What is Swarmalika in Classical Music

Music by Odisha - Muskaan

Odisha is a federal state of India, one of the music centers of South Asia. Traveling bards are a historic part of the country's heritage. In the 11th century, Odissi music was codified into a classical style related to other styles of Indian classical music. Odissi music has been found to be a type of ancient Indian classical music known as Odramagadhi music, which is different from the more well-known Hindustani & Karnatic music pieces.


Odissi music, like Hindustan and Carnatic systems, is a classical music and part of the ancient Odramagadhi music, which contains all essential and potential components of the classical Indian form. But it has not gained importance in Odisha since British rule due to apathy. Nevertheless, the traditional form of music was saved thanks to the supported efforts of Jaga Akhadas from the Puri district, who kept its tradition. However, the Odisha music movement took a different turn after independence.

Odisha's existing musical tradition, the cumulative experience of the past two thousand five hundred years, if not more, can be broadly divided into five categories:

  1. Tribal music
  2. Folk music
  3. Light music
  4. Light classical music
  5. Classical music

The tribal music, as the title implies, is limited to the tribes that live mainly in the hilly and jungle regions and sparsely in the coastal belt of Odisha. Odisha has the third largest concentration of tribes, making up about a quarter of the total population. They are spread over 62 tribal communities.

Odisha has folk songs that are sung for their own enjoyment at various festivals and on specific occasions. Folk music in general is an expression of the ethos and customs of the national communities. Of the variety of folk music of Odisha, Geeta, Balipuja Geeta, Kela Keluni Geeta, Dalkhai Geeta, Kendra Geeta, Jaiphula Geeta, Ghumura Geeta, Ghoda Nacha and Danda Nacha Geeta, Gopal Ugala and Osa-Parva-Geeta can be mentioned.

Bhajan, Janan, Odiya songs based on ragas, Rangila Chaupadi are summarized under light classical music, which forms a segment of Oriya music. Sri Geetagovinda, Anirjukta Pravadha, Divya Manusi Prabandha, Chautisa, Chhanda, Chaupadi (now known as Orissi), Champu, Malasri, Sariman, Vyanjani, Chaturang, Tribhang, Kuduka Geeta, Laxana and Swaramalika are the various sub-forms that are singly or together form the traditional Odissi music. These sub-forms of traditional Odissi music can be assigned to the classical music of Odisha.


further reading

  • Itishree Sahoo (2009), Odissi Music: Evolution Revival And Technique ISBN 81-88827-18-5