One name that truly epitomizes the 20th century Hindustani classical music tradition is that of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Often touted as the Tansen of 20th Century, this music maestro has blended the best of classical music and created a unique style of his own. His style of music had an effervescent melodic quality with a sense of enthusiasm. He had one of the most flexible voices, which could easily master the flow of words and deliver the real essence of the song. This great musician has contributed immensely in his short career span. Read his life history in this short biography of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan.
Bade Ghulam Ali Khan was born in the year 1902 in the great musical
lineage from Kasur, located in Western Punjab. He blended the best of
the four traditions of music: Patiala that was own, the elements of
Dhrupad, the delicacy of Jaipur and the embellishments of Gwalior. Bade
Ghulam Ali looked beyond the "Bol-banav" tradition of Thumri.
He wanted to break the age old tradition and wanted to play with the
notes with greater abandon and less restraint. This kind of Thumri is
now well established by the efforts of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan.
He approached the traditional form of Khayal without much of changes.
He did not want to create any sort of variations in the presentation.
His style was straightforward, avoiding any sort of drastic changes in
the style of presentation. He had an inclination of looking beyond the
traditional method of toning a musical note to derive the perfect
melody. This was usually achieved by very subtle modulation of notes.
This tact was innate in Bade Ghulam Ali; he had the knack of playing
with musical notations and find the perfect expression and melody.
The career span of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan was relatively short. He made
his mark in Calcutta in the year 1938 and All India Music Conference in
Bombay in the year 1944. He was titled the Master in each and every
field of music that he explored. But, he breathed his last at the age of
66, much to the shock of his fans and music lovers. On 25th April, 1968
he breathed his last, depriving the world of much more priceless
treasure that he could have given.