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Tansen

From Academic Kids

Tansen was a legendary Indian musician in the court of the Emperor Akbar. He is considered one of the Navaratnas (nine jewels) of Akbar's(1556-1605) court. Tansen is identified with the honorific/affectionate title "Miyan" (sir, good sir, master, lord). He was Hindu by birth and according to legend was the student of Swami Haridas. Legend says he did miracles by bringing rain and fire through singing the ragas Megh Malhar and Deepak respectively. He composed several ragas including Darbari Kanada, Miya ki Todi, Miya ki Malhar, and Miya ka Sarang.

Almost every gharana try to trace their origin to Tansen, though some try to go further back to Amir Khusro himself. But, it is likely that Tansen and his guru Swami Haridas really started Dhrupad style of singing.

Tansen was born near Gwalior to Mukund Mishra, a poet, in 1520. He was interested in music from an early age and leanrned under Swami Haridas of Brindaban and later under Mohammed Ghaus.

Tansen served as the court musician to King Ramachandra of Mewa and then later to Emperor Akbar as one of the Navarathas (nine jewels). He was given the title Mian by emperor akbar and usually Tansen is referred thus.

Tansen is credited with creating many ragas like Mian-ki-Malhar and Darbari Kanhra. He also composed several hundred drupad bandishes.

There is some controversy regarding conversion of Tansen to Islam. Some believe he was converted to Islam while some others think that out of great respect Akbar had for Tansen, he left him alone.

Tansen's son Bilas Khan, became a famous musician himself and created the Raga Bilaskhani Todi. Saraswati Devi, the daughter became a famous dhrupad singer.

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