ALANKAR IN HINDUSTANI INDIAN CLASSICAL MUSIC
Many people have question in mind and want to know what exactly alankar means and how to perform it. Well we shall discuss this topic in length to make known to music lovers what it exactly means. Can you imagine what ornamentation means to Indian culture? without ornamentation the culture of different parts of India is hard to understand, in each Province of India there is different kinds of ornamentation. In my view the alankar is just like the ornamentation of Indian classical music. without which perhaps the Indian classical music is just like an empty vessel. In Indian classical music the word alankar is used to denote ornamentation, it can also be called as paltas(different forms of singing the combination of notes in aroha and amroha, which means ascending and descending of notes.
These are taught to the students so that they can understand the distant and difference of various notes but today we are not referring to paltas as alankar but we are referring to alankar as ornamentation. This is special treatment given to a set of notes so that the melody looks beautiful and present specific identity. Well ornamentation is not just specific to Indian classical music but to general Indian music. The very first step that we learn in alankar is meend, which means a glide to other note in a kind of a curved manner. Like if you take plan note C, G, N you will just sing it as they are played on the instrument but in alankar you will have to sing them like the glide as it goes up and down without any break in it, I hope you understand.The good example of alankar can be found in the song sung by great Lata Mangeshkar, RISIK BALMAN. If you listen to this great song, you will understand how the alankar is performed. The next ornament is called khatka, which means to take notes with break, the best example is the song (MAIN TENU SAMJHAWAN KI). So the notes are taken with a little jerk or break, not planly. Khatkas are found in many Indian Bollywood songs. Now let me introduce you to the concept of Zamzam. It is a cluster of khatkas taken together. This is found in maharaster and punjabi folk songs in abundance. It is also a characteristic of tappa singing. It can also be termed as semi classical form of singing. The next is murki, it is nothing but a set of notes taken together quickly for example a very famous song of great Lata ji,,,,(baiyan na dharo balma) But in most of the cases the musician are not to take a lot of murkis because it may mess with the correct form of the raag. The next is called Andolan, which a slow isolation of notes it is used to give serious touch in raag or melody. For example Bollywood song sung by Mandey (poocho na kaisay main ne raain betai). A beautiful composition and perfect example of andolan. The last but not the least is called Gamak, which is very very important for Indian classical music. It is giving shadow to the notes or giving emphasis to the notes to make an effect. Karnatak music gives a lot of importance to the Gamak. It is kind of shaky emphasis to the notes. But point is to be noted that all forms of alankar that have been mentioned above are taken according to the situation, like in our daily life we use ornaments (heavy or light) according to the events that are going to take place. I hope this article must be useful for most of the music lovers.