Happy new year to all!
Winter in India means music festival season thus I’ve been busy attending Guruji’s performances in and around Kolkata which is always a privilege!

Witnessing so many performances is always a great opportunity to learn lots about performing itself. In this vein I would like to finish my brief explanation of the structure of dhrupad performance and it’s elements in the hope that it is of benefit to those who have no idea about the genre but are curious. See Part 1 and Part 2 for an explanation of the first stage of performance known as ālāp.

After the ālāp has been sung and the rāga has become manifest, in the mind of the singer and listeners alike, the stage is set for the song or Bandish. This is essentially a text composed in the given rāga and set within a specific rhythmic cycle known as tāla. 

In the first example the text (“mai hari patit pāvan sune“) is of Tulsidas ji, the 16th century Bhakti poet-saint. The composition is in rāga durgā and is set to a 7 beat rhythmic cycle known as rūpak tāla. It is composed and sung by Pt. Uday Bhawalkar with Shri Pratap Awad accompanying on the pakhāwaj. You’ll notice the simple execution with emphasis on the words.

In the next example you witness the way in which the Bandish develops with the concept of upaj which is essentially totally spontaneous improvisation. Here Pt. Uday Bhawalkar is improvising wonderfully in a traditional Bandish in praise of Krishna set to Rāga Vibhās and a 12 beat rhythmic cycle known as chautāla. Shri Pratap Awad provides excellent accompaniment on the pakhāwaj. The synergy between the two artists is phenomenal and the elements of lyrics, rāga and tāla combine with such a wonderful ease which is sublime! This is dhrupad.