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Five things about Ustad Amjad Ali Khan

Posted on 8 November 2016

Indian music legend, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, performed at the University of York's Scenic Stage alongside Tabla musician Gurdain Rayatt on Monday, 7 November.

‌Here are five things that the audience learnt about the master of the sarod and Indian classical music: 

1. A sarod musician is much like a poet; the intropective tones of the stringed instrument communicates human emotion, intellectual thought, and spirituality.

2. You need good physical fitness to play the tabla!  Muscles in the neck, shoulders, back and arms are tested whilst playing this instrument and a good seating position is important in order to avoid fatigue. 

3. To bring classical music to the masses, you must find "innovation within the tradition" and not be tempted to follow convention.

4. Not all intellectual study requires words and pictures; sound can be just as powerful in telling stories and can reach people with a sensitivity that not all words can capture.

5. The fingerboard of the sarod is covered in metal to allow sliding pitches and the fingernails of the left hand are used to press the strings. Musicians have different preferences on how the instrument is handled; some use the index and middle finger to play the strings, whilst others use index, middle, and ring finger.

U‌stad Amjad Ali Khan is a honorary graduate of the University of York and was performing at the University's Open Lecture series.  To learn more about music at York visit: