Ghazal, Gazelle and Tina Sani

Many artists have been singing ghazals and some have earned a great name in the history of ghazal recitals. These include the classical, semi classical as well as the popular singers of the movie world. However, when we talk of ghazal in music, it needs to be emphasized that ghazal singing is a distinct art from classical singing, for skilled classical singers are not necessarily good ghazal singers as well.
And when it comes to a rendition of the lyrics into art of ghazal singing, then among the contemporary artists nobody can do it as perfectly as that sober and husk-voiced lady Tina Sani. With her melodious voice, she throbs the heart of millions of Pakistanis and is country’s undisputed Queen of Melody.
Another reason for her success as a performer is her ability to communicate; so that even when singing the likes of Zauq, she does not lose the audience – a skill, which, in fact is integral to the art of ghazal and classical singing.

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GHAZAL, GAZELLE AND TINA SANI

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by Nayyar Hashmey

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Ghazalis a poetic form. It uses couplets which share a rhyme and a refrain. Each line must share the same meter.

Etymologically, the word refers to “the mortal cry of a gazelle”.

The structural requirements of ghazal are more stringent than most other poetic forms, traditionally written in Urdu, English or other languages. In its style and content it is a genre that has proved itself capable of an extraordinary variety of expression around its central theme of love and separation. Many consider it as the principal poetic form which the Persian civilization offered to the eastern Islamic world.

In the subcontinent, ghazal spread in the 12th century under the influence of the new Islamic Sultanate courts and Sufi mystics. Exotic to the region, it is indicated by the very sounds of the name itself; when properly pronounced as ġazal, with its very un-Indian initial rolled g. Ghazal is the most prominent form of Urdu poetry. Today, its style and pattern influence the poetry of many other languages as well.

Ghazal uses couplets in a single rhyme (aa, ba, ca, da etc.), sometimes mentioning the poet’s name in the last couplet. It often provides the basis for popular love songs in Urdu poetry, its usual subject‐matter being amatory, although it has been adapted for religious, political, and other uses as well.

A full understanding of the classical ghazal poetry, however, is not possible without at least being familiar with some concepts of Sufism. Historically almost all the major historical ghazal poets were either avowed Sufis themselves (like Rumi or Hafiz), or were sympathizers of Sufi ideas. Hence mostly ghazals are viewed in a spiritual context, with beloved being a metaphor for God, or the poet’s spiritual master. It is the intense divine love of sufism that serves as a model for all forms of love found in ghazal poetry.

Many artists have been singing ghazals and some have earned a great name in the history of ghazal recitals. These include the classical, semi classical as well as the popular singers of the movie world. However, when we talk of ghazal in music, it needs to be emphasized that ghazal singing is a distinct art from classical singing, for skilled classical singers are not necessarily good ghazal singers as well.

Here is a YouTube video in Tina’s melodious voice. Here she reverberates with typical wailing of a gazelle. I have chosen this Punjabi song because no other rendition could do justice with this write up on Tina.

When it comes to a rendition of the lyrics into art of ghazal singing, then among the contemporary artists nobody can do it as perfectly as that sober and husk-voiced lady Tina Sani.
With her melodious voice, she throbs the heart of millions of Pakistanis and is country’s undisputed Queen of Melody. The years she has progressively rigoured herself as a ghazal performer, there are now a few who can compete with her. An important reason for Tina’s success as a performer is her ability to communicate; so that even when singing the likes of Zauq, she does not lose the audience – a skill, which, in fact is integral to the art of ghazal and classical singing.

Besides enthralling the music lovers with countless ghazals and audio / video songs, she inspires everybody, the elite, common urbanite as well as the rural folk alike.


Tina always sings in her own rhythm. Not inclined to follow in anyone’s footsteps, she ushers in an era of ghazal styled singing in which she is the real queen of lyrical singing in Pakistan.

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Published in: on 27/06/2008 at 4:38 pm  Comments (5)  
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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Really good article! Tina Sani indeed is the Ghazal singer of our time. Her training in classical music and solid grasp on the literature along with the unmatched ability to blend the two makes her the stand out singer from all others. We also should not forget her rendition of Parvin Shakir.

  2. […] Ghazal, Gazelle and Tina Sani […]

  3. Listening Tina from late 80’s or early 90’s. Whenever I get some time, I admire Tina Sa’ni by listening See kay lubb aik qiamat see uthaa dee jaiay.

    Love you Tina.
    From great fan of yours.

  4. Every day I visit a few sites for information and the sites where I can read articles, as such I have found your site exclusively offering quality based content.

  5. […] Ghazal, Gazelle and Tina Sani […]


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