INDIAN MUSIC FORUMS

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chrisitar

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Have there ever been any musicians to achieve respect or legitimacy from the music community without the aid of a guru or are you a hopeless bastard without a teacher? Im not talking about fusion or all the other genres of music but north indian classical music.
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Bhuvanesh

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Reply with quote  #2 
Amir Khan was one such musician. He learned the sarangi from his father, but never performed it in public, as far as I know. He did learn merukhand from his father, though, and that did help him later on. Supposedly he wanted formal instruction from Abdul Waheed Khan, but the latter refused, saying that Amir Khan was the son of a sarangi player.
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Abhimonyu

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To the best of my knowledge, Tarapada Chakraborty also did not have any real guru. He did learn from several stalwarts including Girija Shankar Chakraborty, but not for a great length of time.
Although he was not widely known to the Bengali general public and not at all to the Indian general public, he was greatly respected in musicians' circles including by Ustad Bade Gulam Ali Khan.

This is about all I know about him. I hope someone can add something substantial to this.

Abhimonyu Deb
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trippy monkey

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Chris
Why might I be a hopeless bastard if I haven't a guru???? :wink:

Nick
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ragamala

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Quote:
Originally Posted by "trippy
Chris
Why might I be a hopeless bastard if I haven't a guru???? :wink:

Nick
Ask a daft question...
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chrisitar

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Quote:
Originally Posted by "Bhuvanesh"
Amir Khan was one such musician.
Wow, I had no idea! Such a respected musician, too. I find it true that music is a language and just like learning another language you will pick up your teachers accent. It is entirely possible to become fluent from listening to others speaking well and copying. So, in the case of Amir Khan, not being taught by a guru doesn't mean you are an illegitimate musician, so, why is it for everyone else?

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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #7 
The biography of Amir Khan on wikipedia seems to at least indicate a lot of training from his father...admittedly a sarangi player, but his grandfather was a court singer, and his father taught him vocal music it seems to state, once noting his interest in that over sarangi. That kind of deep training he probably received is a very different concept of "guruless" than say a Western musician buying a sitar and a book. He was undoubtedly surrounded by the music 24/7 being born into a classical music family.

However, the challenge is somewhat mitigated for us in the West because of the information sharing of the internet. One can immerse oneself in excellent Indian classical music via the internet in a way that was unthinkable years ago. So I'd say the musician who is going it alone now has the cards stacked more in his favor now than he would have decades ago, where one might just have had access to a few LPs to listen to.

I do believe that listening is very key to learning this music, my teacher made a similar analogy to the language one you made, but referring to accent...we might play the same notes, but we can play things with a different "accent", ie., sway of the meend, color of the notes, etc. He says I am playing with an Indian accent, so to speak, which was a great compliment and encouragement to me...I think it is something I am gaining by immersion in good Indian classical music. It sort of seeps in over time!
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ragamala

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Quote:
Originally Posted by "nicneufeld"
The biography of Amir Khan on wikipedia seems to at least indicate a lot of training from his father...
Not only that, Amir Khan was greatly influenced by Aman Ali Khan and his uncle Rajab Ali.
It seems uncertain whether he studied formally with Abdul Waheed Khan, howeverDeepak Raja reports that Abdul Waheed regarded Amir Khan as a"worthy follower".

So, Nic, you're right to say he had very extensive training. Not studying under one guru exclusively for a long period does not make someone "guruless". In Amir Khan's case he blended Indore gharana , Dewas court and orthodox Kairana learning to create a new Kairana style. You sure don't do that by buying an LP or two and a book.

In my view without a thorough immersion in Indian culture from an early age the odds are stacked against you. But that has not been an obstacle to success in many notable cases, and shouldn't deter anyone. Just means you have to work at it a bit more. Not having a teacher at a particular point in your learning ICM also shouldn't stop anyone from learning any way they can. Even if, like me, you don't become an accomplished musician at the end of the day, you'll have had an awful lot of pleasure and made a lot of friends along the way - just as important.
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nicneufeld

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Quote:
Originally Posted by "ragamala"
Not having a teacher at a particular point in your learning ICM also shouldn't stop anyone from learning any way they can. Even if, like me, you don't become an accomplished musician at the end of the day, you'll have had an awful lot of pleasure and made a lot of friends along the way - just as important.
VERY much agree, that is a key point. For me, to be "competitive" with the young scions of great masters who have been playing and studying since they were small children is not a genuine goal. I play/study/listen to this music because I love it, not because, having picked it up at the ripe old age of 30, I have any shot of being world-class. Plenty of people play basketball or golf without any ambitions of professional careers in those sports, so I see it a bit like that. Which isn't to say I'm content with not improving and being the best I can be, but one can never grace the stage of a Saptak or similar festival and still be an excellent musician who enjoys and loves the music (and can render it without causing too much offense to the sensitive purist ear), and that's what I'm working towards.
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