Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan

Born in 1927, at Jawra, Madhya Pradesh, Halim Jaffer Khan took to the study of vocal music and Sitar at the age of five from his father, late Jaffer Khan, the famous Beenkar of Indore Gharana. Khansaheb’s unique contribution to Sitar, lies in his blending of the styles of vocal music, Veena and Sitar, synthesizing precision in technique, systematic thought and keen aesthetic sense with an innovative style of playing. His approach is characterized by experimentation, analysis, measured choice, technical virtuosity and polished effortless performance. Introduction of the ‘Jafferkhani Baaj’ is one of his significant contributions to the sitar. At the core of ‘Jafferkhani Baaj’ is the creation of fractions within a matra or beat, embellishing them with multiple notes through varied techniques. It requires well- honed playing skills, high speed and control over rhythm, and involves greater elaboration of the left hand play than usual. Along with features like ‘Chhapka Ang’ and ‘Ulti meend’, characteristics of his source gharana, he has blended in techniques like ‘echo’ exemplifying polyphony and harmonics, and the ‘chord effect’ (double string play). He has given to the sitar a new and revolutionary direction. His art is characterized by virtuosity, originality, individuality, imagination and a keen aesthetic sense.

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