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Hindustani music is principally vocal-centric with the musical forms intended to enhance vocal performance and many instruments had been designed to emulate the voice. The major forms of vocal recitals in this genre are the Khyal, Ghazal and Thumri. The music took shape during the Vedic times with the singing of sacred texts. Musical traditions of the country, Vedic philosophy and also Persian performances of the Moguls have greatly influenced this genre of music. Through the years this form of music has developed a strong and different tradition. Pt. D.V.Paluskar, Pt. Gajanan Anant Joshi, Pt. Omkarnath Thakur, Ustad Amir Khan, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, Mallikarjun Mansur, Pt Kumar Gandharva, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Kishori Amonkar, Prabha Atre, Gangubai Hangal, Parveen Sultana and others are important Hindustani vocalists.

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