The concept of a gurukul is closely interwoven with that of a gharana. As the noted music writer and critic Raghava Menon rightly points out, “the stamp of a guru is actually that of a gharana…”. In essence, a gharana emerges from the creative style of a genius, who gives existing structures a totally new approach, form and interpretation. This style will include the tone of the voice, the pitch, the inflexions and the intonations, and the specific application of the various nuances.
Thus Abdul Karim Khan became the creator of Kirana gharana, and Alladiya Khan created the Atrauli-Jaipur gharana. These gharanas were established only in the early 20th century, even though the Agra and Gwalior gharanas are a few centuries older.
Individuality within a Gharana
There has always been creative individuality within the tradition of a gharana. Vazebua, Omkarnath Thakur, Vinayak Rao Patwardhan and D.V. Paluskar all hailed from the Gwalior gharana. But each had an entirely different style of singing. Similarly Bade Gulam Ali Khan added an entirely new dimension to the Patiala gayakee. Ameer Khan gave a completely new colour and character to the Kirana gharana and his style later came to be known as the Indore gharana.
ITC-SRA considers the great gharanas as invaluable sources of learning techniques and methods.