In classical sheet music, the staff contains: a clef, such as bass clef or treble clef a key signature indicating the key—for instance, a key signature with three sharps is used for the key of either A major or F♯ minor a time signature, which has two numbers aligned vertically with the bottom number indicating the note value that represents one beat and the top number indicating how many beats are in a bar—for instance, a time signature of 24 indicates that there are two quarter notes per bar.
Most songs and pieces from the Classical period onward indicate the piece's tempo using an expression—often in Italian—such as Allegro or Grave as well as its dynamics. The lyrics, if present, are written near the melody notes. However, music from the Baroque era or earlier eras may have neither a tempo marking nor a dynamic indication; the singers and musicians of that era were expected to know what tempo and loudness to play or sing a given song or piece due to their musical experience and knowledge. In the contemporary classical music era, in some cases before, composers used their native language for tempo indications, rather than Italian or added metronome markings; these conventions of classical music notation, in particular the use of English tempo instructions, are used for sheet music versions of 20th and 21st century popular music songs. Popular music songs indicate both the tempo and genre: "slow blues" or "uptempo rock". Pop songs contain chord names above the staff using letter names, so that an acoustic guitarist or pianist can improvise a chordal accompaniment.
In other styles of music, different musical notation methods may be used. In jazz, while most professional performers can read "classical"-style notation, many jazz tunes are notated using chord charts, which indicate the chord progression of a song and its form. Members of a jazz rhythm section use the chord chart to guide their improvised accompaniment parts, while the "lead instruments" in a jazz group, such as a saxophone player or trumpeter, use the chord changes to guide their solo improvisation. Like popular music songs, jazz tunes indicate both the tempo and genre: "slow blues" or "fast bop". Professional country music session musicians use music notated in the Nashville Number System, which indicates th
Sangeet Natak in Marathi language means Musical Drama. As the name suggests, this form of drama combines prose as well as poetry in form of songs to convey the story. In a manner, they are much similar to Musicals. Sangeet Natakas played a vital role in the development of Marathi theater and thus the Marathi cinema as well as Indian film industry. Sangeet Natak start with praise of Lord Natraja, called as Naandi or Mangalaacharan or Suchakpad the famous one "Panchatunda Nararundamaldhar" from Sangeet Shakuntal, they are popular for use of Indian classical music. The "Dramatic Music" is called Natya Sangeet, one of the two popular forms of vocal arts in Maharashtra and surrounding states; the other is Bhavageet. Vishnudas Bhave is considered the founder of Marathi theater. In 1843, his group staged the first public performance of Marathi play Seeta Swayamvar; the integration of music in the dramas took place quite late in 1879 when play writer and producer Trilokekar presented his musical play Nal-Damayanti.
It was the first musical play on Marathi stage. But only when Balwant Pandurang Kirloskar staged his first musical play Shaakuntal, based on Kalidas's play Abhijñānaśākuntalam, on October 31, 1880 in Pune did the trend of Sangeet Natak start. Kirloskar included 209 musical pieces in his Shaakuntal of 7 acts, they consisted of a mix of Hindustani and Carnatic classical music, lighter music. During its early period, Sangeet natak was dominated by religious plays like Sangeet Saubhdra, legend in Marathi sangeet natak; the trend changed with coming of sangeet Manapman, which depicts bravery of its hero Dheryadhar and his love with Bhamini, written by Krushnaji Prabhakar Khadilkar. The new trend of Sangeet Natakas caught up with the popularity quite quickly. With British Raj existing in India, Sangeet Natakas were compared with the Operas and thus local Marathi Indians found synonymous recreation. In the blooming times, Sangeet Natakas were based on mythological stories of Mahabharata or Ramayana which would hence connect with the masses.
They were limited to only small stories in them. With popularity & success, experimentation started on stage with abandoning mythological themes and bringing social issues to audiences. Sangeet Sharada, for example, by portraying the feelings of a teenage girl to be married to a widower in his late seventies, brought out a social message. Few dramas, like Kichak Vadh agitated the British rulers to the extent that they were banned. Kichak Vadh compared the Britishers with Kichak, an evil character from Mahabharata who tried to dishonour Draupadi. Draupadi was synonymous with the oppressed common Indian masses. During the 1960s, another turn came in natya sangeet with the emergence of Jitendra Abhisheki, credited with applying simplicity to the complex composition of Natya Sangeet; the recent play Katyar Kaljat Ghusli by Zee studios opened up a new era of musical cinemas. This movie was based on the legendary play bearing the same name, its music was sung by Vasantrao Deshpande. Annasaheb Kirloskar who founded the Sangeet Natakas offered other famous plays like Sangeet Saubhadra and Ramrajyaviyog.
Bal Gandharva's Gandharva Natak Mandali. Jaymala Shiledar - Jaymala, her husband Jayaram and daughters Kirti and Lata kept Sangeet natak alive during the lean period of 1960s to 1990s, they stageded 25 new musicals, including'Ekhadyacha Nashib', Mumbaichi Manasa','Anantphandi', Abhogi through their company,Marathi Rangabhoomi. She was a protege of Bal Gandharva. Bal Gandharva Deenanath Mangeshkar Ramdas Kamat Vasantrao Deshpande Jitendra Abhisheki To attract the audiences, many of the Sangeet Nataks used to prefix the word Sangeet before their actual name. Sita Swayamvar Shaakuntal Sangeet Saubhadra Sangeet Maanaapmaan Matsyagandha Sanyastkhadga Kichak Vadh Ramrajyaviyog Mruchhakatik Sangeet Sanshaykallol Katyar Kaljat Ghusli Shapsambhram Sangeet Sharada Sangeet Swayamvar Ghashiram Kotwal Devmaanus He Bandha Reshmache Moruchi Mavshi Mandarmala Geeta Gati Dnyaneshwar Suwarnatula Sangeet Vidyaharan Ekach Pyaala Bhavbandhan Madanachi Manjiri Punya Prabhav Bhavageet Natya Sangeet Musical theatre Opera Marathi book by Govindrao Tembe "माझा संगीत व्यासंग".
Pop culture India!: media and lifestyle. ABC-CLIO. Pp. 52–53. ISBN 1-85109-636-1. Book in Marathi by Govindrao Tembe "माझा संगीत व्यासंग" 1939 Kamat.com - Marathi Natya Sangeet
A bhajan means "sharing". It refers to any song with religious theme or spiritual ideas, in a regional languages from the Indian subcontinent; as a bhajan has no prescribed form, or set rules, it is in free form lyrical and based on melodic ragas. It belongs to a genre of music and arts, it is found in the various traditions of Hinduism but in Vaishnavism. It is found in Jainism. Ideas from scriptures, legendary epics, the teachings of saints and loving devotion to a deity are the typical subjects of bhajans, it is a group event, with one or more lead singers, accompanied with music, sometimes dancing. A bhajan may be sung in a temple, in a home, under a tree in open, near a river bank or a place of historic significance; the saints of the Bhakti movement are credited with pioneering many forms of bhajans, starting with the South Indian bhakti pioneers, but bhajans have been composed anonymously and shared as a musical and arts tradition. Its genre such as Nirguni, Vallabhapanthi, Madhura-bhakti and the traditional South Indian form Sampradya Bhajan each have their own repertoire and methods of singing.
The Sanskrit word bhajan or bhajana is derived from the root bhaj, which means "divide, partake, participate, to belong to". The word connotes "attachment, devotion to, fondness for, faith or love, piety to something as a spiritual, religious principle or means of salvation". In Hinduism and its Bhakti analog Kirtan, have roots in the ancient metric and musical traditions of the Vedic era the Samaveda; the Samaveda samhita is not meant to be read as a text, it is like a musical score sheet that must be heard. Other late Vedic texts mention the two scholars Shilalin and Krishashva, credited to be pioneers in the studies of ancient drama and dance; the art schools of Shilalin and Krishashva may have been associated with the performance of vedic rituals, which involved story telling with embedded ethical values. The vedic traditions integrated rituals with performance arts, such as a dramatic play, where not only praises to gods were recited or sung, but the dialogues were part of a dramatic representation and discussion of spiritual themes.
The Vedas and Upanishads celebrate Nada-Brahman, where certain sounds are considered elemental, triggering emotional feelings without having a literal meaning, this is deemed sacred, liminal experience of the primeval ultimate reality and supreme truth. This supreme truth is, states Guy Beck, considered as full of bliss and rasa in the Hindu thought, melodic sound considered a part of human spiritual experience. Devotional music genre such as Bhajan are part of a tradition. A Bhajan in Hindu traditions is an informal, loosely structured devotional song with music in a regional language, they are found all over India and Nepal, but are popular among the Vaishnavism sub-traditions such as those driven by devotion to avatars of Vishnu such as Krishna, Rama and Narayana. In Southern India, Bhajanais follow; this involves a tradition, followed for the last several centuries and includes Songs/Krithis/Lyrics from great composers all over India encompassing many Indian languages. A Bhajan may be sung individually, or more together as a choral event wherein the lyrics include religious or spiritual themes in the local language.
The themes are loving devotion to a deity, legends from the Epics or the Puranas, compositions of Bhakti movement saints, or spiritual themes from Hindu scriptures. The Bhajans in many Hindu traditions are a form of congregational singing and bonding, that gives the individual an opportunity to share in the music-driven spiritual and liturgical experience as well as the community a shared sense of identity, wherein people share food and reconnect; the bhajans have played a significant role in community organization in 19th and 20th century colonial era, when Indian workers were brought to distant lands such as Trinidad and South Africa as cheap labor on plantations. Some Bhajan songs are centuries old, popular on a pan-regional basis, passed down as a community tradition, while others newly composed. Everyone in Hindu tradition is free to compose a Bhajan with whatever ideas or in praise of any deity of their wish, but since they are sung, they follow meters of classical Indian music, the raga and the tala to go with the musical instruments.
They are sung in open air, inside temples such as those of Swaminarayan movement, in Vaishnava monasteries, during festivals or special events, at pilgrimage centers. A Bhajan is related to Kirtan, with both sharing common aims, musical themes and being devotional performance arts. A Bhajan is more free in form, can be singular melody, performed by a single singer with or without one and more musical instruments. Kirtan, in contrast, differs in being a more structured team performance with a call and response musical structure, similar to an intimate conversation or gentle sharing of ideas, it includes two or more musical instruments, with roots in the prosody principles of the Vedic era. Many Kirtan are structured for more audience participation, where the singer calls a spiritual chant, a hymn, a mantra or a theme, the audience responds back by repeating the chant or by chanting back a reply of their shared beliefs. A Bhajan, in contrast, is either experienced in silence or a "sing along".
Stavan is a form of popular and pervasive genre of devotional music in Ja