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International Music Resources by Country: Bangladesh

International Music Resources offers an array of online and physical resources both freely available and/or offered by the George F. DeVine Music Library. The information included in these guides may serve as a starting point for the study and research of

Bengali river sunset with river boats

Citation (1)

Map of Bangladesh

Map of Bangladesh

Citation (2)

Listen to Bengali Music

River songs of bangladesh album cover art


Encyclopedia Entries About Bengali Music!

Facts in Brief

Flag of Bangladesh. Green background with a red circle


Capital: Dhaka (Dacca)

Official Language: Bengali

Location: The People’s Republic of Bangladesh lies in southern Asia, surrounded by Indian territory except for a short south-eastern frontier with Myanmar (formerly Burma) and a southern coast fronting the Bay of Bengal.

Area: 147,570 sq km (56,977 sq miles)

Current Population: Current estimate-  164.7m

Climate: The average January temperature is 19°C, and the average July temperature 29°C.

Money: Bangladeshi taka 

State Religion: Islam

Citations (3 and 4)

Traditional Bengali Music

Devotional Song

The first mention of Bengali music is found in the Buddhist yogic charyāgīti (‘charyā song’) of the 8th to 12th centuries CE. These poems, the earliest written sources in Bengali...In the mid-18th century a different tradition of devotional song began to emerge. These were śāktapada saṅgīt, songs in praise of the goddess as represented by Dūrgā and Kālī, the texts of which were derived in large part from the narrative maṅgala gāna of the preceding centuries.


Secular love songs, ṭappā  were introduced to Bengal at the beginning of the 19th century by Rāmnidhi Gupta (1741–1839). This neo-urban music proved to be a turning point in Bengali music. Until this point urban music had been largely devotional, but with the introduction of ṭappā, urban audiences could hear songs not about divine but about human relationships. 


One of the first genres to emerge as a result of a reinvigorated musical scene in Bengal was the congregational brahma song. These were the prayer-songs associated with Brāhma Dharma, a new religious movement founded by Rāmmohan Ray (1774–1833). The songs were in praise of one indivisible god, in contrast to the worship of many gods, goddesses and avatārs (‘incarnations’) in previous devotional song genres.

Svadeśī gān

Bengali patriotic songs, svadeśī gān, are a product of the struggle for self-government in South Asia. The genre began to grow from the second half of the 19th century, and the sentiments it expresses were first heard in the poems and songs of Iśwar Chandra Gupta (1812–59), who had many followers, including poets and social reformers. The history of Bengali patriotic song may be said to date from 1867, with the organizing of the annual Hindu Melā exhibition.

Citation (5)

Composer Highlight


Bengali poet, writer, teacher, painter and composer. Of his manifold artistic creations, Tagore correctly predicted that his songs would remain best loved by his countrymen. Known as Rabindrasaṅgīt (‘Rabindra-music’), they number about 2500 and have become the national music of West Bengal and Bangladesh. Songs by Tagore have been adopted as the national anthems of India and Bangladesh. 

His special talent as a songwriter was his ability to blend words with melody. He composed tunes in his head and relied on others, particularly his brother Jyotirindranath and later his grand-nephew Dinendranath Tagore, to notate them. The emotional range of his songs is wide; his works include songs of love and religious devotion as well as celebrations of nature and the seasons. 

Rabindranath Tagore Album art work

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Rabindranath Tagore

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(1): "Buriganga" by "Nasir Khan

(2): Bangladesh, in Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Retrieved 02 October 2018 from

(3): Image: Bangladesh, in Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Retrieved 02 October 2018 from

(4): Text: Britannica Academic, s.v. "Bangladesh," accessed March 25, 2021,

(5): Goswamī, K.  (2001). Bengali music. Grove Music Online. Retrieved 25 Mar. 2020, from