From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Jit Majumdar

  1. fixed verse; fixed poetry
  2. the ancient form of Indian classical music based on the vocal idiom, where a short piece of poem of four lines (mostly devotional) is set to a rāga, with a single melodic line, that is preceded by a long, slow elaborate improvisation, or ālāpa, sung in a recurrent set pattern that cannot be changed or tampered with. The four lines, in serial order, are termed sthāyi, antarā, sañcāri and ābhoga. More popularly called Dhrupada, it is the forerunner of the later forms of classical music.