The Musical Glory of Gwalior

Abdul Fazal’s ‘AIN-E-AKBARI’ have detailes that in the Darbar of Akbar out of 36 highest ranking singers 15 artists were of Gwalior parampara . Out of them “Sangeet Samraat Tansen” of behat nearby Gwalior hardly needs any introduction. Similarly in reign of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, Gwalior was undoubtedly the highest cultural center because thens Mughal Governor of Kashmir “Fakeerullah Khan” has described Gwalior as “Shiraz” of India in his musical boo ” Raag Darpan”.

In 15th century Raja Man singh of Tomar dynasty of Gwalior has been attributed giviing popularity to music in Gwalior. He invented Dhrupad style of Indian Classical and established first Sangeet Vidyapeeth (Music Training School)  all over the world at Gwalior Fort and by establishing many creation of Dhrupads extended his great contribution.

In another study in the first chapter of “FRISHTA- KE ITHAS” there is an interesting mention of development and progress of music. Malchand whoes poetry is famous in Malwa, brought music from south to Gwalior.It is mentioned the book that music was propagated by Malchand in India.

Malchand remained in Gwalior for very long and dynasty of Talingi music family reached all over India from Gwalior.  Gwalior’s music tradition is quite old, Helping hands of Tomar dynasty in the develppment of music is described in  Tabat-e-Akbari written by khwaja Nazimudin Ahmed in which it is mentioned that exchange of musical books between Doongar Singh Tomar and Jain-ul Abedin of Kashmir.

Raja Man Singh was a great adjudge of art of music. Queen Mrignaini was helpful to King Mansingh in his music recitals; Mrignaini has become ever lasting in music grafted in the name of Gujri, Bahul Gujri, Maal Gujri and Mangal Gujri.

Raja Man Singh has credit for writing “Maan Koutuhal” a music book which was later translated by Fakirulla. Its manuscripts are available in Raja Library Rampur (U.P). This book contains the version of  Sangeet Sammelan (Musical Convention ) held by King Man singh Tomar of gwalior. This fact is corroborated by Abul Fajal.He described that  Bakhshu, Charju, Karan and Bhanu were the four artists of Man singh. They had assembled such songs which were liked by all sections of society.

Especiality of Gwalior Gharana lies in its various styles of Indian Classical Music ie, Dhrupud, Dhamaar, Khyal, Tappa, Thumri, Daadra, Leda, Tarana, Triput and Chaturang. Speciality of Man Singh’s music was that he accepted the popular music of Northern India and grafted it into high class music.

Abul Fajal in “Aine Akbara ” has written about poet Laureate Tansen that singer of his caliber was not there for thousands of years . Tansen was the first person, who in his Malhar had combined Komal Gandhar and Nishad; apart from this he was author of “MIAN KI TODI”.

Local people describes  that after listening the music of Tansen, not only trees and hills started moving; even candles used to get lighted by his song is asserted by old musicians of Gwalior area. About him it is popularly famous ” VIDHANA YES JIYA JANE KE SESHAM DIYAI NA KAN, DHARA MERU SUB DOLI HAI TANSEN KI TAAN.”


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