What were the developments in music in the Sultanate Period?

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During Islamic rule under the Delhi Sultanate, a cultural change began. Traditionally, music was rooted in outside influence. However during this period, music began to adopt local flair from the Hindu culture. The fusion of Hindu and Muslim styles brought forth new musical forms such as gawwali and khyal. Amir Khusrau, often called the father of modern Hindustani classical music, introduced several ragas (a pattern of notes using intervals, rhythms and embellishments) such as Ghora, Sanam, Yaman, Kalyan, Zeelaf and Sarpada. He blended the Hindu and Iranian musical traditions together to form a new style of light music called gwalis. Instruments such as the table, sarangi, rabab and sitar were introduced during this time period. Court musician for Muhammad Shah, Sadarang, is believed to have developed the modern form of khyal during the Sultanate Period. PirBhodan, a Sufi saint, was also a great musician of this time.

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Before the Sultanate Period, much of the music that was played in India was of a religious nature. People sang songs to show their devotion to their spirituality. When the Sultanate Period began, new instruments and musical styes were slowly introduced.The Turks brought with them to India musical instruments, such as the rabab and sarangi, that were unfamiliar to most in India.

Over time, new sounds were forged thanks to the merging of Persian and Indian musical styles. Gradually, music evolved from being solely for devotional reasons to being more lavishly played for pleasure and enjoyment. This evolution in music was encouraged by leaders, including Babur and Akbar. Both of these men were documented lovers of music and they even held musical meetings. Akbar, himself, played the nagara—a type of folk drum.

 

 

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