The other remarkable feature is the individual developments of Bhatiali, a type of folk music free from religious and sectarian bias. This particular type of music influenced the various groups of songs of the eastern and northern sectors of Bengal. The original musical melody of the riverine districts of the then East Bengal was spontaneous and melancholic in nature. Bhatiali slowly captured the hearts of the people and spread all over Bengal and even outside. Besides these, devotional songs of various religious sects, songs of folk parties, work-songs and narratives, ceremonial or seasonal community songs, dance and tribal songs are prevalent. <

The Folk songs of Bengal may be classified as being:
  1. Emotional and Secular
  2. Religious or Sectarian like Baul, Vaishnava, and Sakta
  3. Occasional, ceremonial and occupational, like festival songs (Parvageeti), marriage songs, etc.
The first type is solo and spontaneous in character. The second type, solo or chorus, grew out of religious cults, while the third one, a set of solo or chorus, is generally born of social impact. The first two types of songs maintained distinct development in tune and rhythm. The third type is a medley of tunes. Most of the second and third types of songs are accompanied by percussion instruments.

Musical Patterns in Bengal folk music

The musical structure of Bhatiali, Bhaoaia and Baul are classed as the standard music of the popular type. Songs have been collected and popularised, notations made available and tunes have infiltrated in common music, film tunes and lyrical songs of the poet-composers.

Bhatiali is a standard folk music of urban type popularised greatly within half a century. Its subject matter with specific themes, based on definite form of tune and mode of performance, is familiar to a section of composers and artistes of the urban areas. Bhatiali literally means a song of the boatman going down the stream. It is a music of the wide field where the singer just sings and where the presence of no listener is presumed. He starts at once with an exclamation of endearing poignancy, addressed to his love at a distance in the high pitch-note and gradually descends over the seven notes until the tune stops at a point. A simple and plain voice with full throated ease can create wonder in this type of song. Bhatiali is generally described as a sad tune. Originally it was not supposed to be accompanied on musical instruments. The use of Dotara, the string instrument now played with strokes or strummings, making for a few combinations of notes for accompaniment to Bhatiali, Bhaoaia and other types of songs, is a stage in the evolution of this music.

North Bengal (Rajsahi and Cooch-Behar) music, namely, Bhaoaia, is but a variety of Bhatiali tune. Bhaoaia is sometimes called a song on Dotara. Both Bhatiali and Bhaoaia are free from religious bias. These songs depict longings and pathos of love and some other similar feature like the relationships between a mother-in-law and sister-in-law and so on. Therefore, softness and gracefulness are some of the important features exposed in the tune.


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