The import of talented musicians from outside India has had a positive influence on raaga music in the Hinduism music tradition. Emphasis was placed on the aesthetic element of the Raaga structure. Rendering of Raaga became much more submersed with human emotions that were initially designed. The original raaga music still retained the ancient essence and its good old qualities. This made Hindustani music more active, making it an important art in the royal courts. Unfortunately being in a superior position in the courts and enjoying the fruits of the highest patronage from the kings, musicians became confident, idle and somewhat vain. Music faced a setback. From a strange combination of strength of the dynamism and weakness of the setback evolved what came to be known as the Gharana System.
Gharana in the musical terms came to represent a particular tradition or a particular way of presenting Hindustani music. It is interesting to trace the history of the concept of Gharana. Gharaha gained importance after the 16th century. King Akbars court proved to the most supportive to the propagation and flourishing of the Hindustani music, but his successors did not prove to be so. Therefore gifted musicians left their courts one by one and went all over North India looking for patronage from other courts and states. Once taken the rulers were averse to the musicians to go anywhere else. They were isolated from their people completely and forced to live in some kind of musical confinement. Naturally there remained no scope for these musicians to widen their musical knowledge or musical vision. Continued isolation produced rigid adherence to one?s style creating almost an obsession. From these arose strict musical lineages that were zealously guarded and preserved. Master of that lineage assumed the leadership of the followers of that musical lineage. Since the ?father? and the entire lineage was confined to one geographic area, their musical lineage, called ?Gharana? came to be known after the name of that place and their musical style itself as the style of that Gharana. The names of different Gaharana assumed the names of the villages and towns in North India.
As mentioned earlier the master of each Gharana created and trained all his disciples in his own individual style of music and presentations. It was faithfully carried on by loyal students and the following generations, thus establishing and propagating the specific musical style of the given Gharana, commonly called ?gayaki.? Musicians of the same Gharana shared a common musical heritage, a common repertoire and a common style of Raga presentation. Since Raga music was the only form of music in the Hindustani music tradition, Raga presentations itself flourished rapidly. While creating their own individual styles various Gharana masters stressed upon various aspects of Raga presentations, some emphasizing musical notes, some emphasizing the rhythmic aspect and some only the emotional expression, eventually the specific style becoming synonymous with the Gharana Gayaki. Musicians of each Gharana claimed themselves to be the best and their Gharana Gayaki to be superior to the rest. Therefore each Gharana Gayaki progressed well.
The core of each Gharana was usually a group of trained musicians related in some way through only the male members of the family. Occasionally members from the female line were included as well. Very few outsiders meaning students not related through blood had any chance of becoming a successor of the given Gharana. There were much folklore about this Gharana concept that have floated around. One such amazing folktale is that few disciples who after years of training from the head of one specific Gharana decided to change the Gharana.
(Last Updated on : 08-01-2014)
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