Some of the luminaries

Purandara Dasa (1484 - 1564) is known as ‘the grandfather of Carnatic music’. A great performer and musicologist, it was Purandara Dasa who transformed Carnatic music from merely devotional music to a performing art, through his many and invaluable contributions. He systematized the teaching method and introduced the basic scale for music instruction, followed even today.

The trinity of Carnatic music refers to the three greats of Carnatic music - Thyagaraja Swamy, Muthuswamy Dikshithar and Shyama Sastry. These three Tamilian singer-composers were contemporaries who lived in the latter half of the 18th century and the former half of the 19th century. They enriched Carnatic music with compositions in their individual styles. Their timeless compositions are sung by musicians even today and moreover, constitute the core of the concert repertoire.

Amir Khusrau (1253 - 1325 CE) regarded as the father of Qawwali, the devotional music of the Indian Sufis, is sometimes also referred to as the father of Hindustani music. Being a musical and literary genius who had mastery over several languages, he was able to enrich Hindustani greatly by introducing Persian and Arabic elements to it. This legendary musician who graced more than seven royal courts is also credited with originating the khayal and tarana styles of music, inventing the tabla and popularizing the ghazal.

Ramtanu Pandey better known as Tansen (1493 or 1506 – 1586 or 1589), one of the famed Navaratnas (nine jewels) at King Akbar’s court, is considered one of the greatest composer-musicians of Hindustani classical music. In terms of legends about his musical prowess, he is unmatched in Indian and Pakistani music; in terms of influence, he equals the all-time greats of Khusrao, Kabir and Haridas. He is believed to have been able to create fire, bring down rains and tame wild animals with his singing. He is also supposed to have been an incredible mimic of animal calls and birdsong.