Recently, Students of the Dhrupad Sansthan, an international music school were divided over the composition of the new internal complaints committee (ICC), which has been set up to inquire into allegations of sexual harassment against the teacher. As it is in news, let us look at the Dhrupad music for UPSC point of view.
- Dhrupad is the oldest surviving classical style of Hindustani (or North Indian) vocal music. Its name is derived from dhruva-pada, simply meaning “refrain,” and today denotes both a form of poetry and a style of music in which the poetry is sung.
- Dhrupad music traditionally has three major parts – alap, jor-jhala, and composition. A dhrupad is introduced by a slow tempo-ed, rather somber and controlled, recurrent set of syllables (non-words) known as an alap.
- The singer attempts to emphasise the purity and clarity of each note, with perfect pitch. It can last up to an hour before the melody begins.
- Like all classical Indian vocal music, Dhrupad is monophonic and modal, with a single melodic line and no harmonic parts. The modes are called raga, and each raga is a complicated framework of melodic rules.
- Dhrupad are performed by a solo singer, or a small number of singers in unison, to the beat of a barrel drum, the mridangam or pakhawaj, and can be accompanied by a sitar. The songs are highly devotional, and are mostly in praise of Hindu deities.
- The origins of Indian classical music can be found from the oldest of scriptures, the Vedas. Samaveda, one of the four Vedas, describes the role and importance of music at some length.
- Dhrupad and other Indian classical music styles have been used a meditative tool for attaining self realisation. All the different forms of these melodies, the ragas, are believed to affect the various “chakras” (energy centres or “moods”) of a person.