Premier Institute of higher education in Sikh music

“One life is insufficient for music”-Dr. Gurnam Singh

-By Loveen Kaur Gill

Dr. Gurnam Singh, under whose supervision, many teachers have completed their Ph.D in sikh music work from different universities all over the world and 6 are currently doing Ph.D.

The Sikh Gurus chose music to spread and shower the divine messages,’The Shabad’ in a unique musical tradition of Shabad Kirtan as prescribed in the Shabad-Guru Granth Sahib.  The

 musicology of this tradition of Shabad Kirtan falls in tune with teachings and theology of the Sikh Gurus called Gurmat Sangeet.

                “Many times self-styled presentations do not follow the singing patterns and prescribed string instruments, therefore, Punjabi University stepped in to establishing a separate Department of Gurmat Sangeet,” says Dr. Gurnam Singh, the Professor and Chair of the Department, “and in 2004 along with launching the masters course in 

Gurmat Sangeet, a  separate department was set up.”


Dr. Singh is the founder Professor and head of the department with 22 years of research experience and teachings at the post-graduate level in the universities. His remarkable contribution in the field of classical music, folk music and Gurmat Sangeet (Sikh Music) includes 14 books, 27 edited books, 32 research papers, 64 research articles along with many audio and videos.

        “My life was meant for it, it has taken us 9 years to come this far and much more to be done and one life is insufficient for works on music” he says of persistence when it comes to lack of research orientation.

Gurmat Sangeet department led by Dr. Singh is planning to publish an annual research journal to promote Sikh History and Sikh music. In the post-graduate course of Gurmat Sangeet students are taught all ragas and different singing styles as contained in Guru Granth Sahib. Documentary films are also being produced on renowned Kirtankaars (Sikh Music singers).

Dr. Singh, a visionary, speaks of different ways that Sikh Guru’s had formulized the world of music in Guru Granth Sahib,” it is about preserving history, museumizing, and institutionalizing all the treasures that we were gifted with. Our music and rich heritage needs to reach in the hands of our generations to come.”

With the dream in mind to cater to younger generations, long distance students or especially NRI’s, online courses have been launched.

A team that worked on establishment of the Gurmat Music department went around India and neighbour countries in search of historical instruments.

“It was weeks and months that we travelled to look for resources that would provide materials linking to our history, I have a very supporting life partner who is also in the same field, and walks with me to bring a common dream come true.

The department has been able to build a museum that holds ancient Gurmat music instruments, as the dedicated squad continues to work their way toward adding more resources in the libraries, online publications are parallelly being developed as well.

Dr. Gurnam Singh’s role in getting Gurmat Sangeet recognized as an independent subject at various academic levels is tremendously significant. More information can be fetched at