Tansen was born in Gwalior to a Hindu family. As a child, his name was Tannu Mishra. He began his musical training under the guidance of Haridas Swami, a renowned music teacher of those times. Tansen firstly showcased his talent to King Ramachandra of Mewa Bandhavgarh. Later on, he got the opportunity to exhibit his versatility and skill in front of the Mughal emperor Akbar. He was one among the nine jewels at the court. It was Emperor Akbar, who called him Miyan Tansen and since then he is known by this name. Sufi mystic Shaykh Muhammad Ghaus of Gwalior was the one to introduce Islam to Tansen.
Tansen was blessed with a daughter and four sons and the interesting fact is that all of them became great musicians. Thus, the blood descendants of Tansen also made an immense contribution in enriching the North Indian music.
As a musician
Till date, Tansen is considered to be the best musician. If not the best, he is no less than his own guru Swami Haridas and his equivalent person Amir Khusro. There are many legends that are suggestive of the fact that there was a magic in his singing, capable enough to cause miracles like bringing downpour with Raga Megh Malhar and fire with Raga Deepak.
His musical repertoire consists of several ragas. Some of his notable works include Miyan ka Bhairav, Darbari Kanada, Miyan ki Malhar, Miyan ki Todi, Rageshwari, Darbari Todi and many more. The credit for initiating the Dhrupad style of singing goes totally to Tansen and his teacher or guru Swami Haridas. His music had the power to light up the candles. People all over the world salute this great personality, who left for his heavenly abode in the year 1589.
Fußnote: Viele bei Muslimen adressieren ihren elteren Bruder Boro Miyan. Es ist jedoch bestritten, ob Tansen Muslim oder Hindu war. Alle seine Söhne hatten muslimischen Namen und seine Tochter hinduistischen Namen. Den Begriff "Miyan" wird auch für Respekt verwendet.