The Evolution of Music and the Darbar Sahib.
RLG 207March 18th, 2019The Evolution of Music and the Darbar Sahib        Music is a form of art that connects people all around the world as a common ground of conversation. Although music has its recreational and entertainment purposes, for many cultures including Sikhism, it is also incorporated in its religious sense. Music has also been involved with the evolution of the Darbar Sahib ever since Guru Arjun had built it in the early 1600’s (Singh). The Darbar Sahib (also known as the Golden Temple or Harmandir Sahib) is a gurdwara located in city of Amritsar in Punjab India where it is renowned as the holiest and most important religious sight for Sikh followers (Britannica).  Furthermore, the Golden Temple has become an important area of devotional musical expression which is a central part of Sikhism (Townsend). Guru’s after Guru Nanak have contributed in the development of music and it has found its way simultaneously in developing the Darbar Sahib as well. This essay will explore the development of the Golden Temple and musical advancements through periods of time including the use and additions of instruments, the change from the traditional aspect of Sikh music transferring over to contemporary academics in the modern age, and the inclusion of eight chaunki’s at the Darbar Sahib from Guru Arjun.        Kirtan is Sikh devotional music that serves the purpose of praising God (Mansukhani). It is an important aspect of Sikhism as it composed of the singing of the hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib and is importantly accompanied by musical instruments (Mansukhani). The music has been primarily comprised of instruments that were string and percussions (Lallie). The performances in the Darbar Sahib also reflected these instruments being used up until early 20th century (Lallie). The importance of the string and percussion instruments was due to the organic and authentic presentation of Sikh music from the time of Guru Nanak. These instruments displayed the true sounds of the performance. Players of kirtan instruments are known as kirtankars (Singh). Original instruments that were used were the mridang (drum) and the rabab (stringed instrument) but instruments such as the harmonium (similar to piano’s) very recently became the instrument of choice (Lallie). The rabab was originally one of the instruments from the beginning of this tradition and has virtually disappeared (Lallie). There were many advantages to the harmonium including portability and the effortless sound (Lallie). These changes in the use of instruments has been reflected in the performances in the holy Golden Temple and has therefore given the rise of studying Sikh music to preserve the original sound.

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Evolution Of Music And Additions Of Instruments. (April 3, 2021). Retrieved from