For the base of swara and tal in khayal gayaki, accompaniment of Tanpura and Tabla is essential. Khan Saheb used to keep accompaniment of two Tanpuras in his performance. Before the performance, he paid special attention to Tanpuras being tuned properly and its jawari [resonance set by thread] being kept balanced. The first string of at least one Tanpura [which is generally tuned with pancham swara] was tuned in nishad. It can be supposed as the influence of gayaki of Kirana Gharana. But in the context of Khan Saheb, this fact must be mentioned that in the ragas, where there is no role of shuddha nishad, therein too shuddha nishad remained on Tanpura, such as raga malkauns, darbari etc. Khan Saheb got prepared a Tanpura having five strings for him, in which the additional string was used for nishad; whereas he had also used prevalent Tanpuras having four strings and six strings. He did not like that his disciples who gave accompaniment on Tanpura, to give him vocal support or assist him in singing.
For swara accompaniment in singing, Khan Saheb considered harmonium more fit for him compared to Sarangi. In his accompaniment, the sound of harmonium was kept low so that it could not suppress the effect of Tanpura.
Khan Saheb accepted accompaniment of Sarangi from some selected artists only, such as Sultan Khan, who was a disciple of Ustad Shahmir Khan and who had been taking training from Ustad Amir Khan also. Besides him, Munir Khan and Pt. Gopal Mishra had also accompanied Khan Saheb on Sarangi. The reason for not accepting accompaniment of Sarangi was the tendency of Sarangi players to confront and surpass the vocalist in art demonstration, exceeding the task of accompaniment, and this created obstacles in the meditative and introspective vocalism of Khan Saheb. In unwanted efforts to compete with complex sargam and tan of Khan Saheb, it was not surprising that the Sarangi became out of tune and discordant. In many radio programs, Khan Saheb had taken accompaniment of neither harmonium nor Sarangi. In such audio recordings, only the sound of Tanpura can be heard.
In Tabla accompaniment, Khan Saheb liked the accompaniment, forming basic rotation of tal in definitive tempo. It has already been mentioned in given material regarding tal and laya.
Dr. Ibrahim Ali
Asst. Prof. Music
Govt. Kalidas Girls College, Ujjain,
Supervisor & Research Guide for doctoral thesis
For Vikram University, Ujjain
And Online Teacher of Indian Classical Music
Address: 20 Khara Kuwa, D.N. Marg,
Ujjain [M.P.] 456006