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Music History of Pakistan

Music of Pakistan

The Music of Pakistan (Urdu: پاکستان کی موسیقی‎) includes diverse elements ranging from music from various parts of South Asia as well as Central Asian, Middle Eastern, and modern-day Western popular music influences. With these multiple influences, a distinctive Pakistani sound has emerged.

Traditional Music

Classical music of Pakistan is based on the traditional music of South Asia which was patronized by various empires that ruled the region and gave birth to several genres of classic music including the Klasik and Hindustani classical music. The classical music of Pakistan has two main principles, ‘sur’ (musical note) and ‘lai’ (rhythm). The systematic organization of musical notes into a scale is known as a raag. The arrangement of rhythm (lai) in a cycle is known as taal. Improvisation plays a major role during a performance.

The major genres of classical music in Pakistan are based on the ancient Indian traditions of dhrupad and khayal. Dhrupad is approaching extinction in Pakistan despite vocalists like Ustad Badar uz Zaman, Ustad Hafeez Khan and Ustad Afzal Khan have managed to keep this art form alive. Khayal is the most popular genre of classical music in Pakistan as it is also enjoyed with much enthusiasm in Afghanistan.

Ghazal

In poetry, the ghazal is a poetic form consisting of couplets which share a rhyme and a refrain. Each line must share the same meter. Etymologically, the word literally refers to “the mortal cry of a gazelle”. The animal is called Ghizaal, from which the English word gazelles stems, or Kastori haran (where haran refers to deer) in Urdu. Ghazals are traditionally expressions of love, separation and loneliness, for which the gazelle is an appropriate image. A ghazal can thus be understood as a poetic expression of both the pain of loss or separation of the lover and the beauty of love in spite of that pain. The structural requirements of the ghazal are more stringent than those of most poetic forms traditionally written in English. In its style and content it is a genre which has proved studied variety of expression around its central theme of love and separation between lovers.[citation needed] The ghazals can be written by male poets for women as well as by female poets for men, as an expression of one’s feelings about mutual love and whatever comes in that package- accompanying joys, frustrations, disappointments, fulfillment and satisfactions. The ghazal spread into South Asia in the 12th century under the influence of the new Islamic Sultanate courts and Sufi mystics. Exotic to the region, as is indicated by the very sounds of the name itself when properly pronounced as ġazal. Although the ghazal is most prominently a form of Urdu poetry, today, it has influenced the poetry of many languages.

Regional music

A trio of Pakistani folk singers performing at a local gathering
Pakistani folk music deals with subjects surrounding daily life in less grandiose terms than the love and emotion usually contained in its traditional and classical counterpart. In Pakistan, each province has its own variation of popular folk music. Pakistan has created many famous singers in this discipline such as the late Alam Lohar, who was very influential in the period from 1940 until 1979: he created the concept of jugni and this has been a folk song ever since, and he sang heer, sufiana kalaams, mirza, sassi and many more famous folk stories. Other famous folk singers include Sain Zahoor and Alam Lohar from Punjab and Abida Parveen, Allan Fakir and Mai Bhaghi from Sindh, Akhtar Chanal Zahri from Baluchistan and Zarsanga from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, who is considered the queen of Pashto folk music.

Modern music

Pakistani music in the 21st century revitalized itself and has many segments as follows:

Pop music

Ahmed Rushdi, the father of pop, also known as the first regular pop singer of south asia
Main article: Pakistani pop music
Pop music really started in the South Asian region with the famous playback singer Ahmed Rushdi’s song ‘Ko Ko Korina’ in 1966. Composed by Sohail Rana, the song was a blend of 1960s bubblegum pop, rock and roll twist music and Pakistani film music. This genre would later be termed as filmi pop. Paired with Runa Laila, the singer is considered the pioneering father of pop music, mostly hip-hop and disco, in Pakistan.

Following Rushdi’s success, Christian bands specialising in jazz started performing at various night clubs and hotel lobbies in Karachi, Hyderabad and Lahore. They would usually sing either famous American jazz hits or cover Rushdi’s songs. Rushdi sang playback hits along with Laila until the Bangladesh Liberation War when East Pakistan was declared an independent state. Laila, being a Bengali, decided to leave for the newly independent Bangladesh.

Nazia Hassan, the sister of another pop singer Zohaib Hassan and the member of the pop group Nazia and Zoheb, in 1981, became the first playback singer to release a pop music album. Her first album was “Disco Deewane” and second was “Aap Jaisa Koi”. Both the albums broke sales records in Pakistan and India and even topped the charts in the West Indies, Latin America and Russia. Hassan won several awards for her songs, including the Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer for the later and received the Pakistan’s highest civilian award, Pride of Performance for her contributions in the music field.

Modern pop singers such as Ali Zafar, Hadiqa Kiani, and Atif Aslam have made international waves as well, winning numerous awards and performing in some of the world’s most prestigious arenas. In 2013 Atif Aslam became the first Pakistani pop singer to perform at The O2 Arena London twice and has sung several songs for Hollywood and Bollywood. Aslam is also the youngest recipient of Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, one of Pakistan’s highest civilian honours, for his work in the music industry.[4][5][6] He was also named in 2012 among top performers of Dubai alongside Pitbull, Enrique Iglesias, Il Divo, Gotye, Evanescence and Swedish House Mafia.