One of the oldest khayal gharanas is Gwalior Gharana. This gharana was first patronized by the Mughal Emperor, Akbar and the first famous vocalist of this tradition was Miyan Tansen who belonged to the city of Gwalior. Founded in mid 16th century, the most alluring feature of this Gharana is its simplicity and the use of popular ragas. "Raga Vistar" and "Alankar" are often used to enhance the beauty of the ragas; however, "Tirobhava" is avoided. Another enchanting element is the Behlava which refers to slow rendition of musical notes. Bol alaps of this Gharana are also greatly admired which comprise of repetitive singing of words or texts sung in varied ways. Melodic sequence of words is known as Bol-Taans whereas in Sapat Taans musical notes are sung in straight sequence at a slow or Vilambit pace. Khayal and Dhrupad singings emerged in this tradition, which have also undergone several changes owing to different influences. Bhairav, Gaud Malhar, Miya Ki Malhar, Alhaiya Bilawal, Hameer, Yaman, Sarang and Shree are the ragas most commonly used in this Gharana. The exponents of this Gharana are Krishnarao Shankar Pandit, Pandit Vinayak Torvi, Malini Rajurkar, Raja Bhaiya Poonchwale, Abdul Rashid Khan and Meeta Pandit.
Indore Gharana is one of the highly acclaimed Gharanas of central India. Ustad Amir Khan founded this Gharana amalgamating the styles of four maestros namely Aman Ali Khan, Abdul Karim Khan, Abdul Wahid Khan and Rajab Ali Khan. The unique features of this Gharana that enchants the audiences include special emphasis on melody combination of different types of taans, improvised middle and lower octaves and extremely rare usage of tihai. Prominent exponents of this tradition of music enlist Amir Khan, Pandit Amarnath, Singh Bandhu, Mahendra Toke, Sultan Khan, Munir Khan, Kankana Banerjee and many more.
Maihar Gharana is music Gharana of central India. It was created in Maihar, Madhya Pradesh, by the Sarod maestro Ustad Allauddin Khan. The Gharana gained prominent fame in 20th century. The renowned musicians of this Gharana are Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Bahadur Khan, Sharan Rani, Pandit Vishnu Govind Jog, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia and many more.
Music Gharanas of Central India have not only gained acclamation in the country but also in the whole world. These Gharanas have also produced some of eminent musicians and every one of them are famed for their unique style and mesmerizing renditions. Music Gharanas of Central India form a vital part of Indian cultural heritage.