Tan Sen Made Court Musician in India - History

Tan Sen Made Court Musician in India - History

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Emperor Akbar (1556-1605) brought Tan Sen from the court of Reva to become his own court musician. Tan Sen is best known for his attempts to join Hindu and Muslim musical styles. While Tan Sen was a master of the ancient Hindu vocal style, Dhrupad, he also created a new genre, Dabari.


TANSEN (1506–1589), Indian musician Tansen, also known Miyan Tansen, was a legendary Indian musician. His father, Markand Pandey, was a poet who lived in a village near Gwalior. Tansen displayed an intense interest in music from an early age, and he was sent to Vrindavan, near Mathura, to study under a famous musician saint, Swami Haridas. After completting his training, Tansen was appointed court musician at Gwalior he later went to Rewa (in Central India) as court musician of Raja Ramsingh, a musician himself. When Emperor Akbar (r. 1556–1605) heard of Tansen, he invited him to his court and honored him as one of the Navaratna, or "Nine Gems" of the Mughal empire. Abul Fazl, the chronicler of Akbar's reign, wrote of Tansen, "A singer like him has not been in India for the last thousand years." Tansen enjoyed considerable influence in the imperial court and was an exponent of gaurhar bani, one of the four known styles of dhruva-pada music, prevalent in North India during that era.

Tansen is credited with reshaping dhruva-pada music by introducing such Persian nuances as meend and gamaka. Tansen created new rāgas, some of which are still regarded as the foremost rāgas in North Indian music, such as "Darbari Kanada," "Darbari Todi," "Miyan ki Malhar," and "Miyan ki Sarang." Tansen was also known to be a musical codifier, studying the structure of rāgas, listing about four hundred. His Sangeeta Sara and Rāgāmalā are important documents on music. He is, moreover, credited with introducing certain developments in the rabab and rudra-veena. The Dhrupad singers of the seniya gharana attribute their lineage to Tansen.

There are many legends about the miraculous powers of Tansen's music. The most famous legend recounts how Tansen sang "Rāga Dipaka" at a royal request, even though that rāga was known to generate "unbearable heat" in its singer's body. His victorious competition with the great Baiju Bawra is another legend often narrated by music lovers. The achievements of Tansen are referred to in detail in the work Virabhanudaya Kavya by Madhava, written in a.d. 1555, in which his music is decribed as "immortal."

Tansen and his wife Hussaini had four sons and a daughter, Sarasvati, a vina player. His sons—Suratsen, Saratsen, Tarang sen, and Bilas Khan—all played rabab. His son-in-law, Misri Khan, was also a vina player. Tansen died at the age of eithty-three, around 1589, and was buried at Gwalior next to the tomb of Mohammad Ghaus. Many musicians make pilgrimages to his tomb to seek his blessings.

This gharana is made up of the legend of Tansen, the father of Indian classical music. Though Tansen was a vocalist, the gharana also produced sitar maestros. The Senia style of sitar playing started with the legendary Ustad Maseet Sen, who belonged to the sixth generation in the Tansen lineage. ( The pioneer of Maseetkhani style, even today, 100 years later, the Maseetkhan Baj is played by the sitarists of this gharana. These musicians came to be known as the sitarists of Jaipur Senia Gharana. They lay emphasis on the purity of raga and technique. Their style of playing was that of the bin or veena. Ustad Mushtaq Ali Khan, son of Ashiq Ali Khan of Varanasi had the privilege of learning from Ustad Barkhat Ali khan of Jaipur, who went by the title ‘Aftab-e-Sitar’. Pt. Debu Choudhuri was fortunate to learn from ‘Dada Guru’ (Ustad Mushtaq Ali Khan).

On the vocal front, the gharana is referred to as Qawwal Bachcha. Its most well-known exponent of our time is the Lucknow-based Ustad Shamshudeen Khan, popularly called Ustad Gulshan Bharathi (recepient of ‘Yash Bharathi’ award). This style is known as bol bant ki gayaki and bol banav ki gayaki. Short and crisp bol taans are significant features, while the aakar is sparingly used. Many of his disciples have made a mark in films, notable among them being Shashi Suman, music composer of Bajirao Mastani and Harjeet Saxena.

Coming back to Mian Tansen. He was born as Ramatanu and later came to be known as Tanna. There are many legends woven around his life. It is said that he could produce any sound. The story goes that once when the sadhus were crossing a field they heard a lion’s roar and located it to a young boy sitting on a tree. They advised his father to send him to Swami Haridas for training.

However, it is believed that Tansen was born dumb and was taken to the Sufi saint Murshid Mohammed Ghouse Gwaliari. On reaching Gwalior, he visited the Sufi saint and found him in the company of Swami Haridas. The saint blew air into the mouth of the child and Tanna began to speak. When the saint came to know the child was also deaf, he blew air into his ears and he was cured. The Sufi saint then asked Swami Haridas to take him into his fold. Thus began his musical journey (M.A Bakhy).

Tansen was the title given to him by Raja Vikramjit of Gwalior. Tansen was a court musician in the darbar of Raja Ramachandra of Bandavagarh (Rewa).

When Akbar heard of his prodigious talent, he sent a ‘firman’ to the king asking for Tansen and made him one of the Navaratnas in his court. He gave him the title of ‘Mian’. Tansen is also known as the ‘Sangit Samrat’, according to Musical Heritage of India by Lalita Ramakrishna.

Abul Fazl records in his Ain-i-Akbari that Akbar gave Rs 2 lakhs to Tansen for his first performance in the court. He composed many dhrupads on Ganesha, Shiva, Parvati and Rama. He also composed songs on his patrons.

Kalpadruma is a compliation of 300 of his dhrupads that were in Gauhar Bani. Tansen composed in his favourite ragas — Multani, Bhairavi and Todi .

He invented the night raga Darbari Kanhra, morning raga Mian Ki Todi, mid-day raga, Mian ki Sarang, seasonal raga Mian ki Malhar. His descendants and disciples are called Seniyas.

While Tansen graced the court of Akbar, many aspiring singers would practice round the clock and caused a lot of disturbance to him. This came to the notice of Emperor Akbar and he banned one and all from pursuing music. The story goes that a competition was organised between Baiju Bawra, also a disciple of Swami Haridas, and Tansen. The loser was to be executed. The two sang under the magic spell of love and reverence to their Guru. Tansen’s tanpura string broke. Baiju asked Akbar to grant him three wishes — not to execute Tansen, to lift the ban on singers and to set free the people who were innocent.

Another famous story is about theintrigue to bring about Tansen’s end by making him sing Raga Deepak. Tansen, who was known for the purity of his renditions, foresaw his fate, but could not say ‘no’ to the emperor. He had asked all the lamps in the court to be extinguished. As he sang, the lamps lit and the flames engulfed him.

On hearing this, his wife Husseini broke into raga Megh Malhar, beckoned rains and saved Tansen. This was a turning point in the legendary singer’s life and he went back to Sufi saint Hazrat Ghouse Gwaliari. While the Tansen samorah in Gwalior commemorates him as a singer, the yearly Urs has canonised him as a saint.

Pandit Shivkumar Sharma (1938 – present)

A renowned santoor player, Sharma is single handedly responsible for making the instrument a popular in classical music. Recipient of the Padma Shree and Padma Vibhushan awards, he has also won accolades around the world. He is one of those rare musicians who have also been able to make a mark in the world of popular film music. His compositions for blockbusters such as Silsila and Chandni are a manifestation of his musical brilliance.

Nevertheless, to many gharanas, or schools, of Hindustani music, Tansen is widely regarded as the one who started it all.

Some reports claim that Tansen was born with the name Ramtanu, to a prominent poet and musician, called Mukund Pandey. He showed an extraordinary prowess for music as early as the age of 6 and was taken to Swami Haridas, an accomplished musician, to learn the art. It is rumoured that his education in the arts took place in Gwalior.

Other stories claim that Tansen was born deaf and dumb, and it was only after he was blessed by a saint that he gained hearing and speech.

Either way, popular sources agree that he spent much of his life as the court musician of Raja Ramchandra Singh. Here, he flourished, and his talent earned him the recognition of Mughal emperor, Akbar himself.

Tansen, who at the time was close to 60 years of age, considered retiring to a life of solitude, but at the encouragement of the Raja, was sent to Akbar’s court. The emperor bestowed upon him the title “Mian,”, meaning “learned one,” and he became one of Akbar’s Navratnas. You can read more about the Navratnas of Akbar’s court here.


Tansen is regarded as the Navratna in the court of Emperor Akbar and the Guru of all Gurus in the Indian classical music that dominates the entire North India. He was born in a Hindu family in Gwalior. His father was a famous poet Mukund Mishra. Till the age of 5, Tansen was just like every mediocre child but it was then when he showed his musical talent that was recognized by his guru Haridasa. Tansen, as we all know, was not just a singer but also a well-known poet who had composed many couplets. When Tansen was in the court of Akbar, he started his composition of new ragas or melodies based on Indian Classical Music. He is believed to be the father of Hindustani Music. Tansen received the prefix "Miyan" from Emperor Akbar. His 'Sangeeta Sara' and 'Rajmala' are important documents on music. He also popularized the 'Drupad' style of music.

Early Life
Tansen was born into a Hindu Gaur family in a village near Satna. When he was born, he was named by his family as Ramtanu, and was fondly called Tannu and Mukul. His guru, a renowned singer of those times, helped Tansen recognize his versatility. Tansen firstly showcased his talent to King Ramachandra of Mewa Bandhavgarh. Later on, he got the opportunity to exhibit his versatility and skill in front of the Mughal emperor Akbar. Tansen concentrated more on creating Hindustani classical ethos because he was born at the time when Persian and Central Asian motifs were being fused with Hindustani Classical music.

Tansen remained a disciple to Swami Haridas for quite a long time who was a legendary composer from Vrindavan and also a part of the Gwalior court of Raja Man Singh Tomar. He specialized in the Dhrupad style of singing. How Tansen met Swami Haridas is debatable. While some claim that the two first met when Haridas was passing through the forests and Ramtanu, then a five-year old impressed the legendary musician with his imitation of a tiger, others say that it was Tansen's father who had taken Tansen to the musician's place. It was because of Swami Haridas that Tansen acquired his love for dhrupad along with his interest in compositions in the local language. It is also said that during his preparation to becoming a great singer, Tansen's father passed away that made him give up everything and he chose to return home where he used to sing at a local Shiva temple.

Muhammad Ghaus became his spiritual mentor and introduced him to Islam. He also married Husseini which means the most beautiful one, who in turn, blessed him with five children and the interesting fact is that all of them went on to become great musicians. Tansen's association with Akbar leads to arguable stories. Some believe that Tansen had joined the court of King Ramachandra Baghela of Rewa, India, where he remained from 1555-1562. Akbar, upon hearing the former's musical prowess, sent his emissary Jalaluddin Qurchi to Ramachandra, who had little choice but to agree and Tansen went to Akbar's court in 1562. Another legend states that Akbar's daughter Meherunnissa was charmed by Tansen which was why Tansen came to Akbar's court. It also states that Tansen converted to Islam from Hinduism, on the eve of his marriage with Akbar's daughter.

It has been reported that Tansen was presented with one lakh gold coins in his first performance at Akbar's court. The glory never for once dipped as Tansen went on to become one of the treasured 'Navaratnas' (lit. nava=nine, ratna=jewel) of the latter's court. It was Akbar who gave Tansen the honorific title of 'Miyan'. In fact his voice was so melodious that it's often said to have created miracles while Tansen was singing. For instance, Tansen could beckon the rains by Raga Megh Malhar and light up fires with Raga Deepak. Such was the power of his music that when he used to sing in the court of Akbar, candles used to light up automatically. There can never be any sort of comparison when Tansen stands in the picture along with his style of singing. His contribution to the world of music is priceless and is still worshipped by leading singers and composers of the world.

Contribution To Music
Tansen's earlier training with Swami Haridas in Bhakti tradition and his later interaction with the Ghaus in Sufi tradition led to a fusion of the two which was prominently visible in Tansen's work. Both the traditions had considerable philosophical and stylistic overlaps. His musical repertoire consists of several ragas. Some of his notable works include Miyan ka Bhairav, Darbari Kanada, Miyan ki Malhar, Miyan ki Todi, Rageshwari, Darbari Todi and many more. The credit for initiating the Dhrupad style of singing goes totally to Tansen and his teacher or guru Swami Haridas.Tansen is also known to have been an inspiration for many. He influenced other singers in the Gwalior court and also the musically proficient queen, Mriganayani

The greatest of all musicians, Tansen left for the heavenly abode in the year 1589. Tansen was buried in the mausoleum complex of his Sufi guru Shaikh Muhammad Ghaus in Gwalior.

The legends of music also do not prefer to compare Tansen with anyone apart from the prolific Sufi composer, Amir Khusro or a traditional composer like Sant Kabir when it comes to making an influence. Several of his raga compositions have become mainstays of the Hindustani/Ancient Pakistani tradition, and these are often prefaced with Miyanki ("of the Miyan"), e.g. Miyan ki Todi, Miyan ki Malhar, Miyan ki Mand, Miyan ka Sarang. In addition he is the creator of major ragas like Darbari Kanada, Darbari Todi, and Rageshwari. The popular Sangeeta Sara and Rajmaala belong to Tansen as their author.

1506: Tansen was born.
1512: Became the disciple of Swami Haridas.
1555: Joined the court of King RamachandraBaghela of Rewa.
1562: Joined Akbar's court.
1589: He passed away.

Tan Sen Made Court Musician in India - History

  • Another branch of cultural life in which Hindus and Muslims cooperated was music. Indian music had established itself in the court circles of the Sultanat during the fourteenth century, and even an orthodox ruler like Firuz Tughlaq had patronized music. selfstudyhistory.com
  • The development of music in North India was largely inspired and sustained by the bhakti movement.
    • Many of the writings of the bhakti saints were set to different ragas and surs.
    • The compositions of the 16th and 17th century saint poets were invariably set to music.
    • In Vrindavan, Swami Haridas promoted music in a big way. Akbar himself is supposed to have gone incognito to hear his music. He is also considered to be the teacher of the famous Tansen of Akbar’s court.
    • Raja Man Singh of Gwaliyar (1486-1517) was himself a skilled musician and a patron of musicians.
      • He is credited with creating many new melodies which were collected in a work, Man Kautuhal.
      • He played a distinguished part in the growth and perfection of Dhrupad, a variant style of the North Indian music.

      Under Akbar

      • Like Babur, Akbar was also fond of music.
      • The Ain-i-Akbari, written by Abu’l-Fazl suggests that there were 36 musicians of high grate in the Mughal court of Akbar.
        • It mentioned two bin players native to Gwalior, Shihab Khan and Purbin Khan.
        • He further studied Hindu vocalization under Lal Kalawant who taught him “every breathing and sound that appertains to the Hindi language.”
        • “His Majesty has such a knowledge of the science of music as trained musicians do not possess and he is likewise an excellent hand in performing especially on the nagara.”
        • It was due to his interest in music that Akbar took over the services of Tansen from Man Singh.
        • Tansen is considered one of the great exponents of North Indian system of music.
        • The style of singing which he took from Gwaliyar was the stately drupad style.
        • He is given credited for introducing some famous ragas viz., Miyan ki Malhar, Miyan ki Todi, Mian ki Mand, Mian ka Sarang and Darbari.
          • Several of these raga compositions have become mainstays of the Hindustani tradition.

          • Mian Tansen (born 1493 as Ramtanu Pandey – died 1586) was a prominent Hindustani classical music composer, musician and vocalist, known for a large number of compositions, and also an instrumentalist who popularised and improved the plucked rabab (of Central Asian origin).
          • At some point, he was discipled for some time to Swami Haridas, the legendary composer from Vrindavan and part of the stellar Gwalior court of Raja Man Singh Tomar (1486–1516 AD), specialising in the Dhrupad style of singing.
          • His talent was recognised early and it was the ruler of Gwalior who conferred upon the maestro the honorific title ‘Tansen’. Akbar watching as Tansen receives a lesson from Swami Haridas. Imaginary situation depicted in Mughal miniature painting (Rajasthani style, 1750 AD)
          • From Haridas, Tansen acquired not only his love for dhrupad but also his interest in compositions in the local language.
            • This was the time when the Bhakti tradition was fomenting a shift from Sanskrit to the local idiom (Brajbhasaand Hindi).
            • Tansen composed many songs in Hindi and created new ragas many of which are sung even to-day.
            • The style of singing which he took from Gwaliyar was the stately drupad style.
            • Near the emperor’s chambers, a pond was built with a small island in the middle, where musical performances were given. Today, this tank, called Anup Talao.

            Under Shahjahan

            • He was also a patron of music and himself a singer.
            • There is a reference that his voice was so melodious that Sufi saints became emotional.

            Under Aurangzeb

            • Aurangzeb himself was an accomplished player of the veena, and patronised music during the first ten years of his reign.
            • But growing puritanism and a false sense of economy made him banish the singers from his court.
            • Instrumental music however continued.
            • Despite Aurangzeb’s jibe to the protesting musicians to bury music deep, Aurangzeb’s reign saw the production of a large number of books on music.
              • The most famous of these was Tuhfat-ul-Hind written for Aurangzeb’s grandson, Jahandar Shah.

              In 18th Century

              • In the 18th century, music in North Indian style received great encouragement at the court of the Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah.
                • His most famous singers were Sadarang and Adarang. They were masters of dhrupad but also trained many pupils in the Khayal style of music which was considered more lyrical in theme and erotic in approach. This greatly enhanced its popularity.
                • Muhammad Shah himself composed Khayals under the pen-name Rangila Piya.
                • Many courtesans also became famous for their music and dance.
                • In this category mention may be made of Thumri, employing folk scales, and to Tappa developed from the songs of camel drivers of Punjab.

                In 19th Century

                • In the beginning of the 19th century, the British colonisers and the affluent Anglo-Indians got into the habit of commissioning local painters to execute a series of portraits in a Western style – eventually giving life to a movement called the “Company School”.
                • Among the subjects painted featured musicians and courtisans of the time.
                • The Anglo-Indian Colonel James Skinner was one of the influential figures of Delhi and kept musicians and dancers in his house.
                  • He commissioned a renowned artist to create an album which featured the portrait of a blind binkar, Miyan Himmat Khan Kalawant.
                  • His title Kalawant – exclusively reserved for dhrupad singers and bin players – nonetheless indicates that he belonged to the highest echelons of professional musicians.

                  While in the South the texts of music enforced a stricter science, in the North the absence of texts permitted greater liberty. There were thus several experiments in mixing the ragas carried out in the North. A loose code-of North India style of music is a feature that has continued to the present day.

                  In South India

                  • In the South, a system of parent and derivative modes, i.e., Janaka and Janya ragas , existed around the middle of the 16th century.
                    • The earliest treatise which deals with this system is titled Swaramela Kalanldhi .
                      • It was written by Ramamatya of Kondavidu (Andhra Pradesh) in 1550.
                      • It describes 20 janak and 64 janya ragas.
                      • It was sometimes in the middle of the 17th century that a famous treatise on music, called Caturdandi-prakasika was composed by Venkatamakhin in Thanjavur (c. 1650).
                      • The system propounded in the text has come to form the bedrock of the Carnatic system of music.

                      Hindustani School of Music

                      Historical development:

                      • Hindustani classical music is the Hindustani or North Indian style of Indian classical music found throughout Eastern Pakistan and North India.
                        • The style is sometimes called North Indian classical music or Shastriya Sangit.
                        • It is a tradition that originated in Vedic ritual chants and has been evolving since the 12th century CE, in North India.
                        • An aspect of Hindustani music going back to Sufi times is the tradition of religious neutrality: Muslim ustads may sing compositions in praise of Hindu deities, and vice versa.
                        • The central notion in both these systems is that of a melodic mode or raga, sung to a rhythmic cycle or tala.
                        • The tradition dates back to the ancient Samaveda, (sama meaning “song”), which deals with the norms for chanting of srutis or hymns such as the Rig Veda.
                        • These principles were refined in the musical treatises Natya Shastra , by Bharata (2nd–3rd century CE), and Dattilam (3rd–4th century CE).
                        • Noted composers such as Tansen (sometimes called the father of modern Hindustani classical music) flourished, along with religious groups like the Vaishnavites.
                        • He created the qawwali genre, which fuses Persian melody and beat on a dhrupad like structure. A number of instruments (such as the sitar and tabla) were also introduced in his time.
                        • He himself penned several volumes of compositions on religious and secular themes, and was also responsible for the major compilation, the Mankutuhal (“Book of Curiosity”), which outlined the major forms of music prevalent at the time.
                        • In particular, the musical form known as dhrupad saw considerable development in his court and remained a strong point of the Gwalior gharana for many centuries.
                        • This can be seen as part of a larger Bhakti tradition, (strongly related to the Vaishnavite movement) which remained influential across several centuries notable figures include Jayadeva(11th century), Vidyapati (fl. 1375 CE), Chandidas (14th–15th century), and Meerabai (1555–1603 CE).
                        • Many musician families obtained large grants of land which made them self-sufficient, at least for a few generations (e.g. the Sham Chaurasia gharana). Meanwhile the Bhakti and Sufitraditions continued to develop and interact with the different gharanas and groups.

                        What are the similarities and differences between ‘Hindustani’ and ‘Carnatic’ music:

                        • Carnatic music and Hindustani music are two kinds of music traditions in India that show some important differences between them when it comes to the nature of singing, style of singing and the techniques involved in them.
                        • Carnatic music is said to have originated in the south India. On the other hand Hindustani music is said to have originated in several parts of northern and western India in different times.
                        • Both the styles are monophonic, follow a melodic line and employ a drone (tanpura) with the help of one or two notes against the melody. Tanpura
                        • Both the styles use definite scales to define a raga but the Carnatic Style employs Shrutis or semitones to create a Raga and thus have many more Ragas than the Hindustani style.
                        • Carnatic ragas differ from Hindustani ragas. The number of ragas used in Carnatic music is more when compared to the fewer ragas used in Hindustani music.
                          • The names of ragas are also different. However, there are some ragas which have the same scale as Hindustani ragas but have different names such as Hindolam and Malkauns, Shankarabharanam and Bilawal.
                          • There is a third category of ragas like Hamsadhwani, Charukeshi, Kalavati etc. which are essentially Carnatic Ragas.
                          • They share the same name, the same scale (same set of notes) but can be rendered in the two distinctively different Carnatic and Hindustani styles.
                          • On the other hand Carnatic music extensively employs the use of musical instruments such as Veena (a stringed instrument), Mridangam (a percussion instrument), Gottuvadyam, Mandolin, Violin, Flute, Jalatarangam a nd the like.

                          Principles of Hindustani music:

                          • The rhythmic organization is based on rhythmic patterns called tala.
                          • The melodic foundations are called ragas. (Each Raga has its own scale consisting of minimum five and maximum seven notes (swaras).
                            • A raga has specific ascending (Aaroh) and descending (Avaroh) movements).
                            • Ragas are used in semi-classical and light music as well.
                            • Thaats may consist of up to seven scale degrees, or swara. Hindustani musicians name these pitches using a system called Sargam,
                            • The alap is followed by a long slow-tempo improvisation in vocal music, or by the jod and jhala in instrumental music.

                            Types of compositions:

                            • The major vocal forms or styles associated with Hindustani classical music are dhrupad, khyal,and tarana. Other forms include dhamar, trivat, chaiti, kajari, tappa, tap-khyal,ashtapadis, thumri, dadra, ghazal and bhajan these are folk or semi-classical or light classical styles, as they often do not adhere to the rigorous rules of classical music.
                            • Dhrupad is an old style of singing, traditionally performed by male singers .
                              • It is performed with a tambura and a pakhawaj as instrumental accompaniments.
                              • It contains recitals in praise of particular deities. Dhrupad compositions begin with a relatively long and acyclic alap.
                              • The great Indian musician Tansen sang in the dhrupad style.
                              • Khayal is a form of rendering a raga.The essential component of a khayal is a composition (Bandish) and the expansion of the text of the composition within the framework of the raga.
                              • Khyal is a Hindustani form of vocal music, adopted from medieval Persian music and based on Dhrupad. Khyal, literally meaning “thought” or “imagination”, is unusual as it is based on improvising and expressing emotion.
                              • Hindustani Music is much similar to Persian and Arabic music since all 3 genres are modal systems where the emphasis is on melody and not harmony . A Khyal is a two- to eight-line lyric set to a melody.
                              • Khyals are also popular for depicting the emotions between two lovers, situations of ethological significance in Hinduism and Islam, or other situations evoking intense feelings.
                              • Khyal contains a greater variety embellishments and ornamentations compared to dhrupad. Khyal’s romanticism has led to it becoming to most popular genre of Hindustani classical music.
                              • The singer improvises and finds inspiration within the raga to depict the Khyal.
                              • Although it is accepted that this style was based on Dhrupad and influenced by Persian music.
                                • Many argue that Amir Khusrau created the style in the late 16th century.
                                • This form was popularized by Mughal Emperor Mohammad Shah , through his court musicians.
                                • The compositions by the court musician Sadarang in the court of Muhammad Shah bear a closer affinity to the modern khyal.
                                • Some well-known composers of this period were Sadarang, Adarang, and Manrang.

                                What are the differences between Dhrupad and Khayal?

                                According to a story, mentioned by Susheela Misra in Some immortals of Hindustani music, Baiju Bawra was born as Baijnath Mishra in a poor Brahmin family in Champaner, Gujarat Sultanate. After his father's death, his mother, a devotee of Krishna, went to Vrindavan. There, Baiju met his teacher Swami Haridas, and was trained in a gurukula. He also adopted an orphan named Gopal, and trained him to be a musician. [2]

                                Gradually, Baiju became famous, and was invited to the court of the Raja of Chanderi. In Chanderi, Baiju's adopted son Gopal also became famous. Gopal married his disciple Prabha, and the couple had a daughter named Meera. Around this time, Raja Man Singh Tomar invited him to Gwalior, where he reached the height of his fame. The queen of Gwalior, Rani Mriganayani, also became his disciple. [2]

                                Once, while Baiju was away, Gopal left Chanderi permanently, lured by some Kashmiri merchants who wanted him to serve their king. When Baiju returned home, he was shocked to find his entirely family gone. He became a mendicant, and wandered from place to place, looking for his beloved adopted grandchild Meera. People thought of him as an insane person, and thus, he came to be known as "bawra". [2] (Alternative legends say that he came to be known as "Bawra", because he was obsessed with classical music. [3] )

                                Tansen, another famous disciple of Swami Haridas, had heard Baiju's praise from his teacher. He asked his own patron Raja Ramachandra Baghela of Rewa to organize a musical contest, in hope that Baiju would come to this contest to salvage his reputation. Baiju came to the contest, and performed extraordinary feats such as hypnotizing deer through his rendering of Raag Mrigranjini and melting a stone slab through Raag Malkauns. Tansen recognized him and embraced him. [2]

                                The legends in the books preserved in Jai Vilas Mahal in Gwalior state that Baiju Bawra could light oil lamps by singing Raag Deepak make it rain by singing the raags Megh, Megh Malhar, or Gaud Malhar and bloom flowers by singing raga Bahar. [ citation needed ]

                                Baiju Bawra died in Chanderi after suffering from typhoid on Vasant Panchami day in 1610. A purported samadhi of Baiju Bawra is located in Chanderi.

                                Some medieval narratives, mentioned in works such as Mirat-i-Sikandari (17th century), describe an incident about a Gujarati singer called Bacchu (also known as Bakshu or Manjhu). According to the narrative, Bacchu was a musician in the court of Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. When the Mughal emperor Humayun attacked Bahadur Shah's contingent in Mandu, Bacchu fell in the hands of a Mughal soldier. He was about to be killed, when he was recognized by a Raja allied with the Mughals. The Raja introduced him to emperor Humayun, who was pleased with his singing and granted his wish to release the Gujarati prisoners. Bacchu remained in service of the emperor for some days, but then ran away to Sultan Bahadur Shah, who had escaped from Mandu to Champaner. [4] [5]

                                Bacchu is identified with Baiju by a section of scholars. [6] [7] Howevers, others believe that Bacchu and Baiju were two distinct persons. [5]

                                Baiju Bawra, a 1952 Hindi-language movie depicts a completely fictionalized version of Baiju's life. The film was a big commercial success. In the movie, Tansen is known to be the greatest musician alive. Nobody is allowed to sing in the city unless he or she can sing better than Tansen. Anyone who attempts to sing, without doing it better than Tansen, is executed. Baiju's father dies when Tansen's sentry tries to stop him from singing. Years later, Baiju avenges his father's death by defeating Tansen in a musical duel. [ citation needed ]

                                Indian classical music is a cultural inheritance like no other, wrapped in mythology and polished by our music-loving gods. However, there has been a considerable Muslim influence on Indian music over the ages, giving it a distinct character.

                                Al Barauni had mastered Sanskrit, while in India, and had even translated the Panchatantra into Arabic. Arab maritime trade with Kerala brought their music into our realm. Yemeni and Kaafi, ragas of Arabic origin, came into our music in the 8th or 9th century itself.

                                The year 1919 saw the discovery of a rare manuscript at Gadwal, under the rule of the Hyderabad Nizam. Sarangadeva's Sangita Ratnakara was written two centuries later, the first modern work on Indian music. Islamic influence on Indian music became evident by the 13<+t> <+h>century.

                                Amir Khusro wrote that Indian music was the fire that warmed the heart and soul, superior to the music of any nation.

                                Ibn Batuta writes that Sultan Mohommad bin Tughlak had more than 2,000 musicians at his court. The Shah of Jaunpur had the Sanskrit Sangita Siromani compiled.

                                ‘Lajhat-e-Sikandar Shahi,' written at the request of Sikandar Lodi, the Delhi Sultan, was the first book on Indian music in Persian, based on Sanskrit sources.

                                Ibrahim Adil Shah II was an accomplished poet-musician, and sang in praise of Hindu gods, publishing his songs in the book ‘Kitab-e-Nauras.'

                                The Kuchipudi and Bhagavata mela dance traditions received plenty of Muslim patronage.

                                ‘Machupalli Kaifiat' was written on these arts, under Muslim encouragement. Words such as salamu and tillana, Persian in origin, became an intrinsic part of Sadir or Bharatanatyam.

                                Akbar, the greatest of the Moghuls, had 36 court musicians — both Hindus and Muslims. Baz Bahadur, the Malwa king with a Hindu wife Rupmati, was one of them. Tansen was the pride of Akbar's court, and India.

                                It is now about 500 years since Tansen was born to the Brahmin poet-musician Makarand Pandey in Baher village near Gwalior. His birth itself happened under unique circumstances. His childless parents went to a Sufi fakir, Mohammud Ghaus, and soon after, were blessed with a child, whom they named Tanna. A few years later, the fakir came to Tanna's home, and removed some betel nut from his mouth and put it into Tanna's mouth, claiming the child as his own, renaming him as Ata Mohammed Khan. The child went on to become ‘Miyan' Tansen.

                                The young Tanna would sing at the local Siva temple. Later on, he composed songs on Siva and Krishna in Braj Basha. As a growing child, he could perfectly imitate bird calls and roar like a tiger to frighten trespassers. Once, some holy men were scared by his ‘roar' Tanna apologised to them. They then suggested to Pandey that Tanna be sent to Swami Haridas, the famed music teacher-saint of Vrindavan.

                                An auspicious day was chosen, and Tanna went to live with his guru, learning all that the master had to teach him. He spent 10 years with Swami Haridas. The other students were Baiju Bawra, Ramdas, Raja Sanmukhan Singh of Ajmer, Manadali and Rani Mrignayani of Gwalior. The Raja of Ajmer accompanied Tansen on the veena, his favourite instrument.

                                It is thought that Emperor Akbar's daughter Meherunnisa was enamoured of Tansen and his music, and was responsible for his coming to Akbar's court. Akbar soon made him one of his Nine Gems at court, and bestowed upon him the title ‘Miyan.'

                                Tansen codified the confusing mass of ragas, making a list of about 400 properly delineated ones. He wrote ‘Sangita Sara' and ‘Rajmala.' Many ragas were composed by him, prefaced by the title Miyan — Miyan ki Todi, Malhar, Sarang, Maund and Rageshri. His Darbari was dedicated to his emperor.

                                Legend surrounded Tansen. A wild elephant was tamed by his music flowers bloomed when he sang Bahar his Megh Malhar brought rain his Deepak created fires… Many are convinced that Tansen, who died in his 82<+n> <+d>year, was consumed by the flames created when he sang Deepak raga.

                                Tansen and his wife had five children -- four sons and a daughter, all musicians. His daughter Saraswati became a famous veena player. Tansen's sons played the rhabab, the string instrument modified by Tansen. Dr. Dabir Khan was one of Tansen's last descendants, who was employed by AIR, Calcutta.

                                Tansen lies buried next to the tomb of the fakir Mohammed Ghaus, in Gwalior. It was this fakir who had predicted his birth and glory. A tamarind tree grows over the grave, and it is believed that those who eat the leaves of this tree will be blessed with a beautiful singing voice. So many singers visit the place, and seek the blessings of Tansen.

                                Mughal contributions to literature and Music

                                History of 1000 years of Islam was composed and known as the Tarikh-i-Alfi.

                                Hindu Poetry during Mughal Period

                                • The Mughal period was the golden period for Hindi Poetry.
                                • The influence exercised by his glorious and victorious reign, his well- known preference for Hindu thought and mode of life, together with his policy of complete religious toleration and recognition of merit, combined with peace, both internal and external, engendered a bracing atmosphere for the development of thought and literature.
                                • The result was that many first rate Hindu composers such as Tulsi Das, Sur Das, Abdur Rahim Khan Khana, Ras Khan and Birbar.
                                • The first place among the poets of the age, both Hindu and Persian, belongs to Tulsi Das who, however, was not known to Akbar personally.
                                • He spent most part of his life at Banaras, and produced twenty-five works of high standard, the most well-known among them being the heroic poem, Ramcharitmanas, popularly known as the Ramayana.
                                • The epic is divided into seven books, describing the life of Shri Rain Chandra, the king of Ayodhya, who is looked upon by the Hindus as an incarnation of God.
                                • The next important literary work of Tulsi Das is Vinaya Patrika which consists of hymns or songs or prayers.
                                • The Ramayana is a masterpiece and that Tulsi Das was a great genius.
                                • Tulsi Das’s style varies with the subject and his characters, each of whom has a well-defined personality, live and move with all the dignity of a heroic age.
                                • Tulsi Das is one of the most important talented figure in the whole of Indian Literature.
                                • The next important Hindi poet was Sur Das who was even more prolific a writer than Tulsi Das.
                                • He is particularly known as the author of Sur Sagar and of many songs. No other poet of Hindi, before or after him, had a greater knowledge of child psychology than Sur Das. Some critics looked upon him as even greater than Tulsi Das.
                                • Probably he was attached to Akbar’s court and was popularly known as the “blind bard of Agra”. His father Ram Das was also a court poet of Akbar.
                                • Many other Hindi poets graced Akbar’s court.
                                • Akbar’s reign was also marked by the advent of Muslim poets in the field of Hindi literature and poetry.
                                • In fact, some Muslim poets interpreted Indian culture so successfully that if their names were to be omitted from their composition, it would be indistinguishable from that of the Hindu scholars and poets.
                                • In this respect the name of Abdul Rahim Khan Khana stands pre-eminent. Besides being a master of Persian, Arabic and Turki he was also a first-rate scholar of Sanskrit and a poet of Hindi and Rajasthani.
                                • Several hundred verses from his pen have come down to us and are given an honored place in our poetical selections.
                                • In fact, no history of Hindi poetry can be complete without reference to the contribution of that versatile genius.
                                • He was a friend of Tulsi Das and had correspondence with him. Another Muslim poet of Hindi was Ras Khan, who was a devotee of Lord Krishna and an author of a large number of first-rate poems which depict Shri Krishna’s life in the woods of Vrindaban.
                                • Many other courtiers of Akbar, such as, Birbar, Man Singh, TodarMal and others, were lovers of Hindi poetry.
                                • Akbar himself loved Hindi poetry. He is even stated to have composed some verses in that language. It is not, therefore, surprising that Hindi poetry made a remarkable progress during his reign.
                                • The most important feature of the Mughal age was that literary activities were not confined to the court and the nobles.
                                • It was essentially a movement of the people, and a large number of scholars and poets of Hindi were found in the countryside and patronized mainly by local landlords and well-to-do public.
                                • One has to turn to the pages of Mishra Bandhu Vinod and Ram Chandra Shukla’s Hindi Sahitya ka Itihas to appreciate the spirit of the age which was responsible for the golden period of Hindi poetry.

                                The Mughal Empire: Paintings and Music

                                • The contribution of Mughals to the art of painting was remarkable.
                                • The foundation for the Mughal painting was laid by Humayun when he was staying in Persia. He brought with him two painters – Mir Sayyid Ali and Abdal Samad to India. These two painters became famous during Akbar’s reign.
                                • Akbar commissioned the illustrations of several literary and religious texts. He invited a large number of painters from different parts of the country to his court. Both Hindus and Muslims joined in this work. Baswan, Miskina and Daswant attained great positions as Akabar’s court artists.
                                • Illustrations of Persian versions of Mahabharata and Ramayana were produced in miniature form.
                                • Many other Indian fables became the miniature paintings in the Art Studio established by Akbar.
                                • Historical works such as Akbar Nama also remained the main themes of Mughal paintings.
                                • The most important work is Hamznama, which consisted 1200 paintings. Indian colours such as peacock blue, Indian red began to be used.

                                Watch the video: Class 4 Tansen The Magical Musician


  1. Dantel

    don't read books ...

  2. Esmak

    I congratulate, it is simply excellent idea

  3. Ulger

    excuse me, i deleted that phrase

  4. Abdullah


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