In focus Among all the gharana styles, kirana gharana found more acceptance among the south Indians. RANEE KUMR

The term ‘gharana’ in Hindi is derived from the word ‘ghar’ (house/family). In Hindustani music parlance it refers to the place where a particular musical ideology originated.

And since the entire system of Indian teaching, be it Vedas, music or dance, came under the guru-sishya parampara, which was a sort of residential learning and teaching, it is to be assumed as a ‘school’.

The earliest of such schools is the Gwalior gharana (16th century) founded by Nathan Peerbaksh, who obviously belonged to Gwalior.

The forte of this gharana is perfect accent, clear-cut voice and comprehensive attention to raag, taal and swar.

Some of the musicians of Gwalior gharana who rose to prominence are Krishna Rao Shankar Pandit, Raja Bhaiya Poonchwale.

The next oldest style is the Sham Chaurasia gharana (16th century) whose famous proponents were Miyan Chand Khan and Miyan Suraj Khan where the emphasis lay on layakari (rhythmic patterns), bhol baant and tihayi, racy sargam and taan.

The rest of the gharanas originated in the 19th and 20th centuries like the Agra gharana, said to have been founded by Khuda Baksh of Agra.

This style also lays stress on bhol taan (using words of the song). The song itself is rendered in medium tempo with an open and clear voice. The most popular musicians of this gharana are Vilayat Hussain Khan and Fayyaz Khan.

For south Indians who are into Hindustani music appreciation, the Kirana gharana (style) holds more appeal. And that is because, this style has adopted certain subtleties from the Carnatic mode of singing.

Though the name ‘Kairana’ is attributed to a town in Haryana from where the progenitor of this gharana, Ustad Abdul Karim Khan and his ancestors hailed, Kirana gharana found the largest following in southern India.

The Ustad, a frequent visitor at the court of Mysore then where the royal patronage of the Wodeyars extended to all artists, was said to have been inspired and influenced by Carnatic music. He transformed the Khyal, with stylistic deviations, tempered with Carnatic sensibilities.

A rather weird name occurs in another notable school of music called the Bhendi bazar gharana founded in the late 19th century by Chhajju Khan, Nazeer Khan and Hussain Khan. This school lays stress on breath control while rendering long phrases. An improvisational foray wherein just three to four notes (swar) are explored with all sorts of permutations for nearly half-an-hour (Merukhand), the gamak taan (gamakam) and sargam and adapting a few Carnatic raags are noteworthy features of this style.

The Jaipur-Atrauli gharana propounded by Alladiya Khan (19th century) is known for its repertoire of rare and complex raag, use of equally complicated taal, stress on rhythm, and rippling taans of all colours (bhol, bhol baant, etc).

The Delhi gharana founded by Qawwaliyas is not just about qawwalis but classical Hindustani music where there is an extensive use of sargam and taan patterns.

The Mewati gharana founded by Ghagge Nazir Khan, of which our Pandit Jasraj is an expert, is known for its melodic rendition of sapaath and gamak taan, sargam and of course for bhajan singing.

Two more schools, the Patiala gharana of Bade Fateh Ali Khan and Ali Baksh Khan which underlines voice development, variations in taan patterns and sargam and has been influenced by the tappa style of rendition as well as the Indore gharana (20th century) founded by Amir Khan is tempered with slow raag development, improvisations in lower and middle octaves with careful, cultivated pauses, use of serious and expansive raags, merukhand pattern of sargam, use of kaan swar, controlled embellishments to preserve introspective quality and careful enunciation of the text as such are some of the popular gharanas in vogue.