The Nature of Poetic Lyrics in Dhrupad Compositions
feature of Hindustani vocal music is the lyric of the song.
As already noted, Dhrupad music developed from Hindu devotional
music, with songs sun in praise of, and offered to, Hindu deities.
When this music came under the patronage of the Mughal courts,
it began to be practiced by both Hindu and Muslim musicians, and
in the composite Hindu-Muslim culture that resulted, lyrics addressed
Muslim subjects as well as Hindu. There had been a tradition of
devotional poetry in the songs of the Muslim mystical Sufi tradition,
with either God or a given saint being the object of the singer-poet's
love and dedication. In the lyrics sung on this Website, songs
are addressed to the Hindu deities Rama, Ganesh (and by implication,
Siva), as well as to Muslim saintsGhaus, Khwaja Muinuddin, Khwaja
Kutubuddin, and Nizamuddin Auliaand even God (Allah) himself.
In the secular setting of the court, lyrics were composed to honor
the emperor as the patron of the musician-poet. The name of the
emperor Akbar appears twice and that of Aurangzeb occurs once
in the lyrics on the Web site.
music, the poetry can be in two, three, or four stanzas. As already
mentioned in the notes on the development of Dhrupad, a complete
song can have up to four parts: asthai, antara,
sanchari, and abhog, with each section having its
own distinct lyric. In general, the language of the lyrics of
Dhrupad is medieval Hindi, also called Braj Bhasha.
It was customary
for the poet-singer to introduce his name at some point in his
composition, usually at the end; the singers Tansen and Baiju
(Bawra) are credited by name with the composition of two of the
lyrics on the Web site.
Brian Q. Silver