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Lily

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hello-
I was wondering? Is the difference between gharanas, say Maihar and Etawah akin to the differences between jazz and blues? Or is it more akin to the difference between, say bop and post bop / avante-gard within jazz. Or is it even more subtle, say rock versus pop?
Lily
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Joshua Feinberg

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Reply with quote  #2 
hello lily,

actually, none of the alalogies you presented really come close. all of the examples you gave are comparing different genres of music. the difference between Maihar and Etawa would be akin to the difference between Charlie Parker and John Coltrane-both play jazz at an amazing level, but there are stylistic differences. like the difference between Glen Gould and Horowitz, or Itzak Pearlman and Yahudi Menhuin. Maihar and Etawa are both the same genre of music with the same level of sophistication and complexity, but they are different approaches within that. there are differences in approach (Etawa is more Khayal oriented and Maihar is more Drupad oriented), different ornaments, tans, formulas for improvisation, etc. but they're both hindustani music-the same genre of music. one major point of difference between the two gharanas which i don't think people have spoken about here is that Maihar is not only a sitar gharana-there are sarod players, slide guitarists, flutists, singers, and violinists who are respected and in the Maihar lineage. from what i understand, the Etawa gharana is only sitar and surbahar players. just an interesting point.

best,

jf

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Anonymous

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Reply with quote  #3 
Well put, well stated, and keenly observed. Bravo!

Bharat
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jaan e kharabat

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Reply with quote  #4 
Interesting stuff. Im still not sure if Maihar can be regarded as a gharana. I mean sure there are a whole host of musicians who have been taught either directly by Alla ud Din Khan or by his disciples or their own students and who all regard themselves as forming a lineage which is legit, however we still dont know what the characteristic 'style' of Maihar is? Well I dont know at any rate. Is it Ali Akbar Khan, is more Shankar like or is it Some one else. Seems to me that AK's blood relatives have a more distinctive sound that they all share to some extent as opposed to his other students who form a very eclectic mix, so maybe thats where the answer lies?? hmmm dont know.
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If there are just ''six tones'' in an octave [sic] then why have frets for tones that don't exist?
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shagird

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Baba Alaudin studied under Ramdhun Seal, Nanu(some say Nallo) Gopal, Habudutta (Swami Vivekanand's brother), Mr Lobo (who taught him staff notation and the clarinet), unknown guru for Shenai, Ahmed Ali Khan (didn't teach much but Baba accompanied him a lot and picket up on his own), Ustad Vazir Khan and his 3 sons (mainly Pyar Khan) and Raza Hussain.

As a result of this he assimilated a lot of different styles and was a Gharana all by himself. He probably didn't believe in limiting oneself to a particular style. In that sense, Maihar gharana (also referred to as Senia Maihar) doesn't have a distinctive style. He chose the style that was best suited for a particular student (he said so too to Pt. Nikhil Banerjee that I'll shape you in a different style than Ravi, there will be no similarity).
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jaan e kharabat

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Reply with quote  #6 
OK one of the so called qualifiers of a gharana is that the tradition must have a distinctive and distinguishing style and that this style has been practiced by the same lineage of musicians for at least 3 generations. I think the idea behind this that a so called 'style' must first come to maturity and be recognised as distinct form by a wider community of musicians before the term gharana can be applied to it. Now Im not even sure if Maihar qualifies under these traditional notions of gharana, and if not, then how can we answer Lily's question on how the Etawah group and Maihar folks differ, especially since the Maihar guys have so many personal differences. with whom or what are we really comparing?

So I have to agree with Naad Das' explanation, but I think what he is said applies really to the whole plethora of Hindustani instrumental music.

P.S. As to the 'Senia' qualifier attached to the gharanas, every Hindustani musician worth his salt claims to be a descendent of Tansen so we can practically throw that one out as some thing with a 'real' meaning.

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If there are just ''six tones'' in an octave [sic] then why have frets for tones that don't exist?
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shagird

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Reply with quote  #7 
I see your point.

Here's some stuff on maihar:
http://www.indiamusicforum.com/seminar/sitar/sitar3.htm

Replace the "sitar3.htm" with sitar4.htm, sitar5.htm, and so on and you have the differentiations amongst the gharanas.

BTW, the Senia in Senia Maihar refers to Amrit Sen and not Tansen.
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Joshua Feinberg

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Reply with quote  #8 
hey,

woah there Jaan, be careful not calling Maihar a gharana. thats spicy stuff. yes, your difinition of gharana is correct. even though Raviji and Khansahib have many differences in their playing, they have overwhelming similarities. they have much more in common than say, Vilayat Khansahib and Raviji. yes, Maihar has a broader view for style, but i think part of that lies in the fact that there are so many different instruments in it. many tans one might play on sarod dont work well on sitar, and sitar tans may not work for flute, etc. . . yes Baba Allaudin Khansahib studied with many many people and had an incredible wealth of knoledge; another reason for the expansiveness of Maihar.

a similar thing can be observed in Hindustani vocal music- there are many gharanas, but its beyond question that the Gwalior gharana is the biggest with regard to the range of musical possibilities that can exist within it. ive heard musicians say that all gharanas fit under Gwalior. (not saying i agree with that, just making a point.)

anyway, i believe the things that Maihar musicians have in comon, form, tans, structure, ornaments, etc outweighs what they have that's different.

oh yea, and Maihar's claim to Senia is legit because Baba Allaudin Khan studied with Wazir Khan, a respected and acknoledged descendant of Tansen.

best,

jf

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SitarMac

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Reply with quote  #9 
Last night, I was sitting next to Ali Akbar Khan talking to him for a minute and we were talking about music (What else?) and he referred to his Gharana as the , "Baba Alluaddin Maihar Gharana". After some thought, because of the three generation rule, that is probably the correct name for the Maihar we are all speaking of. Just a thought-Josh
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AbdulLatif

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Reply with quote  #10 
I am NOT ascholar on this and defer to those with greater insight. I did find in researching the Dhrupad Gharanas the statement that "Gharana" in common usage means literally" house" and that this noun to describe the various schools if you will was applied first to distinguish the royal courts that patronized musicians, hence Jaipur, Agra, Maihar Gharana and so on. Maybe what we are seeing is actually a fluid definition. Now we also speak of the Dagarbani Gharana, Imdadkhani Gharana and so forth.
Prehaps in our time this makes more sense. As mentioned by one post the Maihar Gharana produced the Khan Sahib, Ravi Ji, Nikhl Da and Annapurna Devi all musicians who have made their own impact on ICM. Would we now, had Nikhl Da been more interested in establishing a legacy, be talking about a BannerjiBani, or an Annapurna Gharana? Anoushka Shankar is truely the product of her father, would her making a claim to be of the Maihar Gharana make as much sense as her being from the Ravibani?? To clarify I have never heard Anoushka described as such its a hypothetical question.

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Joshua Feinberg

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Reply with quote  #11 
hello abdul,

you are speaking of individual styles, and not gharana on a larger scale. there can be individual styles within a gharana. what makes a gharana a gharana is lineage, form, compositions, sometimes perticular ragas, rhythmic ideas (or lack there of in some cases. for example, the Kirana gharana in vocal music, lead by Pt. Bhimsen Joshi is very focused on pure sur and singing, lyrical melodies. the Agra vocal gharana, in contrast, is more focused on accented, permutational palta tans, and not the 'floating' melody of the Kirana folk.)
gharanas are not named after people, as you said in your post. the only one ive heard that comes close is Maihar, wich is sometimes called the Baba Allaudin Khan Senia gharana, but it is most comonly known as Maihar, because thats where Allaudin Khansahib lived.

the whole notion of gharana came about under the Emporor Aurangzeb, who was, i believe, the great grandson of the great Akbar. Aurangzeb was a devout Muslim and as such, did not patronize music the way his pretosesors did. instead of executing all of the court musicians, he ordered that they disperse, and so they each moved to a different city. over time, through variations present in oral tradition and personal style, cities developed an identifiable style of music. because of this, a particular musician was said to belong to the gharana of his city (ghar means 'house', which can be taken literally because of the importance of a family lineage in Hindustani music). when the British invaded and built the rail road in the 1800s, all these cities became much more connected and performers were then able to be exposed to different styles of music more easily. and now the mixing of gharanas is extream. most performers borrow from at least 1 if not more styles other than the one they studied. and that is a consice history of the gharana system.

ok, thats enough for one night. i find the the whole gharana thing fascinating, even though some of you are undoubtably rolling your eyes at my dorky-ness. what can i say? im a geek!

best,

jf

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