Tag Archives: Enayet Khan

THE IMDADKHANI GHARANA गृह खनि

Enayet_Jhan_Surbahar*

1. INTRODUCTION

We, the Indians inculcate all the three pillars of performing arts, that is, vocal
music, instrumental music and dance into the definition of music. Perhaps,
this notion can also be traced back in the very famous ancient and historic manuscript entitled“Sangeet Ratnakar”, where it has been said: “Geetamvadayam tatha nrityam trayam sangeetam uchatay” (Brahaspati, 2002) means music is defined as the art of singing,playing an instrument and dancing.

Under the Hindustani Classical Music, the tradition of “Gharana” system holds
specialimportance. Perhaps, this feature is so unique that no where around
the world can onefind this sought of a tradition. The Gharana system is followed by boththe North-Indian as well as the South-Indian forms of Indian classical music.In south India, the term Gharana is acknowledged by the word “Sampraya”. In ancient times,there existed several Samprayas  such as the “Shivmat”, the “Bhramamat” and the “Bharatmat” (Pranjpay, 1992). It is believed that in ancient times,there existed a single form of the style of Indian Classical Music. However, the advent of the Muslims had a great impact on the Indian  Classical Music and this created a division into this form of music. This lead to the regeneration of two forms of
Indian Classical Music: the Carnatic Music (The South Indian and otherwise
the original version of Indian Classical Music.)  and the Hindustani Music
(The North Indian and the improvised version of the Indian Classical Music).

One of the most unique and exclusive feature which is incorporated in the
teaching of Indian Classical Music is the “Guru- Shishya” tradition. Perhaps
,in recent times, theeducation of Indian Classical Music is also imparted inseveral institutions,
schools, colleges and universities. However, history and statistics reveal that even nowthe finest artists of the Indian Classical Music are produced through the “Guru-Shishya” tradition.n India, the Gharana system has contributed to all thethree forms of music, that is vocal, instrumental and dance.

The Gharana comes into existence through the confluence of the “Guru”
and the “Shishya(Chaubey, 1977). A talented “Guru” through his intelligence, aptitude and shear practicecreates a sense of uniqueness and exclusivity and therebyinculcates a special eminence into his form of music. These attributes and traits are amicably transferred into the talented “Shishya” and the particular form of theperforming arts thus becomes a tradition. These exceptional qualities are in fact so
strong and prominent that the audiences can immediately recognize the Gharana of the artist.

It is believed that when so ever the form or style created by the founder “Guru” is carried forth till three generations; it turns in to the form of “Gharana”. The nameof the Gharana can be same as the nameof the founder “Guru”, or came be named after the place where the founder “Guru” resided. For example, in the field of Hindustani Vocal Music, there exists several Gharanas (Deshpandey 1973) such as the Gwalior Gharana, the Dilli Gharana, the Kirana Gharana, the AgraGharana etc. Similarly, under the Instrumental Music the Senia Gharana, the Senia Maihar
Gharana, the Etawah Gharanaand the Imdadkhani Gharana hold special place (Mankaran, 2000). Likewise, the Jaipur Gharana and the Lucknow Gharana are famous for dance (Shrivastav, 1985).

The Imdadakhani Gharana (BUDHADITYA, 2012), school of music traces its stems from the very ancient Gwalior Gharana. The founder of the tradition of the Imdadkhani Gharana was Ustad Sahabdad Hussain. He was intimately related to Ustad Haddu Khan of the Gwalior Gharana. In fact, he was brought up in his house and received training in Khayal singing
from him. Ustad Shahabdad Hussain also used to play sitar.

The Imdadkhani Gharana is named after Ustad Imdad Khan, the son of Ustad Shahabdad Hussain.

Ustad Imdad Khan(1848-1920)

Ustad Imdad Khan was born in Agra. He was the court musician of Indore. Ustad Imdad Khan was initially instigated into vocal music and later into sitar by his father. Subsequently, he listened and learnt from a number of stalwarts and connoisseurs in this particular field and consequently cultivated a completely new style of Sitar and Surbahar playing. This eventually led to the
establishment of a new Gharana called the Imdadkhani Gharana, also called
the Etawah Gharana, after a village outside Agra where Ustad Imdad Khan lived.
The Imdadkhani Gharana proliferated over from Etawah to Kolkata, Indore, Hyderabad,
Mumbai and subsequently through the whole country.Invariably as Ustad Imdad Khan, his son Ustad Enayat Khan was one of the most renowned Sitarists of the early 20th
century.

Credit remunerates to Ustad Enayat Khan for making the art of Sitar playing more affable and popular for a largeraudience in the cultural capital of India, which is Kolkata. Earlier to this, the Sitar was heard primarily in a lesser circle by music fanatics. Apart from popularization of this art, Ustad Enayat Khan also developed and improvised the architecture/design of the Sitar. Ustad Enayat Khan died at a very early age of only 43 and left four children. His son, the
illustrious sitar maestro Ustad Vilayat Khan (VILAYAT, 2012, MEDIEVAL, 2012, WAJAHATKHAN, 2012) was the greatest exponents of the Imdadkhani Gharana and one the most magnificent sitar player of all times. Pandit Bimalendu Mukherjee,
the well-known sitarist and doyen of the Imdadkhani Gharana was also a disciple of Ustad Enayat Khan. His son and disciple, one of the greatest sitar players of all times, the world renowned sitarist, Pandit Budhaditya Mukherjee is the greatest stalwart of the Imdadkani Gharana.
Section 2 of this manuscript provides a detailed description of the major features of the Imdadkhani Gharana. The detailed intricacies of the technique of playing the instrument have been analyzed. Tuning system and the structural modulations of the sitar under the Imdadkhani Gharana are described in section 3. A detailed study reveals the exclusive
implications of the modulations, along with a brief comparison amongst the instrument design corresponding to the other Gharanas. This is followed by the raga repertoire in section 4. An informative and sequential study is made in this particular section. Finally, the conclusions are drawn in section 5.

 

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Imrat_Khan_and_Vilayet_Khan

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2. MAJOR FEATURES OF THE IMDADKHANI GHARANA

The Imdadkhani Gharana inculcates a distinctive characteristic for the sitar playing called the gayaki ang. This refers to the technique where the Sitar player is intended to come as close as possible to the articulate potency and variety of human voice. Thus, this refers to the
intonation of the human voice on the instrument. Under the Imdadakhani Gharana, the Raag
Alaap was initiated in the conduct in which it is practiced in the khayal singing. The entire vocal embellishment of the khayal style was absorbed and integrated into the art of sitar playing. According to the capacity of the instrument, the string deflections were enlarged to at least five notes. The raga development inculcated the ‘Khatka-jhatka’ type of ‘alankars’ and
the maximum exploitation of the ‘aans’, which is the continuity of the sound after the string plucking. Also, the plucking work was constrained to the right index finger. Furthermore, the ‘Jhala’ and the ‘Thok-jhala’ were instituted as discrete sections.The rhythmic pattern was
enriched tremendously by incorporating all the khayal taans, tabla-pakhwaj bols and the
introduction of several rhythmic variations and subdivision of tempo. An explicit sequence and progression was inculcated into the playing of ‘gat-toda’ and the composition of splendid ‘todas’, with the subsequent matching ‘tehais’. Major structural
transformations to both the Sitar and Surbahar & Foundation and development of the instrumental style known as the ‘gayaki ang’ are amongst the major achievements of the Imdadkhani Gharana.

3. TUNING SYSTEM AND STRUCTURAL MODULATIONS OF THE SITAR UNDER
THE IMDADKHANI GHARANA

Tuning of an instrument depends prominently on the instrumentalist’s Gharana or style, convention and each artist’s respective inclination. The tonic in the Hindustani Classical system is insinuated as “Sadaj”. It refers to ‘sa’ or ‘kharaj’.
Traditionally, the principal playing string is virtually tuned a perfect fourth above the tonic. Generally, the second string is tuned to the tonic. Subsequently, the sympathetic strings are tuned to the notes of the raga being played. Perhaps, there exists a minor aesthetic modification to the order of these and how they are tuned. Every Raga demands the re-tuning of the
instrument. The strings are tuned by tuning hooks. Furthermore, the key playing strings can be fine-tuned by sliding a bead threaded on each string just below the bridge and also by very small and efficient steel pegs which are nowadays gaining popularity.

A comparative analysis between the common tuning “Kharaj-Pancham” sitar (exercised by Pt. Ravi Shankar) and “Gandhar Pancham” (exercised under the Imdadkhani Gharana) is as follows:
In the “Kharaj-Pancham” sitar, the Chikari strings are tuned as: Sa (high), Sa (middle) and Pa, whereas in the Imdadkhani school, the Kharaj string is detached and substituted by a fourth String, which is tuned to Ga. Inculcating these combinations, the sitarist produces a harmony
Sa, Sa, Pa, Ga, or Sa, Sa, Ma, Ga or Sa, Sa, Dha, Ga, contingent to the Raga which is being
played. However, the Jod and the Baaj strings are tuned in the similar fashion in both the Gharanas. The Jod string is tuned to Sa and the Baaj string is tuned to Ma.

Under the Imdadkhani Gharana, a large number of improvisations were made to the instrument for executing the Gayaki ang into the instrument. Ustad Vilayat Khan increased the thickness of the Tabli and the Tar-gahan. Also, a joint wasintroduced between the tumba and the stem, so that the instrument could withhold larger stress and strain. Furthermore, with
the passage of time, the tumba was enlarged and stem became slightly broader. In order to cut down the metallic sound of the frets, Ustad Vilayat Khan supplanted the brass frets with an
alloy of superior quality. Furthermore, the material and thickness of the strings were also critically modulated. The Baaj, Gandhar and the Pancham strings were steel strings of
gauge number 3. The Jod string was made from brass with gauge number 27.
All the Tarabs and the two Chikari strings were made of steel with gauge number 0.

Another major structural modification of the instrument was the removal of the upper tumba. During early times, when electronic amplification, were not plausible, this upper tumba was beneficiary in boosting the volume of the instrument with a
better delivery of the harmonics. However, with the advancement of technology, the Imdadkhani Gharana sitar got devoid of this part and the stem efficiently served as a resonator. The jawari-bridge was considerably modified in a manner to provide a
better acoustic experience. Moreover, the traditional ivory jawaris were replaced by ebony and polymer jawaris. The conventional sitar incorporated seven strings streaming over the main bridge. However, under the Imdadkhani Gharana the number of strings reduced to six. This lead to the removal of the lowest octave, but were replaced with strings tuned to the
middle, which acted as fillers over and above the Chikari strings. These structural and tuning vicissitudes directly inculcated the Gayaki ang into the instrument.

4. THE RAGA REPERTOIRE

The Imdadkhani Gharana is receptive to all the ancient, rare and well-established Ragas, but it has a convention ofspecializing in a certain Ragas for concert performances. However, this situation varies from artist to artist, as every individual has a different musical temperament, even if he or she belongs to the same Gharana. As per the historians ,

Ustad EnayetKhan and Ustad Imdad Khan concentrated on very few Ragas for concert performances. On the other hand, Ustad Vilayat
Khan rendered the rarest Ragas to his audiences. Statistics suggest that the following Ragas have been extensively explored and performed by the stalwarts of the Imdadkhani Gharana: Ahir Bhairav, Lalit , Miyan ki Todi, Bhimpalasi, Shuddha Sarang, Marwa, Puriya, Puriya Kalyan, Bihag, Kedar, Kamod, Hameer, Shuddha Kalyan,Yaman, Jog, Vachaspati, Darbari Kanada
etc.

Yet another distinct feature of the Imdadkhani Gharana is that most of the renditions are performed in the Teen taal, though explorations are also made in the Ek taal as well as Jhap taal. The various stalwarts of this Gharana have ardently played and explored the traditional and the mature ragas ofthe Hindustani Classical Music. They have shown little zeal and
enthusiasm towards the creation of the new ragas. Every phrase of the raga is tried out in diverse ways and explored deeply to render the coveted harmonic melodious acoustics
anticipated by the artist.

5. CONCLUSION
It is quite evident that the Imdadkhani Gharana has emerged as one of the most prominent and enduring pillar of the Hindustani Classical Music.

The simplicity and exclusive magnificence of the Gharana has brewed it into a much coveted school of music. The “gayaki ang” is the biggest asset of this Gharana and leads to breaking of barriers between the vocal and instrumental music.

The main attribute to the success and widespread popularity of the Gharana goes to its founder “gurus” and stalwarts, who brought about revolutions in the field of Indian Classical Music. This manuscript ascribes a detailed description of the basic traits inherent to this
Gharana. Furthermore, a brief comparative analysis is also performed between this Gharana and the other prevalent Gharanas, based basically upon the tuning systems and the structural modification details of the instrument.

REFERENCES

1. Brahaspati A. Sangeet Ratnakar, Sangeet Karyalay, Hathras, 2002
2. Pranjpay S. S. Sangeet Bodh, Madya Pradesh Hindi Granth Academy, Bhopal, 1992
3. Chaubey S. K. Sangeet ke Gharano ki Charcha, Uttar Pradesh Hindi Granth Academy, Lucknow, 1977
4. Deshpandey V. H. Gharanedar Gayaki, Oriental Longman Limited, New Delhi, 1973
5. Mankaran V. Sangeet Saar, Raj Publishers, Jalandhar 2000
6. Shrivastav H. Raga Parichay, Sangeet Sadan Prakashan, Allahabad, 1985
7. BUDHADITYA (2012) http://www.budhaditya.com/ Accessed on 10 th November, 2012
9. MEDIEVAL (2012) http://www.medieval.org/music/world/vk.html Accessed on 12th December 2012
10. WAJAHATKHAN(2012) http://www.wajahatkhan.com/family.html Accessed on 12th December 2012

(Courtesy of  Gagandeep Hothi*
1. Research Scholar, Dept. of Performing Arts, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla-5, India1. Research Scholar, Dept. of Performing Arts, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla-5, India)

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ImdadKhani_02

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                                                       The Etawah Gharana

(Courtes by Shahid Parvez)

This style comes from of the most ancient school of music, the Gwalior gharana. It is also known as the Imdadkhani gharana after Ustad Imdad Khan, the son of Ustad Sahebdad Khan. Ustad Sahebdad Khan was trained and influenced by Ustad Haddu and Ustad Hassu Khan of the Gwalior gharana, and thus dhrupad and khayal vocal genres can be glimpsed in the playing style and in the choice of ragas. To the techniques of Been and Rebab many new techniques have been added.Ustad Imdad Khan and his sons Ustad Inayat Khan and Ustad Wahid Khan made this gharana famous. Ustad Vilayat Khan, son of Ustad Inayat Khan, furthur developed his father and uncle’s handling of midh and murki. He also modified the structure of Sitar.

Based on the classical structure of the raga, this gharana includes alap, jor and jhala (slow then accelerating improvisation) without percussion as it is played in dhrupad, followed by the khayal composition called Gat, with the tabla, developed in numerous improvisations on rhythm and note like tans and layakaris (modified version, source: musicalnirvana.com
Ustad Imdad Khan

Instrumental in developing the unique style that characterizes the Etawah Gharana, Ustad Imdad Khan was one of the most influential instrumentalists of Indian Classical Music. He helped to establish the Etawah Gharana, which is also known as the Imdadkhani Gharana.Ustad Imdad Khan was born into a musical family. His father was Ustad Sahabdab Khan, the founder of the Etawah Gharana.

Ustad Sahabdab Khan was a close relative of Ustad Haddu Khan of Gwalior Gharana. Initially Sahabdab Khan was taught khayal vocals by Ustad Haddu Khan, but later took up Sitar. He later moved to Etawah, from which the gharana’s name is derived.

Although Ustad Sahabdab Khan was the founder of the gharana, It was Ustad Imdad Khan who developed the instruments, and created an innovative instrumental style that became characteristic of the gharana. Imdad Khan heard and studied the contemporary styles of various stalwarts of music of his time. He then developed an original style, one that was radically different from the then prevalent Senia style for playing the surbahar and sitar, thus ushering in a new era.

Ustad Imdad Khan introduced elements of khayal gayaki into the alap for the first time. All gayaki ornamentations were implemented and systematically developed into the techniques for this newly developed style for playing sitar. All khayal taans, tabla and pakhawaj bols, and the numerous rhythmic variations and subdivisions of the tempo were interspersed, strengthening the interaction of the swara and the laya. Jhala and thok jhala were introduced as separate sections. A definite sequence was brought into playing the gat toda, and the composition of exciting todas with matching tihais added new grandeur to a sitar recital. This new style that was to gain in popularity throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, and that continues to flourish with proponents like Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan, has come to be known as Imdadkhani.

Commissioned by Mysore kings in whose courts he served, Ustad Imdad Khan became the first Sitar player to come out with a recording. RPG / EMI has brought out those timeless recordings in a two CD album. Chairman’s Choice – Great Gharana – Imdadkhani (CMC 882507-08).Ustad Imdad Khan had two sons, Ustad Enayet Khan and Ustad Waheed Khan who took up Sitar and Surbahar

Ustad Wahid Khan

Instrumental in developing the unique style that characterizes the Etawah Gharana, Ustad Imdad Khan was one of the most influential instrumentalists of Indian Classical Music.

He helped to establish the Etawah Gharana, which is also known as the Imdadkhani Gharana. Ustad Imdad Khan was born into a musical family. His father was Ustad Sahabdab Khan, the founder of the Etawah Gharana.

Ustad Enayet Khan was a master of Sitar and Surbahar. He developed the ‘Gayaki Ang’ in sitar, which his father had developed for the surbahar and his sons would further develop this, which would come to be known as a trademark of their gharana.

He gave a new dimension to the crafting and manufacture of the sitar and his structural modifications of the instrument are still used in the instruments of today whilst his musical contributions are standardized practice for today’s musicians. The flair with which he played made him one of the greatest musicians of his generation and his legendary recordings illustrate and record the contributions he has made to music. Ustad Enayet Khan was a great ambassador for Indian classical music in India. He popularized the sitar and made it accessible for the general population. This was a time when many of the famous Indian music festivals were started. His music was the soul of India in those times of change and he had a great and unrivalled following throughout the country. This contribution to popular arts and culture can be illustrated by his friendship with Rabindranath Tagore, the legendary writer, artist and poet. Together these two giants of culture put poetry to music to bring it alive in some of the most famous Indian folk songs and anthems. Each inspired the other to take the arts of India to dizzying new heights.

Ustad Enayet Khan dedicated his life to music; He played, taught and lived with an equal passion to strengthen the name of his gharana and the profile of classical music in his country.
Ustad Waheed Khan

One of the greatest musicians in the canon of Indian Classical Music, Ustad Waheed Khan is an important figure in the Etawah gharana’s history. An acclaimed musician on both the sitar and surbahar, Waheed Khan’s life’s purpose was to be a herald for Indian Classical Music; he devoted his life to spreading his music everywhere. Living his life modestly, he made his home in different parts of India for brief periods of time, spreading the innovative style of his gharana with unwavering devotion and elegance. One such initiative included appearance in legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s “Jalsaghar” (The Music Room,1958) where Ustad Waheed Khan performs on the surbahar in one of the scenes.A true emissary, he lived well into his 70s and his immense contribution to Indian Classical Music was recognized when he became the first musician to receive the illustrious “Sangeet Natak Academy Award” the highest national recognition given to performing artists in India.

He was the father of Ustad Aziz Khan and Ustad Hafeez Khan. Ustad Hafeez Khan was a celebrated playback singer, known in the film industry as ‘H. Khan Mastana’. His brother, Ustad Aziz Khan would also carry on the family’s musical traditions and go on to make significant contributions to Indian Classical Music
Ustad Hafeez Khan

A select few are born with an extraordinary gift of talent yet, more often, these people end up being oblivious to their own talent, and people are left wondering what would have happened had this person lived up to his full potential. Ustad Hafeez Khan was on of them. He was the eldest son of the legendary musician Ustad Waheed Khan Saab. He not only received extensive training on the sitar and surbahar but also in vocal music. After the independence of India, the patrons of Indian Classical Music that is the Maharajas and Nawabs became commoners and classical musicians suffered as a result. Classical music, at that time, was still a form of chanber-music, and with the demise of the great Ustads like Allahdiya Khan Saab, Abdul Kareem Khan Saab, Enayat Khan Saab, Faiyyaz Khan Saab, the future of a performing classical musician was looking very bleak. It was at this time that Ustad Hafeez Khan decided to enter the Bombay Film Industry as a playback singer to earn his daily bread. He went on to become a celebrated playback singer known in the film industry as H.R Khan Mastana. Incidentally, one of the most famous playback singers of all time, Mohammed Rafi started his playback career as a chorus singer in one of his songs. He also composed music for several films. Ustad Shahid Parvez being his nephew received extensive taleem in vocal music and surbahar from Ustad Hafeez Khan Saab.

Be it as a vocalist or instrumentalist Ustad Hafeez Khan could have easily gone on to become one of the foremost musicians of his generation, yet he never gave it a real try. A rare recording of Ustad Hafeez Khan, present in the family archives, reveals the virtuosity of this talented musician both as a vocalist and instrumentalist. People are left wondering what would have happened had this person perused a career as a performing Indian Classical Musician.
Ustad Aziz Khan

Ustad Aziz Khan is the youngest son of sitar and surbahar maestro Ustad Waheed Khansaab. The young Gunna Bhai, as Aziz Khansaab was lovingly addressed by his family members, was introduced to music at a very young age and as years passed by he received extensive “taleem” (lessons) in the music of the gharana from his lengendary Guru and father Ustad Waheed Khansaab, in vocal music, sitar and surbahar.

He also received some taleem from his equally legendary uncle Ustad Enayat Khansaab.Although his repertoire of traditional taleem was highly enviable, he did not take up sitar or surbahar as a source of lively hood. Instead, he took up music – composition as his profession. However, he never left his “sadana” that is music and performed in occasional concerts from time to time. He became a professional music composer in the Bollywood film industry composing under the pseudonym Aziz-Hindi. Even here his musical talents came to the fore. He enjoyed considerable success while composing for films like “Intezar ke bad,” “parvartan -1949,” “Putli – 1950,” “Actor 1952,” “Thoop Chaon – 1954,” “Danka -1954,” “Chalta Poorza – 1958.” Ustad Aziz Khan also composed music for several other films in partnership with another lyricist and composer, Khaiyyam. In these films, they use to call themselves “Sharma ji – Varma ji.” The very first film that they composed for was a huge hit called “Heer- Ranjha”. A few other films for which the “Sharma ji – Varma ji” duo composed music were “Parda,” “Biwi,” “Pyar ki batein,” etc, which were all musical hits. However, no matter how good he was as a composer or how famous he became as a composer, Aziz Khansaab’s taking up music as a profession did not go down well with his father. Ustad Waheed Khansaab was of the idea that a “gharanadar” and “khandani” musician, who has received so much taleem, must earn his bread through “mujlishs” (concerts) only and not through any other means. Ustad Waheed Khansaad made his displeasure known to his sons and told that he could only be pleased if and only if, he was assured that his grandchild would be trained in the music of the gharana and his grandchild would pick up sitar or surbahar as his profession, so that his grandchild could one day go on to become the torchbearer of the Etawah Gharana.

In fact, after this incident, Ustad Aziz Khan’s life long quest was to train his son. He was demanding and very strict as a Guru. He would often say to his son, the young Shahid Parvez, – “I want you to play like this and I will make you play like this, no matter what it takes.” Often the Ustad’s wife would bring in food and he would forget about the food and go on teaching his son oblivious of the fact that his son would also be hungry. Ustad Aziz Khan Saab was a very hounest man. He didn’t believe in taking students for the sake of it or just to increase the numbers. However, he had quite a few students other than his foremost disciple and son Shahid Parvez Khan; and whoever was fortunate enough to receive his blessings as a student, has become established as a musician in his life. He was very strict but even more honest as a Guru.

However, those that have listened to his sitar or surbahar or to the songs that he has composed will know that Ustad Aziz Khansaab was a true artist; and music was the love of his life.
Ustad Vilayat Khan

Ustad Vilayat Khan stands out as one of the greatest sitar players of all time. He was born in year 1928 in the village of Gauripur (present day Bangladesh). During his lifetime, he became one of the most influential musicians of Indian Classical Music. Several people influenced Khan sahib’s music. Ustad Enayet Khan, his father, Ustad Waheed Khan, his uncle, Ustad Zinda Hussain Khan, his maternal uncle, Ustad Faiyaz Khan and Ustad Abdul Karim Khan deserve special mention in this regard. He developed the “Gayaki Ang” which became his trademark. Khan sahib made several changes to the structure of the sitar and these include the concept of “Gol Jawari”.Ustad Vilayat Khan’s professional career was extensive. He made several international tours, he has numerous recordings, and has scored music for several films, including Satyajit Ray’s “Jalsaghar”.

He was a longtime critic of the political machinations that were behind the awarding of many of India’s honours. He refused the Padmabhushan (one of India’s top civilian honours), and was a longtime critic of the manner in which All India Radio was run. The only title that he ever embraced was the title Aftab-e-Sitar (Sun of Sitar). Ustad Vilayat Khan died of lung cancer at the Jaslok Hospital in Mumbai on March 13th, 2004. He was 76 years of age.

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                                                          Imdad Khani Gharana
also known as:
Etawah Gharana
Imdadkhani Gharana
Imdad Khani Sitar and Surbahar Gharana

Haddu Khan, Hassu Khan, Sahabdad Khan

There was a Rajput in the middle of the 19th century in Gwalior. At that time there were two leaders of the Gwalior musical darbar, two brothers, Haddu and Hassu Khan. Haddu Khan was a dhrupad, and Hassu Khan was a khyal singer. They have their own unique style, and they practice only at night. Sahib Singh – who was probably a relative of Haddu Khan – was refused as a disciple, so paid for a servant to lock him in the huge bird cage of the room where the brothers practice. He had listend to them to practice every night for 7 years. Once the two brothers were roaming the streets of Gwalior where they heard their style form a house. They wanted to see which disciple of them was practicing, but they found Sahib Singh only. Haddu wanted to kill him, but Hassu made calm him down, because he realized the love for the music in the boy. Sahib Singhet was accepted as a disciple. Later he converted to Muslim so he got the new name: Sahabdad Khan. He also learned from the Senia musician Nirmal Shah, and played the surbahar, invented by himself, and jaltarang as well. He lived in Etawah (so sometimes they call the gharana: Etawah Gharana ) where he was a musician of the Naugaon darbar. He had two sons, the older was Imdad Khan and the younger was Karimdad Khan, both had been thought for twelve years by their father.

Imdad Khan (1858-1920)

Imdad Khan: Raga Darbari Kanada (1904)

Ustad Imdad Khan was born in Agra, as the second generation of what was to become the Etawah Gharana (school) or Imdadkhani , named after the village outside Agra where the family soon moved. He was taught by his father, Sahabdad Khan, a trained vocalist and self-taught sitar player, but Imdad Khan came to greatly develop and define the family style and techniques. Imdad Khan was also trined by the legendary beenkar Ustad Bande Ali Khan (disciple and son-in-law of Ustad Haddu Khan. In the 19th Century, the instrumental classical music of North India was dominated by the Senia style, passed down through the musical dynasty of Miyan Tansen’s descendants, who played in the dhrupad ang. Imdad instead evolved a style based on the newer, more popular khyal singing. It is said that in his youth at Etawah, Imdad practiced on the sitar in a state of chilla (isolation) for some twelve years.

Imdad attained great fame in his lifetime: he played for Queen Victoria in Delhi; he served as a court musician in Mysore (even though he was a northerner and South India has its own classical music, different from that of the north); and he was the first sitar player ever to be recorded. Some of these recordings have been released on CD, on the Great Gharanas: Imdadkhani compilation in RPG/EMI’s Chairman’s Choice series.

He taught the sitar and surbahar to his two sons, Enayat and Waheed Khan. He used to say that his two sons were his two hands, and although both of them played the sitar and the surbahar equally well, Enayat Khan’s specialization was the sitar and Waheed khan’s specialization was the surbahar. Ustad Imdad Khan actually shifted base from Etawah to Kolkata with his two sons and the house in which they lived was named “riyaz”.

Enayat Khan (1894-1938)

Enayat Khan: Raga Bhairavi (1920)

Enayat Khan was born in Uttar Pradesh into a family of musicians. His father was sitar great Imdad Khan, who taught him the sitar and surbahar in the family style, known as the Imdadkhani Gharana or Etawah Gharana, after a village outside Agra where Imdad once lived. He married Basiran Bibi, daughter of khyal singer Bande Hussain, and settled with his family in Calcutta, where, though he only lived to 43, he did much pioneering work on the sitar. For example, he standardised its physical dimensions and added the upper resonator gourd, which is very popular with today’s players (though his own descendants have not kept using it). In a place rapidly developing into an important North Indian centre of the arts, at a time where interest in national culture was strong fuelled by the struggle for independence, he brought sitar music out from its narrow connoisseur circles to new mass audiences. Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore was a musical collaborator and personal friend. Some of Enayat Khan’s recordings have been released on CD, on the Great Gharanas: Imdadkhani compilation in RPG/EMI’s Chairman’s Choice series.

Enayat died young, with four children. His two sons, Vilayat and Imrat, were trained in the Imdadkhani style by other members of his extended family. Vilayat learned the sitar and Imrat the surbahar; both were to become very famous classical musicians.

Vilayat Khan (1927-2004)

Vilayat Khan, Shankar Ghosh (tabla): Raga Darbari Kanada gat (exception)

Vilayat Khan, Kashinath Mishra (tabla): Raga Vilayat Khani Kanada gat (exception)

Vilayat Khan, Sabir Khan (tabla): Raga Sanjh Saravali

Vilayat Khan was born into a family of musicians tracing its pedigree generations back to the court musicians of the Mughal rulers. His father was Enayat Khan (1895–1938), recognised as a leading sitar and surbahar (bass sitar) player of his time, as had been the grandfather, Imdad Khan (1848–1920), before him. Vilayat was taught in the family style, known as the Imdadkhani Gharana, or Etawah Gharana, after a village outside Agra where Imdad lived.

However, Enayat Khan died when Vilayat was only nine, so much of his education came from the rest of his family: his uncle, sitar and surbahar maestro Wahid Khan, his maternal grandfather, singer Bande Hassan Khan, and his mother, Bashiran Begum, who had studied the practice procedure of Imdad, Enayat and Wahid. Vilayat’s uncle Zinde Hassan looked after his riyaz (practice). As a boy, Vilayat wanted to be a singer; but his mother, herself from a family of vocalists, felt he had a strong responsibility to bear the family torch as a sitar maestro.

The Imdadkhani Gharana never added the bass string to their sitar, which is a smaller, lighter instrument, easier to handle, than for example Ravi Shankar’s. In the 1950s, both Vilayat and Ravi worked closely with instrument makers to further develop their respective instruments, but it was in different directions. As a result, their sounds and playing styles were also wildly different. Whereas Ravi Shankar’s sitar was large and vina-like, intended for play across multiple registers using multiple melody strings, Vilayat’s was small, with a clean and metallic sound, completely without buzz; it did not reach to the lowest register; and it perfectly facilitated his enormous playing speed. Also, Vilayat liked to perform without a tanpura drone, filling out the silence with strokes to his chikari strings. There was much more going on in his playing than the melody itself.

When he died from lung cancer in 2004, Vilayat Khan had been recording for over 65 years, broadcasting on All-India Radio since almost as far back and been seen as a master (Ustad) for 60. He had been touring outside India off and on for more than 50 years, and was probably the first Indian musician to play in England after independence (1951). In the 1990s, his recording career reached a climax of sorts with a series of ambitious CDs for India Archive Music in New York, some traditional, some controversial, some eccentric. Towards the end of his life, he also performed and recorded sporadically on the surbahar.

Vilayat Khan spent much of his life living in Calcutta. He was married twice, his first marriage ending in divorce; he had two daughters, Zila and Yaman (named after ragas), and two sons, Shujaat (b. 1960) and Hidayat (b. 1975), who both play the sitar. He was survived also by his younger brother, Imrat Khan, the post-war star of the surbahar field. The brothers played celebrated duets in their youth. Vilayat took few disciples other than his sons; among the best-known are Kasinath Mukherjee, Arvind Parikh and Kalyani Roy.

Away from the sitar he enjoyed horse-riding, pool playing, swimming and ballroom dancing. His successes made him rich, and though he grew more pious late in life, he used to drive sports cars and dress in haute couture, and also collected such various items as firearms, smoking pipes, antique European crockery, cut glass and chandeliers.

Fans and media alike liked to play up Vilayat Khan’s rivalry with and animosity towards Ravi Shankar. However, in calmer moments Vilayat would admit there was not much to it. His animosity for the politics and institutions of India’s cultural life was another matter. In 1964 and 1968, respectively, he was awarded the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awards – India’s fourth and third highest civilian honours for service to the nation – but refused to accept them, declaring the committee musically incompetent to judge him.

In January 2000, when he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award, he again refused, going so far as to call it “an insult”. This time, his criticism had a slightly different twist: he would not accept any award that other sitar players, his juniors and in his opinion less deserving, had been given before him. “If there is any award for sitar in India, I must get it first”, he said, adding that “there has always been a story of wrong time, wrong person and wrong award in this country”.

Among other honours he turned down was the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. For a while, he also boycotted All-India Radio. The only titles he accepted were the special decorations of “Bharat Sitar Samrat” by the Artistes Association of India and “Aftab-e-Sitar” (Sun of the Sitar) from President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed.

Bimalendu Mukherjee (1925-2010)

Acharya Bimalendu Mukherjee was born in an art-loving Bengali family at Chinsurah West Bengal, on 2nd January 1925. Bimalendu Mukherjee is a learned musician – although he was an Imdadkhani sitar student of Enayat Khan, a full list of his teachers also includes sitarist Balaram Pathak, khyal singers Badri Prasad and Jaichand Bhatt of the Patiala and Kirana Gharanas, Rampur Gharana beenkar Jotish Chandra Chowdhury, sarangi and esraj maestros Halkeram Bhat (Maihar Gharana) and Chandrikaprasad Dube (Gaya Gharana) and pakhawaj drummer Madhavrao Alkutkar. He also studied with Birendra Kishore Roy Chowdhury, the zamindar of Gouripur in present-day Bangladesh, who taught him the moribund sursringar (bass sarod).

Bimalendu Mukherjee is primarily a Sitarist, though he is proficient in almost all traditional Indian instruments like Rudra-Vina, Saraswati Vina, Surbahar, Sursingar, Mandrabahar, Dilruba, Esraj, Tar Shehnai, Sarod and Pakhavaj. He is equally adept in vocal music.

His contributions to the family of stringed musical instruments are the unique “Aditya Veena” – named after his son Budhaditya – and the “Bijoy Veena” – named after his grandson Bijoyaditya. He has also revived the ‘Ektantri’ single-stringed Veena – an instrument referred to by Sharangdev – and the Sur Kanan. Besides, he has experimented, modified and improved the structure and tonal quality of many stringed instruments like the Sitar , Sarod, Surbahar, Rudraveena, Esraj, Guitar, Dilruba and the Veena.

Pandit Mukherjee has been constantly experimenting with the Western and Eastern philosophy of medical treatment. He has created Raga Anandamayee in That Kafi. His son has recorded the Raga in a novel way on the Sitar . This recording, released with the title “Anandamayee” (full of bliss and happiness), has been successfully experimented on patients of hypertension.

Pandit Mukherjee was a member of various organizations such as The International Society of Music Education, AL-MAESTRO and Hindustani Classical Music. He was formerly Additional Director, CRMM SAIL; General Manager M and Q, Bhilai Steel Plant; Vice Chancellor, Indira Kala Sangeet Vishwavidyalaya, Khairagarh (M.P.) (1983-85 and 1988- 91). He also figures in Five Hundred Leaders Of Influence 1997 American Biographical Institute (U.S.A.); Reference Asia 5; Biography International 1991; Learned Asia 1; India Who’s Who 1993-94; International Who’s Who of Intellectuals 1997 and International Biographical Center Cambridge (U.K.) .

(Courtesy of Tóth Szabi)

***

ImdadKhani


Kanailal and Brother – Calcutta – Sitar Manufacturer


 
 
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The History of an Indian Musical Instrument Maker

At about the same time that the last Mogul Emperor Bahadur Shah II was to witness his final days on the throne, a Bengali named Damodar Adhikari was born into a family of brahmin priests in Calcutta. Although these two events have no significant connection, the end of the Mogul Empire and the stabilization of British rule and discipline, interfaced with a Bengali renaissance, brought about conditions favorable to a thriving and enthusiastic artistic environment. It was during this time that Damodar Adhikari grew up; and although music was not part of his family heritage, it was not unusual that he took an interest in both sitar and surbahar. Although he never became well known for his musicianship, his engagement in the musical arts led him to investigate the manufacturing of the popular instruments of his time; namely, sitar, surbahar, and veena. In 1882 he established a workshop with the assistance of three or four other instrument makers. As he had no knowledge of instrument making at this time, he took the assistance of one Natabar Lal Das, son of Anantalal Das, one of the best instrument makers of the time.

After gaining much experience under the tutelage of Natabar, Damodar became a competent instrument maker. Under the name Damodar and Sons, the shop turned out numerous sitars and esrajes (a fretted stringed instrument played with a bow.) How many veenas and surbahars they made is uncertain; but they knew and followed the tradition of veena making, which required not only skilled craftsmanship but also the recitation of mantra and the proper performance of certain offerings as each part of the instrument was made. Natabar knew what to do, and Damodar, a priest by caste, was able to do it.

Although Damodar laid the foundation for a successful business, it never achieved high acclaim. In fact there were other shops at that time that were better established. That trend was to change after Damodar’s premature death in 1905.
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Damodar left two sons behind. The eldest was Kannailal and the other was Nityananda. They were still teenagers when their father died and had not had enough experience to oversee the manufacturing process. Fortunately, Natabar Lal agreed to remain with the firm and train the two boys as his apprentices in the fine art of making sitar, surbahar, esraj, and veena. At about the same time two other important figures manifested to help the boys continue their apprenticeship. These two men had been friends of Damodar and every evening they would come to the shop for some informal talk. Remarking the eagerness of Nityananda to learn all the aspects of instrument making, they took up the task of training him in their respective arts. Amulya Bhaskar, one of the finest carvers of the time, taught Nityananda his craft; and Puraschandra Sen, a fine commercial artist, taught him drawing and engraving. As the two brothers developed their skills, the shop gained in popularity. Musicians began to congregate there and engage in traditional Bengali gossip sessions that had as their primary focus music and musical instruments. When Natabar died around 1910, the name of the shop changed to Kannailal and Brother. Although the shop was named after the elder brother, it seems that the younger Nityananda was the artist and innovator in the family.  The shop of Kanailal and Brother was located in a cultural oasis, known as the Barabazar area of Calcutta. Both the renowned poet-philosopher Rabindranath Tagore and the maharaja Sourendra Mohan Tagore, a great patron of the arts, lived in the same area. Many musicians, poets, and writers inhabited this cultural belt of early twentieth century Calcutta and gave it the aesthetic color and feeling that is to this day an inspiration for many of Bengal’s contemporary artists. Although today that artistic flavor has been replaced by the sounds of old buses, trucks, and taxi cabs, one can still find many music and stone sculpture shops in the Barabazaar area.  Kanailal died a premature death sometime in the 1930’s leaving his brother Nityananda to maintain and develop the instrument business. A skillful craftsman Nityananda not only raised the level of instrument making and carving to a very fine art but also invented some tools for engraving and for wood boring the long neck of the rudra veena. Nityananda’s influence on the production of the modern sitar cannot be overestimated. From the early days of his instrument-making career, he was setting the standard for sitars. Instruments made before the twentieth century were not heavily engraved with designs on celluloid. Fine woodcarving was also not a trademark of older sitars. Nityananda took a keen interest in both engraving and woodcarving and incorporated these two skills into his instrument making. He later developed a tool for engraving on celluoid. Nityananda’s influence on this aspect of instrument manufacturing was so strong that eventually all the other manufacturers of instruments eventually copied this trend.  Nityananda rounded the edges of the frets. Until that time the frets, although curved across the neck of the sitar, had a flat edge with tracks on either side that provided support for binding the fret to the sitar. Called Ganga -Yamuna frets, they were so named because of the two parallel tracks bordering the main body of the fret. Nityanada discovered that the rounded fret gave a finer tone and were also easier to tie. He made the neck of the instrument into a concave curve.

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The necks prior to that time were squarer than they are today; and as a result, the instrument was more difficult to handle. He standardized the measurements of the instrument and refined the proportions of all its parts so that one could pull the wire over a span of five notes from one fret. Nityananda adjusted the thickness of the neck, the size of the bridge, and the thickness of its legs. He proportioned the height of the ara (the bone piece which holds the strings in place on the pegbox side). He adjusted the scale length so that the bass note and the highest note would have a similar tonal quality. This is very difficult on an instrument with such a long fret board. He fixed the method by which the neck is attached to the gourd so that the playing wire falls in the middle of the instrument and the bridge sits in the middle of the tabli (the flat wooden cover on top of the gourd). Positioning the bridge in this away allows the whole tabli to vibrate evenly. He also made similar adjustments to other instruments such as the veena, esraj and surbahar.  In the early twentieth century, some sitar players played on a rather small sitar, mainly at higher tempos. Others from the Jaipur area played on a larger sitar called a sitar-been and concentrated their music into the Maseetkhani baj. Then again, some sitar players who wanted to develop the slower unaccompanied part of the music, required a second instrument called a surbahar, a larger deeper toned instrument, which looks like an oversized sitar, but is more like a rudra veena.  Until the 1930’s there was hardly a sitar player who could demonstrate equally the two styles of sitar. Some played the faster Rezakhani baj and others played the slower Maseetkhani style. Few played the unaccompanied portion called alap on the sitar. With the methods that Nityananda found for adjusting the proportion of the sitar, players could now handily play all the aspects of Indian music on one instrument. Artists nowadays give equal attention to alap, Maseetkhani and Rezakhani. The small sitar disappeared and although the surbahar is still around, it lost the popularity that it had during the last part of the nineteenth century. Nowadays, however, there seems to be a resurging fascination with the surbahar. Other craftsmen trained in the Kanailal and Brother shop. Although they would generally be involved with the tedious aspects of instrument making, such as the production of frets and pegs; their exposure to Nityananda’s fine work gave them the opportunity to observe and learn. These craftsmen, after leaving the Kanailal shop, would then go and work for other instrument manufacturers in Calcutta. As they had witnessed the work of Nityananda and his brother, they would try to reproduce the same sitar, particularly the more visible aspects. In this way the sitar became more and more standardized throughout Calcutta.

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These craftsmen never received the full training, especially in regard to the refined inner qualities of the instrument. Albeit impossible for them to reproduce the sitar that was stamped with the name of Kanailal and Brother, they still introduced many of Nityananda’s innovations into the general marketplace.  The trademark of the Kanailal sitar was its fine tone. If words could describe tone, then one might say that it had a sound whose texture contained evenly layered overtones as fine as smooth sand, no grain larger than another. The result was a note that had a precise center with a radiating periphery that imbibes each slide and glissando with a proportioned granulation.  The Kanailal sitar became so popular that it was highly demanded throughout India from the 1920s to the 1960’s. Every great sitar player of that period including Enayet Khan, Waheed Khan, Mushtaq Ali Khan, Vilayat Khan, and Ravi Shankar knew the ‘Kanailal and Brother’ shop on Upper Chittpur Road and owned one of their instruments.  Nityananda also made sarods for the great sarodiyas of the time including Keramatullah Khan, Kukubh Khan, Amir Khan, Radhika Mohan Moitra, and Shyam Ganguli. He also made instruments for the maharaja Sourendra Mohan Tagore. During his lifetime Nityananda made about four veenas according to the instructions he had received from Natabar Lal. Nityanada retired in l960 leaving the shop to his son Murari and nephew Govinda. He expired on October 22, 1972. Murari and Govinda continued to make instruments according to the tradition established by their fathers and grandfather. In fact, one may find one of their sitars, surbahars, and veenas, in practically every part of the world today. Murari Adhikari made instruments for Ziamoinuddin Dagar, Asat Ali Khan, Imrat Khan, and Ravi Shankar (sitar and surbahar). Murari made his first veena for Ziamoinuddin Dagar in l960. Ziamonuddin made frequent visits to the shop on numerous occasions and demonstrated vocally the type of sound that he wanted. Murari did the research and made the necessary adjustments to make the instrument produce the sound Ziamoinuddin wanted. Ziamoinuddin was quite please with that veena and as a result Murari had the opportunity to make veenas for many of his students.  Murari introduced some changes in the manufacturing of the veena just as his father had done for the sitar. He made about 50 veenas during his professional career and they are presently in the hands of players all over the world.

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As trends in musical taste changed dramatically after independence in 1947, the name of Kanailal and Brother became more associated with the traditional sitar. Modern artists after the 1950’s began looking for a ‘modern’ sound that was blunter, louder, and without overtones. The traditional sitar with its rich array of overtones was difficult to control when amplified through the microphone and new artists found the ‘dryer’ sound to be more appealing when it was interfaced with amplification. These changes were to gradually have their toll on the Kanailal tradition. Neither Murari nor his brother wanted to change their family tradition to suit the market. Although they did make sitars according to market demand, they were never satisfied. Eventually, the market buyers turned against them and chose other manufacturers in their place. The shop was permanently closed in 1995 and thus a tradition spanning three generations and over one century came to an end.  Although Murari continues to make sitar and veena on a private basis, it will not be long before the making of traditional Indian instruments such as surbahar, and veena will be lost. Unfortunately, the “Kanailal tone” will also disappear and it will take years of research before that sound can be recovered.  There is a small sitar with kachipa (tortoise shaped) gourd made by Nityananda in his early days of making instruments. In fact he was about 21 when he made this sitar. He always kept it with him and  practiced and played on it regularly during his lifetime. It is very simple in appearance, and although this instrument bears the signature of the tonal quality of that period just prior to the creation of the modern sitar, it is not completely representative of his carving and fine engraving abilities. This sitar is presently maintained by Steven Landsberg in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Eventually it will have a permanent home at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  Nityananda’s son Murari Adhikari made the sitar that is presently being donated to the museum. The body of the sitar is made from Burma teak wood and the pegs are made from ebony. Fully decorated, this sitar reveals the fine woodcarving and engraving techniques that Nityananda originated. The main characteristic of this sitar is its bright tone, which is partly the result of the large hole just in front of the bridge.

( By Steven Landsberg, Santa Fe NM, Calcutta, India)

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The Gharanas in Hindustani Music – Vol 02

Enayat_Khan

Enayet  Khan with Surbahar

1. INTRODUCTION

We, the Indians inculcate all the three pillars of performing arts, that is, vocal music, instrumental music and dance into the
definition of music. Perhaps, this notion can also be traced back in the very famous ancient and historic manuscript entitled
“Sangeet Ratnakar”, where it has been said: “Geetam vadayam tatha nrityam trayam sangeetam uchatay” (Brahaspati, 2002)
means music is defined as the art of singing, playing an instrument and dancing.

Under the Hindustani Classical Music, the tradition of “Gharana” system holds special importance. Perhaps, this feature
is so unique that no where around the world can one find this sought of a tradition. The Gharana system is followed by both
the North-Indian as well as the South-Indian forms of Indian classical music. In south India, the term Gharana is
acknowledged by the word “Sampraya”. In ancient times, there existed several Samprayas such as the “Shivmat”, the
“Bhramamat” and the “Bharatmat” (Pranjpay, 1992). It is believed that in ancient times, there existed a single form of the style
of Indian Classical Music. However, the advent of the Muslims had a great impact on the Indian Classical Music and this
created a division into this form of music. This lead to the regeneration of two forms of Indian Classical Music: the Carnatic
Music (The South Indian and otherwise the original version of Indian Classical Music.) and the Hindustani Music (The North
Indian and the improvised version of the Indian Classical Music).

One of the most unique and exclusive feature which is incorporated in the teaching of Indian Classical Music is the “Guru-
Shishya” tradition. Perhaps, in recent times, the education of Indian Classical Music is also imparted in several institutions,
schools, colleges and universities. However, history and statistics reveal that even now the finest artists of the Indian
Classical Music are produced through the “Guru-Shishya” tradition. In India, the Gharana system has contributed to all the
three forms of music, that is vocal, instrumental and dance.

The Gharana comes into existence through the confluence of the “Guru” and the “Shishya” (Chaubey, 1977). A talented
“Guru” through his intelligence, aptitude and shear practice creates a sense of uniqueness and exclusivity and thereby
inculcates a special eminence into his form of music. These attributes and traits are amicably transferred into the talented
“Shishya” and the particular form of the performing arts thus becomes a tradition. These exceptional qualities are in fact so
strong and prominent that the audiences can immediately recognize the Gharana of the artist.

It is believed that when so ever the form or style created by the founder “Guru” is carried forth till three generations; it
turns in to the form of “Gharana”. The name of the Gharana can be same as the name of the founder “Guru”, or came be
named after the place where the founder “Guru” resided. For example, in the field of Hindustani Vocal Music, there exists
several Gharanas (Deshpandey 1973) such as the Gwalior Gharana, the Dilli Gharana, the Kirana Gharana, the Agra
Gharana etc. Similarly, under the Instrumental Music the Senia Gharana, the Senia Maihar Gharana, the Etawah Gharana
and the Imdadkhani Gharana hold special place (Mankaran, 2000). Likewise, the Jaipur Gharana and the Lucknow Gharana
are famous for dance (Shrivastav, 1985).

The Imdadakhani Gharana (BUDHADITYA, 2012), school of music traces its stems from the very ancient Gwalior
Gharana. The founder of the tradition of the Imdadkhani Gharana was Ustad Sahabdad Hussain. He was intimately related to
Ustad Haddu Khan of the Gwalior Gharana. In fact, he was brought up in his house and received training in Khayal singing
from him. Ustad Shahabdad Hussain also used to play sitar.

The Imdadkhani Gharana is named after Ustad Imdad Khan, the son of Ustad Shahabdad Hussain. Ustad Imdad Khan
was born in Agra. He was the court musician of Indore. Ustad Imdad Khan was initially instigated into vocal music and later
into sitar by his father. Subsequently, he listened and learnt from a number of stalwarts and connoisseurs in this particular
field and consequently cultivated a completely new style of Sitar and Surbahar playing. This eventually led to the
establishment of a new Gharana called the Imdadkhani Gharana, also called the Etawah Gharana, after a village outside
Agra where Ustad Imdad Khan lived. The Imdadkhani Gharana proliferated over from Etawah to Kolkata, Indore, Hyderabad,
Mumbai and subsequently through the whole country.
Invariably as Ustad Imdad Khan, his son Ustad Enayat Khan was one of the most renowned Sitarists of the early 20th
century. Credit remunerates to Ustad Enayat Khan for making the art of Sitar playing more affable and popular for a larger
audience in the cultural capital of India, which is Kolkata. Earlier to this, the Sitar was heard primarily in a lesser circle by
music fanatics. Apart from popularization of this art, Ustad Enayat Khan also developed and improvised the
architecture/design of the Sitar. Ustad Enayat Khan died at a very early age of only 43 and left four children. His son, the
illustrious sitar maestro Ustad Vilayat Khan (VILAYAT, 2012, MEDIEVAL, 2012, WAJAHATKHAN, 2012) was the greatest
exponents of the Imdadkhani Gharana and one the most magnificent sitar player of all times. Pandit Bimalendu Mukherjee,
the well-known sitarist and doyen of the Imdadkhani Gharana was also a disciple of Ustad Enayat Khan. His son and disciple,
one of the greatest sitar players of all times, the world renowned sitarist, Pandit Budhaditya Mukherjee is the greatest stalwart
of the Imdadkani Gharana.
Section 2 of this manuscript provides a detailed description of the major features of the Imdadkhani Gharana. The
detailed intricacies of the technique of playing the instrument have been analyzed. Tuning system and the structural
modulations of the sitar under the Imdadkhani Gharana are described in section 3. A detailed study reveals the exclusive
implications of the modulations, along with a brief comparison amongst the instrument design corresponding to the other
Gharanas. This is followed by the raga repertoire in section 4. An informative and sequential study is made in this particular
section. Finally, the conclusions are drawn in section 5.

2. MAJOR FEATURES OF THE IMDADKHANI GHARANA

The Imdadkhani Gharana inculcates a distinctive characteristic for the sitar playing called the gayaki ang. This refers to the
technique where the Sitar player is intended to come as close as possible to the articulate potency and variety of human
voice. Thus, this refers to the intonation of the human voice on the instrument. Under the Imdadakhani Gharana, the Raag
Alaap was initiated in the conduct in which it is practiced in the khayal singing. The entire vocal embellishment of the khayal
style was absorbed and integrated into the art of sitar playing. According to the capacity of the instrument, the string
deflections were enlarged to at least five notes. The raga development inculcated the ‘Khatka-jhatka’ type of ‘alankars’ and
the maximum exploitation of the ‘aans’, which is the continuity of the sound after the string plucking. Also, the plucking work
was constrained to the right index finger. Furthermore, the ‘Jhala’ and the ‘Thok-jhala’ were instituted as discrete sections.
The rhythmic pattern was enriched tremendously by incorporating all the khayal taans, tabla-pakhwaj bols and the
introduction of several rhythmic variations and subdivision of tempo. An explicit sequence and progression was inculcated into
the playing of ‘gat-toda’ and the composition of splendid ‘todas’, with the subsequent matching ‘tehais’. Major structural
transformations to both the Sitar and Surbahar & Foundation and development of the instrumental style known as the ‘gayaki
ang’ are amongst the major achievements of the Imdadkhani Gharana.

3. TUNING SYSTEM AND STRUCTURAL MODULATIONS OF THE SITAR UNDER
THE IMDADKHANI GHARANA

Tuning of an instrument depends prominently on the instrumentalist’s Gharana or style, convention and each artist’s
respective inclination. The tonic in the Hindustani Classical system is insinuated as “Sadaj”. It refers to ‘sa’ or ‘kharaj’.
Traditionally, the principal playing string is virtually tuned a perfect fourth above the tonic. Generally, the second string is
tuned to the tonic. Subsequently, the sympathetic strings are tuned to the notes of the raga being played. Perhaps, there
exists a minor aesthetic modification to the order of these and how they are tuned. Every Raga demands the re-tuning of the
instrument. The strings are tuned by tuning hooks. Furthermore, the key playing strings can be fine-tuned by sliding a bead
threaded on each string just below the bridge and also by very small and efficient steel pegs which are nowadays gaining
popularity. A comparative analysis between the common tuning “Kharaj-Pancham” sitar (exercised by Pt. Ravi Shankar) and
“Gandhar Pancham” (exercised under the Imdadkhani Gharana) is as follows:
In the “Kharaj-Pancham” sitar, the Chikari strings are tuned as: Sa (high), Sa (middle) and Pa, whereas in the Imdadkhani
school, the Kharaj string is detached and substituted by a fourth String, which is tuned to Ga. Inculcating these combinations,
the sitarist produces a harmony Sa, Sa, Pa, Ga, or Sa, Sa, Ma, Ga or Sa, Sa, Dha, Ga, contingent to the Raga which is being
played. However, the Jod and the Baaj strings are tuned in the similar fashion in both the Gharanas. The Jod string is tuned
to Sa and the Baaj string is tuned to Ma.

Under the Imdadkhani Gharana, a large number of improvisations were made to the instrument for executing the Gayaki
ang into the instrument. Ustad Vilayat Khan increased the thickness of the Tabli and the Tar-gahan. Also, a joint was
introduced between the tumba and the stem, so that the instrument could withhold larger stress and strain. Furthermore, with
the passage of time, the tumba was enlarged and stem became slightly broader. In order to cut down the metallic sound of
the frets, Ustad Vilayat Khan supplanted the brass frets with an alloy of superior quality. Furthermore, the material and
thickness of the strings were also critically modulated. The Baaj, Gandhar and the Pancham strings were steel strings of
gauge number 3. The Jod string was made from brass with gauge number 27. All the Tarabs and the two Chikari strings were
made of steel with gauge number 0.

Another major structural modification of the instrument was the removal of the upper tumba. During early times, when
electronic amplification, were not plausible, this upper tumba was beneficiary in boosting the volume of the instrument with a
better delivery of the harmonics. However, with the advancement of technology, the Imdadkhani Gharana sitar got devoid of
this part and the stem efficiently served as a resonator. The jawari-bridge was considerably modified in a manner to provide a
better acoustic experience. Moreover, the traditional ivory jawaris were replaced by ebony and polymer jawaris. The
conventional sitar incorporated seven strings streaming over the main bridge. However, under the Imdadkhani Gharana the
number of strings reduced to six. This lead to the removal of the lowest octave, but were replaced with strings tuned to the
middle, which acted as fillers over and above the Chikari strings. These structural and tuning vicissitudes directly inculcated
the Gayaki ang into the instrument.

4. THE RAGA REPERTOIRE

The Imdadkhani Gharana is receptive to all the ancient, rare and well-established Ragas, but it has a convention of
specializing in a certain Ragas for concert performances. However, this situation varies from artist to artist, as every individual
has a different musical temperament, even if he or she belongs to the same Gharana. As per the historians , Ustad Enayet
Khan and Ustad Imdad Khan concentrated on very few Ragas for concert performances. On the other hand, Ustad Vilayat
Khan rendered the rarest Ragas to his audiences. Statistics suggest that the following Ragas have been extensively explored
and performed by the stalwarts of the Imdadkhani Gharana: Ahir Bhairav, Lalit , Miyan ki Todi, Bhimpalasi, Shuddha Sarang,
Marwa, Puriya, Puriya Kalyan, Bihag, Kedar, Kamod, Hameer, Shuddha Kalyan,Yaman, Jog, Vachaspati, Darbari Kanada
etc.
Yet another distinct feature of the Imdadkhani Gharana is that most of the renditions are performed in the Teen taal,
though explorations are also made in the Ek taal as well as Jhap taal. The various stalwarts of this Gharana have ardently
played and explored the traditional and the mature ragas of the Hindustani Classical Music. They have shown little zeal and
enthusiasm towards the creation of the new ragas. Every phrase of the raga is tried out in diverse ways and explored deeply
to render the coveted harmonic melodious acoustics anticipated by the artist.

5. CONCLUSION

It is quite evident that the Imdadkhani Gharana has emerged as one of the most prominent and enduring pillar of the
Hindustani Classical Music. The simplicity and exclusive magnificence of the Gharana has brewed it into a much coveted
school of music. The “gayaki ang” is the biggest asset of this Gharana and leads to breaking of barriers between the vocal
and instrumental music. The main attribute to the success and widespread popularity of the Gharana goes to its founder
“gurus” and stalwarts, who brought about revolutions in the field of Indian Classical Music. This manuscript ascribes a detailed
description of the basic traits inherent to this Gharana. Furthermore, a brief comparative analysis is also performed between
this Gharana and the other prevalent Gharanas, based basically upon the tuning systems and the structural modification
details of the instrument.

REFERENCES

1. Brahaspati A. Sangeet Ratnakar, Sangeet Karyalay, Hathras, 2002
2. Pranjpay S. S. Sangeet Bodh, Madya Pradesh Hindi Granth Academy, Bhopal, 1992
3. Chaubey S. K. Sangeet ke Gharano ki Charcha, Uttar Pradesh Hindi Granth Academy, Lucknow, 1977
4. Deshpandey V. H. Gharanedar Gayaki, Oriental Longman Limited, New Delhi, 1973
5. Mankaran V. Sangeet Saar, Raj Publishers, Jalandhar 2000
6. Shrivastav H. Raga Parichay, Sangeet Sadan Prakashan, Allahabad, 1985
7. BUDHADITYA (2012) http://www.budhaditya.com/ Accessed on 10 th November, 2012
8. VILAYAT (2012) http://www.vilayatkhan.com/vk/ Accessed on 21 st November 2012
9. MEDIEVAL (2012) http://www.medieval.org/music/world/vk.html Accessed on 12th December 2012
10. WAJAHATKHAN(2012) http://www.wajahatkhan.com/family.html Accessed on 12th December 2012

(Courtesy of  Gagandeep Hothi*
1. Research Scholar, Dept. of Performing Arts, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla-5, India1. Research Scholar, Dept. of Performing Arts, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla-5, India)

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