Folk Music in India

Folk music in India is a part of the Art and Culture syllabus for the UPSC IAS exam. This article talks about the various rich Indian folk music from different parts of the country for the IAS exam.

There are many types of music prevalent in the Indian subcontinent that belongs to various categories. Each state of India has its own form of music based on their cultural affirmation. Unlike classical music, folk music does not follow any set of rules and regulations. They are majorly based on diverse themes and rhythm.

Folk music of India UPSC

India is a geographically and traditionally diverse country. There are 28 states and 8 Union Territories (U.T.) bonded under the spirit of nationalism. There are several differences between Classical music and folk music. The classical music follows the rules laid in the Natya Shastra and cultivates the Guru-Shisya tradition where folk music tradition is the music that has no hard rules.

Folk music is primarily based on diverse themes and full of brisk rhythm. They are also set on beats so they can be dance-oriented. There are different types of folk music associated with a specific state.

Art and culture are considered as a significant part of both the Civil Services Preliminary Exam and the Mains Examination. A significant number of the total questions asked in General Studies Paper I for the Civil Services IAS Prelims exam come from this segment. Indian Music is a part of the rich culture of India. Here we are giving the list of folk music in different states and their themes.

Types of Folk Music

Folk dance State Themes/features
Alha Madhya Pradesh Heroic ballad related to Mahabharata
Baul West Bengal Influences of bhakti movements and Sufi and represent the mysticism through songs
Bhagawati Karnataka and Maharashtra Emotional songs close to Ghazals sung in slower pitch

Nature, love, and philosophy are themes

Dandiya Raas Gujarat Associated with Holi and Lila of Krishna and Radha
Hekaileu Nagaland Songs about oneself
Heliamleu Nagaland Dancing songs
Hereileu Nagaland War songs
Ja-jin-ja Arunachal Pradesh Sung during the marriage ceremony
Khongjom Parva Manipur Ballad genre which is a musical narration of the Battle of Khongjom fought between the British army and the resistance force of Manipur
Lavani Maharashtra Combination of traditional dance and song
Maand Rajasthan The songs in about the glory of Rajput rulers
Neuleu Nagaland A song about legends and myths
Nyioga Arunachal Pradesh Sung at the end of the marriage ceremony
Ovi Maharashtra and Goa Songs of women
Paani Hari Rajasthan The theme is related to water
Pai song Madhya Pradesh Sung during festivals

The song generally played during the rainy season

Saira dance is performed based on the Pai song

Pandwani Chhattisgarh Based on Mahabharata
Powada Maharashtra Ballads sung for the heroes of the past like Shivaji
Sohar Bihar Sung during childbirth
Tikir Assam Embodies the teaching of Islam
Wanawan Kashmir Sung during wedding

FAQ about Folk Music In India


What are the types of folk music?

There are 4 types folk music. They are primitive/tribal; elite/art; folk; and popular.”

What is a folk song?

A folk song is a song written by the common people or in the style of the common people.

Also, see:

Glove Puppet Forms in India Hindustani Classical Music UPSC
Classical Dances of India Difference between Hindustani and Carnatic music


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