Sikh music

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Gurmat Sangeet)
Jump to: navigation, search
Bhai Mardana(1459–1534). the first follower and longtime companion of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, the first Sikh musician

Sikh music or Shabad kirtan is Kirtan-style singing of hymns or Shabad from the Guru Granth Sahib, the central text of Sikhism.

It began in the 16th century as the musical expression of mystical poetry conceived by the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak. Following him, all the Sikh gurus sang in the then-prevalent classical and folk music styles, accompanied by stringed and percussion instruments. The style was where the text was of prime significance and the music played a supporting, albeit important, role. The Gurus specified the raag in which they sang each hymn in the Sikh sacred scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib. Sixty raags and sixty raag variants were named.[citation needed] Several raag variants are unique to the Sikh music tradition.[citation needed]

While Hindustani music underwent significant changes in the setting of Mughal courts, and a separate stream of Carnatic music developed in southern India, Sikh music retained its original form and styles, a unique musical tradition encompassing a variety of melodic forms and a well-developed percussive system.[citation needed]

In the 20th century, the classical style was largely replaced by contemporary popular genres often based on Indian film music. Within the remaining classical tradition, the devotional Gurmat Sangeet style was overtaken by the darbaari khayal style.[citation needed] The harmonium took the place of stringed instruments and the tabla replaced the pakhaavaj and jori.

Significant efforts have been under way since the 1970s to revive the rich Sikh music tradition initiated and developed by the Sikh Gurus. Various terms used to refer to this tradition include Shabad keertan parampara, Gurbani sangeet parampara and Gurmat sangeet.

Sikh musicians[edit]

Three types of Sikh musicians are rababis, ragis, and dhadhis.

Raga: melodic scales[edit]

Ragas have a direct relationship to human moods and the following are the connections between Ragas and feeling:[citation needed]

  1. Soohi – joy and separation
  2. Bilaaval – happiness
  3. Gaund – strangeness, surprise, beauty
  4. Sri – satisfaction and balance
  5. Maajh – loss, beautification
  6. Gauri – seriousness
  7. Aasa – making effort
  8. Gujri – satisfaction, softness of heart, sadness
  9. Devgandhari – no specific feeling but the Raag has a softness
  10. Bihaagra – beautification
  11. Sorath – motivation
  12. Dhanasari – inspiration, motivation
  13. Jaitsree – softness, satisfaction, sadness
  14. Todi – this being a flexible Raag it is apt for communicating many feelings
  15. Bhairaagi – sadness, (The Gurus have, however, used it for the message of *Bhakti)
  16. Tilang – this is a favourite Raag of Muslims. It denotes feeling of beautification and yearning.
  17. Raamkali – calmness
  18. Nat Narayan – happiness
  19. Maali Gaura – happiness
  20. Maaru – giving up of cowardice
  21. Tukhari – beautification
  22. Kedara – love and beautification
  23. Bhairav – seriousness, brings stability of mind
  24. Basant – happiness
  25. Sarang – sadness
  26. Malaar – separation
  27. Jaijawanti – viraag
  28. Kalyaan – Bhakti Ras
  29. Vadhans – vairaag, loss (that is why Alahniya is sung in this Raag when someone passes away)
  30. Parbhati – Bhakti and seriousness
  31. Kaanra – Bhakti and seriousness

In addition to raag names, there exists an indication in the titles of hymns called ghar. The precise meaning of ghar is not fully understood, although recent research proposes it refers to raag variants.[1]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ See Inderjit N Kaur, [1].

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]