Music plays a very important role in the lives of the Rajasthani people. The lyrics are read in a prosaic style. In the Rajasthani music, the emphasis is more on poetry, rather than the melody. However, the poetry gains meaning only when accompanied by Rajasthan folk music. The traditional music of Rajasthan is designed for each and every event like festivals, rituals, family affairs, seasons, etc.
Rajasthani women mostly sing the panihari style, i.e. mainly about
water. It centers on the routine mundane life of a women, of which a
major part is spent around the wells. This is because of the scarcity of
water in the desert area of Rajasthan. The other subjects covered by the
songs of women include a chance encounter with a lover or bad mouthing
mother-in-law or sister-in-law, etc.
Some folk songs of Rajasthan are dedicated to the various deities. They
include the religious songs of Kabirdas, Meerabai, Surdas, etc. A number
of communities in Rajasthan have followed the profession of singing for
the entertainment of others. Among them, the prominent ones are the
Dholis (both Hindus and Muslims), Dhadhis, Mirasis, Mangamars, Fedalis,
Kalawats and Qawwals, Tangas, Patars and Kanchari (Hindu and Muslim
prostitutes), Nats, Rawals and Bhawais.
The folk songs normally began with an alap, setting the tune of the
song. After that, follows the recital of the couplet (dooba). Lending a
variance to the tune are the taan, the pitch and the tibias. Another
tradition of Rajasthan is the Ballad (bards singing heroic tales of the
folk heroes and legendary lovers).