Hyderabad Music And Dance

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It can be said that a city’s native dance or music is a unique imprint of its culture and morals, a window to their history and evolution as a race, group, or nation. Even if one would say that their collection of music and dance is influenced or stolen from other cultures, usually those that have occupied them in the past, the resulting amalgamation is still decidedly their very own. Both dance and music contribute much to a city’s unique identity, and more often than not, whenever a foreigner visits a new place, the one thing that lingers in their memories long after they’ve left it are the festival’s involving indigenous music and dance. The Mardi Gras, for example, is immediately associated with Caribbean countries, or those that have Caribbean influence, such as Louisiana.

A city as culturally rich and steeped in tradition such as Hyderabad, then, is bound to also have a rich collection of music and dance. After all, India is one of the world’s most historically rich countries, with a culture and tradition that are identifiably their own. Hyderabad, in particular, has a rich legacy of them, since performing arts have long been given importance by its rulers since ancient time. The Nizams during the Asaf Jah dynasty, in particular, used music as a major form of entertainment and recreation, and it also eventually got assimilated into religion as well, being used as a tool for meditation and preaching of their deity’s teachings. Of these forms of Hyderabad music, one of the most important is the Carnatic (also spelled as Karnatic) music.

Carnatic music is believed to have a divine origin; in this respect, it is just like other art forms in the Indian culture. In reality though, it owes much of its origin to ancient discourses describing the correlation between the origins of musical notations (called swaras) to the sound of nature such as the sounds of birds and animals or the sound that is produced when wind passes through a bamboo reed. These sounds are then arranged in such a way that it produces melodious tunes synchronized with pitch, time, and beats (called talam).

Carnatic music is especially close to Hyderabad mainly because the three main gurus of it belong to Telangana, the city’s state. They are Saint Tyagaraja, Muthuswamy Dikshitar, and Shyama Shastri. This ancient form of music is still practiced in Hyderabad, although it is losing its appeal to the modern generation of youngsters weaned on technology and computers.

When it comes to dance, Hyderabad has its own forms of classics. Kuchipudi, a dance that is a mixture of acting and often accompanied by Carnatic music, involves movements that are both quicksilver and scintillating, rounded and pretty much fleet-footed. A different form of Lord Shiva’s dance, Perini, also hailed from Hyderabad. It is performed mostly by an all male group, emphasizing its origin as a warrior dance.


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