Glimpses : My first violin

We have recently posted several lectures by Hazrat Inayat Khan about music, here and here, and below is a short memory written by his younger son, Murshid Hidayat Inayat-Khan, about the beginning of his musical training, when he was around the age of seven or eight. Murshid Hidayat went on to study at the École Normale de Musique in Paris, under the tutelage of Nadia Boulanger, performed as a professional violinist, and saw a number of his musical compositions played by orchestras around the world.

We children had never heard western instruments, because in those days there were no radios in the homes, and even gramophones were most exceptionally rare items. But our Father did instruct us in the science of Indian music, and also made us sing the various ragas, together with the beating of the talas, while accompanying us on the piano. Our Father also taught us western scales, besides the basis principles of music in general.

One day, when returning from the first concert of western music which I had ever heard, I rushed back home and begged my Father to let me have a violin, so that I could learn to play the concerto of Beethoven as well as Mischa Elman did at the Salle Pleyel in Paris, to which I had just been, together with our Uncle Taya.

After days and days of practice, I finally decided to play some notes on the violin to my Father, convinced as I was that he could not compete with me. But suddenly my Father picked up my violin and started to play so beautifully on it that I was absolutely spellbound in deepest admiration, and of course all my silent feelings of pride concerning my own accomplishments on the violin were wiped away in one moment, leaving only place for a firm determination to try to come up some day to my Father’s expectations.

At that same occasion, my Father also gave me a ‘Wazifa’, which he specially wrote on the lines of music paper, symbolizing a magic link of music and mysticism in one and the same meditation.

One Reply to “Glimpses : My first violin”

  1. Bhakti Parkhurst

    Murshid Hidayat told me a beautiful story about his violin lessons. He said that as a young man he was very proud of his hair which he kept longer. He was in a violin lesson and must have been unduly conscious of his hair. His renowned teacher told him that the violin was played with the hair of the bow, not the hair of the head. He was so ashamed that he raced out and had his hair cut and never grew it again.
    I loved Murshid’s stories. He was so generous with them. A powerful antidote for our many flaws.


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