Tansen,(1506-1589) the magical musician, was one of the 'Navratna' (nine gems) at the court of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. He was born in Gwalior as a son of Mukund Misra, who was a poet. As a young child he learnt music from the legendary teacher of his time, Haridas Swami. He first served as a court musician of the King Ramchandra of Mewa and then of the emperor Akbar. He was conferred the title of Miyan, by emperor Akbar and since came to be knonw as Miyan Tansen. Though born in a Hindu family Tansen embraced Islam in his later life.
He is said to have no equals in music and it is believed that he had performed miracles through his music. He is supposed to had the ability of creating rain by singing rag Megh Malhar and creating fire by singing t rag Deepak. He is the composer of many ragas such as Durbari Kanada, Miyan Ki Todi, Miyan Ki Malhar and Miyan Ki Sarang. The famous Dhrupad style of singing is believed to be started by Tansen and his teacher Swami Haridas. He wrote two important documents on music namely Sangeeta Sara and Rajmala. He was a mystic musician.
His tomb is in Gwalior near the tomb of Saint Hazrat Ghaus whose teaching influenced him to convert to Islam. There is a tamarind tree near Tansen's tomb, believed to be as old as the tomb. According to a legend a person who chews the leaves of this tamarind tree is blessed with the great musical qualities. The descendants of Tansen are referred to as the 'Senia Gharana'.
Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, lived from November 10, 1872 to 1937. He is widely considered to be one of the most important figures in Hindustani music of the 20th century.
Abdul Karim Khan was born in Kirana (Uttar Pradesh, North India) in to the Kirana musical family which traced its roots to musician brothers Ghulam Ali and Ghulam Maula. His father, Kale Khan was the grand son of Ghulam Ali. Karim Khan received training under uncle Abdulla Khan and father Kale Khan. He also received guidance from another uncle Nanhe Khan. Apart from vocals and sarangi, he also learnt Veena (Been), Sitar and Tabla.
The innovations he brought to his vocal style distinguishes Kirana style from others. The slow melodic development of the raga in Vilambit laya (slow tempo) was the most characteristic aspect of his music. He worked hard to maintain his voice to be sweet and melodious, which shaped his music. The thumri style he developed was also quite different from the poorab ang or punjabi ang. His thumri progresses in a leisurely langour with ample abandonment. He was also the first Hindustani musician to seriously study Carnatic system and probably the first to be invited to sing all over the south. He has even recorded a Thyagaraja Krithi. He was also influenced by Rehmet Khan of the Gwalior gharana and adopted the direct style of presentation.
Pandit Bhimsen Joshi(1922-2011)requires no introduction of sorts. A classicist by training and profession, he was known the world over for his ‘Khayal’ form of singing. What made him distinctive from his contemporaries was his ability to balance between the traditional music and mass-culture taste. This probably best explains his success as a Hindustani vocalist in terms of largest commercially recorded repertoire. Blessed with fine musical sensibilities and brilliant hold of fundamentals, his powerful voice, amazing breath control, rhythmic stance, and intelligent fusion of passion and creativity has marvelled all who have heard him play. He was a purist by heart and did not experiment much with his music which was marked by spontaneity, accuracy and unbelievably fast paced taans. However, he enriched the ‘Kiraana Gharana’ by adapting characteristics from other gharanas and adding his own distinctive taste to it. A Bharat Ratna awardee, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi was also conferred with numerous other prestigious and coveted awards.
Ustad Amir Khan (1912-1974) was a popular classical vocalist from India. He was the pioneering figure in the Hindustani Classical Music and founder of Indore Gharana. He was a renowned voice who impressed many minds with his highly trained classical voice. Though he started out his musical journey with sarangi lessons, but seeing his affinity towards vocal music, Amir Khan's father devoted more time towards training him the minute details of vocal music. He was born in Indore to a musical family. His father was Shahmir Khan, a veena and sarangi player of Bhendibazaar Gharana and played at the court of Holkars of Indore.
He was the pivotal force behind the popularization of the tarana, and also khyalnuma compositions in Persian. Like Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Amir Khan's musical journey too started with sarangi training. But he generally performed khayals and taranas with only a tanpura and tabla for accompaniment. Sometimes he had a subdued harmonium accompaniment, but he almost never used the sarangi.
One name that truly epitomizes the 20th century Hindustani classical music tradition is that of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan(1902-1968). Often touted as the Tansen of 20th Century, this music maestro has blended the best of classical music and created a unique style of his own. His style of music had an effervescent melodic quality with a sense of enthusiasm. He had one of the most flexible voices, which could easily master the flow of words and deliver the real essence of the song. This great musician has contributed immensely in his short career span. Read his life history in this short biography of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan.
Bade Ghulam Ali Khan was born in the year 1902 in the great musical lineage from Kasur, located in Western Punjab. He blended the best of the four traditions of music: Patiala that was own, the elements of Dhrupad, the delicacy of Jaipur and the embellishments of Gwalior. Bade Ghulam Ali looked beyond the "Bol-banav" tradition of Thumri. He wanted to break the age old tradition and wanted to play with the notes with greater abandon and less restraint. This kind of Thumri is now well established by the efforts of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan.
The career span of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan was relatively short. He made his mark in Calcutta in the year 1938 and All India Music Conference in Bombay in the year 1944. He was titled the Master in each and every field of music that he explored. But, he breathed his last at the age of 66, much to the shock of his fans and music lovers. On 25th April, 1968 he breathed his last, depriving the world of much more priceless treasure that he could have given.
Ustad Ali Baksh Jarnail (1850–1920) was an Indian classical singer. Together with his friend Fateh Ali Khan, he founded the Patiala Gharana in the 19th century. They used to sing together as a team back then.
Patiala gharana has claimed to combine the musical traditions of Delhi gharana, Gwalior gharana and Jaipur-Atrauli Gharana. Patiala gharana has many notable pupils including Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan (1902–1968), Malika Pukhraj (1912 – 4 February 2004),Gauhar Jan (1875–1930) and the renowned ghazal singer of Pakistan Ghulam Ali.
Ustad Ali Baksh Jarnail regularly sang with Fateh Ali Khan in late 19th century and early part of the 20th century. They both were trained in music by Tanras Khan and Kalu Khan of Delhi gharana as well as Haddu Khan and Hassu Khan of Gwalior gharana. Before the partition of India in 1947, Ali Baksh Jarnail was the court musician of the Maharaja in Patiala. Ali Baksh Jarnail had one son, Ustad Akhtar Hussain (1900–1972) who, then, had 3 sons Amanat Ali Khan (1932 – 18 September 1974), Bade Fateh Ali Khan and Hamid Ali Khan who have been carrying the torch of Patiala gharana in Pakistan for many decades now. Asad Amanat Ali Khan, Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan are the newer generation names in Patiala gharana in Pakistan.