Gujarat, especially Saurashtra has a rich heritage in music.
Gujarat has given some of the best musicians to India. The variety and
vividness of the folk music in the state is witness to the fact that
Gujarat has flourished as a cultural state in all these years.
According to a legend the famous musicians, Baiju Bawra and Tana-Riri who saved Tansen from the burning effects of the 'Deepak Rag' by singing 'Rag Malhar', belong to Gujarat.
In the field of music, Gujarat has made its own contribution. A number of ragas bear the territorial names of Gujarat such as Gujari Todi, Bilaval (from Veraval), Sorathi, (from Sorath), Khambavati (from Khambhat, Cambay), Ahiri and Lati. 'Gujar Tod', 'Bilaval' and 'Khambhavati' said to be named respectively after Gujarat, Veraval and Cambay are Gujarat's contributions to classical music.
Narsinh Mehta who wrote the famous bhajan 'Vaishnavajan' was also from Gujarat. It is believed that 'Rag Kedar' when sung by him, brought him communion with Lord Krishna.
'Charans' and 'Gadhavis', a community whose hereditary profession is folk music and folk arts, have preserved the folk music of Gujarat in its pure and pristine form. Lullaby, nupital songs, festive songs, 'Rannade' songs are the different types of folk songs in Gujarat. 'Marsias' is a peculiar form of singing at the time of death. The Vaishnav Cult in Gujarat has produced a special variety of music, which can be classified as temple-music.
Light music or 'Sugam Sangeet' is in a way, a derivation of all the streams of music into a popular format. The fresh and original Gujarati Ghazals are the most popular variety.
Meaningful and lyrically worded poetry is composed in sweet tunes, where the tight standards of classical music are not must, but the images of light music do depend on classical touch. The wordings of the poetry are the basis for light music.
The endeavour in light music is to express and manifest the sentiments of the word through its tune and composition. The poet and the composer thus meet together and combine their skills for a more meaningful, fruitful and effective expression. Light music is supposed to be constituted of sentiments and culture.
THE UNMATCHED EXPONENTS OF INDIAN MUSIC
Gujaratis have contributed some of the noted treatises on music; these include Dahyalal Shivram's 'Sangeet Kaladhar' and Adityaram Vyas's 'Sangeetaditya'.
Pandit Omkarnath Thakur, one of the greatest exponents of Indian classical music hailed from Gujarat. In modern times Ustad Faiyazkhan, Maulabaksh, the 'been' player Rahim Khan and many others belonged to Gujarat. Jesingbhai, the creator of the 'Vichitra Veena', a musical string instrument, was from Ahmedabad. These are invaluable gifts of Gujarat to the classical music of India.
Besides its contribution to classical and folk music, Gujarat has produced its own folk instruments. Among the various instruments, there have been wind instruments like Turi, Bungal, Pava; string type Ravan Hattho, Ektaro, and Jantar and percussion instruments like 'Manjira', 'Zanz' and 'pot drum' etc.