Track 43

Right from the start, I recognize track forty-three as a western. By western I not only mean American but literally country-western. This is a folksy, blue grassy kind of song. Of course the contour has a shape that fluctuates because of the tempo at which the banjo is playing. It seems as if the character is disjunctive, but it isn’t. Although the tempo at which the banjo s being strummed is quick, the notes aren’t far apart from each other. The range of the notes is very wide. The banjo goes from laying one or two notes to a cluster of notes.

            Although this song has no text, the banjo has a motive of doing this sing song type thing where the pitch in which it is played becomes very high and then the notes become lower. It is a motive, and then it is also a part of a phrase. As far as the of layers go, I can hear about three instruments. I hear the banjo throughout the song, the sitar comes in at 1:07, and then some other stringed instrument that has a low pitch is included, maybe it is the bass guitar.

            The function of the sitar being included in a country-western song is to show the fusion of two cultures. The speed of the layers comes in very quickly. Each instrument plays in the same timbre. The only difference is the pitch. I hear no call-and-response. This song is definitely metric, especially since it is a fiddle. The function of a fiddle is to dance and any dance indeed needs to have a meter that is regular and not all over the place and sporadic. As far as tempo goes, it is once again fast. I believe I picked up on syncopation, the bass played in a meter at which I could not tell and then the banjo would play in first feed. The banjo and bass played back and forth, and back and forth.

            The harmonic character was also very conjunct. The instrumental harmonies blended very well. There was a lot of articulation placed on the banjo. It was plucked in a distinctive way. I could also tell that this song doesn’t use a lot of improvisation. It is indeed fixed. At a minute and twenty-four seconds, I noticed that the sitar kept going back and forth, It was almost head-nodic. After about a minute and thirty four seconds, the song goes back into its natural groove. It was hard to describe this song because it is westernized and repetitious. I didn’t hear too many dynamics except for the chord changes between the bass and the banjo and the sitar solo.



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Track 42 North Indian CD

For the first fifteen seconds of the song, I can hear a sitar and I also hear a flute. The flute is the first layer of the song. Then at around fifteen seconds, another dymanic and layer comes in. I believe that the tanpura comes in because I could hear a springy sound effect. Then again, it could have been the sitar because being stroked or plucked in a differnt way. Right from the start, i can tell that this is indeed a melodic song. It doesn’t start off being very rhythmic . This could be considered the alap because it starts off very slow and abstract.

I also noticed that around sixteen seconds, there is a melodic motive in which the sitar is being plucked in notes that have a very wide range in which the notes go from high to low. Then, at around twenty three seconds, the singer’s voice comes in. There is also some kind of call-and-response going on between the sitar and flute from sixteen seconds to twenty-three seconds. Then, at around twenty five seconds the tabla comes in. This could be the beginning of the alap-jor where the rhythm or the tal typically comes in.

While the singer is singing, I could hear cymbalsor maracas in the background. At around thirty five seconds is when the tabla really picks up in tempo. Maybe this is because this is when the alap-jor officially starts. The pulse of the tabla can be heard and at this particular part of the song, a duple meter is heard. Then, around the forty five second mark, the meter becomes non-metric again. Around fifty five seconds, the meter keeps switching from non-metric to a duple meter. At close to one minute and three seconds, I heard the springy affect of the tanpura which is a motive throughout the song. I could definitely tell that the tabla was used because at this part of the song is where the tabla sounded very “bouncy”.

At one minute and nine seconds, I could hear the aesthetically pleasing sound of the some sort of harp or violin. The cymbals play faintly and then a loud tap from the tabla can be heard. This plays in a duple meter in response to the stringed instrument. This is also a time motive. While going back, I also heard the violin or harp play a wide range of notes and do some sort of crescendo. It also does this at one minute and fourteen seconds which is another motive.

At around one mintue and twenty seconds, the sitar and tanpura come back in. At one minute and twenty eight seconds, the tabla comes back in and so does the singer’s voice. The tabla once again is played in a duple meter and then at a minute and forty two seconds, the flute joins in with the tabla. The contour throughout the song seems like a straight line except for when the harp or violin come in or when the singer begins to sing which isn’t heard a lot at first. The song isn’t vocal-centric.

At two minutes and two seconds, the motive of the tanpura’s springyness happens again. As far as the dynamics go, there aren’t any dramatic dynamics except for the harp or violin coming in or the tanpura making its trademark sound. Although, there are plenty of subtle nuances. There really isn’t too much harmony because the instruments never really blend or have the same timbre. The phrases are broken up by the man’s singing. In the first thirty three seconds of the song, I could also hear some phrases broken up by the cymbals. Phrases are also broken up by the springyness of the tanpura. I also heard many phrases broken up by between the sitar and the tabla.

I could hear syncopation in the song because as the tabla played in duple meter or second speed, I always heard a stringed instrument right behind it, possibly playing in first speed. The speed of the layers are pretty slow and sometimes moderate except for when the sitar comes in at a minute and forty two seconds. The text of this song really wasn’t articulated in a dramatic way. In fact, there was nothing really upbeat or dramatic about this song.It is reflective and melancholy. There isn’t a large emphasis placed on rhythm. Once again, this song is more melodic. It indeed has its dynamics but most of them are subtle. There isn’t much momentum. At the end of the song, the tanpura strums in a prominent way and then the song closes.

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What are some major differences between North Indian music of today and yesterday?

In modern day North India, there is more of a focus on the recording industry and technology such as microphones, television, and concerts. The North Indian musician of today also has to figure out how to make ends meet. He and she travels around relentlessly and has to figure out what the audience wants in order to make money. In the book, Ali Akbar Khansahib discuseed the music of today as just “noise”. Everything is so paced and no one has time to master the craft because they are too busy touring. The music is no longer pure becasue of sampling. Today’s music is fast-paced and the music of yesterday was slow and intricate. Ali also mentions that if there is no divinity in a person’s music then basically it is worthless and pointless. He stresses that learning the compositions of yesterday makes for a truly great artist.

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Tracks 32-36 The Rag

Track 32

The first layer that I hear in track thirty-two is the sitar. The sitar is played faintly and can be heard after four seconds have passed and then at eight seconds, the melodic character becomes more disjunctive and the notes sound farther apart. Then, at nine seconds the melodic contour goes from consistency to many changes. The song uses a lot of phrasing and I can tell this because there are many pauses throughout the song. At twenty, I notice a motive that happens with the sitar. The melodic character once again becomes disjunctive and the sitar hits this high, distinctive note.

After thirty seconds, the tabla comes in and this is where the tal comes in. The tempo of this layer is very fast and you can hear thee sitar in the background. There is now a consistent pulse because of the tabla and now there is a definite rhythm going on. The first thirty seconds of the song is the alap because it starts off slow and abstractly and I really don’t know what’s going on. It almost sounds as if the musician is just tuning the sitar. Then, when the tabla comes in this is called the jor because it is the second part of the alap in which a rhythmic pulse is introduced. Jor is also defined as having no meter which I could clearly hear. At forty one seconds, the tempo and rhythm of the drum becomes even faster and at forty seven seconds, it slows down and actually becomes metric. It possibly has a triple meter.

From one minute and thirty seconds to one minute and forty seconds, the tabla overtakes the sitar and then they eventually have the same timbre. This happens at one minute and fifty seconds. An important dynamic happens at one minute and fifty one seconds which is just the tabla playing by itself, one strike, and then the sitar and tabla both keep playing. At two minutes and thirteen seconds, the sitar is more prominently this time. I believe that this is signaling that the last part of the rag is about to come. Throughout the rest of the song, i heard more of the sitar. There isn’t much ornamentation. The ending is slow and relaxing. The song is brought to a close.

Track 33

The first layer in track thirty three is both the tabla and the sitar at the same time. This rag is much shorter so it can be already interpreted that the jor or momentum is going to be built up in the beginning and the alap might not start out as slow and abstract as track thirty two. Within the first thirty seconds, rhythmic variation can already be heard. In track thirty two it took some time for the rhythm to be heard. The rhythm sounds as if it is non-metric. The contour at first seemed steady but then at thirty six seconds the melodic character becomes very disjunctive. Everything about this raga is offbeat. It is hard to keep track. The instruments have a lot of different timbres. Nothing about this rag whatsoever stays consistent. At twenty eight seconds, the musicians really build up momentum. After one minute and nineteen seconds, a mukhra is implemented because I can hear that phrase from the first thirty seconds is repeated until the end of the song.

Track 34

Right from the beginning of the raga, the first layer is the sitar and then in comes the drums. Once again, this raga is shorter and it only takes a few seconds for the alap to be introduced. Then, as soon as the tabla comes in, the jor is introduced. The harmonic character of this part of the rag is conjunct. Around twenty seconds, the tempo picks up. Then, after twenty nine seconds, the tempo increases even more. At fifty seconds, a new phrase comes along. The sitar can be heard more than the tabla. At fifty five seconds, it sounds like the composition is finally fixed. The tempo decreases and then soon the raga fade out.

Track 35

During track thirty five, I hear the sitar and tabla come in simultaneously and automatically. The alap is skipped. This rag goes right into the jor. This could most likely be because track thirty two through thirty six is one complete rag. Therefore, track thirty two is of course going to be the most abstract and slow part of the rag. The notes throughout the rag are conjunct until fifty five seconds. At one minute, the notes become conjunct again. The contour goes up and down. There is this springy effect to the rag. At sixteen seconds, the tempo builds. The register of the notes rises. At thirty five seconds, a new phrase also comes in.

At thirty five seconds, the tabla plays very rapidly. It also sounds as if the tongue is rolling. At one minute and two seconds, all I could hear was the tabla. There’s a lot of buildup and break down in this rag. There’s a lot of interchanging between the tabla and the sitar.

Track 36

In track thirty six, a lot of call and response happens. The tabla responds to the sitar. This happens after about ten seconds. More emphasis is placed on the tabla after twenty seven seconds. Then, the tabla fades out and all that can be heard is the sitar. At thirty seconds, the sitar is the fastest. The melodic character is very disjunctive but then again, that is hard to tell because I was not sure if the tempo is just becoming faster, if the notes are actually far apart, or both. The rag definitely has a swing to it, especially at the thirty five second mark. A motive in this song is how the tabla makes the tongue rolling sound once again at close to forty seconds. At one minute and seventeen seconds, the tabla and sitar do another call and response. It almost seems as of the sitar and tabla is playing cat and mouse.

The contour of this part of the rag never stays a consistent shape. It is constantly going up and down and all over the place. The function of this is most likely because the rag is coming to a close. The end of the rag is where the most momentum is built and then there is a breakdown. At ten minutes and two seconds, the sitar and tabla have the same timbre.

It seems as if the table sets the tone for each phrase. Every time the sitar comes in after the sitar is played, a new phrase begins. From two minutes and forty seconds until the end the tabla and sitar play in unison and have the same timbre.

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What are the prominent instruments used in the north Indian culture?

The book mentions drone instruments. The tanpura is one of these which is a long-necked zither or a A musical instrument consisting of a flat wooden sound box with numerous strings stretched across it, placed horizontally and played with the fingers and a plectrum. This instrument has a buzzing sound produced by its vibrating strings. Its functions are to frame the music, giving the musician a background of uniform sound upon which to sing or play, creating a ambient quietness like incense, which fills the atmosphere with mood. Second, it intones the tonal center, sa, maintaining a pitch reference, and helping the musician stay in tune. Other drone instruments include small pumped red boxes or the surpeti. Harps and lutes are also on this list. 

The sitar symbolizes North India. It is not an easy instrument to play.The sitar and sarod are also mentioned as important instruments Although they are very similar, the difference is that the sitar slides between the notes are effected by pulling the playing string across the curved frets on the necks, whereas the sarod player uses his fingernail on a fretless steel fingerboard to obtain a similar sound. 

Another important aspect of North Indian music is the melodic instruments. Melodically, an instrumentalist needs to be able to slide between notes, render certain instruments with fixed-pitch placement less desirable and microtonally alter some of the pitches to to accommodate the subtleties of tuning that are required in different rags. Other melodic instruments are the dhrupad instrumental techniques of the older vinas and rabbas which is a pluked lute in West Asian culture. The santaur is a hammered dulcimer found in the west that is has a fixed-string arrangement and is incapable of slides and certain types of ornaments. The sarangi is a small bowed lute that is known for its three-playing strings and more than thirty-five sympathetic strings and is played by touching the gut strings on the side. It also known to be an instrument that a lower class musician should play but this is ironic because the sarangi is a soulful, versatile instrument that imitates the human voice. The double-reed shahnai and the transverse flute, the bansuri are keyless aerophones whose holes are stopped directly with the fingers. 

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Tilley Waley Miladey Ranjha Heer Nu Activities and Material Culture

Tilley Walley Miladey Ranjha Heer Nu was quite enjoyable to listen to. Not only was it fast-paced and exciting, but the story line of a woman longing for love also made the song pleasing to my ear. Tilley Walley Miladey Ranjha Heer Nu can be specifically identified as a ghazal, which is a song that is known for its poetic form that consists of rhyming couplets and a refrain with each line of the refrain having the same meter according to George E. Ruckert’s music in India. By listening to the song, I learned that the sitar, tabla, flute, and violin were the most important elements of material culture to the song because no other sounds could be heard and I learned that ghazals are typically performed during the day time after villagers are done with hard labor.

It’s easy to tell that Tilley Walley Miladey Ranjha Heer Nu is a community based song because of the interchanging of the tabla and the sitar, then the table and the flute, and how the meter stays the same within each rhyming couplet and refrain of the singer’s words. This song has a structure that is so repetitive that it undoubtedly gets stuck in the Punjabis’ heads but a listener of any culture. That fact that ghazals are usually performed after villagers are done with their work makes sense because my song is very lively. It is a happy song that helps the audience to escape. The purpose of this song is usually so whoever listens to it can take a break from the stresses of everyday life. Talat Aziz who is considered a versatile legend in the world of ghazal singing says that a ghazal is “meant to be heard at sunset; the time to recuperate from the day’s strains or the time to resurrect and as is usual relish forgotten pains.” As I listened to my song, I felt calm, relaxed, and uplifted and so the song did its purpose.

My song uses thee tabla because the tabla has a resonating drone that remains consistent throughout the song. The tabla also has the opportunity to play a solo in most ghazals, and in my song, a drum solo can be heard. The tabla has a lot of pitch bends and can imitate most North Indian drums and it was nice to hear the variation of the tabla in my song. Another  instrument used in this song such as the sitar which Is a long-necked lute that is very high pitched and has some sort of buzzing or springing sound. It is yet another instrument that resonates. Other instruments used in this piece were the violin and the flute. These instruments take on the “gayaki ang” or singing style. It is important for the instruments to mimic the singer’s voice in order to get the melody of the song to stick with the listener and wind them down.

Another tradition of the ghazal, besides it being a song for villagers to relax to is how a woman traditionally performs in front of a male audience and the listener becomes the character in which the singer is addressing. “The singer addresses the listener in a very intimate manner and during these performances, the singer also draws on facial miming and gestures to enhance the expression and engage the audience in dialogue” says Bonnie C. Wade who is an another author who writes for the Garland Encyclopedia of music. In my song, I really didn’t hear dialogue. However, my song indeed included a female singer who sung in a very playful, almost intimate manner. Although, ghazal singers are of both genders, according to Adam Nayyar, who is yet another writer for the Garland Encyclopedia of music, women singers are prominent of this art. Songs such as the ghazal are also performed at weddings which explain the liveliness of the song. I’m not sure if my song was performed at a wedding or just a Punjabi village but at wedding, no one would want to listen to a sad song. They want to be drunk and be happy and the main focus would be on the bride and groom. Maybe this explains why the song is so repetitive. Not only for the audience to grasp it, but maybe because they aren’t really paying attention to the song in the first place.

As seen in my song Tilley Walley Miladey Ranjha Heer Nu, the ghazal is a musical genre not only known for its topic of unrequited love and emotions, but it is a song that is meant to soothe the soul. The style of this song is infectious because of its catchy melody, refrains, and the way that the instruments mimic the singer’s voice. I enjoyed listening to and spending a lot of time with this song.


Nayyar, Adam. South Asia. New York City: Routledge, 1999. Print.

Ruckert, George. Music in North India: experiencing music, expressing culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. Print.

Wade, Bonnie. Garland Encyclopedia of World Music Volume 5: South Asia: The Indian Subcontinent. Unknown City of Publication: Routledge, 1999. Print.

Talat Aziz, the singer.” Talat Aziz the ghazal maestro welcomes you on his official website Web. 15 Apr. 2012. <;.

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The Rag on Blackboard

This rag is very rich. I can tell that it is not a fixed composition. It is more likely a rag that is not meant for the night time because most concerts take place at night and due to the socio-economic status of the North Indian people, they cannot afford concerts.  Maybe this would be performed at a festival because the song is very light-hearted and upbeat. Then again, maybe after a minute of listening to the song, I notice a lot of time motives so maybe this is a fixed composition. I notice that the sitar or whatever string instrument seems to play in the same way over and over again and then there is some sort of faint drum in the background. However, there are a lot of dynamics in the song. Around two minutes, a very cool dynamic and layer comes in. The sitar is plucked in a very demanding way, almost as if the record is being broken. There is no way that this rag is a classical one.

This song has so many cool changes. The contour is definitely not consistent. It goes up and down in many various ways. Well after two minutes, the tempo of the sitar is played extremely fast as if it was trying to taunt me. I loved it. It was quite mind blowing. There is no constant pulse. This rag reminds me of a heartbeat that won’t slow down. I can tell that there is some fixedness to the composition but for the most part, this is improvisation to the fullest. I would like to give an accurate time at which the changes happen but while I was listening to the song, blackboard did not record the time. I believe that it was close to three minutes where I heard the best dynamic/layer yet. The drum and the sitar have a competition and then the drum wins. The drum is being pounded so hard and right here is where I notice a duple meter. One, two, one two, one two, is all I can hear in my mind as that drum pounds. I didn’t think this song could get any livelier but it did. So much momentum is built up that it’s quite insane.

Then, until the song ends the drum is pretty much all that’s being heard and then the tempo of the drum slows and it almost sounds like it’s going to fade out but then the sitar and harp or violin join it and more momentum is built. This could possibly be a bandish because a few beats lead to the downbeat of the tal. Your ear most definitely has to be trained to listen to this song. There are so many intricacies and complexities. The tempos of the layer are fast and ever-changing. This rag is quite enjoyable to listen to and only a seriously trained musician could pull this off.

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Ali Akbhar Khan and and Asha Boshle Listening Description (Track 24)

The song that I’m analyzing is a song by Ali Akbhar Khan and and Asha Boshle. What’s interesting is that within the first six seconds, it is hard to decipher whether the first layer of the song is the female voice or the instrument that sounds like some sort of harp or violin. The instruments take on the “gayiki ang” or singing style. Then, at around seven seconds, a faint drum can be heard. It’s probably not a table because I don’t hear a resonating sound, unless a tabla is able to play many varying notes. The contour of the song stays pretty consistent and the melodic character stays conjunct until twenty seconds where the singer’s voice sings this weird, off-key note which makes the melodic character disjunctive. Maybe the purpose of this is because the song is a religious song and maybe the singer exclaims some name of a god or this could also be because the singer is following a strict composition at first but maybe now she’s showing vocal improvisation. Maybe there’s no actual text to the song, just vocals.

After twenty five seconds, I notice that there are a lot of small variations in the articulation and text of the song, if there is indeed a text. Once again, this could be a way that the singer adds her only little style to a strict composition. I also notice that the singer keeps eventually keeps coming back to the same raga. In the North Indian book, such a thing as a muhkra was described. A muhkra is section, “face”, or main feature of a song where the song keeps coimg back to the rag. Another component of the mukhra is that there is a refrain.  At thirty-six and forty-six seconds of the song, the refrain is really clear to me. There is a vocable or text that keeps repeating but I cannot encode the Hindi language. This sort of strict or fixed composition that I keep mentioning is called a bandish. I also mention that the singer adds vocal improvisation or “sections” to the song and this characteristic also makes up a bandish.

One big thing that I notice about this song is that it is vocal-centric meaning that the focus of this song is on the vocals. The song is almost annoyingly repetitive and this is most likely so that the listener can pick up on the rag and keep the tal with ease. This song is most likely a classical song. It uses no ornamentation really. It’s very bland. It seems like a song that a guru would first start out teaching his or her student. Once again, I believe the purpose of this song is just to highlight the rag. It is also a very soothing song, almost like a lullaby. It’s very peaceful and unnerving.

At fifty-three seconds, I notice another huge dynamic. The singer’s octave gets extremely high and it wakes me up. Then, once a minute passes the song becomes alive. This is the most major dynamic. The tempo becomes faster. There is a lot more rhythm being displayed by whatever type of drum is used in this song. Then, around a minute and thirteen seconds another the tempo starts to slow again but it’s not a slow as when it first started off. In the book this was described as a few beats leading to the downbeat of the tal which I can definitely hear, especially in the last nine seconds of the song. I also noticed some syncopation in the last eleven seconds of the song. It seems like the drum went from first speed and having a steady pulse to second speed.

The speed of the layers is extremely slow once again until twenty five seconds where the singer does some vocal improvisation and then really at a minute where the few beats lead to the downbeat of the tal. There is no call and response. There are a lot of time and melody motives because once again, this is a fixed composition. The tone or timbre of the instruments seems to match the singer’s voice again in “gayaki ang”. The purpose of this is to not veer off too far from the fixed rag. There is not a wide range once again we get into the downbeat. The phrasing seems to be split up by refrain. The artist sings the same vocals or maybe lyrics, the instruments become less faint after the singer stops singer, and this same process repeats until she adds sections to the rag.

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What are some of the song genres used in North Indian Music and what are some of the specific rags used within those songs.

The first genre that the book mentions is the is the Bara Khyal in where the rag focuses on syllables. A performer begins by extending the notes and phrases of the rag in a slow and deliberate manner, In this type of song, the singer may sing “ah” or extend and repeat the vowel sounds 

The vistar is an evening rag where the fourth scale degree of the syllable “ma” is important. The svar-vistar or “note expansion” where the artist concentrates on presenting the single tones of the rag. The tan is a development where the the tempo of the song is fast. There are many type of tans such as the sargam tans that uses the names of  the notes, the boltans that uses the words of the song, and the kar tan that uses an open ended voiced “ah: sound. 

The shape and influence of the chotta khyal have influenced the instrumental music to varying degrees. The texts of many dhrupads, khyals, and bhajans were composed by the poets of the Bhakti movement, a devotional tide that swept over North India from the south in the fifteen century. 

The film song or filmi riti and the ghazal are the most popular genres in North India. The bhajan has also greatly influenced the film song. The ghazal is an Urdu-language poetic form fashioned in rhymed couplets, usually telling a story of unrequitted love and longing. It is often hard to distinguish between the love of God and the love of a significant other in these songs. Sometimes, both are included in a song. The images are often of the stars, the night, intoxication, wine, a tavern as a temple, and other subjects. The early ghazal recordings mostly featured women from a class of entertainers calleedbaijis, who have some parallel with geishas of Japan. 

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The Difference Between 1948 and 2006 Version of Tilley Miladey Ranjha Heer Nu

I made the sad mistake of actually thinking that the Youtube Video that I looked up, which was also entitled “Tilley Walley Miladey Ranjha Heer Nu” was anything like the 2006 version on the CD “Folk Music of Punjab”. One difference was that of course that I could actually see the performance of the 1948 song. I could see the instruments that were used. I could see the singer keeping the al using whatever you would call the Indian maracas. I could also see the harmonium and the dhads. I simply googled the pictures of North Indian drums and guitars and matched a picture to what I saw so that I could give a name to the sound.

I must honestly say that I cheated myself. When I first came into the World Music of India class, I was overwhelmed and really didn’t think that I could describe the sounds of a culture that was so foreign to me. However, over time I learned that I could. It is easy to tell that the 1948 version of the song is more formal than the 2006 version. There’s more vocal improvisation and so the listener would have to be highly trained. The 2006 version seems more community based with a lot of refrains, the same meter within these refrains, and its poetic structure. The older version does have refrains and it repeats the lines “Oye mull laggada” but the raga is harder to grasp than the newer version.

In 1947, India just got its independence from Great Britain and so of course most of the songs probably still sounded formal as if they were played in royal courts. Also, even though the 1948 version is older than the 2006, Youtube is using commercialization to sell the song and make it popular. However, there is there is an issue with this. It does not rally display the same qualities of a folk song. Folk singers didn’t sing for adoration or popularity as YouTube shows. They just sang from their hearts and sang about love and their laborious lives and that’s the beauty of true folk music in its raw form.  

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