humor India Indian music music Personal: dagarel doggerel
“Intonational Variation in Oral Tradition — or, Tutti Shruti”
In bygone days in India, the emperor Akbar
Had in his court a singer who was known both near and far.
He had a wondrous repertoire, there was no doubt of that —
But every note in every raga came out slightly flat.
Because his voice was out of tune, they called him Besur Khan,
He founded a tradition, so his gayaki lives on.
For he had some disciples, and they disciples too —
And all of them sing ragas in a loud, discordant moo.
And if you ask them nowadays, “why do you sing so flat?”
They’ll say, “it’s our gharana.”
That’s all there is to that.