Musical Portals

Dear Students 

Here is a post to take you far away from the mundane tensions and simplistic joys of assessments, grades and marks into an experience of existential learning!

Thumrī (ठुमरी, ٹھمری) is a genre of semi-classical Indian music and the basis of most Indian folk music.

Thumrī became well-known in Lucknow in the court of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah in the 19th century. At that time, it was a song . It was called bandish ki thumri or bol bant ki thumri, sung by courtesans, accompanied by dancers.

At the turn of the 20th century, a new style of Thumri sung in Varanasi, known as bol banal, became very popular. Since Varanasi is to the east of Lucknow, the new style became known as Poorab ang or the eastern style thumrī. The text is romantic or devotional love for Krishna. The lyrics are usually in the Awadhi and Brij Bhasha dialects of Hindi. Here is one of my favourites, rendered by Kalpana Zokarkar (audio):

Thumri is characterized by its greater flexibility with the raga. Some common ragas in Thumri are Pilu, Kafi, Khamaj, Gara, Tilak Kamod and Bhairavi. The compositions are usually set to kaherava taal of 8 beats, addha tal of 16 beats, dipchandi of 14 beats or jat of 16 beats and in dadra tal of 6 beats.

Here is one more thumri (audio) by Ustad Amanat Ali Khan and Ustad Fateh Ali Khan. I hope you can identify the raga and tala:

Thumrī is also used as a generic name for some other, even lighter, forms such as Dadra, Hori, Kajari, Saavan, Jhoola, and Chaiti, even though each of them has its own lyrical or musical structure and content and so the exposition of these forms vary. Like Indian classical music itself, some of these forms have their origin in folk literature and music. Begum Akhtar is my own favourite singer of Thumri and Gazal. Here is a famous Thumri in Rag Bhairavi, Dadra Tal sung by her (audio):

This was a quiet, musical post. Did you enjoy sitting still and just listening? Developing the patience to appreciate fine music is also an art.

Be connoisseurs of good music!



18 responses to “Musical Portals

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  3. This is a lovely post for music. If you carefully admire my gravator it is also of a great musician that is pundit Paluskarji. Due to him we are able to give exams today of music as the founder of the institution is done by Paluskarji. He lost his eyes while busting crackers and so his father taught him classical music.

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