This may surprise many, but it is true. More than a century ago, a certain Raga or Bandish (composition) was considered the ‘property’ of a particular Gharana. That is, the Raga in question would be known only to the musicians of that Gharana and to no one else. This would be especially true if the Raga was created in the Gharana. It was the custom to occasionally ‘gift’ a Raga or Bandish as dowry to a son-in-law. In this way, many Ragas found their way into Gharanas where the Raga had not been in existence before. If the recipient or new ‘owner’ of the Raga was a musician of another Gharana, he would naturally be guided by his own background conditioning in presenting this ‘received’ Raga. This would quite conceivably cause some variation in the Raga, that might remain mild or even become heightened with the passage of time.
Agra Gharana, one of the more popular Gharanas, places great importance on developing forcefulness and deepness in the voice so that the notes are powerful and resonant. Many vocalists of this Gharana have adopted a certain falsetto tone in their singing that oozes of masculinity. Once considered a domain of male singers, Agra Gharana is now followed by many eminent and newer female vocalists.
Apart from the above doyens of the Gharana, the more famous names of Agra Gharana include Khadim Hussain Khan, Dinkar Kaikini, Lalith Rao, Jitendra Abhisheki, Ravi Kichlu and many more. As with other Gharanas, the list is long.