Ganesh, the elephant-headed god, worshipped as the destroyer of all obstacles and harbinger of peace and success, finds mention in some Hindustani vocal compositions. Perhaps, these pieces were composed by musicians engaged by patrons to perform during the ritual worship of this god.

They may have also been inspired by the individual musician's religious beliefs. Here is a Ganesh Vandana written by the saint-poet Tulsidas. It is sung by Jaipur-Atrauli vocalist Ashwini Bhide Deshpande, and accompanied by Seema Shirodkar on harmonium, Vishwanath Shirodkar on tabla and Hari Bagde on pakhawaj. Although, this is not from the classical repertoire, it is based on raga Bihag but also borrows from other ragas, and is composed in the eight-matra tala Kaherva.

Several theatre traditions in India incorporate a prayer to Ganesh before beginning the main presentation. This is a naandi, or invocatory prayer, before Ghashiram Kotwal, the path-breaking Marathi play written by Vijay Tendulkar, with music by Bhaskar Chandavarkar.

Pakhawaj and tabla players have also been inspired by Ganesh and have composed Ganesh parans that use text and bols (syllables representing percussion sounds) in praise of the god. Kishan Maharaj, the charismatic tabla exponent of the Banaras gharana, ends his solo with a Ganesh paran.

Given the subcontinent's syncretic cultural history, it is not surprising that  Sultan Ibrahim Shah II of Bijapur composed a piece in praise of Ganesh or Ganapati and included it in his famous work Kitab-i-Nauras. The published work does not include a notated version, but the composer chose raga Malhar for this song-text.

Public Ganesh festivals in Maharashtra, the Saarvajanik Ganeshotsav, had featured classical music in the past and music lovers looked forward to listening to their favourite performers during the celebrations. Sadly, today classical music does not find a place in the festivities.