About an illustrious family of accomplished
musicians of Gwalior & Kirana Gharana
History of Indian music
The history of Indian music dates back to 3rd and 2nd millennia BC, during the Indus valley civilizations. Archaeological studies have validated the presence of several musical instruments like harps and drums during this era. The Samaveda which is one of the four Vedas (scriptures) that includes hymns and describes the Indian music. The Samaveda states that music originated as a tool for meditation and spiritual awakening. The era starting from 1500 BC to 500 BC witnessed the Vedic music. Vedic music was supposed to be closely intertwined with the Vedic religion, since music was an imperative element of the religious Vedic rituals. Vedic music was mainly played for two reasons – please the Gods and as an accompaniment to the sacrificial offerings in the Vedic rituals. The prominent instruments of the Vedic era include veena, tunav, dundubhi, bhoomi-dundubhi and talav. . The Rigveda contains the richa which are the recited Vedic hymns. Samaveda is supposed to be the origin of Indian music. The word sa ma is actually a compound word made up of sa that refers to the hymns and ma, which refers to the musical notes. The Vedic period also gave rise to the Gurukul system of imparting knowledge. In this system the shishya (pupil) lived in the house of his guru (teacher) and studied the Vedas and other subjects under the guidance of the teacher for as many as 12 years.
Vedic music which included Varna, Swara , Matra, Bala, Sama and Santana. The varna refers to the syllables, the Swara refers to the musical notes, matrarefers to the duration, bala refers to the articulation,sama refers to the balance in overall utterance, whereas santana refers to the spacing of the words. The history of Indian music during 500 BC to 200 BC includes references of the Ramayana which was the first Indian epic composed sage Valmiki, and the Mahabharata , composed by sage Vyasa, and also sage Bharata’s Pathya Sangeet. The Pathya Sangeet was primarily developed to spread information and not considered as an entertainment tool. The Pathya Sangeet is based on six basic elements, which include the Saptaswara, which are the seven musical notes, the Sthanas, which are the three vital locations for tone production, Varnas, which are the four ways of tonal arrangements, kakus which are the tow basic modes of intonation, Alankaras, which are the sic embellishments and lastly the Angas or the six aspects of the music.
According to the Indian mythology, Narada was the first sage to whom the laws of music were revealed. It is also believed that Tumburu was the first singer, Saraswati was the goddess of music and learning and Bharata created the Natyashastra or the rules for theatre between 200 BC and 200 AD, which also focused on music. The Natyashastra includes descriptions of various classes of instruments, Gandharva music and also provides detailed information about the Talas, which refers to the rhythmic element of Indian music. The Gupta Period from 300 AD to 600 AD was marked by the masterpieces created by Kalidasa, who was a lyrical poet and a writer of several great epics and plays. His work includes numerous references to musical instruments of his era which included Parivadini vina, Vipanchi vina, Pushkar, Mridang, Vamshi and Shankha. There also existed several types of songs like the Kakaligeet, Streegeet and Apsarogeeti. In addition to this there are references of various technical terms for defining voic e quality and other nuances of music, which included terms like Murchana, Swarasaptaka and Tana . The next landmark towards the evolution of the Indian ragas was the emergence of gandharva gaan which is recorded in the text Dattilam dated roughly 400 AD. The Period from 600 AD to 1200 AD, was marked by the emergence of the regional music, classical Hinudstani music and also the influences of Islamic music. The first major text describing ragas was written by Matanga and was known as Brihaddeshi, which literally means ‘The Great Treatise on the Regional’ Brishaddeshi also introduced the sargam which is the musical notation in Indian music.
Hindustani art music began to evolve after pre-medieval Indian music passed through certain stages of transformation and many Indian and non-Indian cultures took an active part in this transformation. Around 9th century, the Sufis secured a firm foothold in India with their great love for music and acceptance of many indigenous customs.
The period from 1200 AD to 1700 AD was marked by several other benchmarks in Indian music including the maestro Khusro who composed verses in Persian, Turkish, Arabic, Braj Bhasha, Hindawi and Khadi Boli. Khusro was the one who is supposed to have invented qawali, qasida, qalbana, naqsh and many others forms of Indian music. Khusro is said to have created a new system of musicology, called 'Indraprastha Mata' or 'Chaturdandi Sampradaya' and also brought into circulation the two unique musical genres called 'tarana' and 'kaul'. Another important work called the Sangeet Ratnakara written by Sharangdeva provides a detailed explanation regarding the construction and the techniques of playing fourteen types of drums. The next benchmark in the history of Indian music was the Bhakti revolution in 800 BC, which spread in the north during 14th and 15th centuries. This was the emergence of music as a form of devotion, and belonged to the saint poets like Tulsidas and Kabir.
Then there was the emergence of several music streams like Ashtachap and Haveli Sangeet. Information about music during Emperor Akbar's court comes from the text Ain e Akbari which mentions the rich music culture of Akbar’s time. The history includes information about instruments like sarmandal, bin, nay, karna and tanpura and numerous musical maestros including the legendary Tansen.
1700 AD, music in India went through a continuous metamorphosis process for four centuries and finally resulted into the Hindustani as we know it today.
'Haveli sangeet' was the temple music practised by the 'Pushti Margi Sampradaya'. Nathadwara in Rajasthan was the main seat of this Vaishnava devotional cult. The cult has created a rich historical tradition of temple-based music described as 'Haveli sangeet'. 'Haveli' is a temple visualised as a palace that the deity chooses to live in.
The musical history of the post-Ashtachap period of Pushti-sangeet coexists with many developments in Hindustani Art Music The advent of the Dhrupad, Khayal and Tappa, the dissociation of dance from music, and the shift from the pakhawaj to the tabla, all happened during this period. the legendary musician of Akbar's court, had his early training in the school of Raja Mansingh Tomar of Gwalior. According scholars, Tansen reduced the 4000 ragas and raginis of his time into a system of 400. He also reduced 92 talas to 12. He created many ragas like 'Miyan Malhar' and 'Miyan ki todi'.
Tansen's Senia gharana divided into two streams. His elder son Bilaskhan headed the Rabab-players gharana and his second son Suratsen the sitar-players gharana.
In Akbar’s court there was a complete fusion of Indian and Persian music. The musicians came from far and the music was rich and varied headed by Tansen, The main instruments were the swarmandal, bin, nay, karna and tanpura.
Music in India, and especially classical music, went through a metamorphosis for four centuries to result in the Hindustani music of today.
Muhammadshah Rangeele (AD 1716-1748). was a loving and generous to many musicians. It was in his court that Nyamatkhan (Sadarang), invented a new style called Khayal.
In the early 20th century, two people revolutionised Indian music: Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar and Pandit Vishnu Narayana Bhatkhande V. D. Paluskar (1872-1931 AD) introduced the first music colleges.
V.N.Bhatkhande pioneered the introduction of an organised musical system reflecting current performance practices. He meticulously collected data on music, and documented and analysed performing traditions. His literature on music remains unparalleled even today and is essential for a systematic study of Hindustani classical music
Indian Classical music is now basically dividend into two broad categories namely the Hindustani music and the Carnatic music. Both the streams of classical Indian music rest on two basic elements which are the raga which refer to the melodic formulae made up of constituent musical notations, and the tala which are the rhythmic cycles in Indian classical music.
The Carnatic music has its roots in the musical traditions from the southern part of the Indian subcontinent. Carnatic music emphasizes on vocals. Most of the compositions in Carnatic music are sung. Even when played on instruments Carnatic compositions are meant to be played in a peculiar fashion called gayaki which means singing. On the other hand Hindustani music is a traditional from North India. The basics of the Hindustani classical music include melodic modes called thaatsthat are a part of the ragas. Hindustani music is based on the basic system called sargam which is similar to the Western solfege, thus the Indian sa, re, ga, ma, pa, dha, ni
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