Vocal Music is intrinsic to most of us – be it a lullaby or a rhyme or a song, most cultures has song for every occasion. Since it does not require any instrument, vocal music is ancient, universal and has an appeal that cuts across age, gender and geo-political boundaries. Vocal Music is usually strongly reflective of the milieu – whether it is folk songs or political campaigns – music is known to represent history evidently and has often changed it.
While almost everyone will agree to the collective merits of music on development and de-stressing of the mind, Vocal Music fosters self-expression, emotional intelligence and social responsibility.
Quote: “People want to listen to a message, word from Jah. This could be passed through me or anybody. I am not a leader. I am a Messenger. The word of the songs, not the person, is what attracts people.”
Bob Marley, Jamaican singer-songwriter and musician and Reggae’s most transcendent and iconic figure
Indian Classical: Whether it is melody, rhythm or harmony – Indian Classical Music is a fine balance of all three, and hence Indian Classical Music has the ability to transport you to another realm with its contemplative, spiritual reverberations. There are two predominant schools of Indian Classical Music – Hindustani (North Indian) classical music or Carnatic (South Indian) Classical Music. Indian classical music is based on the ancient, melodious patterns calledRagas, infused with Taalor rhythm, evolves into music that becomes an inexhaustible fountainhead of delight and release.
Hindustani Classical Music:This school of music is known for its natural style of voice production. The major forms of Hindustani classical music areDhrupad,Khayal and Tarana and in this tradition the focus is on melody and improvisation within the given structure.
Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, who was the greatest exponents of Hindustani classical music was known as the modern day Tansen, who held listeners spellbound over the last several decades with his music.
Carnatic Classical Music: Although improvisation plays an important role, Carnatic music is mainly sung through compositions. The learning structure is arranged in increasing order of complexity. The beautiful blending of the rhythm and melody has made this school of music extraordinary and divine.
Guru Lalgudi Jayaraman was a maestro Carnatic Violinist who left a huge legacy in Carnatic Music; other popular names include M.S Subbulakshmi, Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna, and Dr. TV Gopalakrishna.
Contemporary/ Film Music: An outcome of a predominant movement in the late 19th century that sought to awaken the spirit of individuality and personal expression is the beginning of contemporary music in our country. This new movement was responsible for breaking various rigid frameworks of classical music and introduced the use of new instruments such as the violin, clarinet, piano, etc. in creating a repertoire of new musical melodies. The main aim of this form of music was to reflect a new attitude to life, aims and ideals, through the medium of musical. Various artists joined this movement, in fusing western and Indian traditions and other influences and gave rise to a new milieu in music that found expression in Film Music, Indo-Jazz, Indie- Pop, Indie-Hip Hop, Raga Rock, Bhangra Pop and various other genres in music.
Well-known names include that of India’s nightingale Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosale, Mohd. Rafi, Kishore Kumar all well-established playback singers in Bollywood and Manna Dey, Hemant Kumar who were both playback singers and contemporary artists and more recently singers like Sonu Nigam, Shaan and Daler Mehendi who has united the nation with their contemporary fresh sounds and lyrics.
Sufi: Sufi music is an extremely popular form of music that seeks to combine spirituality, mysticism and messages of peace, tolerance and pluralism, while encouraging use of music as a way of connecting with the Creator. Sufi songs are sung in a melodious and fluid style by alternating solo and group passages. There are various repetitions and improvisations in Sufi songs that impart a personal prayer like quality to these renditions.
Some well-known Sufi music exponents include the likes of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Abida Parveen andRabbi Shergill.
Ghazals: Ghazals usually deals with the theme of love and hence is universal in its appeal – traditionally most Ghazals delved in the realm of unattainable love, often with mystical overtones, doused in melodic outpourings of a powerless, unrequited lover. Invoking longing, pain and anguish Ghazals have always found an eager audience in the Indian subcontinent and is popular choice of music in most celebrations across the country.
There are a number of extraordinary Ghazal singers that the subcontinent has witnessed like Jagjit Singh, Begum Akhtar, Ghulam Ali and Hariharan.
Western Classical: A characteristic of Western classical music is based on the complexity of the composed music. Western Classical Music uses modulation and variation techniques to create music. While Vocals in Western Classical music can range from the solo to that in a chorus to that in a full-scale opera, there is strong tradition of singing in western Classical Music also. Opera is the most prolific vocal form, and usually involves a number of singers who also act, with chorus and orchestra acting out a story and singing replaces speech.