Orissa News

Odissi Music

odissi dance form

Associated with the popular dance form of Odissi, the Odissi music is a distinct form of Indian Classical Music. In fact, it is an outcome of the continuous evolution of earliest Indian classical music. Like Hindustani and Carnatic systems, Odissi music is a separate system of Indian classical music and has all the essential as well as potential ingredients of Indian Classical form. Orissa could imbibe all the waves of classical music beginning from 'Sama-Gana' to Raga 'Prabandha Gana', but finally it assumed the present form of "Ragaksyudra-Geeta-Pravandha-Gana". This system is popularly styled as traditional Odissi music.

The Sovaneswara and the Brahmeswara and the Madhukeswar temple inscription reveal that dance and music was introduced in the temples as a part of daily rituals. Music tinged with religion, attained mass appeal and royal patronage. As such the royal patronization of Art and Culture made the Oriya music developed and enchanting for enjoyment of both Gods and Goddesses and human beings. This tradition is still continuous in its different manifestations. Further historical evidences suggest the existence of by- music in Orissa existing in the form of Triswari, Chatuhswari, and Panchaswari, that was modified into the classical style in 4th century A.D. From 16th century onwards treatises on music began to be compiled in Oriya. They were Sangitamava Chandrika, Gita Prakasha, Sangita Kalalata and Natya Manorama. Sangita Sarani and Sangita Narayana were written in the early 19th century.

Style of Music

The Odissi 'Sangeeta' (music) is composed following the styles ('Riti') of four classes of music such as 'Dhrubapada', 'Chitrapada', 'Chitrakala' and 'Panchali':

  • Dhrupada: The Dhrupada or "Ghosha" meaning the first line or lines to be cited repeatedly has importance in Odissi music.
  • Chitrakala: The use of art in music is called "Chitrakala". Kavisurya Baladeva Rath, the renowned Oriya poet wrote lyrics which are the best examples of chitrakala.
  • Chitrapada: Chitrapada means the arrangement of words in an alliterative style.
  • Panchali: Panchali means multi-lined lyric ('Bahupadayukta Gita'). It is divided into two types - 'Adhruva' and 'Sadhruva'. In 'Sadhruva Panchali' there is a Ghosha (The first line or lines to be cited repeatedly). Odissi 'Choupadis' (Quadrants) are the best examples of Sadhruva Panchali. 'Choutisha' belongs to the category of Adhruva Panchali.

Another unique characteristic of Odissi music is the use of Chhanda. Chhanda (metrical section) contains the essence of Odissi music. The chhandas are composed combining bhava (theme), kala (time), and swara (tune). The chaurisha represents the originality of Odissi style. All the thirty-four letters of the Oriya alphabet from 'Ka' to 'Ksha' are used chronologically at the beginning of each line. A special feature of Odissi music is the padi which consists of words to be sung in druta tala (fast beat). Odissi music can be sung to different talas: navatala nine beats), dashatala(ten beats) or egar tala (eleven beats).

Just like Hindustani & Carnatic music, traditional Odissi music has its own Melas, Ragas, Talas and Aravandhas, which are rendered in different styles. Some characteristic features of these are as follows:

Saras and the Shuddha-Swara-Saptaka

Odissi:classical dance form of Orissa

The tonal arrangement of the Nishada-Murchhana of the Saraj-Grama is accepted the Sudha-Swara-Saptak or the natural scale comprising 22 Srutis set in an ascending order. Among these 22 Srutis, the seven Suddha Swaras are practically used.

Besides these there are also five Vikrita Swaras. The seven notes in an ascending order are known as Saptak.

  • Melas: Thirty-two Melas have been introduced in this system for classification of the Ragas.
  • Ragas: have been divided into five groups such as Group A to Group E.
  • Talas: Already twenty Talas are found to be in vogue in this system and most of them are having similarities in their matras with those of Hindustani and Carnatic Talas but having difference in their rhythmic structures or compositions and names.
  • Pravandhas: Compositions used in classical music especially in vocal music, are known as Pravandhas. The compositions of Shree Geeta Govinda & other Sanskrit works are categorized under two types of Pravandhas such as: Divya Alikrama, Chitrapada and KsyudrageetaPravandha.

The evolution of Odissi muisic owes a lot to Jayadev and his composition the “Geeta Govinda”. The compositions of Geeta Gobinda were written with an object to be sung. As such they were musical to start with. In addition he indicated the classical ragas prevailing at the time in which these were to be sung. Prior to this, there was the tradition of chhandas which were simple in musical outline. Ingredients of classical music like Raga, Tala, Geeta, Chhandas etc of Sri Geeta Govinda were introduced in the services of the temple of the Lord Jagannath and accepted as the templemusic of Orissa. This, over a period of time, led to the culmination of Odissi that we know today.

For listening to Odissi music, please visit music.oriyaonline.com