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Semi Classical Vocal (Thumari)

Thumri is a common genre of semi-classical Indian music. The text is romantic or devotional in nature, and usually revolves around a girl's love for Krishna. The lyrics are usually in Uttar Pradesh dialects of Hindi called Awadhi and Brij Bhasha.

Thumri is characterized by its sensuality, and by a greater flexibility with the raga. Consequently, Thumri's main goal was to entertain and delight and it usually evoked the Shringara rasa (joy and love). It was usually written in lighter ragas such as Piloo or Khamaj. The lyrics were as important as the melody, and improvisation was based on those lyrics, rather than on abstract patterns like sargam or taans.

One form, called bandish Thumri, usually had no improvisation at all. In many ways, it resembled the American popular song: the music was subservient to the story it told, and the drama enacted by the performer. Some kinds of thumri now use complex variations on the vowels of the lyrics, resulting in patterns every bit as abstract as the taans and sargam of classical khayal singing.

A form called bol banao ki thumri uses slow tempos that set a pensive mood, and ends with the tabla player picking up the tempo, not unlike the jhala of classical music. And the dance movements became either reduced to hand gestures made while sitting, or in most cases were eliminated altogether.

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