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Wajahat Khan’s Style on the sarod

Wajahat Khan is an accomplished composer and has led pioneering world music collaborations in western classical, jazz, flamenco, rock, and opera. He has written orchestral and chamber scores for Western as well as Indian instruments working with renowned soloists and ensembles including three sarod concertos and an award winning quintet for sarod and string quartet.

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Even though several renowned sarod players have trained under his musical dynasty, Wajahat Khan is the first member of this illustrious family of sitar and surbahar players to take up the sarod. He has brought to the sarod the intricate and fluid styles evolved and popularised by generations of his family, and interweaves a wide spectrum of dhrupadkhyal and thumri forms of the vocal tradition, with the authentic sarod baaj (instrumental repertoire).

Through his paternal grandmother, Wajahat Khan is also descended from a lineage of famous singers. From this tradition he inherits a deep love and understanding of vocal music (initially starting his musical career as a child prodigy vocalist), which is also reflected in his sarod playing. Whilst preserving the ancient traditions, he brings his own visionary innovations to the styles and techniques of this beautiful and versatile instrument.

By blending his family’s instrumental heritage of the surbahar (based on dhrupad) and the sitar (based on khyal), with the characteristic baaj of the sarod, Wajahat has created a unique synthesis of musical styles. His valuable contributions include his pioneering adaptation of the four-string technique of the surbahar to the sarod, thereby adding new dimensions to this magnificent instrument. Also, he has added a fifth melody string in the bass register, enabling him to realise elements of the surbahar style on the sarod. He uniquely uses seven pegs on the head of the instrument, instead of the conventional six or eight pegs that are used by other contemporary sarod masters.

As a result of his revolutionary innovations, Wajahat Khan has considerably enhanced and energised the performance repertoire of the sarod, which has brought him acclaim amongst connoisseurs and a faithful worldwide following. His distinctive style, in which the elegance and lyricism of the melodic line are matched by the variety of rhythmic invention, blends a virtuoso technique and an acute musical wit, spanning a full range of feeling and expression.


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Ustad Wajahat Khan solo sarod excerpts.mp3

Solo Sarod excerpts

Vocal, Sarod, Tabla