Navigation Menu+

New Light on Malhar: Book Review

Posted | 0 comments

New Light on Malhar: Book Review

MALHAR KE PRAKAR : By Jaisukhlal Tribhuvan Shah (Published by the author, pp. 272, Rs.12.50)

The Times of India, August 2, 1970

The article as it first appeared.

The article as it first appeared.

The Malhar group of ragas is a class by itself in the wide and varied repertory of Hindustani music. Recent researches in musicology reveal that most of the Malhar varieties, such as those known as Miyan ki Malhar, Ramdasi Malhar and Surdasi Malhar, had their origin in the middle ages.

The Ain-i-Akbari makes mention of a galaxy of great maestros like Miyan Tansen, Nayak Ramdas and his son, Surdas, whose music shed glory on the reign of Akbar. This lends credence to the theory that these composer-singers left an indelible impress on the North Indian tradition by composing a variety of Malhars which were named after them.

Pandit Bharkhande, who pioneered the codification of North Indian music in the early years of this century, discovered only seven varieties of Malhar and put them on a sound footing along with many other less-known melodies, in his monumental work, Hindustani Sangeet Paddhati. These are Shudh-Malhar, Miyan ki Malhar, Goud-Malhar, Nat-Malhar, Ramdasi Malhar, Surdasi Malhar and Megh-Malhar. There are also references to Dhuliya Malhar, Mirabai ki Malhar, Chanchalsas MALHAR, Roopmanjari Malhar, Chharjuki Malhar andGoudgiri Malhar : but Panditji has not given us their detailed descriptions.

Malhar ke Prakar, in this context makes a significant advance in the field of original research. The author, who is both a theorist and a performing musician, can be said to have picked up the thread where Pandit Bhatkhande left it more than three decades ago. For he has not only brought to light 18 more varieties of Malhar but also added five prakars, composed by himself. They are named Bahar-Malhar, Sohan-Malhar, Basanti-Malhar, Khamaji-Malhar and Tribhuvan Malhar (the last one in memory of his father).

Malhar Ka Prakar is a welcome addition to the literature in music. Teachers and students will find it indispensable.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.