History & Style
Dhrupad & Dhamar together are considered to be the oldest surviving genres of Hindustani or North Indian classical music. With origins in sacred and devotional contexts, these versatile art forms came to enjoy huge popularity in the royal courts from at least the 15th century onwards, under the patronage of kings, princes and the aristocracy, where they developed and flourished as a result. Unlike other ‘classical’ genres such as khyal, however, the lyrics remained central to dhrupad meaning that it remained suitable for devotional purposes. Dhrupad is considered to have given birth to all the other modern classical traditions of North India.
In Dhrupad & Dhamar, the accompaniment typically consists of the tanpura, which provides the drone, and then the pakhavaj or jori to highlight the rhythmic cycle. Historically, the rabab and the bin were also used to accompany dhrupad though this tradition is no longer widely practiced, mostly due to the scarcity of such instrumentalists.