Ghazals are commonly described as the "pride of Urdu poetry". A ghazal is
more a poetic form than a musical form. The poem in ghazals, known in
Persian as qasida, used to be written in praise of a king, a benefactor or a
nobleman in Iran in the 10th Century AD. Ghazals are never more than 12
shers (couplets) in their composition and on an average usually have about
seven shers. In northern India ghazals began with Amir Khusrau, whereas
Deccan was its home in the early stages. The patronage of Shia rulers of
Golconda and Bijapur helped ghazals develop and evolve in their courts. The
18th and 19th centuries are regarded as the period of excellence of ghazal with
Delhi and Lucknow being the main centres of excellence.
Other Forms
Dadra and thumri bear a close similarity. The texts of dadra are as amorous
as those of thumris. However, the major difference is that dadras have more
than one antara and are composed in dadra thala. Singers usually prefer
singing a dadra after a thumri.
Dhamar-Hori: Mainly based on the festival of Holi, Dhamar-Hori
compositions are similar to Dhrupad but specifically praise Lord Krishna.
This music is composed in the dhamar thala and is primarily performed in
festivals like Janmashtami, Ram Navami and Holi. Hori, a type of dhrupad
song sung during the festival of Holi, describes the spring season. These main
theme of these compositions is the love pranks of Radha–Krishna.
Ragasagar is a composite type of composition that consists of different parts
of musical passages in different ragas. These compositions have eight to 12
different ragas and the lyrics indicate the change of the ragas. The specialty
of this style is how smoothly the musical passages change along with the
change of ragas.
The Tarana style consists of peculiar syllables woven into rhythmical
patterns as a song. It is usually sung in faster tempo.
Chaturang, as the word literally means four colours, denotes the four parts
in the composition of a song: Fast Khayal, Tarana, Sargam and a "Paran" of
Tabla or Pakhwaj.