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Gopal Nayak – 12th Century Musician

Gopal Nayak was a musician of the Yadava period f the 12th century CE. Gopal Nayak belonged to the generation after Sarangadeva (1175 CE). The author of the musical work Sangita Ratnakara, Sarangadeva was the poet-philosopher and musician in the court of Sindhana Yadava, the predecessor of Ramachandra Yadava. Gopal Nayak probably had his musical training in the musical system propounded by Sarangadeva.

Kallinatha, the famous commentator of Sangita Ratnakara, has mentioned Gopal Nayak, while Venkatamakhi refers to him twice. Gopal Nayak has stated that he knew only the srutis.

He was the connecting link between southern and northern systems of music. The precise dates of his birth and death are not known. But it is certain that he was contemporary to Allauddin, Amir Khusro and Ramachandra Yadava.

In the period of the Yadavas, Maharashtra developed its own musical traditions. Gopal Nayak was the court musician of Ramachandra Yadava, who was defeated by Allauddin Khilji in his first invasion of the Deccan.

Gopal Nayak was arrested and taken to the court of Delhi. At the insistence of Amir Khusro, the Persian scholar and musician in the Delhi Sultan’s court, Gopal Nayak was patronized by Allauddin as a court musician. It is said that Amir Khusro learnt compositions set to the southern ragas from Gopal Nayak. The latter’s melodious style of singing encouraged musicians of North India and inspired new compositions in Indian music. He had mastered the science of music and the art of singing.