Music of Nepal

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.

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 – especially the recent ones focused on pop and rock.

Nepali Music Genres


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 girls in the other. 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.

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", "Yeti Dherai Maya Dii". ?The singer was equally praised in India for his commendable voice and soothing tones.pramod kharel is also a good singer...

Classical Music

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 , Kutumba are famous bands in Nepal. Classical music organizations such as Kalanidhi, Narayan Music Academy, Kirateswor, Kapan Sangit Sarowar, Yalamaya, Ram Mandir and Atul Memorial Gurukul have been organising regular public shows for the conservation of eastern classical music. Atul Memorial Gurukul is the first classical music Gurukul in Nepal.

Nepalese hip hop (Nephop)

Main article: Nepalese hip hop

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

Ethnic Music in Nepal

Newar music

Main article: Newa music

Newa Music 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.

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.

Tamang Music

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[1] Avinash Ghising, Roj Moktan, Bijay Lama, etc. have used Tamang Selo tunes in their songs and those songs have also been a hit.

Magar Music

Salaijo, Kauda and Sorathi are the three exclusive musical genres of Magar music.

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.

Maithili Music

Maithili Music is one of the most ancient types of music in Nepal originated from Videha kingdom whose capital city was Janakpur in Mithila state of 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 Nepal. Videha was an independent nation led by King Janak. He in Janakpur and other kings in Kathmandu were very fond of Maithili music, especially since it was so popular at the time. 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 Vidhyapati Thakur of India, Udit Narayan Jha of Nepal, Binit Thakur (Nepal), and Rama Mandal of Nepal.[2]

Imported Music

Musicians singing devotional songs

The musical genres which was introduced to Nepal from outside and thrived there can be considered as imported music. This inlcludes:-


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. भजन-किर्तन-समुह

Filmi music

Main article: Filmi

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.


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.

Western Music


With the growth and development of 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.

Annual Hits FM Music Awards

Hits FM (Nepal) was established in April 1996 with the intention to help the music industry grow beyond what it was. Since then, Hits Nepal Pvt. Ltd., the parent organization and the event organizer of 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, 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.

Atul Memorial Award

ATUL Memorial Music Gurukul, Nepal was established in 2003 in memory of Nepali Tabla Maestro Atul Gautam. since then this organisation have been awarding nepali Classical Maestros every year on the occasion of Atul Jayanti.Atul Memorial Gurukul is first music gurukul in Nepal.

See also


  1. Indian Idol 2007 Prashant Tamang and Nepalese pop idol Raju Lama pose in New York
  2. "Maithili Music of Nepal and Tradition : SAARC Secreteriat". SAARC Music Department. South Asian Association For Regional Cooperation. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
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