Research and artist interviews conducted by Pritam Singh 


  • Kankana Banerjee 
  • Malyaban Chatterjee 
  • Afzal Hussain  

The journey to research Prabandh Gayan continued with our second set of interviews with our selected three masters. The theme of this interview was aimed to help the younger generation of Indian classical music students and non-Indian classical musicians, following this project, to understand how the elements of Prabandh have evolved and performed today. Each artist gave a vocal demonstration and a deeper explanation of the six elements and the four parts of Prabandh.  

The six key elements of Prabandh, known as Ang: 

1. Swar - note

As we discovered in our last interview, Prabandh did not necessarily need to be sung in any Raag. In fact, Prabandh was performed pre-raag formation.  

2. Virudh - words of praise (extolling)

This element would indicate that Prabandh had spiritual connection.  

3. Padh - measured stance

The length of a phrase, line, or verse with meaningful words. 


Initially thought of as meaningless syllables. Some words are derived from the Persian language. 

Syllables such as Nom, Tom, Tana, Dhere, Na etc

5. Paat - Singing drum syllables

Classical percussion instruments from the Vedic period up to the sixteenth century were earth drums such as Dhamru, Dhun-Dhubi, Nakara, Mridangam and Pakhavaj.  Thus, the syllables sung in Prabandh were from these percussion drums. 

6. Taal - Rhythm

As rhythmic cycles had yet to be formed, it has been said by scholars that the singer would use their heartbeat to set a tempo and there would be a continual flow of counter points. As with the development of Raag from the 5th century, Taal also  

started to take shape in the form of varied rhythmic cycles which were assigned from various types of Prabandh.

 The four parts or movements of Prabandh known as Dhatu: 

1. Udhagreh

This is where the song is first grasped in rhythm, this is known as Som. The Som is the point from which the rhythmic cycle begins. 

2. Melapaak

This is the bridge, middle portion, the link between Udhagreh and Dhruv. This movement predominantly consists of ornamentation; Swar-Sargam, Tanak and Paat elements. 

3. Dhruv

The literal meaning of Dhruv is to repeat, thus, this is the main body of the Prabandh which is repeated. 

4. abhog

This is the concluding movement of a Prabandh, as the continued tradition, this last verse should include the name of the composer and/or singer. This would include the element of Virudh, overwhelming devotional praise. 

Each artist has given an inspiring and thought-provoking insight into how these elements and movements of Prabandh have evolved and transformed into the varied vocal styles we hear today.