The primordial sound


The word Dhrupad is derived from two Sanskrit words, “Dhruva” the steadfast evening star and “Pada” meaning poetry. It is considered the oldest form of Indian classical music and has given rise to many traditions or “banis” all over India.

The origin of Dhrupad is considered to be the primordial sound of Omkar and the recitation of the Sama Veda. Lord Shiva himself is said to be the first Dhrupad musician. Journeying from ancient temples to royal courts to present day concerts and recordings, Dhrupad yet remains deeply rooted in the tradition of introspection.

A Dhrupad performance begins with the Alap where syllables from a Sanskrit mantra are systematically combined to create a dialogue between notes of the Raag being presented. The medium of Alap offers plenty of space for microtonal exploration of notes, revealing various textures. Following the alap, the Raga is methodically developed in theJod and Jhala during which the pace usually increases, bringing out different facets of the same notes used earlier.

The Bandish, which is a poem composed within a rhythmic cycle (taal) is sung in the latter half of the performance. It is accompanied by the Pakhawaj (a double headed horizontal drum) which provides the rhythm. Melodic and rhythmic improvisations on the composition called Upaj give the musician a creative tool to paint the Raag in shades of many moods.

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