From Vibration to Meditation
Dhrupad is the oldest existing form of classical music. The Dhrupad tradition forms a major heritage of south Asian culture. The origin of this music is linked to the recitation of the ‘Sam Veda’, the sacred Sanskrit text. Unlike ordinary music , Dhrupad’s purpose is ‘Aradhana’ (worship).
The nature of this music is spiritual. It seeks not to entertain but to induce a feeling of peace and contemplation in the listener.
Dhrupad probably evolved from the earlier chanting of ‘OM’ the sacred syllable which claimed to be the source of all creation. ‘OM’ is said to have a spiritually purifying effect on the person chanting it. Later the chanting of ‘Vedic’ scriptures evolved into singing of ‘Chhanda’ and ‘Prabandhas’.
Dhrupad is said to have emerged from prabandhas. One significant characteristic of Dhrupad is the emphasis on maintaining the purity of the Raga and the Swaras. According to some accounts Dhrupad moved into the temples. From chanting, Dhrupad evolved into a refined sophisticated classical form of music.
The language of Dhrupad changed from Sanskrit to Brij-bhasha sometime between 12th and 16th century. Six centuries ago Dhrupad came under the patronage of royal courts. It’s complex renderings was meant for the highly sophisticated royal audience. Despite all the changes, however, the pristine nature of Dhrupad survived and even today we hear this majestic form of music performed like it was more than five hundred years ago.
Dhrupad is performed in two specific parts:
In this first part, instead of percussion accompaniment the singer uses syllables taken from Sanskrit mantras. The Raga is slowly and methodically set forth developed in a meditative mood, the syllables are used in a specific way to clarify the rendering of the raga. In the second part the speed of the Alap increases with the use of gradually accelerating rhythmic pulse that builds to a point where the melodic patterns literally dance in space.
The talented Muscians ;
Inoue Sou, Vishal Bhattarai the Dhrupad as the vocal duo
Nagendra Bikram Rai playing Bansuri
Jagannath Dhaugoda playing Tabla