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Music of Nepal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Music of Nepal
General topics
Specific forms
Media and performance
Music festivals Goon lā
Music media
Nationalistic and patriotic songs
National anthem "Sayaun Thunga Phool Ka"
 Gramophone record of the song "Danchhi ya alu" by Madhan Krishna Shrestha
Gramophone record of the song "Danchhi ya alu" by Madhan Krishna Shrestha

Music of Nepal refers to the various musical genres heard in Nepal. With more than fifty ethnic groups, the music of the country is highly diverse. Genres like pop, rock, Nep-hop ko bato, folk, classical music, and ratna music are widely found, but many less common genres are yet to be cataloged. Rap also sometimes appears on the Nepalese music charts. Many of the country's musical bands are based in Kathmandu valley, especially the recent ones focused on pop and rock.[1]



Dohori music is Nepali folk songs. Dohori means from two side or a debate. This debate is in rhythm, and involves quick and witty poetry. The two teams in Dohori usually involve boys in one group and girls in the other. And also both boys sides and both girl side if there are only boys and only boys. The song is started with a question, usually from the boys' side. The girl follows the question with a quick response and continues the musical conversation.

Dohori songs can last for as long as a week. The length of the Dohori depends on the quick thinking ability of the players.[citation needed]

Aadhunik geet

Aadhunik geet or modern songs are popular songs in Nepal. It is also known as sugam sangeet. These type of songs are soft and melodious. One of the most famous singers in this category was late Narayan Gopal who was also known as a "King of Modern Songs" who gave hits like "Euta Manchhe Ko", and "Yeti Dherai Maya Dii". The singer was equally praised in India for his commendable voice and soothing tones.[citation needed]


Nepali classical music has a history since the time of King Mana Deva (567BS / 510 AD). The classical music was able to develop, improve and grow during the Kirat Period, Lichchavi Period, Malla Period and Shah Period as well as the Rana Period. After Rana rulers King Mahendra and Birendra played a role to popularise classical music through Radio and Durbar Concerts. Today many classical musicians live with music here as their profession. Many bands namely Sursudha, Sukarma, Trikaal, Sampada,[2] Kutumba are famous bands in Nepal. Classical music organizations such as Kalanidhi Indira Sangeet Mahavidyalaya[3], Nepal Sangeet Vidyalaya, SK Gurukul Sangeet Pathshala,[4] Narayan Music Academy, Gandharva Sangeet Vidyalaya, Shree Sangeet Pathshala, Kirateswor Sangeet Ashram[5], Kapan Sangit Sarowar[6], Yalamaya Kendra[7][better source needed], Ram Mandir, Gurukul Sangeet Pathshala, Atul Music Memorial Gurukul[8] etc. have been continuously contributing for the development of Nepali classical music.

Nepalese hip hop (Nephop)

Nephop is a modern genre of Nepal which represents Nepali hip hop music.

Ethnic music

Newar music

Newa or Newar music is traditional music developed in Nepal by the Newars. The musical instruments mainly consist of percussion and wind instruments.

Gurung music

Gurungs have an ancient tradition of Rodhi where young people meet, sing and dance to folk songs, and share their views. Young men and women at Rodhi often sing call-and-response songs called dohori, which are largely improvised. Some musical dances like Ghantu and Chudka are still in existence, and are still performed in many Gurung villages. These dances are hundreds of years old, and are performed either solo or in a group. Music also plays a big role in the Gurung ritual of Argum, which is performed when someone in the community dies.

Gurung films are also popularizing some of these songs and dances. Jyoti Gurung is regarded as one of the best Gurung singers from this community. She has contributed many successful Gurung songs and Gurung film songs.[citation needed]

Kirat music

The Yakthungs (Limbu) have various forms of dance, songs and musical instruments. Of them, Dhaan Nach (paddy dance) and Chya:brung (Dhol Nach "drum dance") are popular symbolics. Khambu celebrate Sakela, a dance performed during the occasion of "Udauli" and "Ubhuali" which is the greatest festival of Khumbu (Rai, kirat). Sakela which are sometime wrongly referred as Chandi Naach. Chandi is a Hindu goddess and is not related in any way with Kirat culture. Many forms of their dance involve rituals or religious offerings towards Mundhum (native Kiranti religion). Traditional dance and songs are also practiced for weddings, festivals or gatherings.[citation needed]

Tamang music

The Tamang community is well known for Damphu, a traditional instrument. Tamang Selo music is based on the usage of Damphu and Tungna. It is said that British people got an idea of making Drum Sets from Damphu during their stay at India. Western and Indian instruments are also found in some modern Tamang Selo music. Recently due to the re-mixing trend of classic Nepali songs, Tamang Selo tuned songs like changba hoi changba, Man chadey Maichyang lai have been a hit in Nepali radio stations. Also, Modern artists like Sindhu Malla, Raju Lama[9] Avinash Ghising, Roj Moktan, and Bijay Lama have used Tamang Selo tunes in their songs and those songs have also been hits.

Magar music

Salaijo, Kauda and Sorathi are the three exclusive musical genres of Magar music.[citation needed]

Sherpa music

Sherpa music is based on Tibetan Buddhism. This is identical to music of Tibet around the trans-Himalayan region. First and foremost Tibetan music is religious music, reflecting the influence of Tibetan Buddhism on the culture.[citation needed]

Maithili music

Maithili music is one of the most ancient types of music in South Asia . It originated from Mithila region which is now divided between India and Nepal. No on knows exactly when Maithili Music came into existence, probably due to the length of its history, but its age indicates that it might have helped other music develop and flourish in India and Nepal.[citation needed] Although Maithili music is usually played by classical instruments, it has been modernized and now uses various modern instruments. Some significant contributors to this music style are Maha Kavi Vidyapati Thakur, Sharda Sinha, Udit Narayan Jha, Binit Thakur, and Rama Mandal.[10]

Tharu music

Tharu music is also one of ancient types of music in Nepal. Mostly Tharu people sing song like sajana song, maghiya song, and dashainya song. Mostly in the western part of Nepal this type of song was sung at festive time.

Imported Music

 Musicians singing devotional songs
Musicians singing devotional songs

The musical genres which were introduced to Nepal from outside and thrived there can be considered as imported music. This includes the following.


A bhajan is any type of devotional song. It has no fixed form; it may be as simple as a mantra or kirtan. It is normally lyrical, expressing love and praying for the divine. Shiva, Krishna, Vishnu and Sai Baba bhajan are popular in Nepal.[11][citation needed]

Filmi music

Filmi music is popular music as written and performed for the cinema. Since the cinema in Nepal has a shorter history the filmi music is developing. As Bollywood movies are also popular in Nepali urban areas Nepali filmi music heavily inspired by Indian filmi music. Music directors make up the main body of composers, and the songs are performed by playback singers.[citation needed]


The ghazal is a poetic form consisting of rhyming couplets and a refrain, with each line sharing the same meter. A ghazal may be understood as a poetic expression of both the pain of loss or separation and the beauty of love in spite of that pain. The form is ancient, originating in 6th-century Arabic verse. The ghazal spread into South Asia in the 12th century due to the influence of Sufi mystics and the courts of the new Islamic Sultanate. Although the ghazal is most prominently a form of Dari poetry and Urdu poetry, today it is found in the poetry of many languages of the Indian sub-continent. Motiram Bhatta introduced the written form of ghazal in Nepali language in 1890. Seturam Shrestha (1891-1941) has been credited with pioneering ghazal music in Nepal. The tradition of singing ghazals has been gaining popularity in the last few years.[citation needed]

Western music

  • Rock & roll
  • Blues
  • Rock
  • Electronic
  • Psy-trance
  • Metal
  • Pop
  • Rap / soul / hip hop
  • Thrash metal
  • Death metal


With the growth and development of the Nepali music industry, different award ceremonies began being held in different parts of the country, some of them being focused on local talents. The awards of national standard are held each year by media houses, mainly Hits FM and Image FM.[citation needed]

Annual Hits FM Music Awards

Hits FM (Nepal) was established in April 1996 with the intention to help the music industry grow. Since then, Hits Nepal Pvt. Ltd., the parent organization and the event organizer of the Hits Awards has been greatly involving in encouraging and promoting Nepali artists and music. Then came the concept of further involvement through Annual Hits FM Music Awards[12] which was held for the first time in 2054 BS (1998 AD) with seven categories to award, and it became the first ever musical award to be organized by a private company in national level. The award ceremony celebrated its 14th birthday recently, with artists awarded in 19 categories, including the prestigious Life Time Achievement Award (awarded to a senior member of music industry for their contribution for the development of Nepali music), and performances by top Nepali artists. The songs and albums nominated in each category are based on the votes of the public and the winner is then evaluated by an independent panel of judges.[citation needed]

Atul Memorial Award

ATUL Memorial Music Gurukul, Nepal was established in 2003 in memory of Nepali Tabla Maestro Atul Gautam. Since then this organisation has been awarding Nepali classical maestros every year on the occasion of Atul Jayanti. Atul Memorial Gurukul[13] is the first music gurukul in Nepal.[citation needed]

See also


  • Nepali Songs
  • Tingey, Carol. "The Hills Are Alive". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 2: Latin & North America, Caribbean, India, Asia and Pacific, pp 198–202. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0

External links

This page was last edited on 18 November 2017, at 11:03.
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