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For the 1961 Hindi film, see Gharana (1961 film).
Hindustani classical music



melody: VocalsSitarSarodSurbaharRudra veenaViolinSarangiEsraj/DilrubaBansuriShehnaiSantoorHarmoniumJal tarang

rhythm: TablaPakhawaj

drone: TanpuraShruti boxSwarmandal


classical: DhrupadDhamarKhyalTaranaSadra

semiclassical: ThumriDadraQawwaliGhazalChaitiKajri



In Hindustani music, a gharānā is a system of social organization linking musicians or dancers by lineage or apprenticeship, and by adherence to a particular musical style. A gharana also indicates a comprehensive musicological ideology. This ideology sometimes changes substantially from one gharana to another. It directly affects the thinking, teaching, performance and appreciation of music.

The word gharana comes from the Hindi word 'ghar' which is derived from Sanskrit for Griha, which means 'house'. It typically refers to the place where the musical ideology originated; for example, some of the gharanas well known for singing khyals are: Agra, Gwalior, Indore, Jaipur, Kirana, and Pattiala.

Vocal gharanas[edit]

Khyal gharanas[edit]

The gharana system in khyal was rooted in the guru-shishya tradition and was similar to the Dhrupad Bani system. The gharana system was greatly influenced by the gradual fall of the Mughal Empire, which forced musicians to move from Delhi to princely states such as Gwalior, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Patiala and Rampur.

The gharanas have distinct styles of presenting the khyal — how much to emphasize and how to enunciate the words of the composition, when to sing the sthayi and antara, whether to sing an unmetered alap in the beginning, what kinds of improvisations to use, how much importance to give to the rhythmic aspect, and so on. However, an individual performer from a gharana may choose to borrow appealing stylistic aspects of another gharana in his or her gayaki. The prominent khyal gharanas are:[1]

Gharana Founding Artists Approximate founding date Revived by Approximate revival date Features
Gwalior Gharana Nathan Pir Baksh, Nathu Khan Mid-16th Century Bol-baant, bol-taan, no sargam, wide range in taans, alankarik taans, descending sapaat taans, roughly similar emphasis on melody and rhythm, preference for simple (as opposed to compound) ragas, repertoire of bandishes, variety of taans
Agra Gharana Ghagghe Khudabaksh Mid-19th century Faiyaz Khan Early 20th century Closer to dhrupad with nom-tom type alap and other elements, rhythmic play, frequent use of tisra jati in teentaal, emphasis on voice culture to achieve wide range and powerful throw of voice, bol-baant, bol-taan, rare use of sargam, slower taans, use of jabda taan, repertoire of traditional and self-composed bandishes
Kirana Gharana Nayak Gopal Late 17th century Abdul Karim Khan, Abdul Wahid Khan, Sawai Gandharva and his students Early 20th century Slow-tempo raga development, emphasis on melody, long and sustained pitches, usually traditional ragas, use of sargam, very little bol-baant, clarity of text pronunciation, use of some Carnatic ragas and raga features, emphasis on vocal as opposed to instrumental form
Bhendi Bazaar Gharana Chhajju Khan, Nazeer Khan, Khadim Hussain Khan Late 19th century Emphasis on breath control to be able to sing long passages in a single breath, use of merukhand for extended alaps, use of gamak taan and sargam, use of some Carnatic ragas
Jaipur-Atrauli Gharana Alladiya Khan Late 19th century Repertoire of rare and complex ragas, based on Agra gharana, use of aakaar for badhat, heavy use of teentaal, rupak, jhaptaal and ada-chautaal, rhythmic play, use of bol-baant and bol-taan, rippling taans, heavy emphasis on taans
Patiala Gharana Bade Fateh Ali Khan, Ali Baksh Khan Late 19th century Emphasis on voice development, roughly similar emphasis on melody and rhythm, bol-baant-like sargam with occasional tonic transpositions, occasional use of bol-taan, variety of taans, fast sargam and taan patterns, may or may not include antara, influence of tappa style
Rampur-Sahaswan Gharana Inayat Hussain Khan Mid-19th century Emphasis on melody, little bol-baant or bol-taan, use of sargam, sapaat taans
Indore Gharana Amir Khan Mid-20th century Slow-tempo raga development, improvisation mostly in lower and middle octaves, tendency towards serious and expansive ragas, emphasis on melody, judicious use of pause between improvisations, bol alap and sargam using merukhand patterns, sparing application of murki, use of kan swaras in all parts of performance, controlled use of embellishments to preserve introspective quality, rare use of tihai, careful enunciation of text, may or may not include antara, multiple laya jatis in a single taan, mixture of taan types in a single taan, known for ruba'idar tarana (considered similar to chhota khyal)
Delhi Gharana Qawwaliyas Late 18th century Sangi Khan, Mamman Khan Extensive use of sargam and taan patterns in both vilambit and drut
Jodhpur-Mewati Gharana Ghagghe Nazir Khan Mid-19th century Jasraj Late 20th century Emphasis on melody, known for bhajans, sapaat taans and gamak taans, use of sargam
Sham Chaurasia Gharana Miyan Chand Khan, Miyan Suraj Khan 16th century Salamat Ali and Nazakat Ali Khan Mid-20th century Emphasis on layakari using bol-baant and tihai, fast sargam and taan patterns

Dhrupad gharanas[edit]

Thumri gharanas[edit]

In the Benares Thumri Gharana, the words in the text of a song are musically embellished to bring out their meaning, while the Lucknow gharana presents intricately embellished and delicate thumris that are explicit in their eroticism. The principal feature of the thumri of the Patiala gharana is its incorporation of the tappa from the Punjab region. It is with this tappa element that the Patiala gharana makes its impact, departing from the khyal-dominated Benaras thumris and the dance-oriented Lucknow thumris.[2]

Instrumental gharanas[edit]

Tabla gharanas[edit]

The following are the six widely accepted Tabla Gharanas. The prominent Tabla Gharanas are in bold (ordered based on chronology of founding):[1]

Gharana Founding artists Approximate founding date Founding location Famous exponents
Delhi Gharana Siddhar Khan Early 18th century Delhi Ustad Ghami khan saheb, Ustad Imam Ali Khan,ustad munnu khan saheb, Ustad Latif Ahmed Khan saheb, (son of latif ahmed khan,akbar latif khan & babar latif khan )Ustad Shafaat Ahmed Khan]]
Ajrara gharana Kallu Khan, Miru Khan Early 19th century Meerut Ustad Habibuddin Khan,Ustad Mehboob Hussain Khan, Prof. Sudhirkumar Saxena, Ustad Manju Khan s/o late Ustad Habibuddin Khan, (Ustad Yusuf Khan, Pandit Babu Ram Parvesh Singh, Ustad Ramjan Khan Sahib, Pandit Bal Krishan Sharma - disciples of Ustad Habibuddin Khan), Aman Ali, Athar Hussain, Anil Kumar,all are disciples of ustad manju khan s/o late ustad habibudin khan,Ustad Sarwar Sabri and Ustad Akram Khan.
Lucknow gharana Miyan Bakshu 19th century Lucknow Ustad Ilmas Hussain Khan son of Ustad Afaq Hussain Khan,Mr. Timir Roy Chowdhury (Deciple of Khalifa Ustad Afq Hussain Khan), Pt. Achchan Maharaj (Jagannath Maharaj),Late Pandit Anil Bhattacharjee, Prof.Biswajit Bhattacharjee.(R.B.U.),Pt. Santosh Biswas, Pt. Swapan Chaudhuri Ustaad Faiyaz Khan. Mrs.Nibedita Bhattacharjee[Bagchi].
Benares gharana Ram Sahai Late 18th century Benaras Ram Sahai, Kanthe Maharaj, Anokhelal Mishra, Shamta Prasad, Kishen Maharaj, Mahapurush Mishra, Ashutosh Bhattacharya, Nandan Mehta, Kumar Bose, Ananda Gopal Bandopadhyay, Samar Saha, Sharda Sahai, Manikrao Popatkar, Sukhwinder Singh Namdhari, Ramkumar Mishra, Sandeep Das, Arvind Kumar Azad, Shubh Maharaj
Farukhabad gharana Haji Vilayat Ali Khan 19th century Farukhabad Ustad Masit Khan, Ustad Ahmedjan Thirakwa, Pandit Jnan Prakash Ghosh, Ustad Keramatullah Khan, Pandit Kanai Dutta, Pandit Shyamal Bose, Pandit Shankar Ghosh, Pt. Anindo Chatterjee, Pandit Abhijit Banerjee,Ustad Sabir Khan, Pandit Nayan Ghosh, Ustad Amir Hussain Khan, Pt Pandharinath Nageshkar, Pandit Bickram Ghosh
Punjab gharana Miyan Qader Baksh 19th century Punjab Ustad Qadeer Buksh, Ustad Shaukat Hussein Khan, Ustad Abdul Sattar Tari Khan, Ustad Alla Rakha Khan, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Pandit Yogesh Samsi

Wind and string instruments[edit]

Sitar gharanas[edit]

Dance gharanas[edit]

Main article: Kathak § Gharanas

In Kathak performers today generally draw their lineage from three major schools of Kathak: the Jaipur gharana, the Lucknow gharana and the Banaras gharana (born in the courts of the Kachwaha Rajput kings, the Nawab of Oudh, and Varanasi respectively); there is also a less prominent (and later) Raigarh gharana which amalgamated technique from all three preceding gharanas but became famous for its own distinctive compositions.

The Lucknow gharana remains the most popular throughout the country. However, in recent times the Jaipur gharana has caught up and today most performers throughout India perform techniques belonging to both styles. With amalgamation of the techniques and poses from other dance forms, the purity of the movements and gestures may be diluted or modified along with the contemporary trends.


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