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Sikh music, also known as Gurbani Sangeet (Gurmukhi: ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਸੰਗੀਤ; meaning music of the speech of wisdom), and as Gurmat Sangeet (Gurmukhi: ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਸੰਗੀਤ; meaning music of the counsel or tenets of the Guru), or even as Shabad Kirtan (ਸ਼ਬਦ ਕੀਰਤਨ), is the classical music style that is practised within Sikhism. It exists in institutional, popular, and folk traditions, forms, and varieties. Three types of Sikh musicians are rababis, ragis, and dhadhis.
Musical expression has held a very important place within the Sikh tradition ever since its beginning, with Guru Nanak and his faithful companion, Bhai Mardana. Mardana was a player of the rabab, and would travel alongside Nanak and play the instrument when Nanak spoke his teachings. As a result of this, Mardana is credited as establishing the rababi tradition in Sikhism.
Main article: Raga
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|Guru Granth Sahib|
ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ
|Poetical metres and rhythms|
A raga or raag (Punjabi: ਰਾਗ (Gurmukhi) رَاگَ (Shahmukhi)) is a complex structure of musical melody used in Indian classical music. It is a set of rules of how to build a melody which can ignite a certain mood in the reciter and listeners. The Sikh holy scripture, Guru Granth Sahib Ji, is composed in and divided into a total of 60 ragas. This is a combination of 31 single raags  and 29 mixed (or mishrit; ਮਿਸ਼ਰਤ) raags (a raag composed by combining two or three raags together). Each raga is a chapter or section in the Guru Granth Sahib starting with Asaa raag, and all the hymns produced in Asaa raag are found in this section ordered chronologically by the Guru or other Bhagat that have written hymns in that raga. All raags in the Guru Granth Sahib Ji are named raag.
Following is the list of all sixty raags (including 39 main raags and 21 mishrit [mixed] raags, including Deccani ones) under which Gurbani is written, in order of appearance with page numbers. The name of raags ending with the word Dakhani (English: Deccani) are not mishrit raags because Dakhani is not a raag per se; it simply means 'in south Indian style'.
|No.||Name(s) (Latin/Roman)||Name(s) (Gurmukhi)||Emotion/Description||Ang (page of appearance in Guru Granth Sahib)||Main, Mixed, or Deccani|
|2.||Gujari/Gujri||ਗੂਜਰੀ||Satisfaction, softness of heart, sadness||10||Main|
|6.||Sri/Siri||ਸਿਰੀ/ਸ੍ਰੀ||Satisfaction and balance||14||Main|
|13.||Gauri Poorabi Deepaki||157||Mixed|
|20.||Asavari Sudhang/Komal Rishabh Asavari||369||Mixed|
|21.||Devgandhari||ਦੇਵਗੰਧਾਰੀ||No specific feeling but the Raag has a softness||527||Main|
|23.||Vadhans/Vadahans/Wadhans||ਵਡਹੰਸੁ||Vairaag, loss (that is why Alahniya is sung in this Raag when someone passes away)||557||Main|
|26.||Jaitsri/Jaitsari||ਜੈਤਸਰੀ||Softness, satisfaction, sadness||696||Main|
|27.||Todi||ਟੋਡੀ||This being a flexible Raag it is apt for communicating many feelings||711||Main|
|28.||Bairarri/Bhairaagi||ਬੈਰਾੜੀ||Sadness (the Gurus have, however, used it for the message of Bhakti)||719||Main|
|29.||Tilang||ਤਿਲੰਗ||Favoured Raag of Muslims. It denotes feeling of beautification and yearning||721||Main|
|31.||Suhee/Soohi/Suhi||ਸੂਹੀ||Joy and separation||728||Main|
|36.||Gound/Gond/Gaund||ਗੋਂਡ||Strangeness, surprise, beauty||859||Main|
|40.||Nut Narayan/Nat Narayan||ਨਟ ਨਾਰਾਇਨ||Happiness||975|
|42.||Mali Gaura/Maali Gaura||ਮਾਲੀ ਗਉੜਾ||Happiness||984||Main|
|43.||Maru/Maaru||ਮਾਰੂ||Giving up of cowardice||989||Main|
|47.||Kedara||ਕੇਦਾਰਾ||Love and beautification||1118||Main|
|48.||Bhairo/Bhairao/Bhairon||ਭੇਰੳ||Seriousness, brings stability of mind||1125||Main|
|53.||Kanra/Kaanrha||ਕਾਨੜਾ||Bhakti and seriousness||1294||Main|
|54.||Kaliyan/Kaliaan/Kalyan||ਕਲਿਆਨ||Bhakti Ras (meaning 'devotional spirit/essence')||1319||Main|
|57.||Parbhati/Prabhati||ਪ੍ਰਭਾਤੀ||Bhakti and seriousness||1327||Main|
|60.||Jaijavanti/Jaijaiwanti||ਜੈਜਾਵੰਤੀ||Viraag or loss||1352||Main|
Raags are used in Sikh music simply to create a mood, and are not restricted to particular times. A mood can be created by the music of the raag regardless of the time of day. There are a total of 60 raags or melodies within the Guru Granth Sahib. Each melody sets a particular mood for the hymn, adding a deeper dimension to it. The Guru Granth Sahib is thought by many to have just 31 raags or melodies which is correct of single raags. However, combined with mishrit raags, that total is 60.
Main article: Gharana
The table below covers the seventeen Ghars found in the primary Sikh scripture (Guru Granth Sahib):
|No.||Name(s) (Latin/Roman)||Taalee(s) (Pattern of Clapping)||Maatraa(s) (Beat)|
|5.||Panj Taal Swaaree||5||15|
|7.||Matt (Ashat) Taal||7||21|
|8.||Asht Mangal Taal||8||22|
|15.||Mishr Baran Taal||15||47|
Main article: Tala (music)
Taals have a vocalised and therefore recordable form wherein individual beats are expressed as phonetic representations of various strokes played upon the tabla. Various Ghars (literally 'Houses' which can be inferred to be "styles" – basically styles of the same art with cultivated traditional variances) also have their own preferences.
See also: Folk instruments of Punjab
Sikhs have historically used a variety of instruments (Gurmukhi: ਸਾਜ Sāja) to play & sing the Gurbani in the specified Raag. The Sikh Gurus specifically promoted the stringed instruments for playing their compositions. Colonization of the Indian Subcontinent by the British Empire caused the use of traditional instruments (ਤੰਤੀ ਸਾਜ; tanti sāja meaning "stringed instruments") to die down in favor of foreign instruments like the harmonium (vaaja; ਵਾਜਾ). There is now a revival among the Sikh community to bring native, Guru-designated instruments back into the sphere of Sikh music to play Gurbani in the specified Raag. Organizations like Raj Academy & Nad Music Institute are among the many online teaching services available. These instruments include:
Stringed instruments, known as Tat vad, are as follows:
Percussion instruments, known as Avanad vad, are:
Wind instruments, known as Sushir vad, are:
Idiophone instruments, known as Ghan vad, are also commonly used, especially in folk forms of Sikh music.
See also: Music of Punjab § Gurbani Sangeet
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