Anu-Rag School of Music


Hindustani Music is the north Indian style of Indian classical music originated from Vedic ritual chants. Kathak is one of the prominent eight forms of Indian Classical dances. The word Kathak derives from the Samskrita language “Katthyaka” meaning story teller. “Katha Kahe Kathak” is the normal slogan passed by teachers to students from centuries. Hindustani Music is the heart and soul of Kathak dance. From “Chandas” (Vedic Meter), the earlier type of Music to “Prabhand” music of medieval period, the origin of Kathak dance is connected to religion and temple culture. In the early evolutionary period, Kathak adopted “Kirtanas” and “Drupad” style of singing.

However, the advent of Mughals saw a phenomenal changes in the forms of Thumrees, Dadras and Ghazal types which were catered to the means of entertainment for Mughal lords. Different types of “Rasas” including romantic aspects were brought in while, Drupad style still preserved its distinctive features such as dignified pace, a sense of majestic aurora encompassing most of the nine Rasas.

With an emphasis on the entertainment value, Kathak has to rely more on instrumental support, fast paced rendering which opened a window of opportunity for percussionists to develop new “Bols” (syllables) fitting the tempo (Laya). In short, one could see an intimate relationship between Hindustani Music and Kathak as a “visual poetry”.

The rhythmic pattern of percussion is a life-breath of Kathak dance. Bols, the mnemonic syllables are rendered so passionately to the footwork by dancer for several cycles of “Lehra” (repeated cycles), the audience essentially feels a high anxiety till both percussionist and dancer land precisely at the same time with a crystal clear pose by the dancer. That is often an “Aha moment” for the audience. At this stage, the instrumental music is just supporting the counts on percussion in a cyclic manner with no significant improvisation whatsoever. The instrumental ensemble includes Tabla or Pakhavas, Harmonium or Sitar or Sarod or Sarangi. Kathak performance could be equally hypnotic even with just Tabla and Sarangi combination alone. In “Natya Shastra”, it is interesting to see the “ Pada Vichhedana” (divide word through each syllable) of TABLA as: Ta for Tal, Ba for baant (rhythmic permutation) and La for Laya (tempo).
In summary, Indian classical dance can be thoroughly enjoyed by observing movement of the hands, eyes, expression, feeling and reaching several moods described in the song tuned to melody.

Yato Hastaha Tato Drustihi, Yato Drustihi Tato Manaha, Yato Manaha Tato Bhavaha, Yato Bhavaha Tato Rasaha.

The learning starts with Guru, followed by improvisation by the student himself, over a long period of time, learning from fellow artists and finally, dedication through the life will make the artist complete each stage is contributing approximately 25%.

Acharyaath Padum Aadatte, Paadum Shishya Swamedhaya, Paadum Sabrahmacharibhyaha, Paadum Kaalakramena Cha.

Author: Dr. Raghu Pandurangi is a professional scientist, an ardent learner of Hindustani Music and Tabla. He got his initial training in Tabla under Lakshman Sa Nakod from Dharwad and short lessons from several Gurus. He is also taking vocal lessons in Hindustani Music under the guidance of his wife Guru Sandhya Anu Pandurangi. Currently, he is the Founder, President of Sci-Engi-Medco Solutions Inc and Amplexi-LLC developing plant based cancer therapy, specifically for triple negative breast cancer. He is also co-founder of Anu-Rag School of Music which serves the community through teaching and promoting Hindustani Music.
References: 1. Kathak: Dances of India, Shovana Narayan. 2. Google 3. Gnyana.