An Introduction to the Folk Music of India

The diverse geography of India is worldwide famous for its rich culture and heritage. The diversity of India is reflected in Indian traditions and cultures. Each state of India has its own tradition. In India, we have diverse forms of music, art, dance, and martial arts literature and food. In this blog, we will discuss the forms of music in India, particularly the folk music of India.

Indian Music

Indian music is the music and songs that originated from the Indian land. It is classified into two types Classical music and Folk music. Here is a brief introduction to both forms

Indian Classical Music

Classical music of India is the original music of India. This form is limited to the intellectual group of the society. Priests and musicians usually sing it. The state requires high practice and skill. Indian Classical music is classified into two types Hindustani Music and Carnatic music.

Hindustani Music

Hindustani music is prevalent in Northern parts of India. Arab, Persian and Afghan touches influence it. Hindustani music is classified into ragas, and so it has led to the emergence of Gharanas.

Carnatic music

Carnatic music is prevalent in the Southern pasts of India. It is indigenous to Indian soils. Carnatic music is based on Taal and is classified into 72 melakartas, ragas and

janya ragas. The scope of improvement in Carnatic music is narrower than Hindustani music.

Folk music of India

Folk music can be defined as regional music. Each region has its own folk music. That is based on its tribes and cultural affirmation. Unlike classical music, folk tradition has no hard and fast rules. Folk music is full of musical themes and is often accompanied by dance movements. The locals generally enjoy folk music. Here is the list of some major folk music.


Region: West Bengal, Assam and Tripura.

Baul Sangeet is a Bengali religious sect. Bharti and Sufi movements influence the lyrics and songs. Baul song can be defined as a form of Sufi song exemplified by the songs of Kabir.

Prominent exponents are Lalon Fakir, Yotin Das and Puerto Chandra Das.


Region: Different states of India.

The folk music is based on the epic Mahabharata, considering Bhima as the central Hero. An instrument tambura accompanies the music. A prominent exponent is Teejanbai.


Region: Madhya Pradesh.

Alpha is a heroic ballad song sung in the languages Braj, Awadhi and Bhojpuri. The form is based on the Mahabharata, where five Pandavas brothers are substituted Alpha, Udal, Malkhan, Lakhan and Dena.


Region: Rajasthan.

Pahari is a folk song of Rajasthan Rajasthani women usually sung while fetching water from a nearby well to home. The songs are generally based on social and general topics such as a romantic conversation between husband and wife, relationship between mother in law and daughter-in-law and scarcity of water.


Region: Konkan states, Maharashtra and Goa.

These are songs sung by women when they are completing their household work and during their leisure time.

Pai Song

Region: Madhya Pradesh.

These songs are sung in the rainy season after a good rain and good harvest. This music accompanies the Saira dance.


Region: Maharashtra.

Lavani is a combination of dance and music. The art is performed on the beats of the Dholki. The music has a powerful rhythm that enables everyone to dance merrily.


Region:  Rajasthan.

The folk maand is said to be home developed in the royal courts. It is a blend of classical and folk tradition. The songs consist of songs depicting the glory of Rajput rulers. This style is quite close to Thumri or Ghazal.


Region: Gujarat.

Dandiya is also a combination of dance and music. The art is associated with Holi, Krishna Lila and Navaratri.


Region: Maharashtra.

Posada consists of the ballad sung to describe the heroic deed and glorious past of the heroes like Shivaji.


Region: Karnataka and Maharashtra.

Similar to the Ghazals, Bhavageethe is sung on a slower pitch. The theme is based on nature, love and philosophy.

Khongjom Parba

Region: Manipur

The folk music is a combination of the battle of Khongjom, fought between the British army and Manipur resistance forces in 1891.


Region: Goa

Mando is a blend of Indian and Western musical traditions. Guitars, violins and ghumot drums accompany the folk music.


Region: Andhra Pradesh

Kolannalu is also called Kolaltam and is similar to Dandiya. It is a type of stick dance.


Folk music preserves the ancient tradition and culture of India. It is the duty of coming generations to carry the heritage of Indian music with pride and care.