Friday, April 15, 2011

A respectful homage and floral tribute to Tansen,a great musician as flashed on the f.b. on April 16,2011.

Bishwa Nath Singh

Tansen - the legendary musician was born in Gwalior in 1506. It was only after the age of five that Tansen showed any Musical talent. It was his Guru Hari Dasa, who had recognized his hidden talents as a real Musician.


(Picture of Tansen)

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Bishwa Nath Singh:

As Tansen has been a historical personality, it is difficult to extract from the extensive legend that surrounds him. It is reasonably certain that he was born into a Hindu Gaur Brahmin family, possibly in 1506, though some legends give it... as 1493 possibly in the village near Satna. His father Makrand Pandey was a poet and accomplished musician, who for some time was a temple priest in Varanasi. Tansen's name as a child was Ramtanu Pandey (his nicknames like Tanna and Mukul).He was born at a time when a number of Persian and Central Asian motifs were fusing with Indian classical music, his influence was central to creating the Hindustani classical ethos as we know today. A number of descendants and disciples have also considerably enriched the tradition. Almost all gharanas of Hindustani classical music claim some connection with the Tansen lineage. According to legend, he was noted for his imitations of animal calls and birdsong. is considered among the greatest composer-musicians in Hindustani classical music. He was an extraordinarily gifted vocalist, known for a large number of compositions, and also an instrumentalist who popularized and improved the rabab (of Central Asian origin)..He was one among the Nine Gems in the court of Emperor Akbar. He was also a poet, who composed many couplets. While he was in the court of Akbar, he started to compose new ragas or melodies based on Classical Indian Music. He is believed to be the father of Hindustani Music.His Sangeeta Sara and Rajmala are important documents on Music. He popularised the 'Drupad' style of music.He was such a great artist, that he became a legend in his own times. His talent was recognized early and it was the ruler of Gwalior, who conferred upon the maestro the honorific title 'Tansen'. A National Music festival known as 'Tansen Sangeet Sammelan' is held every year in December, near the tomb of Tansen at Behat as a mark of respect to his memory. He was among the Navaratnas (nine jewels) at the court of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Akbar gave him the title Miyan (an honorific, meaning learned man).The legendary musical prowess of Tansen surpasses all other legends in Indian and Pakistani music. In terms of influence, he can be compared only to the prolific sufi composer Amir Khusro (1253–1325), or to Bhakti tradition composers such as Kabir or Haridas.Several of his raga compositions have become mainstays of the Hindustani/Ancient Pakistani tradition, and these are often prefaced with Miyan ki ("of the Miyan"), e.g. Miyan ki Todi, Miyan ki Malhar, Miyan ki Mand, Miyan ka Sarang; in addition he is the creator of major ragas like Darbari Kanada, Darbari Todi, and others.He had also authored Sangeeta Sara and Rajmala which constitute important documents on music.Almost every gharana (school) tries to trace its origin to him, though some try to go further back to Amir Khusro. As for the Dhrupad style of singing, this was formalized essentially through the practice by composers like Tansen and Haridas, as well as others like Baiju Bawra who may have been a contemporary.After Tansen, some of the ideas from the rabab were fused with the traditional Indian stringed instrument, veena; one of the results of this fusion is the instrument sarod, which does not have frets and is popular today because of its perceived closeness to the vocal style.The famous qawwals, the Sabri Brothers of Pakistan claim lineage from Miyan Tansen He had died on April 26, 1586 in Delhi and Mughal Emperor Akbar and much of his court had attended the funeral procession of the greatest musician of his time Tansen. Other versions reveal 1589 as the year of his death. He was buried in the mausoleum complex of his Sufi guru Shaikh Muhammad Ghaus in Gwalior. The burial of Tansen in his shaykh's mausoleum is thought to indicate proof of his conversion to the faith of his spiritual guide, Islam.. Usually, the most prominent disciples of a saint are buried near the master's mausoleum, not much historical detail is known about their actual encounter.The interaction with Ghaus in the Sufi tradition and the earlier training with Swami Haridas in the Bhakti tradition led to a fusion of these streams in the work of Tansen. As it is, the mystic streams of Sufism and Bhakti had considerable philosophical and stylistic overlap; Ghaus in his text Bahr-ul-Hayat (Ocean of Life) devotes several chapters to Yoga practices. In Tansen's music, we find he continues to compose in Brajbhasha invoking traditional motifs such as Krishna or Shiva.Tansen was also influenced by other singers in the Gwalior court and also the musically proficient queen, Mriganayani (lit. doe-eyed), whose romance with the king had been forged on her singing; she remained a friend even after the death of the king. Other musicians at Gwalior may have included Baiju Bawra.Eventually, he joined the court of King Ramachandra Baghela of Rewa, India, where he remained from 1555-1562. It appears that the Mughal emperor Akbar heard of his prowess and sent his emissary Jalaluddin Qurchi to Ramachandra, who had little choice but to acquiesce, and Tansen went to Akbar's court in 1562.Another legend is that Akbar's daughter Meherunnissa was enamoured by Tansen and had a role in his coming to Akbar's court.Tansen converted to Islam from Hinduism, apparently on the eve of his marriage with Akbar's daughter.Mughal Emperor Akbar watching as Tansen receives a lesson from Swami Haridas. Imaginary situation depicted in Mughal miniature painting style in 1750 AD in Rajsthani Style of Painting..Tansen joined Akbar's court eventually becoming one of the treasured Navaratnas ( meaning nine jewel) of his court. It was Mughal Emperor Akbar who had conferred him the honorific title Miyan, and he is usually referred to today as Miyan Tansen. Legend has it that in his first performance, he was gifted one lakh gold coins.The presence of musicians like Tansen in Akbar's court has been related by historians to the theoretical position of making the empire's audible presence felt among the population, a mechanism related to Naubat or ritual performance. According to legend, Tansen's son Bilas Khan while mourning death of his father Tansen had composed Bilaskhani Todi.Every year in December, an annual festival, the Tansen Samaroh, is held in Gwalior to celebrate Tansen Let us join to pay our respectful homage and floral tribute to His lotus feet and seek His bliss for well-being of all living-being of this universe!

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April 16,2011.

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