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Under a grant from the Ford Foundation, USA, ITC-SRA was given an assignment to collect musical data from the living learned musicians of different gharanas. The major projects that ITC-SRA undertook were made possible by this grant. The project, as a whole, started in March 1990, and the first phase took nine years to complete. The second phase of editing and notating the compositions has been taken up, though it is not under the aegis of the Ford Foundation.

The objective of the project was to collect, document, analyse and finally disseminate musical information from the living oral traditions (gharanas) of North Indian classical vocal music, mainly Khayal. With the help of modern recording equipment, a substantial effort was made to collect nayakees (compositions, as learnt directly from the Guru) and gayakees (styles) of Ustads, Pandits and Gurus of different gharanas.

Bandishes, which traditionally belong to gharanas, formed the primary focus of this project. The bandish is believed to be the key to the raga. Its treatment often differed from gharana to gharana.

Gharanas also differed in the gayakee of singing. This had a lot to do with both voice production and the various angs of gayakees.

The gharanas covered by the project are:

Gharana Bandishes covered
Gwalior 1311
Agra-Atrauli 2069
Jaipur 320
Rampur-Sahaswan 271
Kirana 354
Bhendi Bazar 50
Bakshu (Lucknow) 250
Delhi 201
Benaras/Gaya 250
Total 5076

The Problems

  1. There are very few surviving old maestros whose styles faithfully capture the traditions of the gharanas.

  2. Very little analysis has been done so far on the structure of the gharana gayakee.

  3. An entire treasury of terms, techniques, and concepts relating to the gayakee has already been lost. What remains is not documented.

  4. There are very few surviving traditional compositions in Hindustani Classical Music.

The Task

  1. To identify all the representatives of the oral sub-traditions, whether direct or indirect.

  2. To garner knowledge about the following, through interviews with these representatives, and document it.

    a) Compositions
    b) Principles and methods used in the gharana gayakee.
    c) All terms used in the gharana with definitions and demonstrations.
    d) Information on the origin and development of sub-traditions.
    e) Backgrounds of major personalities and their contributions.
    f) Influences of sister traditions

  3. To edit, and structure all the information.

  4. To analyse and organise all the material available as a system.

  5. To incorporate the wealth of information thus collated into ITC-SRA's training programme.

  6. To put out the collated material as a printed publication along with the audio tape.

    In this endeavour, ITC-SRA has already created a priceless treasure house of documented knowledge. It has put together detailed interviews and more than 5000 compositions through nearly 1000 hours of recordings of 41 learned musicians belonging to different gharanas.

    ITC-SRA gratefully acknowledges the invaluable contributions of Smt. Lalith Rao and of Shri Kumar Prasad Mukherjee in this mission.

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