Upcoming Events

No results found.

Top Results

No results found.

Lesson 1: Learning “Dholida”

Aim: How is ornamentation used in melodies, dance, and fabrics?
Summary: Students will learn to sing and dance to “Dholida” and will experience ornamentation in many forms.
Materials: Musical Explorers digital resources; Musical Explorers Student Guide; a pair of wooden sticks 12–15 inches long; ribbons of various colors and sizes; colorful tape of various colors, designs, and sizes; fishing line, yarn, or string; a feather or beads; and glue
Standards: National 1, 4, 5, 11; NYC 1, 2, 3, 4
Vocabulary: dandiya, garba, improvisation, melody, ornamentation

The song “Dholida” is from Gujarat, a western state of India, and is sung in Gujarati, the language of the state. The song is commonly performed during the annual festival Navaratri, a Hindu tradition that spans nine days. The festival is a dedication to Durga (sometimes known as Shakti or Devi), the mother goddess and protector of good and harmony who battles against evil. Each festival day is dedicated to each of her nine incarnations. The song “Dholida” is about the dhol player (the dhol is a two-sided drum) and celebrates Durga coming down, enjoying the celebration, and giving blessings.

Falu Teaches “Dholida”

“Dholida” Demonstration

Indian classical artist Falu teaches her arrangement of the traditional song “Dholida.”

Sing “Dholida”

“Dholida”

Text

Chorus:
Dholida, dholida
Dholida, dholida

Dholida dhol dhimo dhimo vagaad na, dhimo vagaad na
Radhiyali raatdino joje rang jaaye na

(Chorus)

Dhruje a dharani to ramjhat kehevaaya naa ramjhat kehevay na
Radhiyali raatdino joje rang jaaye na

(Chorus)

Chamakti chaal mane ghughri jhamkar
Nupurna naad sathe taliyo na tal

(Chorus)

Dhruje a dharani to ramjhat kehevaaya naa ramjhat kehevay na
Radhiyali raatdino joje rang jaaye na

 

Translation

Chorus:
O drummer, o drummer
O drummer, o drummer

O fabulous drummer, play the dhol with
lots of joy
Let this beautiful night reflect in your playing

(Chorus)

Mother Earth is shaking by the sound of your dhol with happiness, so let’s all dance
Let this beautiful night reflect in your playing

(Chorus)

Mother goddess is walking very gracefully
Wearing anklets on her feet that match the sound of your rhythm

(Chorus)

Mother Earth is shaking by the sound of your dhol with happiness, so let’s all dance
Let this beautiful night reflect in your playing

Explore Melodic Ornamentation in “Dholida”

  • Explain that when a musician decorates a melody by adding more notes (called ornaments) it is called ornamentation. In Indian music, singers like Falu add different ornaments to the melody each time they perform. This is a form of improvisation, that is music that musicians make up on the spot.
  • Listen to the “Dholida” unornamented chorus melody audio track.
    • Guide the students as they illustrate the melody with movement. They can use hand gestures, scarves, or full-body movement.
  • Listen to the “Dholida” ornamented chorus melody audio track.
  • Guide the students as they illustrate the melody with movement. They can use hand gestures, scarves, or full body movement to investigate how Falu ornaments the melody.
    • How are the two melodies different? How are they the same?
    • Which do you like better and why?
    • Notice that she adds extra notes or pitches.
    • Do the extra notes go up or down? Are they fast or slow? Smooth or spiky?
  • Demonstrate the process of ornamenting a long note, leading your students through call and response. Experiment with notes that go up and down from the long note. Start with slow, simple ornaments, and get faster and more intricate as your students gain confidence.
  • Invite students to make up their own ornaments and explore their own voices.
    • How does your voice feel when you are singing an ornament?
  • Experiment with ornamenting the melody of the “Dholida” chorus, first demonstrating and then asking for volunteers to give it a try. The rest of the class can add movement to illustrate the ornamentation.

Dance the Garba in “Dholida”

  • The garba is a traditional Indian dance from the western part of India, often performed during Navaratri. It is a circle dance, performed in concentric circles.
  • Refer to the learning video on Falu’s resource page to learn the dance movements.
  • First, learn the hand movements, a special three-clap pattern:
    • Clap once in front of your left eye.
    • Moving diagonally downward, clap once in front of your mouth.
    • Moving diagonally downward again, clap once in front of your right shoulder.
    • Repeat the three claps starting on the opposite side with your right eye.
  • Next, learn the footwork.
    • Take three steps forward and one step back.
  • The basic footwork can be changed or ornamented by the dancer in the same way a singer ornaments a melody.
    • Have your students experiment with making their own modifications to the garba steps. They can go forward, backward, add a spin, or do whatever feels natural in their bodies.
  • Play the “Dholida” audio track, adding the claps and steps with your new movements.

Create Dandiya Sticks for “Dholida”

  • Dandiya sticks are highly decorated percussion instruments that come in pairs and often accompany the garba. Examples can be found under Resources for Teachers. They represent the swords of Durga in her battle to fight evil against the demon king, Mahishasura.
  • Dandiya sticks can be used to play the rhythm in place of the claps during the garba dance. They can be struck together by a single performer or against the dandiya sticks of another performer.
  • Your students can create their own personalized dandiya sticks. They will need
    • a pair of wooden sticks about 12–15 inches long
    •  ribbons of various colors and sizes
    • colorful tape of various colors, designs, and sizes
    • fishing line, yarn, or string
    • a feather or beads
    • Glue
  • Follow these steps to create dandiya sticks:
    • Begin by wrapping the sticks with ribbon or decorative tape. You may choose to wrap the entire stick to be one solid color, a portion of the stick, or to make a fun design. Just make sure that the sticks will still make a satisfying sound!
    • Then, create a latkan—a decorative tassel—by tying the fish line, yarn, or string to the end of the stick and attaching the feather or beads to it.
  • Once the dandiya sticks are completed, play “Dholida” again, and lead students in playing the clapping rhythm on their sticks. Your students can also experiment with striking the sticks on rhythm with their fellow students.
CREATIVE EXTENSION

Visual Ornamentation

  • There are 28 states in India and each state has its own special fabrics with unique designs. Gujarat has three primary fabrics.
  • Read Fabric Tour of India or watch Fabrics of India from the Resources for Teachers section to show your students the fabrics from Gujarat as well as the different fabrics that represent each Indian state.
  • Discuss the elements of these various fabrics.
    • Which designs stick out to you? Why?
  • Have your students identify at least four elements from the fabric examples that they like.
  • Now, using My Visual Ornamentation (PDF), guide students in creating their own fabric designs that will represent them. Encourage them to add ornaments to the shapes, using different colors, patterns, and even collage materials.

Musical Word Wall

Add the words dandiya, garba, improvisation, melody, and ornamentation to the Musical Word Wall.

Image Credits

“Holi” by India Picture.

Stay Up to Date