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Bade Ghulam Ali Khan

Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan

About this album

Bade Ghulam Ali Khan was one of the greatest names to dominate the Indian Art Music field in the 20th century. He arrived on the scene in the late 30s riding on a new vocal style, which has since been celebrated as the Patiala gaikee. In an environment dominated by scholasticism, Ghulam Ali Khan's style, which combined superhuman virtuosity with lilting melody, completely captured the imagination of the new generation of listeners.

The Patiala style established by him is based on a traditional style (Gwalior style) where improvisational ideations are woven around and as reflections of the composition. (This makes for a prescription-dominated style where improvisational forays are disciplined by the grammatical dictates of the composition).

Bade Ghulam Ali Khan's individual stamp arose from the distinctiveness of his vocal and mental prowesses - a mind which saw music as a canvas for total freedom of movement, quest and expression of beauty and creation of patterns which spell
superhuman virtuosity - patterns of notes and note accentuations (alankara like gamaks, murkis, zamzamas, meends, choots and taans) and also patterns of rhythmic units (largely intricate tihais). This mind was aided by an unprecedented dexterity,
vitality, range and flexibility of voice. The effect on listeners to the end of his career remained in one word - electrifying.

Bade Ghulam Ali Khan concentrated on a select group of ragas throughout his career, concentrating his formidable aesthetic energies on giving each of those time-tested ragas, an unmistakable stamp of his genius to perceive the most beautiful.

Rageshree is a six-note derivative of the Khamaj scale. The raga does not employ the Pancham and Buddha Rishab is employed only in descent. Only the Nishad is Komal, giving the raga a character of shaded brightness. The phrases to which we owe the
Gandhar, Dhaivat and Madhyam are critical, which with constant reflection of the dark Nishad, give the raga a lilting quality.

The maestro restricts himself to the Khamaj family in this album. Both Mishra Khamaj in the Thumri as well as sparse Tilang are offered.


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