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Indian Musicians and the Instruments They Play

Indian Musicians And Their Instruments

India possesses an immeasurable wealth of art and culture, particularly in the realm of music. The extensive assortment of musical instruments employed in Indian classical music, combined with the exceptional vocal skills, results in a plentiful collection. Moreover, the esteemed Indian classical musicians serve as guardians of this treasure trove and form a magnificent constellation of renowned figures celebrated worldwide for their unwavering commitment to their craft.

The talented musicians of India have gained international recognition, preserving and promoting ancient art forms. Their passion has inspired the younger generation to continue this musical legacy. They have demonstrated that Indian classical music possesses a timeless essence, ensuring its everlasting strength.

In an endeavor to show appreciation and thankfulness, we pay tribute to six iconic musicians who have enriched our lives with their extraordinary talent and the invaluable gift of music.

Top 6 Renowned Indian Classical Musicians

The sitar has become synonymous with Indian classical music worldwide, thanks to the tireless efforts of Pandit Ravi Shankar. His captivating sitar performances, collaborations with Western musicians, and educational workshops have made a lasting impact on the global music scene.

His appearances at renowned gatherings like the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and the Woodstock Festival in 1969 introduced the sitar to a worldwide audience.

His partnerships with various well-known Western musicians, particularly Yehudi Menuhin, a violinist, and George Harrison from the Beatles as a guitarist, played a significant role in connecting Eastern and Western musical customs.

He served as a cultural ambassador, representing Indian classical music and culture on a global platform. Shankar’s musical contributions earned him numerous accolades, including Grammy Awards, the Bharat Ratna (India’s highest civilian award), and honorary doctorates from esteemed institutions.

2. Ustad Zakir Hussain

Ustad Zakir Hussain, a highly acclaimed tabla player, is known for his impressive performances that showcase a wide range of skills and techniques. His ability to connect with the audience through expressive beats and a perfect balance between tradition and innovation has made him immensely popular among classical music lovers worldwide.

His partnerships with renowned jazz musicians such as John McLaughlin, Mickey Hart, and Charles Lloyd have led to innovative fusion endeavors. In addition to winning numerous Grammy Awards, these collaborative records have set a standard for the intercultural representation of music. They have showcased tabla and Indian rhythms on an international level and enhanced their recognition in various ways.

Understanding the significance of Taal and Laya in Indian music is crucial for those who are learning. However, the performances by Hussain inspire listeners to enter a realm of musicality that feels ethereal and otherworldly.

Hussain has been honored with the Padma Bhushan award by the Indian government. He is highly respected as a prominent figure in classical music and an influential advocate for tabla-playing. Music lovers from all around the globe hold him in high regard.

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3. Pandit Bhimsen Joshi

Pandit Bhimsen Joshi is a highly respected singer and representative of the Kirana Gharana. His powerful voice, spontaneous variations, and intricate performances elevate the Ragas to an entirely new realm.

At the very young age of 11, Joshi had set out all by himself in search of a Guru who could train him to sing like Abdul Karim Khas in the popular Jhinjhoti raga-based Thumri – Piya Bin Nahi Awat Chain. From Dharwad to Bijapur to Puna and at last – Gwalior – where he joined the Madhava Music School with the help of legendary Sarod virtuoso – Hafiz Ali Khan. Joshi’s quest to find a Guru continued till he was accepted as a disciple by Sawai Gandhava in his own hometown.

Indian classical music offers the scope for the artist to contribute and expand its horizon. And every practitioner has given back by contributing their own creations that have enriched the repertoires of the Gharana they belong to. Joshi’s constant collaboration with artists from different Gharanas helped him to assimilate elements of those Gharanas into the style of Kirana Gharana. His music bore the influence of Begum Akhtar, Smt. Kesarbai Kerkar and Ustad Amir Khan.

In addition to performing classical music, he also showcased his heartfelt interpretations of devotional songs, patriotic melodies, and notable film tracks. Despite being primarily known as a classical musician, his distinctive ability to merge various genres and cultural traditions made him immensely popular among both discerning listeners and the general public. In recognition of his exceptional contributions, he was honored with the prestigious Bharat Ratna award in 2008 – the highest civilian accolade in India.

4. Ustad Bismillah Khan

Tears flowed from her eyes like genuine pearls, glistening with truth.

These words were spoken by the renowned shehnai player Ustad Bismillah Khan. He had the privilege of playing the shehnai when India gained independence and the Indian flag was raised at Red Fort on August 15, 1947.

Bismillah Khan comes from a lineage of court musicians in Dumraon Estate in Bihar – his grandfathers – Ustad Salar Hussain Khan and Rasool Bux Khan, and his father Paigambar Bux Khan. From his mother’s side, he is related to the renowned Ali Bux Vilayatu Khan who played a significant role in guiding Bismillah Khan in his musical journey.

Bismillah Khan played a crucial role in popularizing the shehnai beyond its traditional settings of weddings and temples. He received recognition and praise for his heartfelt performances at prestigious national events like the All India Music Conference in Kolkata, as well as on international platforms such as the World Exposition in Montreal, Cannes Art Festival, and Osaka Trade Fair.

Indian Flutist Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia

The incredible journey of Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, from a young boy who had to secretly escape the wrestling grounds to pursue his passion for playing the flute, is truly remarkable and fills us with immense pride as Indians.

With unparalleled precision and innovative musicality, he breathed life into Indian ragas through his performances. His dedication showcased the humble bamboo flute on a global platform, garnering recognition for Indian classical music from audiences around the world.

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He worked together with numerous musicians from India and other countries to set new standards in the realm of classical music, both in India and globally.

Some of his noteworthy international collaborations include compositions with John McLaughlin, Jan Garbarek, George Harrison, and Ken Lauber. His flute recital has also been featured on The Beatles’ album released in 1968.

In his native country, he worked together with esteemed Indian classical musicians such as Shiv Kumar Sharma, Bhubaneshwar Mishra, and Suman Kalyanpuri.

In 2000, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia was honored with the Padma Vibhushan award.

Indian Musicians and Their Instruments: Dr. L. Subramaniam

Renowned violinist – Dr. Lakshminarayana Subramaniam trained in Carnatic music as well as Western classical music. Needless to say, his compositions have elements from both. Just as the Indian musical elements such as ‘meend’ and ‘gamaka’ find impeccable expression through his fingers and bowing style, western harmonies are also played with technical precision.

His partnerships with Western artists like Stéphane Grappelli, Yehudi Menuhin, Ruggiero Ricci, and numerous others have contributed to the worldwide recognition of Indian classical music. In 1981, he received a Grammy Awards nomination for his album titled “Indian Classical Music.

In addition to his involvement in Indian classical music, Subramaniam has also ventured into composing music for highly praised films such as Salaam Bombay and Mississippi Masala.

In 2001, the Indian Government honored him with the prestigious Padma Bhushan award.

Who holds the of the musical instrument monarch in India?

The rudra veena, although not commonly seen these days, is still regarded by many as the most prestigious instrument in India. Its tone is characterized by its evenness, measured rhythm, and austere quality. This instrument takes us back to a time when musicians would perform for longer durations and at a slower pace, reflecting a more patient era of music.

Listening to the melodious tones of the rudra veena can transport us back in time to an era where musical performances were cherished for their duration and unhurried pace. In contrast to our fast-paced modern world, this ancient instrument reminds us of the importance of patience and savoring each moment. It encourages us to slow down and immerse ourselves fully in the beauty of music.

In practical terms, incorporating elements from traditional Indian classical music into our daily lives can help cultivate patience and appreciation for artistry. For example, setting aside dedicated time each day or week for listening sessions where we focus solely on experiencing different genres or instruments can enhance our understanding and enjoyment of diverse musical styles.

Overall, despite its rarity today, the significance attributed to the rudra veena persists among enthusiasts who recognize its unparalleled beauty and timeless appeal within Indian classical music. Embracing such instruments allows us not only to preserve cultural legacies but also offers valuable lessons about patience that can be applied to our daily lives.

Indian Artists and Their Musical Instruments

It is difficult to fully express the immense talent and impact of Indian classical musicians on the music world. Trying to identify all the influential figures in this vast field is nearly impossible. These musicians have preserved the essence of classical music, making it appreciated worldwide and relevant for future generations.

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If you aspire to walk the path of these great artists, this is the perfect starting point. Discover online music lessons and begin a harmonious adventure.

Who is the Indian violinist?

Indian violinists today, like Manoj George, L. Shankar, and Balabhaskar, have become proficient in playing the violin in the Western music style. They have not only mastered this style but also performed concerts outside of India to showcase their talent. On the other hand, renowned violinists such as N. Rajam and Sangeeta Shankar are highly accomplished performers in the Hindustani style of music and have gained recognition on an international level.

The Indian musicians mentioned above are known for their expertise in playing different styles of violin music. Some have embraced the Western music style while others excel in the traditional Hindustani genre. These musicians use their violins to create beautiful melodies that captivate audiences both within India and abroad.

Overall, these talented Indian musicians demonstrate how versatile the instrument can be when it comes to exploring different musical genres and captivating listeners with its enchanting sound.


1) Manoj George

2) L.Shankar

3) Balabhaskar

4) N.Rajam

5) Sangeeta Shankar

Musician in India: Who is it?

Born in India, Ravi Shankar dedicated himself to mastering the sitar, a traditional stringed instrument that holds great significance in Indian classical music. Through years of rigorous training and practice, he honed his skills to become one of the most accomplished sitar virtuosos of all time. His exceptional talent and dedication earned him immense respect within both national and international music communities.

The originator of Indian Orchestra?

Ravi Shankar, also known as Ravindra Shankar Chowdhury, was a famous Indian musician who played the sitar and composed music. He is well-known for founding the National Orchestra of India and for his significant role in introducing Indian music to the Western world.

In addition to his musical talents, Shankar was instrumental in promoting Indian music globally. Through his collaborations with renowned Western musicians like George Harrison of The Beatles and Yehudi Menuhin, he helped popularize Indian classical music among Western listeners. His performances at prestigious venues such as Woodstock Festival and Monterey Pop Festival further contributed to spreading awareness about this rich musical tradition.


1. Ravi Shankar – A renowned Indian musician.

2. Sitar – Traditional stringed instrument played by Ravi Shankar.

3. Founder of National Orchestra of India.

4. Influence on Western appreciation of Indian music.

5. Blending classical ragas with improvisation in his compositions.

6.Collaborations with Western musicians like George Harrison & Yehudi Menuhin.

7.Performance at Woodstock Festival & Monterey Pop Festival

8.Promotion of traditional instruments & preservation efforts

The elderly singer in India

Lata Mangeshkar, born on 28 September 1929, is a renowned Indian singer and occasional music composer. With her melodious voice and immense talent, she has become one of the most celebrated and respected figures in the Indian music industry.

P.P.S In addition to being an exceptional musician, Lata Mangeshkar is known for her philanthropic work. She actively supports charitable causes related to education, healthcare, and women empowerment in India.