Sohbet of the Week (04 - 23)

The Minqār-i-mūsīqār of Inayat Khan and its history – 9

Inayat Khan wrote the Minqār in 1907 at the age of 25. In the same year Abū Hāshim Madanī would pass away and Inayat Khan would leave Hyderabad. The book thus encapsulates his thoughts at the end of his stay in Hyderabad.

It is written in Urdu in a style that captures the dignity of the atmosphere in which he moved while being lucid and lively. Photographs fo the nizam, the Prime Minister, the author’s father and the author himself enliven the book, and the book has a number of charts and hand-drawn illustrations, including the legendary mūsīqār bird and twenty dance positions.

Perhaps the most interesting section for many of his contemporary readers would have been the assembly of Persian and Urdu ghazals and the thirty-nine musical notations for singing them. For modern readers, too, the notations are of interest, in particular because six of the songs notated in the Minqār are among those he recorded in 1909, to which we now have access.

Of interest to historians of North Indian music will be Inayat Khan’s notation system and the selection of concepts from Sanskrit theory, especially in relation to those of V.N. Bhātkhande and V.D. Paluskar.

Inayat Khan’s ideas and approach to music will be of interest to all readers. The following sections overview the topics covered in the Minqār, more or less in the order that they appear in the book.

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With deep gratitude to you, dear Allyn Miner, for your superb work and testimony.


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