Music of Pakistan
The Music of Pakistan includes diverse elements ranging from music from various parts of South Asia as well as Central Asian, Persian, Turkish, Arabic and modern-day Western popular music influences. With these multiple influences, a distinctive Pakistani sound has been formed.
In poetry, the ghazal is a poetic form consisting of couplets which share a rhyme and a refrain. Each line must share the same meter. Etymologically, the word literally refers to “the mortal cry of a gazelle”. The animal is called Ghizaal, from which the English word gazelles stems, or Kastori haran (where haran refers to deer) in Urdu. Ghazals are traditionally expressions of love, separation and loneliness, for which the gazelle is an appropriate image. A ghazal can thus be understood as a poetic expression of both the pain of loss or separation of the lover and the beauty of love in spite of that pain. The form is ancient, originating in 10th century Persian verse. It is derived from the Persian qasida. The structural requirements of the ghazal are more stringent than those of most poetic forms traditionally written in English. In its style and content it is a genre which has proved capable of an extraordinary variety of expression around its central theme of love and separation. It is considered by many to be one of the principal poetic forms the Persian civilization offered to the eastern Islamic world.
The ghazals can be sung both for men and women, as an expression of love/beauty.
The ghazal spread into South Asia in the 12th century under the influence of the new Islamic Sultanate courts and Sufi mystics. Exotic to the region, as is indicated by the very sounds of the name itself when properly pronounced as ġazal. Although the ghazal is most prominently a form of Urdu poetry, today, it has influenced the poetry of many languages. Most Ghazal singers are trained in classical music and sing in either Khyal or Thumri.
Qawwali is the devotional music of the Chishti Sufis. Qawwali is a vibrant musical tradition that stretches back more than 700 years in India. Originally performed mainly at Sufi shrines throughout the India, it has also gained mainstream popularity. Qawwali music received international exposure through the work of the late Aziz Mian, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and sabri brothers, largely due to several releases on the Real World label, followed by live appearances at WOMAD festivals. Listeners, and often artists themselves are transported to a state of wajad, a trance-like state where they feel at one with God, generally considered to be the height of spiritual ecstasy in Sufism. The roots of Qawwali can be traced back to 8th century Persia, however, Qawwali in the form we know it today was essentially created by Amir Khusrau in the late 13th century.
During the 1st major migration from Persia, in the 11th century, the musical tradition of Sama migrated to South Asia, Turkey and Uzbekistan. Rumi and his Mevlana order of Sufism have been the propagators of Sama in Central Asia. Amir Khusrau of the Chisti order of Sufis is credited with fusing the Persian and South Asian musical traditions, to create Qawwali as well as the classical music tradition. The word “Sama” is used in Central Asia and Turkey, for forms very similar to Qawwali while in Pakistan, the formal name used for a session of Qawwali is “Mehfil-e-Sama”.
A group of qawwali musicians, called Humnawa in Urdu, typically consists of eight or nine men—women are usually excluded from traditional Muslim music as respectable women are traditionally prohibited from singing in public gatherings. although these traditions are changing —including a lead singer, one or two side singers, one or two harmoniums (which may be played by lead singer, side singer or someone else), and percussion. If there is only one percussionist, he plays the tabla and dholak, usually the tabla with the left hand and the dholak with the right. Often there will be two percussionists, in which case one might play the tabla and the other the dholak. There is also a chorus of four or five men who repeat key verses, and who aid and abet percussion by hand-clapping. The performers sit in two rows—the lead singer, side singers and harmonium players in the front row, and the chorus and percussionists in the back row.
Hamd’ is also used extensively in Christian religious music from Pakistan and all over the world where people from this region are found.’Hamd’ isn’t the exclusive domain of any religion. As pointed out – it denotes praise to God, it is more extensively used in the Muslim world. It is usually used in conjunction with the Sanna and referred to as ‘Hamd – o – Sanna’.
The dafli, also popularly known as daf, dappler or tambourine, is a must for weddings. Made of wooden ring with a double row of bells and a playing surface with a 10″ diameter, our dafli is a perfect accompaniment to the dholki. The pleasant sound of the dafli will elevate the tempo and mood of all celebrations. Easy to play with no beforehand practice required – with these daflis anyone can add to the music played in weddings and other celebrations.
Classical music of Pakistan is based on the traditional music of South Asia which was patronized by various empires that ruled the region and gave birth to several genres of classic music including the Klasik and Hindustani classical music. The classical music of Pakistan has two main principles, ‘sur’ and ‘lai’ (rhythm). The systematic organization of musical notes into a scale is known as a raag. The arrangement of rhythm (lai) in a cycle is known as taal.
The major genres of classical music in Pakistan are dhrupad and khayal. Dhrupad is approaching extinction in Pakistan despite vocalists like Ustad Badar uz Zaman, Ustad Hafeez Khan and Ustad Afzal Khan have managed to keep this art form alive.
There are many families from gharanas of classical music who inherited the music from their forefathers and are still performing.
Pakistani folk music deals with subjects surrounding daily life in less grandiose terms than the love and emotion usually contained in its traditional and classical counterpart. In Pakistan, each province has its own variation of popular folk music.
Pakistan has created many famous singers in this discipline such as the late Alam Lohar, who was very influential in the period of 1940 until 1979: he created the concept of “jugni” and this has been a folk song ever since, and he sang heer, sufiana kalaams, mirza, sassi and many more famous folk stories. Other famous folk singers include Sain Zahoor and Alam Lohar from Punjab and Allan Fakir and Mai Bhaghi from Sindh, Akhtar Chanal Zahri from Baluchistan and Zarsanga from North-West Frontier Province who is considered the queen of Pashto folk music.
The music of Balochistan province is very rich and full of varieties due to the many different types of languages which are spoken in the province, including Balochi, Pashto, Brahui, Persian and Saraiki. Balochi music stems basically from Persian Music due to the close proximity of Iran. Although Balochi singers have still not made a mark on the Pakistani music scene, there are many Balochi singers and these include;Faiz Mohammad Faizok, baloch. winner of a world singing competition award.Who Was a great Balochi Folk Singer.Ali Reza Askani, Aref Baloch, Asim Baloch.
Music from the Punjab province includes many different varieties. The traditional music utilizes instruments like the dhol, flute, dholak, and tumbi. The most commonly recognized form of Punjabi music, bhangra, is based on drum rhythms of the dhol. Its modern popularity has led to the use of new instruments and electronic sound sampling. Bhangra is a Punjabi folk dance that has become popular all over Pakistan. Bhangra and Punjabi folk songs have been an integral part of the fertile provinces cultural history and many themes are related to harvest and cultivation. Others still draw on the poetic history of the province which transcend ethnic and religious boundaries. The late Alam Lohar is noted for contributing in Punjabi music since the formation of Pakistan until his death in 1979 and popularising the music term Jugni and the Punjabi instrument Chimta.
Potohari has a rich tradition of poetry recital accompanied by sitar, ghara, tabla, harmonium and dholak. These poems are often highly lyrical and somewhat humorous and secular in nature, though religious sher are also recited.
The Late Alam Lohar and Arif Lohar are notable Punjabi singers of Pakistan.
Music from Sindh province is sung in Sindhi, and is generally performed in either the “Baits” or “Waee” styles. The Baits style is vocal music in Sanhoon or Graham (high voice). Waee instrumental music is performed in a variety of ways using a string instrument. Waee, also known as Kafi, is found in the surrounding areas of Balochistan, Punjab, and Rajasthan. Common instruments used in Sindhi regional music include the Yaktaro, Narr, and Naghara.
The predominant language found in Pakistan’s Northern Areas has an extensive oral history which dates back several thousand years. With the increase in tourism to Pakistan’s Northern Areas and increased domestic as well as international awareness of the local folk music, the Shinha folk traditions have managed to stay alive and vibrant. A dardic language with considerable Persian influence is found in Pakistan’s Chitral region in the North West of the country. Khowar folk music had considerable patronage particularly during the rule of the Mehtars in the last century. Folk music in this region has remained relatively pure and unscathed by modern influences due to the relative isolation of this district. The arrival of many refugees from the adjacent Nuristan province of Afghanistan and the subsequent increase in commercial activity in Chitrali bazaars allowed this local form of music to flourish in the past few decades.
Persian is spoken mainly in the North West of Pakistan but there are also considerable Persian speaking inhabitants in Pakistan’s major urban centres of Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
Music from Hazara Division is sung in Hindko, and is generally performed in either the “Maheyay” or “sher” styles.
Pakistani music in the 21st century revitalized itself.
In 2013 Atif Aslam became the 1st Pakistani pop singer to perform at The O2 Arena London twice & was also named in 2012 among top performers of Dubai alongside Pitbull, Enrique Iglesias, Il Divo, Gotye, Evanescence & Swedish House Mafia.