The son of influential Hindustani musician Allaudin Khan, Ali Akbar Khan was one of the Eastern world's greatest musicians. A master of the sarod, a 25-stringed, lute-like, Indian instrument, Khan brought the Northern Indian classical music to the international stage. A five-time Grammy nominee, Khan was called, by Yehudi Menuhin, "an absolute genius, the greatest musician in the world." Tracing his ancestral roots to Mian Tansen, a 16th century musician in the court of Emperor Akbar, Khan began studying music at the age of three. Initially studying vocal music with his father, he studied drums with his uncle, Fakir Aftabuddin. Although he tried playing a wide variety of instruments, he felt most comfortable on the sarod. Training and practicing 18 hours a day, he slowly mastered the instrument. In 1936, he made his public debut during a concert in Allahabad. In the early '40s, Khan became a court musician for the Maharaja of Judhpur. He soon acquired the title "Ustad" (master musician).