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Jaipur Gharana – The Sitar Gharana of Indian Classical Music

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Jaipur Gharana – The Sitar Gharana of Indian Classical Music

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The Jaipur gharana is practically the mother gharana from which practically all the Sitar gharanas have taken something or the other. The Jaipur gharana was developed by Masit Khan or Masit Sen of the Senia dynasty who was tenth directed descendent of Miyan Tansen from the side of Bilas Khan. This is not repeating the dynasty from Tansen’s daughter’s side who has almost managed to establish their claims of being the real Senias. Masit Khan was a Dhrupadia and had a fair knowledge of Rudra Bin. He was the founder of the Masit­khani style of Sitar. This is not to be confused with Masit­khani or slow Gatkari of Sitar. The Masit Khani Baaz included Vilambit Alap, Madh Map, Jod Alap, and Thok Jhala Chikari, the slow and faster gats or composition’s. There is another misapprehension which must be cleared up once and for all. Some of today’s exponents have circulated the view, that the Jaipur Sitar had no Chikari strings. This is a total falsehood. The author has inherited a sitar of Jaipur gharana which should be over 125 years old. This Sitar has Chikari, full range of tarabs (sympathetic strings) and also Kharach/Pancham strings. This also gives a lie to the propaganda spread by another group of players that the Jaipur Sitar players did not know or play Alap in Kharach/ Pancham strings. The 125 year old Sitar to which reference has been made above travelled to Europe once in 1894 with Ustad Shamsuddin Khan when he performed at Rome, London and Paris and a second time with the author’s father Amulya Chandra Mukherjee to Paris 1932-34.

Coming back to the Jaipur Gharana, Masit khan was followed by great Sitar players like Rahim Sen, Amrit Sen, Dulha Khan, Amir Khan, Barkatullah khan, the latter having taught Ashiq Ali khan. The other players were Hafiz khan, Haider Husain Khan and Muhmad Bux. The Jaipur gharana followed the Bin and Dhrupad in its Alap technique and also in its Gatkari. The first Masitkhani gats emerged from Dhrupads in the form of Sadras set to Jhaptal a tala set to ten beats. From this developed the famous Masitkhani gats in teental of 16 beats. The Masitkhani gat in slightly faster tempo opened the way first for Ferozkhani gats and finally the faster gats in Rezakhani style with profuse use of the Mizrab. Both Ferozkhan and Ghulam Raza were Sitar players of other gharanas but whose inspiration clearly came from the Jaipur style of Sitar playing.

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