Mohammad Aman, a new master of the Khayal
Philippe Bruguière, the musicologist, in his works, mentions a late apocryphal literature that attributes the invention of several musical genres as well as musical instruments to the famous poet, musician, and composer, Amir Khusro (1253-1325), a leading figure in the court of the first sultans of Delhi. Although it is true that Khusro composed several ghazals (love songs) and in several places, he mentions the qawwali and qaul genres, yet, the term khayal (an Arabic word meaning “imagination”) does not appear in his work.
Nonetheless, it appears likely that these old genres that had an influence on the music played in the courts, left their imprint on the composition of a khayal. In the XV century, India accounted for several significant regional sultanates and Hindu kingdoms whose rulers generously nurtured a rich musical activity out of their passion for music. The oral narratives attribute the birth of a khayal to Sultan Hussain Sharqi (r. 1458-1477) of Jaunpur, who was himself a distinguished singer and composer and created new ragas. However, the khayal developed around 1730-1750 in an era when, despite serious political setbacks and the collapse of the Mughal power that ensued, a refined Indo-Persian culture in love with music was flourishing in Delhi.
Mohammad Aman, a young singer from Jaipur, deeply acclaimed by the Indian media, appears to be the leading figure today, having won fame as the new master of this musical genre in Rajasthan.