Dhrupad Music : Information on Indian Dhrupad Music
The four Dhrupad Banis which are the precursors of Gharanas. Dhrupad Music, the Indian Classical Music, had its origin in the Vedas, temple music, religious invocations, padas, and gayans—all ragas based. Contrary to popular belief, the Dhrupad Banis were formalized long after the time of Haridas Swami, Tansen, Baiju, Naik Gopal and others. Though historical dates are not available, the Yarns came into vogue by the end of 17th century and developed during 18th and 19th centuries and 20th century. No musical master of earlier days claimed that he sang Dhrupad Music of any particular Vani. From 11th to 17th Century there was only detailed rendering of dhrupad music compositions in various parts set to raga. The preface of Alap exposition of raga roopa by the voice with the help of bols like Ri, Re, Na, Tom etc was unknown in the time of Tansen or even his 5th or 6th descendant.
The earlier dhrupad music had religious themes and only after it’s shifting from ashrams/temples to the Royal Court the themes turned to Nature and secular ideas. Shorter compositions came into being. It was at this stage that Dhrupad singers fell back upon the Map techniques of the Rudra Bin, Rabab and Sursringar. The sonorous sounds of the lower octaves of the Rudra bin inspired the culture of the human voice on the lower octave right up to the lower Sa called Kharaj. Soon Vocal Alap became part of Dhrupad Music and was rendered extensively in the stages and sequences of Bin Alap. Thus we had Vilambit Alap, Madh Alap, Jod Alap, and Drut Alap and gamak clearly reminiscent of the Thok Jhala and Chikari of the Rudra Bin and Sursringar.
Thus when Dhrupad Music were sung in different Vanis vocal Alap as such was not in vogue. The Vanis had to be distinguished from the style of singing, the ornamentation used, method of note production and total musical effect produced by the rendering of the Dhrupad song. The Dhrupad Music had to be rendered in real details. Soon after the emergence of abstract Raga Alap, shorter Dhrupad Music came into vogue and over the centuries all the grace and technicalities Dhrupad singing started fading away. It has to be admitted that Dhrupad Music has today got considerably mixed up since there is no dividing line between the compositions belonging to the four Vanis. Placed as we are today, we can at best make only an attempt to identify the basic features of the four Vanis.