Sohbet of the Week (39 - 22)

The Minqār-i-mūsīqār of Inayat Khan and its history - 1

Inayat Khan wrote a manual on the theory and practice of music, the Minqār-i mūsīqār, while he was living in Hyderabad from 1903 to 1907. It was meant as an introduction to the art for the educated readers of the day. For modern readers it is a good source of information on the music of the period, and it is of particular interest for its recording of Inayat Khan’s thoughts.

Much of the book is devoted to technical aspects of theory and practice, but introductory sections give us the ideas on the nature of human being, music, and the divine that he was developing at the time.

The Minqār-i mūsīqār has been long out of print. This essay is based on work done in preparing a translation of the book, to be published by the Sangeet Natak Akademi in New Delhi. The essay here gives an introduction to the material found in the Minqār.

Here are some excerpts – the next section is related to the grandfather of Hazrat Inayat Khan, Mawlābakhsh (1833 – 1896):

The strong personality and ideals of Mawlābakhsh set the model for his family line and clearly affected many of the choices Inayat Khan made in his life work. Born as Sho’le Khān, he was the son of Gīsū Khān of a landowning family in Bhivani, near Delhi. He is said to have been given the name Mawlābakhsh, which means ‘God-given’, as a teenager by a Chishti Sufi ascetic who stimulated his interest in music.

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


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