Folk Pakistani Music You Need to Know About

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


There is a lot of great Pakistani music out there, but sometimes it can be hard to find. This blog post will introduce you to some of the best folk Pakistani music that you need to know about!


Pakistan’s music scene is as diverse as its culture and has given rise to a number of different genres including folk music. Folk music is an important part of Pakistani culture and can be heard at weddings, festivals and other special occasions.

There are a number of different folk music traditions in Pakistan, each with their own distinct style. Some of the most popular folk music genres include Sindhi music, Punjabi music, Pashto music and Balochi music.

Sindhi music is characterized by its use of the tambura, a four-stringed instrument, and is often very melodic. Punjabi music, on the other hand, is known for its upbeat tempo and often features drumming or clapping along with the singing.

Pashto music is also quite fast-paced and often features energetic dancing. Balochi music is often slower and more reflective, making it perfect for listening to while relaxing or spending time with friends.

No matter what your taste in music is, you’re sure to find a Pakistani folk song that you’ll enjoy.

What is Folk Music?

Folk music is music that is passed down orally within a culture, typically without the help of formal music education. The term “folk music” can refer to both traditional music, which has been around for centuries, and more modern music that has been created recently by folk artists. In Pakistan, folk music has a long and rich history, dating back to the country’s earliest days.

Pakistan’s folk music is divided into two main categories: Sufi folk music and regional folk music. Sufi folk music often includes religious lyrics and is often performed at Sufi shrines. Regional folk music varies from region to region, but it typically includes local instruments and reflects the culture of the area where it is performed.

Some of the most popular Pakistani folk songs come from the Punjab region in the north of the country. Punjab is known for its lively and upbeat folk songs, which are often played on traditional Punjabi instruments like the tumbi and dholak. Other popular Pakistani folk songs come from the Sindh region in the south of the country, where the songs tend to be slower and more soulful.

No matter what region they come from, Pakistani folk songs are sure to get you moving and grooving. So put on your dancing shoes and get ready to experience the richness of Pakistan’s musical heritage!

The Different Types of Folk Music

Pakistan’s folk music is reflective of the various cultures and traditions that have existed in the different regions of the country throughout its history. From the melodious sounds of the Punjabi and Sindhi to the more upbeat tempo of the Pashto and Balochi, each type of music has its own distinct flavor.

Here is a look at some of the most popular types of folk music in Pakistan:

1. Punjabi Folk Music
Punjabi folk music is one of the most popular genres in Pakistan. It is known for its soulful melodies and easy-to-sing lyrics. The most commonly used instruments in Punjabi folk music are the dholak, harmonium, and tabla.

2. Sindhi Folk Music
Sindhi folk music has a more traditional sound than Punjabi folk music and is often slower paced. The Sufiana Kalam, which is a type of devotional poetry, is particularly popular in Sindh province. The Instruments commonly used in Sindhi folk music include the tambura, harmonium, dholak, and tabla.

3. Pashto Folk Music
Pashto folk music is characterized by its fast tempo and upbeat rhythms. The use of traditional instruments such as the rubab, tabla, and tambura give it a unique sound that sets it apart from other genres of Pakistani folk music. Pashtun people are known for their love of singing and dancing, which is reflected in their folk music.

4. Balochi Folk Music
Balochi folk music has a distinctly different sound from other Pakistani genres due to the use of traditional instruments such as the sarangi (a type of string instrument) and chang (a type of percussion instrument). Balochi folk songs often tell stories of love, loss, and wanderlust, which resonate with many people across Pakistan.

The Instruments Used in Folk Music

In folk music, there is often a great focus on the use of traditional instruments. These instruments are usually passed down through generations, and each one has its own unique sound. The most common instruments used in Pakistani folk music include the sitar, tabla, dholak, shehnai, and harmonium.

The sitar is a stringed instrument that is typically used as the lead melody instrument in Pakistani folk music. It has a long neck and a resonating chamber that gives it a unique sound. The tabla is a percussion instrument that is used to provide rhythm in folk music. It consists of two drums, one of which is played with the hands and the other with a stick. The dholak is another percussion instrument that is commonly used in Pakistani folk music. It is similar to the tabla, but it has a simpler design and it produces a more earthy sound. The shehnai is a wind instrument that is often used to add embellishments to the melody of a song. Finally, the harmonium is a keyboard instrument that provides accompaniment in Pakistani folk music.

The History of Folk Music

Pakistan’s folk music is as diverse as its people. With over a dozen different languages and as many dialects, the country has a rich tapestry of musical traditions that have been passed down through the generations.

Folk music has always been an important part of Pakistan’s cultural heritage. For centuries, it has been used to tell stories, express emotions and communicate values. It is an integral part of the country’s social fabric, and can be heard at weddings, funerals, festivals and other important events.

Pakistan’s folk music is divided into two broad categories: Sufi music and regional folk music. Sufi music is based on the devotional poetry of Sufi saints, and is popular in all parts of Pakistan. Regional folk music, on the other hand, is specific to certain regions or even individual villages.

The most commonly used instrument in Pakistani folk music is the harmonium, which is a type of pump organ. Other popular instruments include the dholak (a two-headed drum), the tabla (a pair of small hand drums) and the Saraswati veena (a plucked string instrument).

The vocals are usually in the form of ghazals (a type of Urdu poetry), qawwalis (Sufi devotional songs) or folk songs. Folk songs are often about love, loss or other personal themes, while qawwalis are mostly about devotion to Allah.

If you’re interested in learning more about Pakistani folk music, there are many great resources available online and in libraries. You can also find plenty of folk musicians performing at concerts and festivals around the world.

The Influence of Folk Music

Pakistan is home to a diverse range of cultures and traditions, each with their own unique form of music. Folk music is an important part of the country’s heritage, and has been passed down through the generations for centuries.

Folk music is typically based on the local traditions and culture of a community, and is often passed down orally from one generation to the next. It can be used for storytelling, relaxation, or as a form of entertainment. Folk music often has a strong connection to the land, and can be used to help people connect with their heritage.

Pakistan’s folk music is rich and varied, with different styles found in different regions of the country. Common instruments used in folk music include the sitar (a type of string instrument), harmonium (a type of pump organ), tabla (a type of percussion instrument), and flute.

Folk music has long been an important part of Pakistani culture, and continues to play a significant role in the country’s heritage.

The Popularity of Folk Music

Folk music has been around for centuries and is an important part of Pakistani culture. The term “folk music” can refer to a wide variety of musical genres, but is typically used to describe traditional music that is passed down from generation to generation. Folk music is often passed down orally, so it can be difficult to determine its origins.

Folk music is popular in Pakistan and can be heard at weddings, religious festivals, and other celebrations. The most popular type of folk music in Pakistan is Qawwali, which is a form of Sufi devotional music. Other popular genres include Sindhi folk, Pashto folk, Balochi folk, and Punjabi folk.

Pakistan has a rich history of folk music, which has been influenced by the country’s diverse cultures and religions. Folk music is an important part of Pakistani culture and helps to keep the country’s traditions alive.

The Future of Folk Music

Folk music is the traditional music of a group of people, usually passed down through the generations by oral tradition. It typically consists of simple, catchy melodies and revolves around themes of love, loss, work, and play. Folk music is often a reflection of the culture from which it comes, and as such, it can be very different from one region to another.

Pakistan is a country with a rich and vibrant folk music tradition. In recent years, however, there has been a decline in the popularity of folk music in Pakistan. This is due in part to the rise of other genres of music, such as pop and hip-hop, but also because many young people today are not as familiar with traditional Pakistani folk songs as their parents and grandparents were.

Despite the decline in popularity, there are still many folk musicians in Pakistan who are keeping the tradition alive. These musicians are often working to modernize folk songs by incorporating elements from other genres of music or by writing new songs that capture the essence of Pakistani culture.

The future of Pakistani folk music is uncertain, but there are still many people who appreciate and value this type of music. As long as there are musicians willing to keep the tradition alive, Pakistani folk music will continue to be an important part of the country’s musical landscape.

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