15 October, 2016

Parts of a Composition in Indian Classical Music

In Indian Classical Music, a Composition has four parts, of which only the first two are performed regularly e.g. in a Khayaal:
1.      Asthaai including mukhda
2.      Antara
3.      Sanchari
4.      Abhog

Note: It is presumed that the reader understands the concept of “sam“ - the first beat of a taal (rhythm) cycle. It is also the syllable(s) of the bandish (composition) on which the first beat of the taal cycle falls. When an artist begins a composition, the tabla enters at the sam syllable.

As an example, let us take a well-known bandish in the afternoon raag, Shuddha Sarang:

The lyrics of the composition are:

Ab mori baat maan le piharava 
Main jaaon tope vaari vaari vaari 

Prem piya mukh so nahin bolat 
Binati karat main to haari haari haari

अब मोरी बात मान ले पिहरवा,
मैं जाऊं तोपे वारी वारी वारी 

प्रेम पिया मुख सो नहीं बोलत 
बिनती करत मैं तो हारी हारी हारी 

Here is a recording where the lyrics proceed as written above, in a simple format:
Ab Mori Baat - Dhrut Teen Taal - Raag Shudha Saarang https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EEFiMdxNew 

Now hear the same composition by Veena Sahastrabuddhe, where you can appreciate the intricate movements and return to sam with the mukhda and asthaai:
Vidushi Veena Sahastrabuddhe Shuddha Sarang - ab Mori Baat Man le https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIuGR4w3dI8

And now the description of each part:

1. Asthaai (pallavi in Carnatic music, base or refrain in western music)  is the first part of a composition, its first line serving as a  Mukhda, while the Asthaai itself serves as a base for the singer to returns to, repeatedly.

For example the Asthaai in the recordings:
Ab mori baat maan le piharava 
Main jaaon tope vaari vaari vaari 

Mukhda: literally 'face', is the opening phrase of an asthaai, which comes before, leads up to, and arrives on the sam. So a mukhda introduces & sets the tone. When artists improvise, they return to the Asthaai periodically, by picking up the mukhdaa at the right time.

For example the mukhda in the recordings:
"Ab mori baat." 

2. Antara: literally 'within'; (Anupallavi in Carnatic music, “Stanza” or “verse” in western music).it is the second part, a continuation from where the mukhda left off, sung in a high octave, focusing on the taar shadaj, with a good deal of text manipulation and repeated forays into asthaai;

For example the Antara in the recordings:
Prem piya mukh so nahin bolat 
Binati karat main to haari haari haari

3. Sanchari: literally, “wandering”; the 3rd section (Charanam in Carnatic music) - remains a free-flowing, section;

4. Abhoga: 4th or concluding section (Pallavi in Carnatic music); includes notes from all three octaves, and in present-day performances, may well be sung with the Sanchari, if these two sections are included.

1 comment:

Mohan Chandra Joshi said...

Reshma ji, very nice presentation with illustrations of the bandish by two imminent singers;
I feel that you should also add a paragraph about the author of the bandish i.e. Prempiyaa, the pseudo name of Ustad Faiyaa Khan 'Aaftaab2-e Mausiki', the doyan of Agra Gharana.

Yours sincerely , Mohan Chandra Joshi.