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Dhrupad is the most ancient style of Hindustani classical music

Ragas are soliloquies and meditations, passionate melodies that draw circles and triangles in a mental space, a geometry of sounds that can turn a room into a fountain, a spring, a pool."

By Octavio Paz

Dhrupad is the most ancient style of Hindustani classical music that has survived until today in its original form. The Dhrupad tradition is a major heritage of Indian culture.

The nature of Dhrupad music is spiritual. Seeking not to entertain, but to induce feelings of peace and contemplation in the listener. The word Dhrupad is derived from DHRUVA the steadfast evening star that moves through our galaxy and PADA meaning poetry. It is a form of devotional music that traces its origin to the ancient text of Sam Veda. The SAM VEDA was chanted with the help of melody and rhythm called Samgana. Gradually this developed into other vocal style called ’Chhanda’ and ’Prabandha’ with introduction of verse and meter. The fusion of these two elements led to the emergence of Dhrupad.

By the eleventh Century Dhrupad music had crystallised into a perfect form which has retained its original structure and purity through to the present day. One significant characteristic of Dhrupad is the emphasis on maintaining purity of the Ragas and the Swaras. According to some accounts, Dhrupad was sung in the temples, the singer facing the divinity. From this early chanting, Dhrupad evolved into a sophisticated classical form of music.


The language of Dhrupad changed from Sanskrit Brij Bhasha some time between the 12th and the 16th century. About six centuries ago, Dhrupad came to be patronised by the royal courts and its complex rendering became intended for highly sophisticated royal audiences. The compositions became more secular. Some were written in praise of the emperors; others elaborated on music itself. However the pristine nature of Dhrupad survived and even today we hear this majestic form of music performed like it was more that 500 years ago in the royal courts of the emperors and kings of India.

Indian classical music


  SUBROTO ROY CHOWDHURY was born in Calcutta on January 29, 1943. Subroto started learning sitar on May 12th, 1956, under the able tutelage of his first guru Shri Nirmal Chakravarty. Schooled in an English missionary instition and musically groomed in the classical Vedic tradition. Subroto combines the traditional approach of the East with the Western spirit of enquiry and rational thought. An ever widening canvas of viewpoints and the duality of his psyche has led to the enlightenement of the man and his music. Inclined  towards authentic traditional classical music forms. Subroto showed an affinity for the Gurus of yesteryears, rather than the established artists of the time. This inclination led to his close association with Birendra Kishore Roychowdhury and Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan.

Deeply moved by the Dhrupad tradition, he delved into history to return to classicism under the dominant influence of Birendra Kishore Roychowdhury. The Alaap was that of Subroto`s first love like that of his Guru. This brought him close to the famous senior Dagar brothers and he became the disciple of the legendary Ustad Nasir Aminuddin Khan Dagar. His association with Radhika Mohan Maitra started since 1962 and his musical training under the former included Masidkhani Gats, bolbanis,  mid-tempo jods and Bandishi alaap.

Subroto got a glimpse of the "Pachao Ke Sitar" (the sitar baj of Western India) during his brief stint with Bimal Mukherjee. Due to his affinity towards his grand-Gurus rather than his Gurus, his style is similar to the 19th Century sitar style. The smooth Veena Meed Ang and the Bolbanis highlighting the hand are Subroto`s forte. He was introduced by the late Dr. Suresh Chandra Chakravorty at his debut concert in North Calcutta in the year 1964. Later he won various awards at the state level. National level, Interuniversity and All India Radio music competitions. In the 70`s he started visiting Europe where he played for the Radio France, BBC, Radio Television Belgium, the North Sea Jazz Festival in Hague, and the Leverkusen Jazz Festival.

Today, Subroto has performed over 300 concerts all over Europe and the USA, travelling from India to Spain to Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France, Portugal, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and the Atlantic shores - spreading the message of universal peace and humanity with his music.

SAIBAL CHATTERJEE is one of the most promising tabla players in the country. Tutored under the living legend Jnan Prakash Ghosh, he combines youthful vigour and exuberence with acute aesthetic sense.

UMA ROYCHOWDHURY was groomed in classical music from a very tender age and is also a talented vocalist.

Jhinjoti - The Music

I: A very colourful "Aochar", or medium paced, ornamental Alaap is followed by a Masid Khani gat of sixteen beats, beginning on the twelfth beat as per tradition (the Masid Khani baz was popular in Western India just before the time of Reza Khan).

II: The Aochar is followed by the languid vistaars in slow tempo. This is followed by fast tempo tans at eight times the basic beat. This is followed by a brilliant traditional composition in fast teental. This composition belongs to the Sarod gharana of Niamatulla Khan. The Jhinjoti ends with a dynamic jhala where the musician’s skill and aesthetic sense are put to test. The Jhala is in pure Enayet Khan tradition.

Ragas and Talas

It is the unique unwritten notation system that sets Indian classical music apart from it`s Occidental counterpart. A concrete notation system is absent, and one`s ear and aesthetic sense are considered the vital yardstick. Gurus have handed down a complex system of Ragas and Talas - replete with tenets and rules from generation to generation. This is known as the "Guru-Shishaya-parampara" a unique concept of musical training. Music has come down to us from ancient scriptures, by legend, by ear and by demonstrations of the Gurus. Refined through centuries, it remains  highly creative due to the degree of improvisation in performance. Every Raga  is thus a melodic seed that derives it’s flavour from extra-musical associations, such as variations in moods, time of the day and season, i.e. Nature.

The Sitar

An offspring of the Tri-tantri Veena, the sitar is the most popular string  instrument in India. It is carved from seasoned gourd and teakwood that serve as one of the world`s most ancient natural amplifiers. The gourd is the base of the instrument and amplify the sound. Six orseven strings are plucked on a long broad fingerboard, with twenty moveable metal frets. There are also thirteen sympathetically resonating strings below, to contribute to the unique tone of the instrument.

The tabla
 is a double drum set very popular in India. The right  hand drum is tuned to the tonic, dominant or subdominant. The left hand drum acts as the bass drum - known as the Baya. It is capable of many tones which can be varied by the degree of pressure from the base of the left palm.

The Tamboura

The Tamboura is a fretless instrument with five strings. It is carved out of seasonal wood and requires aesthetic sense and great skill to be played effectively. It provides the continuous hypnotic drone in the background, that is essentialto Hindustani Classical music.
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Asit Pal tabla, dhol, khol sitar

Patricia Martin tamboura


Recorded on May 23, 1993 at Daylight Studio, Stuttgart, engineer: Dieter Streck, photographs by Wilfried Martin and Patrice Delau, liner notes by Patricia Martin";s:4:"bild";s:25:"CD_jp_1038_1a_105x102.jpg";s:18:"detailbeschreibung";s:4619:" Teental vilambit, madhya

Dhamar madhya

Dadra madhya

Kaharwa drut

Dadra (drut)

Total time: 43.52


Asit Pal

Asit Pal was born in Calcutta in 1952 into a family of musicians. When he was barely eight years old, he received tuition from his father Manick Pal, one of the most famous tabla players in India. At the age of fourteen, he won the first prize of the Howrah Music Competition. Since then, he has not looked back and has taken part in all the important festivals of Bengal. He graduated from the University of Allahabad - Prayag Sangit Samiti - and started teaching in 1971. He is as proficient as an accompanist as he is at playing solo. He is on the permanent staff of All India Radio and accompanies the most prestigious musicians of India, including vocalist Jnan Prakash Ghosh, sarod player Amjad Ali Khan, violinist V.G. Jog and sitarist Subroto Roy Chowdhury.

Since 1983, Asit Pal has toured Europe extensively, giving solo concerts and performing with other artists. Worthy of mention are also his concerts with American jazz saxophonist Steve Lacy and Mexican flute player Luis Romero Montes. His delicate and brilliant virtuosity has always been enthusiastically acclaimed by the audience, who admires the aesthetically perfect balance between the right and the left hand as well as his playing in the style of the Farukhabad Gharana: subtle, sweet, pleasant and clear, reminiscent of the great Ustad Keramatullah Khan.

This recording will provide a rare and enriching experience for those who wish to travel in the luxuriant and highly sophisticated world of Indian rhythms. Here Asit Pal displays astounding skill and technique coupled with aesthetic awareness. He performs with a high degree of inventiveness which, however, always remains within the borders of the classical rules of improvisation: creativity linked to a profound respect of millennial traditions.

The instruments

The tabla

The name tabla is given to a pair of drums that are said to have resulted from the division of the mridangam, the double headed drum of the Vedic age. Tabla is also the name of the wooden higher pitched drum of this set, which is played with the right hand, whereas the left hand "bass&qzit; drum with its metal body is called bayan. The playing surface on both drums is usually made of goat skin. A black disk consisting of a mixture of charcoal, rice flour and other ingredients is pasted onto the skin to further enhance and enrich the sound of the instrument. An elaborate system of leather thongs, rings and small wooden dowels enables the player to tune the tabla to various pitches with the greatest precision. The drums are played with the fingers, the finger tips, the palms and the wrists on the different areas of the playing surface. There are immense possibilities for variation.

The dhol

derived from the mridangam is a two-headed, barrel-shaped drum held in a horizontal position and used for accompaniment and folk music.

The khol

a double headed drum played horizontally for accompanying kirtana - Bengali mystical songs -, devotional as well as folk songs.

The tamboura

This long-necked, lute-type instrument resembles a sitar in shape, but has only four strings and no frets. It supplies the sustained and constant drone characteristic of Indian vocal and instrumental music.

By using the spoken drum language in which each drum stroke is named by mnemotechnical syllables called bol-s, which work both as a memory aid and form of notation, the time cycles, tal, played on this record can be represented as follows:

1. Teental, 16 beats (division 4+4+4+4), vilambit  (slow), madhya  (medium), played on tabla. This tal is used to accompany North Indian vocal and instrumental music - classical and light.


2.          Dhamar, 14 beats (division 5+2+3+4), madhya (medium), played on tabla. This tal is used to accompany classical Dhamar singing and instrumental music.


3.          Dadra, 6 beats (division 3+3), madhya (medium), played on tabla and khol. This tal is used to accompany classical and light music


4.          Kaharwa, 4 beats (division 2+2), drut ((ast), played on tabla and dhol. This tal is used to accompany classical and light music.


5.          Dadra, 3 beats (division 1,5+1,5), drut (fast), played on tabla, khol and dhol. This tal is used to accompany light and classical
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Subroto Roy Chowdhury sitar

Manikrao Popatkar

Patricia Martin tamboura

Digitally recorded on March 17 and 18, 1986 at Tonstudio Bauer, Ludwigsburg, engineer: Carlos Albrecht, photographs by Anneliese Müller and Siegfried Dannecker, cover design by Klaus  Schnizer";s:4:"bild";s:25:"CD_jp_1017_1a_105x105.jpg";s:18:"detailbeschreibung";s:4191:"Gurjari Todi  Alap, Jor, Vilambit, Drut  (teental, 16 beats) 22.49"



Raga Desh

Alap, Jor                                 8.54"

(teental, 16 beats)                  22.49"

Tabla Solo in Raga Desh

(teental, 16 beats)                   8.12"

Mishra Bhairavi Dhun

(dadra, 6 beats)                       5.34"


–    Serenity    –    a cloudless sky, unruffled waters, calmness of mind, absence of passion, harmony of man and universe, nobleness, purity, wisdom, peace...   serenity.

This soft and harmonious sounding word that may apply to atmospheric conditions, to landscape, to human thoughts and behaviour, to justice, to a monarch, also seem to have been created to describe this recording.Out of serenity, with serenity, for our serenity, the music quietly unfolds, progressively disclosing its richness and beauty without ostentation. Even in the faster parts, no haste, no brusqueness disturbs the peaceful atmosphere built up by Subroto Roy Chowdhury and Manikrao Popatkar.

Groomed in the purest senia tradition, he follows the classical dhrupadic raga structure fast dying out even in India. He is considered the most progressive among traditonalists for his associates in a logical synthesis ancient and modern musical expressions without in anyway diluting the former. His improvisations are celebrated for their melodic beautiy and the harmonious blend of classical and folk music, highlighted by his both intellectual and emotional approach to the sitar.

Subroto Roy Chowdhury was born in Calcutta in 1943. His teachers were famous masters such as Nirmal Chakravarty, Suresh Chakravarty, Radhika Mohon Maitra and Birendra Kiskore Roy Chowdhury. He gave his first public performance when he was 21 years old and since then has won several trophies and medals, among others at the All Bengal and All India Radio music competions. In 1969, the title "surmani", a highly coveted musical award, was bestowed on him. In India, Subroto Roy Chowdhury is regularly invited to participate in the important musical events of both the North and the South.

Innumerable concerts, lectures and workshops all over Europe and his participation in several international festivals have made European listener well aware of Subroto Roy Chowdhury. Radio France –  France Musique and France Culture –, the Radio Télévision Belge, the Radio Suisse Romande, Netherlands radio AVRO, the BBC, Radio Bremen, the Westdeutscher Rundfunk und the Bayerischer Rundfunk recorded and broadcasted several of his recitals.

Subroto Roy Chowdhury is also a highly regarded composer of film and theater music. His very succesful music direction in Hansgünther Heyme’s Indo-German production "Antigone" shows that his scope is not limited only to composing for the sitar. He is also an eminent member of the teaching staff in one of the leading institutions under the University of Calcutta, an All India Radio and Television artist, a known music critic and a member of the experts committee of the Benares Hindu University.

Pandit Manikrao Popatkar (tabla) was born in Nagpur, Maharashtra, in 1933. He was initaially trained by his brother Shanker Rao Popatkar from the age of ten. In 1962, he was accepted as a disciple of the tabla virtuoso Tapsavi Samta Prasad of Benares. During his wide international tours and as a staff artist of All India Radio for nineteen years, he has accompanied the most renowned musicians of India, such as Nikhil Banerjee Hariprasad Chaurasia, Shiv Kumar Sharma, V.G. Jong, Ram Naradayan. He was selected to tour Europe with Vilayat Khan in 1968. Pandit Popatkar has developed a unique style for the tabla as an accompanying and as a solo instrument. His teaching methods are highly celebrated in India and Europe. His playing is both subtle and compact. It combines empathy with wisely measured audacity, the strictest classicism with the verve of the romantic poet.";s:10:"detailbild";s:25:"CD_jp_1017_1b_209x209.jpg";s:22:"templatefile_smalllist";s:27:"template_smalllist.template";s:12:"is_invisible";b:0;s:19:"templatefile_detail";s:24:"template_detail.template";s:22:"ignore_customer_rabatt";b:0;s:4:"rule";s:0:"";}}i:3;s:4:"0050";s:9:"Templates";a:0:{}s:14:"Anzahl_Artikel";i:4;s:19:"Anzahl_Warengruppen";i:0;s:8:"BasePath";s:1:".";}



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