Indian Music: 20 Types of Indian Songs and Music Genres

Majority of Indian states have their own local music which has become part of their state culture. Here is the list of 20 Indian Music genres. Let’s learn about each of these in detail in this lesson.

Music type – Classical Indian Music

Classical music is one of the most important types of Indian music. It is further classified into three sub-genres-

Carnatic Music

Carnatic music is mainly from the South Indian states of India like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka. This music emerged from the Sanatana Dharma. They are meant to be sung vocally and in instruments in Gayaki style.Odissi Music

This genre of music originated from the state of Orissa and is sung as an ode to Lord Jagannatha.

Hindustani Music

This is the music of North India. Although Hindustani music previously consisted both of Carnatic Music and Hindustani music. However, in the 13th century, it got divided. This music originated from the Persians or Muslims and was considered to be the greatest music of South Asia.

Indian Music Genres
Indian Music Genres

Music Type – Folk Music Genre

There are vast types of folk music across India because of its varied cultures and languages. Various states have various states of India. For example, the Tamang Selo is for Tamang Selo, Bhagvagethe is a soft emotional song genre. This includes subjects of love, nature and ideologies. Bauls are also considered to be a very important folk song of Bengal and were the song from the 18th, 19th and 20th century. This folk music is sung along with Ektara or Dotara.

Song Type – Borgeet

Borgeet is one of the lesser known types of Indian music and songs. These songs are believed to be sung in pada verse. This was composed by Srikanta Shankar deva and Madhavadeva. These songs were composed in the 15th and the 16th centuries. These musical compositions were done in Brajabuli which are now common in the regions of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The music which is used in these songs is based on Ragas.

Borgeet song by Mridushmita

Song Type – Baul

The Baul is mainly a type of Indian folk song which emerged in the state of Bengal. It is considered to be a mixture of Sufism and Sahaja which is considered to be the songs of Assam, Bengal and Bangladesh. They are usually the bards who perform music along with Ektara or Dotara in various villages of Bengal. Lalon Shah was considered to be one of the famous singers from Baul genre of music.

Song type – Bhajan

Bhajan is a type of Indian song which was sung in ode to God. It is mainly derived from the Sanskrit language. It is mainly formed using Dhrupad. They refer to the purity of the human soul and divinity. They refer to the mythological texts of Ramayana and Mahabharata. This helps in attracting the village population who find it as a great form of music for devoting to God.

Indian Music Type – Shyama

Shyama is the music of devotional origin for gods and goddesses. This musical genre has its origin in the state of Bengal whereby the songs are sung as an ode to the goddess Kali or Shyama. The word Shyama has its origin in Sanskrit which is meant to be ‘dark’, ‘black’ or ‘blue’.

Indian Music Type – Sangeet

India being a holder of the rich tradition of music constitutes one of the oldest histories of varied music genre – Sangeet. Sangeet constitutes of three parts which are vocal music, instrumental music and music in the form of dance. This previously constituted of only devotional music but the modern form originated in the Samaveda.

Indian Music Form – Ramprasadi

This is the Indian music form which was developed by Ramprasad Sen in the 18th century. They are usually from Bengal and are sung for goddess Kali. This song was devotedly sung to Goddess Kali by Ramprasad Sen who was the first Sakta saint.

Indian Music Type – Rabindra Sangeet

This is the Indian music which was developed by the greatest noble laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore. He was a prolific composer whose verses and poems were also variedly lyricised. This music genre also originated from Bengal. His songs included the topics of love, devotion, affection, humanism and so on. He also linked humans to nature through his compositions.

Indian Song Type – Nazrul Geeti

These types of Indian songs were composed of Kazi Nazrul Islam. He worked on the arenas of love, devotion, and philosophies through his writings. These songs are widely popular in both Bengal and Bangladesh. His songs were a huge source of motivation and supported Indian independence as well as the Liberation Movement in Bangladesh.

Indian Song Type – Dwijendra Geeti

These type of Indian songs were written by Dwijendralal Ray. He was a play writer, music composer as well as a poet. These songs had its origin from the state of Bengal. He composed songs on the aspects of Hindu mythology and spirituality and also on the National history of Independence. He composed almost 500 songs.

Indian Music Type – Atulprasadi

Being a Bengali Atul Prasad Sen was a great composer, lyricist and poet who enhanced the Bengali tradition of music and culture. His contexts of writing were love, devotion and patriotism towards the nation. He introduced Thumri in the music of Bengal.

Indian Song Type – Prabhat Samgiita

This is the Indian music genre which was developed by Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar. These songs were composed and put to melodies by himself. This music constituted of both classical or semi-classical genre of music compositions.

Indian Music Type – Thumri

This is the form of light classical music from North India. This is actually light classical music which is popular in Lucknow and Varanasi. They include a wide variety of songs. Usually accompanied using harmonium, tambura, tabla and so on and also includes performing of alap in this music type.

Thumri in Raag Bhairavi

Indian Music Type – Dadra

This is a piece of light classical music and is common in the regions of Agra and Bundelkhand. It was traditionally accompanied by Dadra Taal but in the modern times, this is also performed with the taals which are light like that of Keherwa. This form of music emerged in the middle of the 19th century in the court of King Wajid Ali Sajid.

Indian Song Type – Chaiti

This is a form of semi-classical song which is sung in India during the month of Chait or Chaitra. This is sung in ode to Lord Rama during the time of Ram Navami in March or April. It is under the genre of season-based songs which are common in India.

Indian Music Type – Kajari

This is also the Indian music type which is based in the state of Uttar Pradesh. This is a form of folk song which is classical and semi-classical in origin. This is the name which is associated with the word Kajal and is sung during the monsoon season in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

Indian Music Type – Sufi Music Genre

Sufi is one of the most famous Indian music genres which was usually common and became famous from South Asia. It has various subtypes like Qawwali, Ghazal and so on. Famous composers and singers who were associated with Sufism were Rumi, Hafiz, Amir Khusrow. This song was derived from a puritan form of music of the Islams.

Indian Song Type – Ghazal

Ghazals are a type of Indian song and music that is sung in both India and Pakistan which were actually poems later transformed into love songs. Has been evolved from Arabic songs around 10th century A.D. These were included in the music of the Muslims in the 12th century.

Indian Song Type – Qawwali

This is generally a subtype of Sufi music which is sung in devotion in Islamism. This song taught the people truth and devotion and tried to spread peace and devotion. Important singers were Amir Khusrow who belonged to the 13th century.

This is all about 20 Indian Music Genres which are very popular in various states of India. Please explore Podium School other lessons to learn more.

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