Ustad Bismillah Khan (Urdu: استاد بسم اللہ خان صاحب; March 21, 1916 – August 21, 2006) was an Indian shehnai maestro. He was the third classical musician to be awarded the Bharat Ratna (in 2001), the highest civilian honour in India and gained worldwide acclaim for playing the shehnai for more than eight decades.
Lalat is a morning melody and is usually expounded from early dawn up to about three hours of the morning. Pathos and urge are its dominant moods and this "raga" is best suited to compositions of a devotional character.
Raga Lalit employs both Madhyamas that is the Flat or Komal and the sharp or "Teevra" Madhyama. In this "raga" the fifth note Pancham is completely omitted both in the Aroha (ascent) and Avroha (descent) whereas there is defference of opinion about the use of the sixth note "Dha". According to one school the Flat or "Komal" "Dha" should be used whilst another recommends the sharp or "Teevra" "Dha". Bismillah Khan belongs to the former school and uses the "Komal" or Flat "Dha".
On this side after a very short "alap" or invocation the artiste starts a composition confined to a rhythm of 16 beats and known as "Teental". During the first part of the rendering which consists of slow movements of notes, the main characteristics of the "raga" are clearly brought out. Then the artiste goes on to adorn the performance with greaceful "taan" patterns and towars the end he raises the tempo which enables him to display his mastery over the instrument.
Raga Madhmat - Sarang
This "raga" is usually expounded in the middle of the day from about 12 noon to 2 P. M. and is a sub-melody of Raga Sarang Sarang is pentatonic in structure and takes only five notes both in the ascent and descent omitting the sixth notes completely. In the sub-melody rendered on this side there is, however, a judicious use of the sixth note which is what distinguishes this "raga" from the parent melody. The mood of the "raga" is happiness, joy and exuberance and therefore it is best suited for themes of a romantic and frivolous nature.
The performance on this side opens with a very short "alap" after which the artiste starts on a composition confined to a rhythm of 16 beat divided into four equal groups and called "Teental". The tempo in the fist half is medium but gradually it gathers momentum and becoes faster. The artiste displays uncanny skill on the instrument and finishes up after creating a very satisfying and happy atmosphere.