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Day 23 – Q 4.What is the ‘gharana tradition’ in Hindustani music? Discuss. Does such tradition also lie in Carnatic music? Is gharana tradition facing a crisis? Examine.

4. What is the ‘gharana tradition’ in Hindustani music? Discuss. Does such tradition also lie in Carnatic music? Is gharana tradition facing a crisis? Examine. 

हिंदुस्तान संगीत में ‘घराना परंपरा’ क्या है? चर्चा करें। क्या ऐसी परंपरा कर्नाटक संगीत में भी है? क्या भारत में घराना परंपरा संकटग्रस्त है? जांच करें।


Indian Classical Music is one of the finest ancient art forms of the world. Part from its beauty and entertaining qualities as a pure performing art, its spiritual propensity as well as its ability to positively affect and enhance one’s mental intellectual capacities in multiple ways is well acknowledged.

Styles of Indian classical music:

There are two main styles of Indian classical music, Hindustani Classical Music and Carnatic Classical Music, each of these styles has a unique set of instruments and sonic characteristics. The intention behind the music, however, is the same. Historically, in the early years, Indian music traditions would be carried on through a lineage known as a gharana, literally meaning ‘family’.

In the early 19th century, gharanas came to be formed by adhering to stylistic peculiarities and innovations of certain musicians by other musicians within their families or regions. The name chosen for each gharana usually reflected the kingdoms or regions to which the musicians came from to indicate their roots. Hence, a few of the most prominent gharanas are referred to by such names as Agra, Jaipur and Gwalior.

Concept behind Gharanas:

  • Indian Classical Music training and learning has its roots in the teacher-student parampara or guru-shishya tradition.
  • A gharana comes into being when a consistent style and method of music singing or playing musical instruments is passed on from one generation to another over 3 or more generations.
  • While some gharanas are formed directly by the father – son, others may be formulated when a teacher passes on his or her training & style of music to a valuable and talented student.

Categories of Gharanas – There are several different gharanas which may be divided into categories such as:

  • Vocal Gharanas – Khyal, Dhrupad, Thumri.
  • Instrumental Gharanas – Tabla Gharanas, Sitar Gharanas, Wind & String Instrument Gharanas.
  • Dance Gharanas

List of Music Gharanas, India:

  • Etawa Gharana
  • Jaipur Gharana
  • Banaras Gharana
  • Gwalior Gharana
  • Delhi Gharana
  • Indore Gharana
  • Patiala Gharana
  • Agra Gharana
  • Kirana Gharana
  • Rampur Sahaswan Gharana
  • Bhendi Bazar Gharana
  • Mewati Gharana
  • Dhrupad Gharana

The two styles of Indian classical music began to separate in the 12th and 13th centuries with the Mughal invasions of North India. Northern music absorbed Persian and Arab influences. Khyal and dhrupad are the two main genres of Hindustani music but there are also other classical and semi-classical genres. In the 16th and 17th centuries the division between the Hindustani and Carnatic styles became quite marked.

Gharana tradition in Carnatic music:

Carnatic Music created by Purandardasa has a fixed structure, and it doesn’t give such flexibility as you can see in the Hindustani music, so there are no innovations are there and they seldom allowed & thus did not lead to creation of specific gharanas.

Is gharana tradition is facing crisis:

  • Lack of patronage as earlier through kings of particular region.
  • Migration & breakdown of traditional society, absence of patronage by traditional elite.
  • Influence of western music
  • The very complex & technical nature of Carnatic Music.

Although in the 21st century, it seems the importance of gharanas has reduced, but the relevance of gharanas is not being questioned, musicians have learnt to imbibe the beauty of many styles. Gharana gayaki is a byword for discipline and a way to draw from the rich treasure left behind by great masters.

Best answer: Singha1370

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