The Mughals hold an estimable reputation for their refinement and patronization of music on a lavish scale. Babur was an expert musician and a critic of music. In his autobiography one comes across many references to musicians and his opinions about their skills. Of the Mughal emperors Akbar (1556-1606) was the most magnanimous patron of music. There were about forty musicians at his court who were arranged in seven divisions one for each day in a week. Tan Sen, the leading musician of the time, was awarded two lacs of rupees after his first performance in the court. In his praise Abul Fazl writes that ‘a singer like him has not been born in India for the last two thousand years.’ Mian ki Malhar, Mian ki Todi, and Ian ki Sarang, introduced by Tan Sen still retain their popularity. Baba Ram Das and Baz Bahadur were equally distinguished for their accomplishments. Eminent musicians from Mashed, Heart and Khurasan enriched music at the court. During the reign of Jahangir and Shah Jahan music attained a polished and a graceful focus unprecedented in the past. In the times of Shah Jahan there was a further blending with the Muslim systems of Music. Alamgir had himself studies the art of music but ceased to patronize it for religious reasons. However, the art of music continued to flourish with the upper classes. There were numerous books written on the history and theory of Indo-Muslim music during his reign. The most famous was the Rag Darpan written by Saif Khan who had been at one time the governor of Kashmir.

This article was last updated on Wednesday, Jan 04, 2006