Pakistani Traditional Music: The Best Instrumentals

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Listen to the best Pakistani traditional music instrumentals and enjoy the soothing sounds of the sitar, tabla, and more.


Traditional Pakistani music is the heritage of the various cultures that inhabited the region now known as Pakistan. Despite its deep routed history, Pakistani traditional music has been on a steady decline since the Partition of British India into India and Pakistan in 1947. There are many reasons for this, ranging from the advent of new technologies to the influence of Western culture. Nevertheless, there are still many people who appreciate and practice traditional Pakistani music, keeping alive the legacy of their ancestors.

Pakistani traditional music is typically based around two types of instruments: string instruments and percussion instruments. String instruments include the sitar (a long-necked lute), the sarangi (a bowed instrument), and the harmonium (a type of pump organ). Percussion instruments include the tabla (a set of two small drums), the dholak (a two-headed drum), and the ghatam (an earthenware pot).

The sitar is perhaps the most famous of all Pakistani traditional musical instruments. It is a long-necked lute with a resonating chamber at one end. The sitar typically has 21 strings, which are plucked with a plectrum to produce sound. The sarangi is a bowed string instrument with a rich, mellow tone. It has a range of up to four octaves and is used as both a solo and accompaniment instrument. The harmonium is a type of pump organ that uses bellows to push air through reeds, producing sound. It is often used as an accompaniment instrument in Pakistani traditional music.

The tabla is a set of two small drums: the dayan (or treble drum) and the bayan (or bass drum). The tabla is played by striking each drum with the palm or fingers, producing a variety of tones. The dholak is a two-headed drum played with sticks or bare hands. It has a deep, resonant sound and is often used in folk music. The ghatam is an earthenware pot with a narrow mouth and open bottom. It is played by striking it with the hands or fingers to produce sound.

Pakistani traditional music encompasses a wide range of styles, from folk music to classical music. Folk music includes regional styles such as Punjabi folk music, Pashto folk music, Sindhi folk music, Balochi folk music, and Kashmiri folk music. Classicalmusic includes genres such as Qawwali (Muslim devotional music), Ghazal ( poetic love songs), and Thumri(semi-classical songs).

What is Pakistani traditional music?

Pakistani traditional music is the music of the Pakistani people. It is based on the ancient music of India and has been influenced by Persian, Arabic, and Turkish music. The most common instruments used in Pakistani traditional music are the sitar, tabla, sarangi, and harmonium.

The sitar is a stringed instrument that is played with a plectrum. It has a long neck and a pear-shaped body. The tabla is a percussion instrument that consists of two drums, the dayan and the bayan. The sarangi is a stringed instrument that is played with a bow. The harmonium is a keyboard instrument that is played with the hands.

Pakistani traditional music is often performed at weddings, festivals, and other celebratory occasions. It is also used as a form of relaxation and meditation.

The best Pakistani traditional instrumentals

Pakistan has a rich and varied musical heritage, with a fusion of Hindustani, Pashtun, Balochi and other regional music traditions. The instrumentals are often based on the use of traditional Pakistani instruments, such as the sitar, tabla, and harmonium.

Pakistani music is often divided into two main genres: filmi and classical. Filmi music is derived from the soundtracks of Bollywood films, while classical music is based on the traditions of South Asian classical music.

The best Pakistani traditional instrumentals are those that combine elements of both filmi and classical music. These instrumentals often make use of traditional Pakistani instruments, such as the sitar, tabla, and harmonium, while also incorporating elements of Bollywood-style filmi music.

Some of the best Pakistani traditional instrumentals include “Raga Jog,” “Raga Shivranjani,” “Raga Marwa,” “Raga Miyan Ki Malhar,” and “Raga Bageshri.” These instrumentals are all based on traditional Pakistani ragas (musical scales), and they make use of a variety of traditional Pakistani instruments.

If you’re looking for some great Pakistani traditional instrumentals to add to your collection, be sure to check out some of these classics!

The different types of Pakistani traditional music

Pakistan is a country located in southern Asia. The region now straddling the border of present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan is one of the most torn regions of the world. Historically home to the sophisticated Indus Valley Civilization, it saw the Rise of Alexander as well as eventual occupation by the British Raj.

Pakistan is home to many different types of music, ranging from folk to classical, but with a strong emphasis on Sufi music. The most popular form of Pakistani traditional music is Qawwali, which is devotional music intended to praise Allah. Another well-known form is ghazal, which is often performed at weddings and other special occasions.

Classical music includes both Hindustani and Carnatic styles, both of which are popular in Pakistan. Hindustani music is a more vocal-centric style while Carnatic music focuses more on instrumentals. Ghazal and thumri are both subgenres of Hindustani classical music.

Pakistani folk music has many different regional variants. For example, in Punjab Province there is a type of folk music called Jugni which features heavy use of harmoniums and string instruments like the sitar. In Sindh Province, meanwhile, the native musical tradition is called Sindhi Sufiana Kalam which makes use of instruments like the dholak (a two-headed drum) and .

Qawwali is perhaps the best known form of Pakistan traditional music outside the country itself. It has its origins in Sufism, and often features poetry that praises Allah sung in Urdu or Punjabi. The qawwali ensemble typically consists of up to 10 musicians, including one or two lead vocalists (called kalam), a harmonium player, tabla players, and backing vocalists (called mezban).

Ghazal is another form of Pakistani traditional music with its roots in Sufism. Ghazals are often love songs sung in Urdu or Persian, and they usually have a recurring theme of unrequited love. Like qawwali, ghazals are often led by a kalam who sings accompanied by a small ensemble including harmonium, tabla, and backing vocalists.

Thumri is a subgenre of Hindustani classical music that originated in Uttar Pradesh Region centuries ago. It shares many similarities with ghazal but tends to be more lighthearted in nature, often focusing on topics like Krishna’s love for Radha or Rama’s love for Sita. Thumri also makes use of lighter instruments like the sarangi (a string instrument) instead of heavier ones like the sitar found in Hindustani classical music .

Pakistani traditional music has been heavily influenced by Persian and Afghan Music throughout history due to cultural exchange as result geographical proximity . For example,, Sindhi Sufiana Kalam shares many similarities with Afghan rabbabmusic,. There has also been considerable influence from Turkish Music as result Turkish political presence in South Asia during Ottoman Empire.. In recent years Western pop culture has also made its mark Pakistani traditional musical styles,.

The history of Pakistani traditional music

Pakistani traditional music is a rich and diverse genre that has been influenced by a number of factors over the course of its history.

The roots of Pakistani traditional music can be traced back to the Indus Valley civilization, which is thought to have flourished between the 33rd and 20th centuries BCE. This ancient civilization left behind a number of artifacts, including musical instruments such as flutes and drums.

Pakistan’s traditional music has also been influenced by the country’s geographical location. Situated at the crossroads of Asia, Pakistan has been exposed to a number of different cultures, which have all contributed to the evolution of its traditional music.

One of the most significant influences on Pakistani traditional music is Sufism, which is a mystical branch of Islam. Sufi artists have long used music as a means to promote their beliefs, and many of Pakistan’s most popular folk songs are based on Sufi themes.

Pakistan’s traditional music is also characterized by its use of improvisation. This means that many songs do not have a set melody or lyrics, but are instead created spontaneously by the performers. This often results in different versions of the same song being performed by different artists.

The various genres of Pakistani traditional music include Qawwali, Ghazal, Punjabi folk songs, Sindhi folk songs, Pashto folk songs, and Balochi folk songs. Each genre has its own distinct style and history.

Qawwali is perhaps the best-known type of Pakistani traditional music outside of the country. It is a form of devotional Sufi music that originated in India and Pakistan during the 12th century CE. Qawwali concerts typically involve a group of musicians who sing poetry about love and God in Hindi or Urdu. The poems are often accompanied by tabla drums and harmoniums.

Ghazal is another popular form of Pakistani traditional music. It originated in Persia during the 10th century CE andspread to South Asia in the 12th century CE. Ghazals are typically love poems that are sung in Urdu or Persian. The poems are often set to classical Hindustani melodies and instruments such as the sitar may be used to accompany them.

Punjabi folk songs are typically based on everyday life themes such as love, loss, separation, social customs, and current events. The lyrics are usually written in Punjabi and sung in a rural dialect known as Majhi. The accompaniment consists primarily of drums (including the dholakand tabla)and simple stringed instruments such as the ektaraand tumbi.

The influence of Pakistani traditional music

Pakistan’s music is diverse and has been influenced by many different cultures over the years. Pakistani traditional music is a rich mix of Sufi and Hindustani classical music, with a strong influence from Central Asian folk music. The result is a unique and expressive form of music that is enjoyed by both Pakistani and international audiences.

Pakistani traditional music is typically played on instruments such as the sitar, tabla, harmonium, and dilruba. These instruments provide the foundation for the distinctive sound of Pakistani traditional music. The Sufi tradition of Qawwali music is also an important part of Pakistan’s musical heritage. Qawwali is a form of devotional music that is traditionally performed at Sufi shrines.

The popularity of Pakistani traditional music has grown in recent years, thanks in part to the efforts of talented musicians who are spreading the word about this rich musical tradition. As more people learn about Pakistan’s musical heritage, the country’s traditional musicians will continue to gain recognition and respect on the global stage.

The future of Pakistani traditional music

Pakistan is rich in musical heritage and culture, with a wide variety of musical instrumentals. The future of Pakistani traditional music looks bright, with a wealth of talent and a passion for the music.

There are many different types of Pakistani traditional music, including folk, Sufi, qawwali, ghazal, and more. Each type of music has its own unique history and tradition.

Folk music is the most popular type of Pakistani traditional music. It is often passed down from generation to generation, and is used to celebrate important events such as weddings and births. Folk songs often tell stories about the history and culture of Pakistan.

Sufi music is another popular type of Pakistani traditional music. Sufi music often uses poetry to express religious beliefs. This type of music is usually performed by men, and often includes chanting and dancing.

Qawwali is a type of devotional Islamic music that originated in Pakistan. Qawwali songs are usually about the love of God and are often sung by Sufi musicians. Ghazal is a type of Islamic poetry that is often set to music. Ghazal songs are usually about love, loss, and longing.

Pakistani traditional music is a vital part of the country’s cultural heritage. The future of Pakistani traditional music looks bright, with a wealth of talent and a passion for the music

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