Bangladesh is essentially a land of songs, music and dances. The music of Bangladesh is emotional, ecstatic and romantic. One can find varieties of songs and music, ancient and modern, local and western including music instruments.
Local music or songs assume various names: Classical songs, Semi-classical songs, Palli Geeti or folk songs, Rabindra Sangeet (songs by Tagore, the Noble Laureate), Nazrul Geeti (songs by the rebel poet of Bangladesh Kazi Nazrul Islam), Religious songs, Desher Gaan or patriotic songs, Adhunik Gaan or modern Bangla songs and Gano Sangeet or inspirational songs.
The rich tradition of music in Bangladesh can be divided into three distinct categories - classical, folk and modern. The tradition of classical music, whether vocal or instrumental, is rooted in the ancient history of this subcontinent. It has been cultivated with great patience and passion by devoted musicians over the centuries. The internationally known Sarod players Ustad Alauddin Khan and Ustad Ayet Ali Khan hailed from the soil of this country.
Folk music, nurtured through the ages by village bards, is the most popular and timeless form of music in Bangladesh. Rich in devotional mysticism and romanticism, folk music exudes the authentic flavour and charm of the soil. The most well-known forms are Bhatiali, Baul, Marfati, Murshidi, Bhaoaiya and Gombhira. Some of the greatest exponents of our mystic and devotional songs were Lalan Fakir, Hasan Raja and Abbasuddin Ahmed.
Modern Bengali music originated from two distinct schools. The first is essentially a blend of East and West initiated by Rabindranath Tagore. The rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam spearheaded the second, and experimented with a synthesis of classical, folk and Middle Eastern musical strains. The contemporary adherents of both the schools have been widening their range with new experiments.
There are various native musical instruments which are indispensable for composing Bangladeshi songs. Among these, the best-known are: Tabla, Behala, Ektara, Dotara, Banshi, Mandira, Sharinda, Mridongo, Shorod, Setar, Tanpura, Esraj, etc. The harmonium, though western in origin, has been adopted by musicians throughout the subcontinent.