Ratnakar kaal: Prabandh concept and various Prabandhas

The term 'Prabandha' is explained in Sangeet Ratnakar as "A composition which is bound by Dhatu and Ang" Dhatu means the limbs or parts of a musical composition like Sthaayi, Antara, Dhruvpad etc..Ang means the different elements that comprise the Prabandha like swar, taal, pat, birud etc..

It is shown in the thesis, with examples, how dhatu and angas in the Prabandha are present in the modern vocal forms. Here musical terms like Geet, Prabandha, Roop Vidhan ec are discussed. As no satisfactory term meaning 'vocal form' is found in Marathi, a new term 'Geyabandha' is defined.

Geybandha: Geybandha is a musical compostion, which is bound by Dhatu (limbs) and Matu (literature) and which has its own style of singing.

Special Prbandhas in Ratnakar period

1) Dhruv Prabandha: This prabandha cosists of four parts viz. Udgrah, Dhruv, Antar and Abhoga. Each line of this prabandha consists of a fixed number of letters. Thus, compositions set to meter is a characteristics of Dhruva Prabandha. Dhruva Prabandha gives importance to the emotional recitation. Different raagas are chosen to create different moods. Thus the characteristics of Dhruva Prabandha match with the characteristics of 'Dhruva' in the Natyashastra. It also shows similarity with Dhrupad in the modern period. Dhrupad also consists of four limbs which were called as Udgrah, Dhruv, Antara and Abhoga in fifteenth century. Compositions of Dhruad are set into meters and Dhrupad was a Rasamaya i.e. emotional vocal form till the seventeenth century. Thus there is a link between Dhruv-Dhruv Prabandha and Dhrupad.

2) Roopak Prabandha: The prabandhas used for the recitation of ragas are known as Roopak Prabandhas. There are two styles of singing the Roopak prabandha.

a) Bhanjani: The text of the prabandha is sung in different ways making use of swara and laya. If a part of prabandha is sung with varieties, it is known as 'Sthay Bhanjani' and if the complete prabandha is sung with the 'Swaroop-roopantara' in samgayan and Patgeet in the Jaigayan. It can be said that the 'bol-ang' used in Dhrupad or Khayal in the modern period is derived from the Bhanjani.
b) Pratigrahnika: Here, aalap are sing in different parts of the prabandha. In the first part, aalap is sung, which in accordance with this part and again that part is recited. This procedure is repeated several times to show the melodical beauty of a raga. Then the next part of the prabandha is sung, suitable alap is sung and that part of prabandha is repeated. This is known as Pratigrahnika which is a basic principle of Khayal gayaki.

3) Tribangi - Chaturmukh and Kaiwad Prabandhas: In the above prabandhas, various combinations of the elements like swara, pad and pat are made. These prabandhas are the origin of the Trivat and Chaturang in the modern period.

4) Chachchari Prabandha: This prabandha is associated with the Holi festival. It is erotic. The raagas used for this prabandha are similar to raagas like Dhani, Tilang, Khamaj in modern period. The 'Chachchari taal' used in this prabandha is similar to Deepchandi or Dhamar in the modern period. The 'Kreeda' taal used in this prabandha is similar to Dadra in modern period. Thus Chachchari prabandh may be the origin of light classical forms in the modern period.