by David Courtney working tools


Tansen is considered to be one of the greatest musicians that ever lived. He was the court musician of the famous Mogul Emperor Akbar (16th century).  He was so highly valued in the court that he was called one of the "Nine Jewels" in his court (navarathna).

The details of Tansen's life are incomplete.  He was born in a Hindu community and had his musical training under the great Swami Haridas.  He then went to the court of the Raja Ram Baghela, a great patron of the arts.  From there he migrated to the court of Akbar.

It is said that Tansen could work miracles with his singing.  This is called nada siddha in Sanskrit.  He is supposed to have acquired such supernatural abilities through the association with the saintly Swami Haridas.  It is said that on occasion he could create rain by singing the monsoon rag Megh Malhar.  It is also said that he could create fire by singing rag Dipak.

Many rag are ascribed to Tansen.  Such rag as Mian ki Malhar, Mian ki Todi and Darbari Kanada are the most famous.  Today his followers are referred to as "Senia Gharana"



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