An alternative form of bhajan, Dhun actually is sung in group and gathering. A major part of Gujarati social culture, dhun is often heard after prayer or in satsangs. While the bhajan can be sung solo, dhun is always sung in a group. It can be termed as a form of devotional song where there is a repetition of words and verses.
‘Ram dhun’, Sri Krishna dhun are some of the most famous devotional group songs in Hinduism. The music played for the dhun is simple and light so that it can be easily captured by the audience and the group. Just like chanting where there is repetition of Lord’s name or a mantra in dhun a whole verse or couplet is repeated with music.
The basic reason of repeating chants or mantras is to being the mind in complete harmony and similar is the effect of a dhun. It’s also a manner of expressing gratitude to the Lord by repeatedly singing his name or verses describing Him. It is often referred to as Kirtan in by Hindus while the Sikh community refers to it as Dhun.
Specifically in Gujarat, when there is a gathering or a meeting for the worship of the Lord, the devotees sing dhuns in order to praise the Lord, be closer to the Him and to increase their spiritual level. Instruments like harmonium, sarangi, tabla and the likes are primarily used to compose music for dhun.
Devotees clap to the rhythm of music while singing dhuns. This very basic but significant form of devotional song is simple, easy to adapt by a layman and extremely popular for its simplicity.