Tansen, the magical musician, was one of the ‘Navratna’ (nine gems) at the court of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. He was born in Gwalior as a son of Mukund Misra, who was a poet. As a young child he learnt music from the legendary teacher of his time, Haridas Swami. He first served as a court musician of the King Ramchandra of Mewa and then of the emperor Akbar.
He was conferred the title of Miyan, by emperor Akbar and since came to be knonw as Miyan Tansen. Though born in a Hindu family Tansen embraced Islam in his later life.
He is said to have no equals in music and it is believed that he had performed miracles through his music. He is supposed to had the ability of creating rain by singing rag Megh Malhar and creating fire by singing t rag Deepak. He is the composer of many ragas such as Durbari Kanada, Miyan Ki Todi, Miyan Ki Malhar and Miyan Ki Sarang. The famous Dhrupad style of singing is believed to be started by Tansen and his teacher Swami Haridas. He wrote two important documents on music namely Sangeeta Sara and Rajmala. He was a mystic musician.
His tomb is in Gwalior near the tomb of Saint Hazrat Ghaus whose teaching influenced him to convert to Islam. There is a tamarind tree near Tansen’s tomb, believed to be as old as the tomb. According to a legend a person who chews the leaves of this tamarind tree is blessed with the great musical qualities. The descendants of Tansen are referred to as the ‘Senia Gharana’.