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24. September 2010 5 24 /09 /September /2010 23:28
Ustad Amjad Ali Khan


One of the highly acclaimed Sarod players, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is considered to be a maestro of the classical instrument Sarod. His contribution to the field of Indian classical music is immense. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is the sixth generation Sarod player in his family. The instrument has been modified and refined over centuries by his ancestors. His ancestors hailed from Afghanistan who later came to India attracted by the relaxed music atmosphere. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan's life history is very interesting, which is given below in the form of a short biography.

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan was born in the year 1945 in Gwalior located in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India. His first teacher was his father Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan who was a musician in the royal court of Gwalior. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan belongs to the Gwalior Bangash ancestry that originates in the Senia Bangash School of music and is the sixth generation successor of this lineage. By hard work and sheer determination, Amjad Ali Khan has reached the height of success he is now at. His style of playing the Sarod is very unique. He can easily play notes with increasing or decreasing volume scales spanning the three octaves, at the same time fully emphasizing on the composition.

There are essentially two schools of Sarod playing: One is in which the strings are stopped by finger tips and in the other, it is done using finger nails. Amjad Ali Khan follows the second pattern which is what makes it even more difficult. Playing it with finger nails is what makes the clear ringing sound and this style is the most difficult to play. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is known to create a wide variety of sounds on the Sarod by sliding across the fingerboard over the extended bends. The only modern change in his Sarod is the round drum of the resonating cavity. The base frequency that he uses is also lower as compared to others.

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan has been playing the Sarod for over 40 years now. He still continues to be one of the most popular and busiest musicians of India. He has won many awards and honors and continues enthrall audiences wherever he performs. His two sons are also famous Sarod players who have played the Sarod with their father in many concerts and public performances. It is due to his sheer determination that the Sarod got recognition as an Indian classical instrument and is considered at par with the Sitar.

"Key to the City" award by Kathy Taylor Mayor of Tulsa, Oklahoma
Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize - 2004
Honorary citizenship of Houston and Nashville - 1997
Honorary citizenship of Tulsa Padma Vibhushan - 2001


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