Music of Medieval Period

Music of Medieval Period
This paper is based on Medieval Period mentioned in ‘Sangeet Visharad’ by Vasant, which is 800 AD to 1800 AD. Chronologically this period follows as Vedic Period, Boudhist-Jain-Mourya Period, Gupta Period, and then Medieval Music Period.
  1. Prabandh
The concept of Prabandh was introduced by Matanga( 800 AD). Matanga’s Brihatdeshi is considered to be the first text where Ragas and its categories, Margi and Deshi are mentioned. In the same text Matanga explains Prabandha. Prabandha is a structured (Vastu) style of singing poetry (Roopak). It uses Dhatu and Ang. The poetry (Roopak) is based on a raga and a tala. Roopak includes Ragaalapan. Ragaalapan has two parts : Ragalpti and Roopakaaalpti.
The different Dhatus (parts) of Prabandh are :
1.Udgraaha: The part where a Prabandha begins is called Udgraaha.
2. Dhruva: The part where the important meaning is described which can be either musical or literature intensive is called the Dhruva.
3. Melaapak: The part that joins the Udgraaha and Dhruva is called Melaapak.
4. Antar: the part of the song that joins the Dhruva and the Aabhog (meaning the ending part). This is the part which is called the Antara in recent times.
5. Aabhog: This means the completion. This is the part that ends the song.
A Prabandh is required to have at least two Dhatus.
Prabandh Ang :
1.Swara: When a Swara are used with their specific names i.e Sa Re Ga Ma etc in a song it is called the Swara. The Sargam geet is included in this part.
2. Pada: The words that explain the meaning (lyrics) of the song is called Pada.
3. Tena: Words (adjectives) that express auspiciousness are called Tena.
4. BiruDa: When there is usage of words like Dayanidhi, or Kripasindhu etc meaning words that sing praises of Ishwar, Raja, or Brave soldiers, etc.
5. PaaTa: Musical instrument notes like diga diga, tirakita, or gadigana.
6. Taala: The taal or rhythm structure in which the song is defined or composed is called the Taala.
Mukta Aaalapi was done in Anibadhdha Gayan whereas structured Prabandh was considered Nibadhdha Gayan.
  1. Sangeet Ratnakar (1247 AD)
The most noteworthy creation in musicological text in Medieval Music Period  is done by Sharangdeva. It is called Sangeet Ratnkar. It is also known as Saptadhayi as it has seven chapeters. It was written in 13 th century.
The seven chapters in Sangeet Ratnakar were as follows :
  1. Swaragatadhyay : This chapter includes the study of swara, shruti, gram, murchhana and Jaati. Sharangdeva also categorizes music into Margi and Deshi, gives names to different Murchhanas, giving more academic disipline to music. He refers to ancient authors before him i.e. Bharata, Kasyapa, Matanga, Kohala, Visakila, Dattila, Abhinavgupta.
  2. Ragavivekadhyay : This chapter explains Graha, Ansh, Nyaas of a raga.
  3. Prakirnadhyay : This chapter gives information about the qualities and abilities of a singer, gamaka, aalapti (rupakaalapti and raagalapti).
  4. Prabandhadhyay :  This chapter is a detailed study about the ‘Prabandha’. Prabandha represents a collection of musical forms described as Dhatu and Ang. Some of the Prabandhas mentioned in Sangeet Ratnakar are : Dhruv Prabandha, Roopak Prabandha, Bhanjani, Tribangi, and Chachchari Prabandh
  5. Taladhyay : This describe the study of Margi Taal and Deshi Taal with its different units such as Laghu, Guru, Pluta.
  6. Vadyadhyay : It is a study of different musical instruments : Tata, Sushira, Avanaddha, Ghana
  7. Nartanadhya : It describes dances in two chapters , Nartana and Nava Rasa
By Sangeet Ratnakar’s time Mughal influence on Hindustani music had begun.

The next landmark work in musicology was done by Kumbha (1456). In his book Sangitraja he classifies music into Hindustani Music and Karnataki Music. He also acknowledges Islamic influence on Hindustani Music.

  1. Dhrupad
Raja Man Singh Tomar (1486AD-1516 AD) gets the credit for the original development of Drupad Style of music in his court. It is believed that Dhrupad had a connection with Dhruva from Natyashastra and Druva Prabandha from Sangeet Ratnakar.
Dhrupad Baani
The various styles of Dhrupad are known as the baanis of Dhupad. There were 4 such Baanis:
1. GaubarHaari baani: This baani was created by Tansen and it was known to be very serious and calm in nature.
2. KhanDaar baani: This was created by Raja Samorvansingh who came from the Samor village. This baani was considered to be very loud and mysterious.
3. Dagur baani: Brijachanda from Daagur was the creator of this baani. This baani was very uncomplicated and elegant, but very interestingly tied together.
4. Nauhar baaNi: The baani that Shrichand Rajput from Nauhar sang was known as Nauhar baani. This was compared with the speed of the lion, meaning jumping from one note to a distant note.
Dhrupad was used in Mughal Courts for entertainment. This style of music is still in practice in contemporary Hindustani Music.
  1. Dhamar
Dhamar comes from Folk Music of North India. Similar to Dhrupad, dhamaar is also sung using laykaari and bolanga. Dhamar is also sung for Nritya and Kirtan
  1. Ashta Chhap Kavi (1478 – 1530)
During this period a lot of musical literature-poetry contribution was done by the eight students of Shri Vallabhacharya (who created Pusthimarg ). These poets came to known as Ashtchhap Kavi. They were : Kumbhdaas, Soordaas, Parmananddaas, Krishnadaas, Govindswami, Nanaddaas, Chhittaswami, and, Chaturbhujdaas
  1. Mughal Period (1500-1700)
This period is marked by Muslim (Persian) impact on Hindustani Music. In this period North Indian and Karnataki Music clearly separated. In the beginning of this period Allauddin Khilaji conquered Northern part of Hindustan.
In his court there was a Sufi poet-musician named Amir Khusro. Amir Khusro became an iconic image in Hindustani Music. He is regarded as the originator of Kawwali, Gazal, and today’s Khayal Music.

The music from other regions such as Afghanistan, Kashmir, Persia also became part of Khayaal expression. Sufi influence became accepted in Hindustani Music. Hindustani Music got a new turn in Mughal court of Akbar, Jahanghir, and Shah Jan. Famous musicians such as Swami Haridas, Taansen and Baiju Bawara created the golden era of today’s Hindustani Music. Musical instruments and their music also evolved during this era.

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