Thursday, November 22, 2007

Afghan Classical Music

Ever wondered what other nation's classical music would sound like? Well I did and I researched a bit. To my astonishment, Afghan's klasik (that's what they call it) contains ragas and talas just like our hindustani music does. They also have instruments like sitar, tabla...and a few others.

The classical musical form of Afghanistan is called klasik, which includes both instrumental and vocal ragas, as well as Tarana and Ghazals.[7] Many Ustads, or professional musicians, have learned North Indian Classical Music in India, and some of them were Indian descendants who moved from India to the royal court in Kabul in the 1860s.[5] They maintain cultural and personal ties with India -- through discipleship or inter-marriage -- and they use the Hindustani musical theories and terminology, for example raga (melodic form) and tala (rhythmic cycle).

Naghma and her husband, Mangal, with Harmonium.
Naghma and her husband, Mangal, with Harmonium.
Musicians in Herat with tourist, 1973
Musicians in Herat with tourist, 1973

Afghan ragas, in contrast to Indian ones, tend to be more focused on rhythm, and are usually played with the tabla, or the local zerbaghali, dayra or dohol, all percussive instruments.[7] Other Afghan classical instruments include the dutar, sorna, sitar, dilruba, tambur, ghichak, and Rubab.

The most famous Afghan Classical singer is Ustad Mohammad Hussain Sarahang, who is one of the Master singers in North Indian Classcial Music and is also well-known in all over India and Pakistan. Other classical singers are Ustad Qasim, Ustad Rahim Bakhsh, Ustad Nato and others like Yousof jan.


Main article: Rubab

The rubab is a common lute-like instrument in Afghanistan, and is the forerunner of the Indian sarod.[2] The rubab is sometimes considered the national instrument of Afghanistan, and is called the "lion" of instruments;[8] one reviewer claims it sounds like "a Middle Eastern predecessor to the blues that popped up in the Piedmont 100 years ago".[9] The rubab has a double-chambered body carved from mulberry wood and has three main strings and a plectrum made from ivory, bone or wood.

Famous players of the rubab are Ustad Mohammad Omar and Aziz Herawi, while modern performers include Essa Kassemi, Homayun Sakhi, and Mohammed Rahim Khushnawaz.[2]

Courtesy of WikiPedia

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