Agra gharana

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Agra Gharana is a tradition of Hindustani classical vocal music descended from the Nauhar Bani. So far, Nauhar Bani has been traced back to around 1300 AD, during the reign of Emperor Allauddin Khilji of Delhi.

The first known musician of this tradition is Nayak Gopal. The style prevalent then in the Gharana was “Dhrupad-Dhamar”. Ustad Ghagghe Khudabuksh (1790-1880 AD) introduced the “Khayal” style of Gwalior Gharana into Agra gharana which Khudabaksh learnt from Natthan Paribaksh of Gwalior. Furthermore the Khayal style of Atrauli gharana was added in the late 19th century.

Distinguishing characteristics[edit]

The gayaki of the Agra Gharana is a blend of khayal gayaki and Dhrupad - Dhamar. In training, both the khayal and dhrupad components run hand in hand and are not taught in an isolated fashion. This is obvious from the svaroccara (The method of singing notes) of the Agra Gharana which demands that the projection of voice be more forceful and voluminous than encountered in khayal gayaki.The svarocarra of the gharana is also reminiscent of Dhrupad in which swaras are uttered open and bare (without grace notes).

Most khayal performances by artists of Agra gharana commence with the nom - tom alaap, a tradition unique to the Agra gharana. Different facets of a raga are displayed with the help of bandish or cija while the raga is liberated using vistaar. The use of bandish or cija for performing a raga is ubiquitous in all Hindustani classical music gharanas but cheez or bandish occupy a special position in the teaching methodology of the Agra Gharana.

The gharana adopts a kind of voice production which relies on a flatter version of the vowel sound "a"`, which makes its music agreeable to rhythmic variations and is best suited for a deep masculine voice. Emphasis is laid on bold, full-throated and robust voice production, and singing in the lower register (mandra) is favoured. Keeping in tune with its dhrupadic origins, the singers use broad and powerful ornamentations (gamaks), extensive glides (meends), and resonant articulations of notes. As with the Gwalior gharana, the Agra singers accentuate the importance of the bandish and its methodical exposition. Singers following Faiyaz Khan`s style resort to the dhrupadic nom tom alaap before singing the bandish. The singers of this gharana are also great masters over laya-kari or the rhythmic component. In fact, laya-kari is the lasting foundation on which the singers build the edifice of the bandish. In the hands of the best exponents, the dialogue between the singer and the tabla player often turns into a dramatic event. Their tihais are eagerly awaited, as are their nifty ways of arriving at the same, by building up anticipation within the listener.

This is the only Gharana that has still continued to sing Dhrupad-Dhamar along with Nom-Tom Alap, Khayal, Thumri, Tappa, Tarana, Hori, Dadra, Ghazal, Kaul, Rasiya etc.

Some prominent exponents[edit]



External links[edit]