Basic Concepts of Indian
Patti is the scale in which
a performer sings his songs/ragas. The table below,
shows the different scales that can be used. The marathi
notation is in the form of Pandhri (means White) or Kali
(means Black) . The next part is equivalent number in
Marathi/Hindi. The following table shows the pattis with
equivalent western notations.
Safed 1 (White
Kali 1 (Black 1)
Safed 2 (White
Kali 2 (Black 2)
Safed 3 (White
Safed 4 (White
Kali 3 (Black 3)
Safed 5 (White
Kali 4 (Black 4)
Safed 6 (White
Kali 5 (Black 5)
Safed 7 (White
# - Read as
b - Read as Flat
Shudhha, Achal, Komal, and Teevra Swar
Achala Swar : The notes Shadja and Pancham are
fixed on the scale. They are referred to as Achal swara
Vikrut Swar : The other notes viz. Rishabh,
Gandhar, Madhyam, Dhaivat and Nishad are Vikrut
Komal Swar : In Vikrut swaras Rishabh, Gandhar,
Dhaivat, Nishad can be moved below there shuddha place
on the scale. They are called komal (Soft or Flat).
These are shown by a small horizontal line below the
Teevra Swar : Only Madhyam, can become vikrut by
going one note above the shuddha Madhyam. It is called
teevra (Sharp). It is shown by a small vertical line
above the note.
Shadja - Sa
Rishabh - Re
Gandhar - Ga
Madhyam - Ma
Pancham - Pa
Dhaivat - Dha
Nishad - Ni
Indian Classical music 3 saptaks (Octaves) are usually
Saptak : When the set of seven notes is played in
the order it is called a Saptak (i.e. Sa , Re, Ga, Ma,
Pa, Dha, Ni)
Maddhya Saptak : The normal tone of human voice,
which is neither high nor low. It is called Maddhya
Saptak (Middle Octave). This has got no symbol in the
Taar Saptak : The one higher than Maddhya Saptak
is Taar saptak (High). The notes are high and sharp.
This shown by a dot above the note. Two dots above the
note imply a note of an octave higher than the Taar
Saptak i.e. Ati Taar Saptak.
Mandra Saptak : The one below the Maddhya Saptak
is called Mandra saptak(Low). Notes of this octave are
sung or played in a low deep tone. This comprises of the
saptak which is below the lower Sa of the Maddhya Saptak.
Notes of this saptak are indicated by a dot below the
It's possible in case of stringed instruments such as
Sitar to go to the octave lower than the Mandra saptak.
It's known as the Ati Mandra Saptak. The notes of this
saptak are indicated by two dots below. In the saptak
(scale) the Sa gets repeated after the Ni. The Frequency
of the second Sa is twice the frequency of the first Sa.
The second Sa is termed as Taar Shadja. From this Taar
Shadja the same saptak gets repeated (But this time at
twice the frequency of the respective swar. It's then
called taar Saptak.)
Since the Indian Classical music is modal music based on
relations between a fixed sound, the tonic and the
successive notes. The tonic needs to be heard
continuously.The sustained accompaniment of the tonic
allows the performer to check his/ her voice to avoid
dissonance. This constant tonic is provided by the
instrument Taanpura. It has four or sometimes 5/6
strings . The drone is accomplished (explained for a
four string taanpura) by playing
(If a particular raag does not include Pancham but has
Madhyam eg. Raag Marwa or Malkauns)
Some times it is set to
if the raag has prominence of Dhaivat or Nishad.
According to Vishnu Narayan
Bhatkhande (1860-1936), one of the most influential
musicologists in the field of North Indian classical
music in the twentieth century, each one of the several
traditional ragas is based on, or is a variation of, ten
basic thaats, or musical scales or frameworks. The ten
thaats are Bilawal, Kalyan, Khamaj, Bhairav, Poorvi,
Marwa, Kafi, Asavari, Bhairavi and Todi; if one were to
pick a raga at random, it should be possible to find
that it is based on one or the other of these thaats.
For instance, the ragas Shri and Puriya Dhanashri are
based on the Poorvi thaat, Malkauns on the Bhairavi, and
Darbari Kanada on the Asvari thaat. It is important to
point out that Bhatkande's thaat-raga theory is not very
accurate, but it is nevertheless an important
classificatory device with which to order, and make
sense of, a bewildering array of ragas; and it is also a
useful tool in the dissemination of the music to
There are certain rules for these Thaats.
A Thaat must have seven
notes out of the twelve notes [Seven Shuddha, Four
komal (Re, Ga, Dha , Ni), one teevra (Ma) ], placed
in an ascending order. Both the forms of the notes
can be used.
Thaat has only an Aaroha.
Thaats are not sung but
the raags produced from the Thaats are sung.
Thaats are named after
the popular raag of that Thaat. For example Bhairavi
is a popular raag and the thaat of the raag Bhairavi
is named after the raag.
The 10 basic thaats acording
to the Bhatkhande System are as follows
Bilawal is the most
basic of all the ten thaats. All the swars in the
thaat are shuddha or all swars in the natural scale.
Bilawal as a raag is not rendered these days however
a small variation of the raag called Alahaiya
Bilawal is very common. This is a mornig raag and
its pictorial descriptions create a rich, sensuous
ambience in consonance with its performance.
Raags in Bilawal Thaat : Deskar, Haunsdhwani,
Variations of Bilawal.
The next thaat is Khamaj
which can be obtained by replacing the Shuddha
Nishad of Bilawal by Komal Nishad. The raags of this
thaat are full of Shringar Ras (romantic) hence this
raag is mostly rendered in the form of light
classical thumris, tappas, horis, kajris etc. Its
pictorial descriptions in the existing texts are
sensuous and even today, the raag Khamaj is
considered to be a 'flirtatious' raag. There is
another theory which assumes that in the past,
Khamaj scale found its way in Ch'in music of the
late medieval China.
Raags in Khamaj Thaat : Rageshree, Jhinjhoti,
Des, Tilak Kamod, Jaijaiwanti, Khambavati etc.
Kafi thaat makes use of
the Komal Gandhar and Komal Nishad. So basically it
adds Komal Gandhar to the Khamaj Thaat. raag Kafi is
one of the oldest raags and its intervals are
described as basic scale of the Natyashastra. Thus
in ancient and medieval times, Kafi was considered
as natural scale. Kafi is a late evening raag and
said to convey the mood of spring time.
Raags in Kafi Thaat : Dhanashree, Dhani,
Bhimpalasi, Pilu, Megh Malhar, Bageshree etc.
Add Komal Dhaivat to
Kafi thaat and you get Asavari Thaat. raag Asavari
is full of tyag, the mood of renunciation and
sacrifice as well as pathos. It is best suited for
late morning. However important evening/night raags
like Darbari and Adana also use notes of asavari
thaat with different styles, stress points and
Raags in Asavari Thaat : Asavari, Desi,
Darbari, Adana, Jaunpuri etc.
Bhairavi makes use of
all the komal swars, Rishabh, Gandhar, Dhaivat,
Nishad. When singing compositions in Bhairavi raag,
the singers however take liberty to use all the 12
swars. Bhairavi raag is names after the shakti
or feminine aspect of the cosmic life force, which
is personified as a consort to Lord Shiva. Bhairavi
is a powerful raag filled with devotion and
compassion. Bhairavi is actually performed early in
the morning in a peaceful, serious and ocassionally
sad mood. Traditionally it is rendered as the last
item of a program, for its unique fullness of
sentiments as well as its wide scope of the tonal
combinations. Pictorially, Bhairavi is represented
in female form, as the wife of Bhairav.
Raags in Bhairavi Thaat : Malkauns,
Bilaskhani Todi, Bhupali Todi, Kaunsi Kanada etc.
Bhairav thaat raags make
use of Komal Rishabh and Komal Dhaivat. Bhairav is
one of the names of Lord Shiva especially in his
powerful form as a naked ascetic with matted locks
and body smeared with ashes. The raag too has some
of these masculine and scetic attributes in its form
and compositions. The raag itself is extremely vast
and allows a huge number of note combinations and a
great range of emotional qualities from valor to
peace. You can see a lot of variations on raag
Bhairav including (but not restricted to) Ahir
Bhairav, Alam Bhairav, Anand Bhairav, Bairagi
Bhairav, Beehad Bhairav, Bhavmat Bhairav, Devata
Bhairav, Gauri Bhairav, Nat Bhairav, Shivmat Bhairav.
This raag is usually performed in a devotional mood
in the early morning hours. The vibrations of the
notes in Bhairav is said to clear one's whole mind.
The pictorial depictions of raag Bhairav in the
ancient texts are austere as well as awe-inspiring.
Raags in Bhairav Thaat : Ramkali, Gunkari,
Meghranjani, Jogiya, Bhairav and its variations etc.
Kalyan thaat consists of
a important group of evening raags. Characterized by
the teevra Madhyam, this thaat literally means good
luck. It is considered to be a blessing-seeking and
soothing raag. As a result, it is performed in the
evening at the beginning of a concert. This raag
creates a feeling of the unfolding of an evening.
This thaat is huge and consists of many variations
on the basic kalyan thaat including raags (but not
restricted to) like Shuddha Kalyan, Shyam Kalyan,
Yaman Kalyan, Anandi Kalyan, Khem Kalyan (Haunsdhwani
+ Yaman), Savani Kalyan etc.
Raags in Kalyan Thaat : Yaman, Bhupali,
Hindol, Kedar, Kamod, etc.
Marwa thaat is obtained
by adding a komal Rishabh to Kalyan thaat. The mood
of the Marwa family raags is strongly and easily
recognizable. The Shadja remains in the form of a
shadow till the very end, where it almost comes as a
surprise. komal Rishabh and shuddha Dhaivat are ver
important. The overall mood of this raag is of
sunset where the night approaches much faster than
in northern latitudes. The onrushing darkness
awakens in many observers, a feeling of anxiety and
Raags in Marwa Thaat : Marwa, Puriya,
Bhatiyaar, Bibhas, Sohoni etc.
Poorvi thaat adds a
komal Dhaivat to Marwa thaat. These thaat raags
usually feature komal Rishabh, shuddha Gandhar and
Shuddha Nishad along with teevra Madhyam, the note
which distinguishes evening from the morning raags
(dawn and sunset). The thaat raag Poorvi is deeply
serious quite and mysterious in character and is
performed at the time of sunset. Pictorial
depictions in early texts, often mention the poise,
grace and charm of Poorvi.
Raags in Poorvi Thaat : Puriya Dhanashree,
Gauri, Shree, Paraj, Basant etc.
Todi is the king of all
thaats. Todi pictures nearly always show a petite,
beautiful woman, holding veena, with a deer around
her, standing in a lovely, lush green forest. Todi
represents the mood of delighted adoration with a
gentle, loving sentiment and its traditionally
performed in the late morning.
Raags in Todi Thaat : Miyan Ki Todi, Gujari
Todi, Madhuvanti, Multani etc.
Raag is the backbone of
Indian Classical Music. The word raag comes from
Sanskrit word "Ranj" which means to delight, to make
happy and to satisfy. Here it's necessary to clarify
that not all raags project a happy mood. The raag can
produce various moods such as Shant (serenity),
Shrungaar (erotic), Bhakti (devotion to God), Veer
(gallantry, bravery, aggressive).
Raag is neither a scale, nor a mode. It is, however, a
scientific, precise, subtle, and aesthetic melodic form
with its own peculiar ascending and descending movement
which consists of either a full octave, or a series of
five or six notes. An omission of a jarring or dissonant
note, or an emphasis on a particular note, or the
transition from one note to another, and the use of
microtones along with other subtleties, distinguish one
raag from the other.
Raag has its own principal mood such as tranquillity,
devotion, eroticism, loneliness, pathos, heroism, etc.
Each raag is associated, according to its mood, with a
particular time of the day, night or a season.
Improvization is an essential feature of Indian music,
depending upon the imagination and the creativity of an
artist; a great artist can communicate and instill in
his listener the mood of the raag.
Each melodic structure of raag has something akin to a
distinct personality subject to a prevailing mood. Early
Indian writers on music, carried this idea further and
endowed the raags with the status of minor divinities,
with names derived from various sources, often
indicating the origin or associations of the individual
raags. In theoretical works on music each raag was
described in a short verse formula, which enabled the
artist to visualize its essential personality during
meditation prior to the performance.
There are 3 Raag bhed (Types of Raag)
Shuddha Raag : The raag
in which even if any notes that are not present in
it are used, it's nature and form does not change.
Chhayalag Raag : The
raag in which if any notes that are not present in
it are used, it's nature and form changes.
Sankeerna Raag : The
raag in which there is a combination of two or more
Terms describing the
properties of a Raag
Vaadi : The most prominent note of the raag which
gets emphasized in the raag and used very often.
Samvaadi : The second most important note of the
raag. It used lesser than the vaadi but more than the
other notes of the raag. This is the fourth or fifth
note from the Vaadi.
Anuvaadi : The other notes of the raag (other
than Vaadi and Samvaadi).
Vivadi : The meaning of vivadi is "one which
produces dissonance", the note which is not present in
the raag. But still a vivadi swar is used in a raag by
able singers in such a way that it enhances the beauty
of the raag. This is done very rarely.
For example Teevra Madhyam in raag Bihag was considered
a Vivadi but recently it has almost become a important
aspect of Raag Bihag.
Aaroha : Ascend of the notes. Here each note is
higher than the preceding note.
Example : Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni
Avaroha : Descend of the notes. Here each note is
lower than the preceding note.
Example : Ni, Dha, Pa, Ma, Ga, Re, Sa
Pakad : A small group of notes which describe the
unique features of the raag.
Jaati : Gives the number of notes in Aaroha as
well as the Avaroha of the raag. Audav has 5 notes.
Shadav has 6 notes and Sampoorna has 7 notes. Thus there
are 9 jaati based on Audav, Shadav, Sampoorna in Aaroha
and Avaroha.(i.e. making combinations of either Audav or
Shadav or Sampoorna in Aaroha and Audav or Shadav or
Sampoorna in Avaroha.)
Thaat : The system of classification for the
raags in different groups. The set of seven notes or
scale which can produce a raag. Presently in Hindustani
Classical Music 10 thaat classification of raags have
been adopted (as described in the previous article.
Samay : Each Raag has a specific time at which it
an be performed. This is because specific those notes
are supposed to be more effective at that particular
Ras : The emotion each raag invokes. Depending
upon the notes used in the raag, it will invoke a ras.
Musical terms regarding a presentation of a raag in
Sthayee : The first part of the composition.
Mainly develops in the the lower and the middle octave.
Antaraa : Second part of the composition.
Develops in the middle or higher note.
Mukhadaa : The first line of the composition.
The gradual exposition of Raag emphasizing Vaadi,
Samvaadi and other salient features of the raag in a
slow tempo is known as Alaap.
The word alaap means a dialog or conversation. Alaap is
a dialog between the musician and the raag. Alaap
reflects the depth, the temperament, creativity and
training of the musician.
In alaap, the musician improvises each note gradually.
Beginning with the lower octave and in a slow tempo and
techniques like kana swar and meend etc. The alaap is
sung in the beginning of the raag at the time of a
performance. This is also known as the Vistaar. When the
musician starts rendering a Bada Khayal / Chotaa Khayaal
(bandish) the tabla or any other percussion instrument
joins. Alaap is used again with the composition, this
time with the rhythm as well. This alaap is slightly
faster and and rhythmic.
Some times the words of the song are also improvised
with notes. This is known as Bol Alaap.
Alaap is usually sung in Aakaar i.e. without pronouncing
any syllables only using the sound "aa" of the vowel.
Sometimes syllables like teri, Nom, Tom are also used
for singing the alaap this type of singing is called
Dhrupad and Dhamaar. It is said that Tansen used to sing
in nom, tom and Amir Khusro for the first time
introduced khayal gayaki in Indian Classical Music.
improvise and to expand weaving together the notes in a
fast tempo is a taan. Taans are very technical and shows
the training, practice and dexterity in weaving
complicated patterns of the notes with variations in the
rhythm. Taans also are sung in Akaar. Speed is an
important factor of the taan.
Some important types of the taan
Bol Taan : Taan can also be sung by utilizing the
words of the Cheez (Composition). This is a difficult
type of a taan as in this correct pronunciation, the
beauty of the words, meaning of the composition, every
thing has to be taken in to consideration.
Shuddha/Sapat (Straight)Taan : The notes are
placed in an order in one or more octaves.
Koot Taan : The notes do not remain in order.
It's complicated in nature.
Mishra Taan : Combination of the above two taans.
Gamak Taan : Gamak is a technique by which a
force is added to notes and each note is repeated
Also there are many other types of taan called Ladant
taan, Zatkaa taan, Gitkari taan, Jabde ki taan, Sarok
Taan, Halak Taan, Palat taan.
Although the terms can be explained the raag is a tonal
complex. The listener has to listen to several pieces of
the raag in order to recognize the raag. Each raag is
presented differently depending upon the Gharana of the
artist, the artist's own nature, and his/her mood at
that time, also on the form he/she chooses to perform
the raag in i.e. whether it's a khayal, a Dhrupad,
Thummri, Bhajan etc. The presentation is also different
in case of vocal and instrumental music. This is why a
Indian Classical Music can only be learnt properly by
listening and repetition.
In Hindustani classical
music, each raag is rendered only at a specific time.
The time of the raag depends on the vaadi swar and the
anuvadi swars . This is so as each raag with it's
particular swar is more effective if performed at a
particular time. It is supposed to enhance the ras
(mood) of the raag that the artist is responsible for
But, some raags are seasonal in nature. For example
raags that belong to the Malhar category can be sung at
any time during the monsoon season. The traditional
associations with respect to the season are - Monsoon -
Raag Megh, Autumn - Raag Bhairav, Winter - Raag Malkauns,
Spring - Raag Hindol.
The 24 hours of a day are divided into 2 parts
From 12 AM to 12 PM -
This is called Poorva Bhaag and raags sung in this
period are called poorva raags.
From 12 PM to 12 AM -
This is called Uttar Bhaag and the raags in this
period are called uttar raags.
The part of the saptak
(octave) from Sa to Ma (Sa Re Ga Ma) is called poorvang
(earlier part) of a raag and from Ma to taar saptak Sa
(Pa Dha Ni Sa) is called uttarang (later part) of the
Poorvang Vaadi raag : The raags in which the
vaadi swar lies in the poorvang are called poorvang
vaadi raag. These raags are rendered in the poorva bhag
of the day i.e. 12 AM to 12 PM
Uttarang Vaadi raag : The raags in which the
vaadi swar lies in the uttarand are called uttarangi
vaadi raag. These raags are sung in the uttar bhaag of
the day i.e. 12 PM to 12 AM
So if we know a vaadi swar of the raag we can estimate
the time the raag will be rendered. The raags in
Hindustani classical music are divided in to 3
categories taking into account their swar (notes) and
1. Raags with Komal Rishabh and Komal Dhaivat
These raags are called sandhi prakash (dawn and dusk
time) raags and fall into two categories
a : pratah kaalin sandhi prakash raag : raags sung at
b : saayam kaalin sandhi prakash raag : raags sung at
In sandhi prakash raags Madhyam plays very important
role. Most of pratah kaalin sandhi prakash raags (dawn
time) contain the shuddha Madhyam. Eg. Raag Bhairav.
Most of the sayam kaalin sanhdi prakash raags (dusk
time) contain teevra ma. Eg. Raag Marwa.
Also, in most of the sandhi prakash raags, Rishabh is
komal and Gandhar, Nishad are shuddha. Dhaivat can be
komal or shuddha.
2. Raags with Shuddha Rishabh and Shuddha Dhaivat
The time at which these raags are rendered is after the
sandhi prakash raags. They belong mainly to Kalyan,
Bilawal, Khamaj thaat.
After the pratah kaalin sandhi prakash raags the
influence of shuddha Rishabh and shuddha Dhaivat starts
rising. Hence the raags of this category are rendered
from morning 7.00 to morning 10.00 and from evening 7.00
to evening 10.00. In this category Gandhar is
In the morning 7.00 to 10.00 category Shuddha Madhyam is
prominent Eg. Bilawal, Deskar
In evening 7.00 to 10.00 category Teevra Madhyam is
prominent Eg. Yaman, Bhoopali
3. Raags with Komal Gandhar and Komal Nishad
These raags are sung after the Shuddha Rishabh and
Shuddha Dhaivat raags. They are sung from morning 10.00
to afternoon 4.00 Eg. Asavari, Jaunpuri and night 10.00
to dawn 4.00 Eg. Bageshree, Jaijaivanti, Malkauns. In
these raags Gandhar will surely be komal. The Rishabh
and Dhaivat can be Shuddha or Komal.
Importance of Madhyam with regards to the time of the
Normally , in the morning time raags shuddha Madhyam is
prominent. In the raags with Komal Rishabh and Komal
Dhaivat if shuddha Madhyam is prominent then they are
called Pratah Kaalin Sandhi Prakash raag.
In the evening raags teevra Madhyam is prominent. Thus
in the evening with the raags such as Poorvi, Shree,
Multaani, teevra Madhyam comes into use which goes on
till the 2nd prahar of the night. At that time with
raags such as Bihaag, shuddha Madhyam starts getting
In the pratah kaalin sandhi prakash raag, the raags with
the Shuddha Madhyam (Raag Bhairav, Kalingada) come first
followed by raags with both the Madhyams (Raag Ramkali,
After this is the time to sing raags with Shuddha
Rishaabh and Shuddha Dhaivat. Shuddha Madhyam is
prominent in these raags (Raag Bilawal) Then comes the
time for Komal Gandhar raags. In this both the Madhyams
are used. In some of them Shuddha Madhyam assumes
prominence whereas in others Teevra Madhyam assumes
Thaats or scales are
produced from 12 swar - Shuddha, Komal, Teevra.
Raags belong to the thaats.
There must be seven
notes in a thaat The raag must have minimum five
In the thaat the seven
notes have to be in order but in the raag the notes
can be in any order.
Thaat has only Aaroha
(Ascending notes). The raag must have Aaroha
(ascending notes) as well as the Avaroha (descending
It is not necessary for
a thaat to be melodious as the thaats are not sung
but the raag has to be melodious.
Thaats do not express a
sentiment. A raag must express a mood.
Thaats do not have a
Vaadi or Samvaadi. A raag has to have a Vaadi and a
Thaats are named after a
popular raag belonging to that Thaat
To make the raag rendering
more beautiful and varied, different ornamental patterns
are used. Along with the theory each pattern contains an
audio. Please click the audio symbol to download the
audio file. I thank Smt. Veena Sahasrabuddhe for letting
me use her audio files which very nicely outline each
alankar. Veeenatai's website is located at
http://www.it.iitb.ac.in/~hvs/Veena/ where you can
find a series of her lecture demonstrations.
Alankar : Alankar literally means ornaments or
adorations. Specific melodic presentation in succession
in which a pattern is followed is called Alankar. For
example : "SaReGa, ReGaMa, GaMaPa, MaPaDha, PaDhaNi
DaNiSa". This phrase is a part of an alankar in which
three notes in succession are used at each time.
Gamak : These are many ways of ornamenting the
notes. In the ancient books fifteen types of gamaks are
Kampita - Shake
Andolita - Swing
Aaghaat - Strike
Valit - Vipple
Tribhinna - Threefold
Gumphita - Threaded
Plavita - Flowing
Mishrit - Mixed
Kurula - Spiral
Sphurita - Pulsating
Tirip - Flurry
Leen - Absorbing
Mudrita - Imprint
Ullhasit - Happy
Naamita - Obeisance
Many of these gamaks are
still in use in Karnatak music under different names.
However, today in the North Indian music, vibrating the
notes with force is now called Gamak. This is an
important technique in Dhrupad and often in Bada Khayal
Kan or Sparsh Swar : Kan means a small particle
of a neighboring note used with the main note. It can be
higher or lower than the main note.
Murki : It's a short taan of three or four notes.
It's sung very fast.
Khatkaa : Two or more notes sung with a jerk. Its
a combination of Kan and Murki.
Meend : Stretching or lengthening the sound from
one note to another. This technique maintains the
continuity of the sound. Meend brings a continuos flow,
softness and continuity.
Each raag invokes a certain
mood. For instance the raag Darbaari Kanada is regal and
dignified and majestic in it's appearance. The melodies
of this raag tend to be sung in the lower register,
tempo is slow and the melodic phrases are complex.
All these effects can be explained by the ancient theory
of Ras and Bhav.The Ras can be said as the experience
and the Bhav the expression.
In the Bharat Natya Shastra eight sentiments are
Later on, another ras Shant
(peaceful, calm) was added as the 9th Ras together
called "Navras". However after the 15th century Bhakti
(Devotion) Ras became widely accepted and popular into
the original ras. There is a conception that Bhakti and
Shanta ras are one and the same.
It also mentions the different notes to produce
different moods such as Madhyam - Humorous, Pancham -
Erotic, Shadja - Heroic, Rishabh - Wrathful and so on.
The raag must belong to
It must be melodic in
It comprises of a
minimum five notes.
A raag must have Aaroha
as well as Avaroha
Each raag has the note
Sa present in it.
Each raag has either
Madhyam and/or Pancham. Both these notes together
can not be absent from a raag.
Two forms of the same
note such as Shuddha Gandhar and Komal Gandhar
cannot follow each other in succession (But there
are exceptions to this rule). For example Raag Lalit
takes Shuddha Madhyam and Teevra Madhyam one after
the other, Raag Jog takes Shuddha Gandhar and Komal
Gandhar one after the other.
Some times some raags sound
almost similar but still there exists a little
difference in them. These differences can be seen to be
as follows :
Similar Thaat (scale)
and melodic configuration :
Some times a raag is only separated from the other
by means of stressing a particular note in one of
them. For example the only difference between raag
Hameer and raag Hameer Kalyaan is there is emphasis
on Shuddha Nishad in Hamir Kalyan.
Different Thaat (scale)
but similar melodic configuration
In some raags the melodic structure the mood they
present is almost the same but one or two notes vary
in their format i.e. are Komal or Shuddha or Teevra.
For example in Asavari and Komal Rishabh Asavari
only difference is the later uses Komal Rishabh
instead of Shuddha Rishabh. Hence the raags are
considered totally different.
Identical Thaat (scale)
but different melodic configuration
These raags are a challenge to the performer. As the
scale remains the same and they are separated on the
basis of the melodic configuration only. There are
subtle differences made in the form of a meend, use
of a certain musical phrase, emphasis on certain
notes, etc. For example Raag Goud Saarang and Raag
Here the chances of confusion are almost nill. This
is the case of those raags that are derived from two
different raags where one tetra chord is derived
from one raag and the next from some other major
raag. For example Raag Ahir Bhairav is derived from
Bhairav a major raag and Kafi. The resemblance to
Kafi is limited to the lower tetrachord (poorvanga)
and Bahutva (Predominance)
Bahutva : This is shown in two ways
By singing the note
repeatedly which is termed as abhyaas, and
By singing the note for
a longer time. This is called Aalanghan (grasping)
Bahutva is related to Vaadi
and Samvaadi of a raag as well as other notes of the
raag which are prominent in the presentation of that
Alpatva : This is again done in two ways.
By lack of repetition or
By only briefly touching
the note or langhan. The swar that is completely
omitted in aroha or avroha, gets an Alpatva by
For example : In Raag Bihag
the notes Rishabh and Dhaivat are getting alpatva by
langhan as they are completely omitted in the Aaroha.
However these swars are present in the avroha but the
importance to these swars is again less, i.e. in this
raag there is no "nyas" on these swars, that is why
these swars get alpatva by anabhyas.
Avirbhaav and Tirobhaav
As the musician employs different note combinations in
the development of a raag, there is always a danger that
the audience may feel he is snatching notes of another
raag which uses similar combinations.
When the raag being presented is clearly defined it's
called as Aavirbhaav.
On the other hand when the raag is deliberately and
cleverly concealed it's called as Tirobhav. This
prevarication is used as an artistic device.
This process of Avirbhaav and Tirobhaav, an almost
sensual game of creating confusion and resolving it by
clear statement of the raag, makes the raag stand out
The Jod Raag (Compound raag)
The basic principles in combining two raag is the
constituent raags should complement each other. The
emotional effect of combining them should be pleasing
and not disturbing, and not only for intellectual
curiosity. There are at least two forms of Jod raag .
One raag is given
predominance than the other. For example in Raag
Basant Bahaar, Basant is considered the main raag to
which Raag Bahaar is combined.
Another way of combining
is to use the notes of one raag and Chalan (melodic
movement) of the other. For instance in Raag Megh
Malhar, the notes belonging to Raag Saarang are used
and the raag is sung in the manner employed by the
There are three ways these
raags are created
Combining the Aaroha of
one raag and the Avaroha of another.
To have each tetrachord
composed of notes of different raag (either shuddha
Use phrases from two or
more raags and alternate between them.
respect of certain raags we see the names of Hindu
deities such as Kedaar, Bhairav, Gouri, Durga.
Some raags such as Ahiri, Asavari, Gujari indicate the
link to certain tribes having similar names and might
have risen out of tribal melodies.
Some names refer to certain places. For example Marwa,
Jaunpuri, Pahadi. These raags may have had their origins
in the folk tunes of those regions.
The fourth group bear the names of their creators. Raags
such as Miya ki Malhar , Miya ki Todi are attributed to
Miya Taansen. Whereas the Raag Bilaskhani Todi is said
to have been created by his son Bilaskhan. The raag
Darbaari Kanada is supposed to been derived from the
Karnatic version of Kanada but sung in darbars in front
of the kings for evening concerts. Raag Gorakh Kalyan is
supposed to be made by Gorakh Naath to bring his guru
back. Many artists have created their own raags. For Eg.
Pt Bhimsen Joshi made the Raag Kalashree which is a
combination of Kalawati and Bageshree.
The following is the
sequence in which various components of a raag are
presented in a mehefil (concert)
alaap presented in sections from low
notes to high
alaap divided in to similar sections
divided in to similar sections
A brief outline of the raag usually in
Alaap in the
form of badhat using the words of the
bandish and broken in to sections
bols of the sthaayi
bols of the antaraa
(After each section the mukhada is
the full composition once
Bol Baant and
tihai(repeating part of the cheez thrice and
coming to the sum)
There exist two notation systems. One developed by Pt.
Paluskar which is a little more elaborate and for the
same reason intricate and difficult to use. And the
other developed by Pt. Bhatkhande which is a little easy
to use. Throughout the site, we will be following this
system of notation.
Shuddha Swar(Normal Notes) : No symbol for
Example : Sa, Re, Ga, Ma
Komal Swar (Flat Notes) : Shown by a small
horizontal line underneath.
Example : Re, Ga, Dha, Ni
Teevra Swar (Sharp Notes) : That is, Ma shown by
a small vertical line on the top.
Mandra Saptak Swar (Lower Octave Note) : Shown by
a dot below.
Maddhya Saptak : Has no sign.
Example : Pa, Ma
Taar Saptak Swar (Higher Octave Note) : Shown by
a dot above.
A dash (hiphen "-") : Used for lengthening the
note. One dash corresponds to one beat when the playing
or singing with the taal.
Example : Sa - Ni - consists of four beats in all.
Avagraha : Shown by "S". It's used for having
pauses in the words.
Example : GoSSSvindaSSS
Chandra : Shown by half moon. Any number of notes
can be inside the half moon to indicate that they are to
be rendered in 1 beat.
Kan Swar (Grace Note) : Writen above the note to
the left top in small letter size.
Example : Sa ReGa
Meend : Continuing sound from one note to the
Notes in bracket : Equal to a short phrase of
three or four. It's sung very fast so that the notes
blend and sound as one note. The order for these notes
is, one note after the note in bracket, the note after,
the note in bracket so on.
Example : (Sa)- ReSaNiSa
The principles of Indian
classical music are well explained by these 40
principles put together by Pt Bhatkhande.
The Shuddha Saptak (The
basic scale) is taken as Bilawal Thaat.
All the raags are
divided based on the number of notes in the Aaroha
and Avaroha as Audav (Raag of 5 Notes), Shadav (Raag
of 6 notes), Sampoorna (Raag of 7 notes)
A raag cannot have less
than 5 notes (out of 12 notes including komal and
The combination of
Audav, Shadav, Sampoorna in the aaroha or avaroha
make 9 types of raag based on the number of notes in
Each raag is based on a
thaat, and has Aaroha, Avaroha, Vaadi, Samvaadi,
Samay, Ras, Thaat.
A samvaadi is always
fourth or fifth from the vaadi. If vaadi is in the
poorvanga samvaadi will be in the uttarang and vice
By changing the vaadi
swar a morning raag can be changed into an evening
To enhance the beauty of
the raag a vivaadi note can be used very rarely.
Each raag has a vaadi.
The raag is identified as a poorva raag or uttar
raag based on the vaadi note.
Raags can be classified
into 3 categories :
Raag with Komal Re,
Raags with Shuddha
Re, Shuddha Dha
Raags with Komal Ga,
Normally in the Pratah
kaalin sandhi prakash raag, Re and Dha are never
absent. And in Sayam kaalin sandhi prakash raag Ga
and Ni are normally not absent.
Ma indicates whether the
Raag will be sung at day time or at night.
The raags with Komal Ga,
Ni are performed at afternoon or at mid night.
After the Sandhiprakaash
raag mainly raags with Re, Ma, Dha, Ni shuddha are
Sa, Ma, Pa are the
important notes in raags of 3rd prahar of day and
Teevra Ma is found
mainly in Raags of the night. It's found rarely in
the day time raags.
If the vaadi is one of
Sa, Ma, Pa, that raag can be sung at all the times.
Ma and Pa can not be
simultaneously absent from a raag.
Each raag must consist
of the note Sa.
No two forms of the same
note are taken one after the other in a raag. There
are exceptions such as Raag Lalit though, to this
The raag's beauty is
enhanced more if sung at the designated time.
Teevra Ma and Komal Ni
come together very few times.
The raags in which both
the Ma appear are similar in nature. The aaroha is
different but the avaroha is quite similar.
In the raags sung at 1st
prahar of the night, and which have both the Ma,
Shuddha Ma is taken in both aaroha as well as the
avaroha but Teevra Ma is taken mainly in aaroha.
In raags of 1st prahar
of the night aarohi Ni and avarohi Ga are Vakra. Ni
in the avaroha is not emphasized.
In Indian classical
music as opposed to the Karnatak classical music,
the swar is more important than the Taal.
The poorva raag show
their special characteristics in the aaroha, where
as the uttar raag show their special characteristics
in the avaroha.
Each thaat can produce
poorva and uttar raags.
In the raags of the
serious, calm nature Sa, Ma, Pa seem to have a
prominent place. They are more effective in the
Mandra Saptak. Whereas in the raags of light mood,
this is not found to be so.
While entering from one
thaat into another thaat, Para Mel Praveshak raags (raags
on the border of the two thaats) are rendered.
The sequence normally
followed is sandhi Prakash Raag then raags with Re
Dha shuddha then the raags with Ga, Ni komal.
Sandhi Prakash Raag
invoke Karun , Shant ras. The raags with Re, Ga ,
Dha shuddha invoke Shrungaar and Hassya ras. The
raags with Komal Ga, Ni invoke Veer, Roudra Ras.
The raags which have
Komal Ni normally have Shuddha Ni in the aaroha. For
example Kaphi and Khamaj.
When two to four notes
are together they cannot be called a raag . They can
at best be called a taan.
In raag notes can be
prominent, or insignificant (insignificant does not
mean absent though).
After twelve at night
and twelve in the morning Sa, Ma, Pa start assuming
In the raags sung in the
afternoon, Aaroha either does not consist of Re and
Dha or they are insignificant. In these Raags Ga and
Ni really shine with full glory.
The raags with Sa, Ma,
Pa as Vaadi are of serious nature.
In the dawn time raags
Komal Re and Komal Dha are predominant and dusk time
raags have the prominence of Shuddha Dha and Shuddha
The combination NiSa
ReGa immediately establishes Dawn - Dusk time raag.
Poorva raags are more
elaborate in the aaroha and uttar raags are more
elaborate in the avaroha.
Taal (or Beat) is very
important in classical music. Some gharanas in indian
classical music present a swar pradhan gayaki
(importance to sur) and some present taal pradhan gayaki
(importance to taal or beat). Indian Classical Music
must have three instruments along with the vocalist,
tambora or taanpura, tabla and harmonium (or peti). In
this section we will be looking at how different
compositions are set to different taals.
The taals consists of different number of beats starting
from 6 beats going up to 16 (normally). I have seen
other taals with different number of beats but these are
most commonly used ones. Before going into the details
of the taal I would like to define certain concepts in
taal so that it will be easier for the reader to
understand the taal.
Khand : The each interval between the bars is
Sum (The first beat) : Shown by a cross below the
Khali : Usually the beat in the middle of the
taal. Marked by 0 below the beat.
Taali : Starting of each Khand other than Sum and
Khaali is shown by Taali. Sum is taken as the first
taali. The next taalis are numbered and shown hence from
Following are the most commonly used, different types of
taals. If the words are grouped toghether, its
considered as single beat. Apart from the taals listed
here there are various others like, dhumali, sulfakt,
ada chautaal, sool, addha etc.
Articles - Shrutis
in Indian Classical Music - by Adwait Joshi - by
nothing but a minor variation of a note. Its
esentially a frequency. Indian Classical
Music has 12 notes and 22 Shrutis in all. In
the ancient system of Shrutis, Sa had four
variants, Re had three, Ga had two, Ma had
four, Pa had four, Dha had three and Ni had
2. Thus Shadja, Madhyam and Pancham have
four Shrutis each, Rishabh and Dhaivat has
three each and Gandhar and Nishad have two
each. In the ancient system of Shrutis a
pure note was considered to be on its last
Shruti. Hence the division was as follows
But as u can see because of this kind of
placement of the notes, Ga and Re (also Dha
and Ni) come very close to each other and
hence take Ga and Ni become komal. However
this kind of a system is not in use today.
The modern style places the notes on its
first Shruti instead of the las. Hence the
division was as follows
Thus the notes are pretty evenly distributed
and can be easily sung.
Articles - Why is it
tough to classify Hindi/Marathi songs into Raags
- by Adwait Joshi - by Adwait Joshi
Raags in Indian
Classical Music are identified by five
distinctive characteristics. Aaroha
(Ascent), Avaroha (Descent), Pakad (Flow),
Vaadi (Most important note) and Samvaadi
(Second most important note). Almost each
raag will have all of these five components
associated with it except for extremely rare
raags where there is no specific Aaroha and
Avaroha defined. Each of these five
characteristics are extremely important in
their own respect. Many raags have the same
notes and can also possibly have the same
Aaroha and Avaroha, but what seperates them
is the Pakad, Vaadi and Samvaadi. This makes
is very difficult to predict the raag of a
light music song just looking at the notes.
There are numerous examples in which you can
see that the song consists of the notes of
one particular raag however it belongs to
another raag, because of the flow of the
Another level complexity gets added to the
equation beause light music typically doesnt
follow the rules of Indian Classical Music.
It has the liberty of using notes that are
not present in the raag or even the liberty
of changing the Aaroha, Avaroha and Pakad.
In order to add a little spice to the song,
the composer may add extra notes to it. This
not only embellishes the composition but
also makes it unique.
Another most important aspect of light music
is to give due importance to the lyrics. A
composer would never want to compose a sad
song in a very joyous romantic raag. In
order to adhere to the beauty of the lyrics
it becomes imperative to maintain the mood
of the poem. In order to achieve this, a
composer may have to change the raags
multiple times in a song, sometimes, even in
the same line.
Having said that, its not uncommon to find
some songs that follow all the rules and
regulations of a particular raag. In that
case its an open and shut case to identify
the raag of such song.
Now it can be clear why its difficult to
classify a song in a specific raag. So the
next time you hear the song and cannot
identify the raag, dont worry you are not
the only one. Just enjoy the music and the
Articles - Thumari, Dadra and other semi-classical forms
in Indian Classical Music - by Chaitanya Kunte - by
Chaitanya Kunte is a
disciple of Dr. Arawind Thatte. Chaitanya has
created a niche for himself as a talented and well
appreciated young composer. His compositions cover a
wide range of genre such as Khayal, Tappa, Tarana,
Chataranga, Sadra, Sargam Geet, Thumari, Dadra,
Bhajan etc. In the following article Chaitanya
shares his knowledge about Thumari and other Semi
Classical music forms in Indian Music.
Thumari stands as an
important and dominant genre in Indian music along
with Dhrupad, Khayal and Tappa; as a well-accepted
genre by all performers, musicologists and audience.
With keeping its unique character intact as a
musical form, Thumari has its own idiom, scholastic
tradition, aesthetics and mannerisms, which are in
many ways different than Khayal and Tappa, but still
there are many commonalities.
The Hindi word 'Thumari'
is said to be derived from - 'Thumakna' meaning an
attractive gait. So, literary meaning is 'the song
having attractive - rather sensuous, gait of melody
and rhythm'. The content of sensuousness is the main
emotive basis in Thumari, though there are many
compositions of Thumari depicting the devotional
aspect. An example of thumri is Bari Umar Larkaiya
Na Chhedo Saiyyan by Shobha Gurtu
Some musicologists speculate about the traces of
Thumari in ancient form - 'Charchari Prabandh' or
'Hallisak Geeti'. But the available documentation on
Thumari mentions its origin in around 16-17th
century A.D. Thumari is said to be originated from
the songs of Northern Indian folks, specifically
from the region between Ganga - Yamuna Rivers.
These songs are basically in the regional dialects
of Hindi such as Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Mirzapuri, etc.
But there are some compositions of Thumari in other
languages such as Rajasthani, Marathi and Bengali,
also. The dialect of Thumari is soft and tender than
any other forms and it allows making colloquial
usage of words to sound them elastic, for example -
'Paani' becomes 'Paniyaa' and 'Piyaa' turns into
'Piu' or 'Piyaruwa', etc.
Thumari portrays mainly various moods in love -
unison, separation and such ups and downs in the
journey of relationship. The main character in the
lyric of Thumari is mostly a woman in love, and the
illustration differs in the stages of the
disposition such as age, social status, etc.
In Thumari, the lyrics i.e. 'Bol-ang', is very
important. So, the musical elaboration of the words
with different shades is focused in the rendering,
which is called as 'Bol Banaao'. Thins involves
Alap, some times with mixtures of Raags for
highlighting the sentiments. After singing the
Sthayi and Antara in slow tempo, usually there is
rendition of words in fast progression on Tabla
called 'Laggi' when the singer twists the words with
melodic variations called as 'Bol-Baant'.
Thumari is sung mostly in the so called 'lighter'
Raags such as Khamaj, Kafi, Tilang, Desh, Tilak
Kamod, Sorath, Piloo, Mand,Manjh-Khamaj, Jogia,
Kalingda, Shiv-ranjani, Bhairavi, etc. in which
there is wider scope for emotive improvisation with
the subtleties in Alankaars, mixtures of Raags. So,
many times, Thumari is found in combination of some
Dhuns, so called as 'Jhilla' and 'Jangulaa'. But the
tradition has gifted us some Thumaris in raags
typical of Khayal, such as Bihag, Shahana, Sarang,
Poorvi, Kalyan, Sohni, etc.
The Taals for Thumari are Deepachandi, Addha,
Ikwaai, Sitarkhani, and some 'Bandhi Thumari' is to
be sung in Jhaptaal, Ektaal also. There taals of
smaller cycle, derived from folk music, that are
Kehrawa, Dadra, Khemta, Chachar which are used for
the compositions of Dadra, in fast tempo. Some able
Thumari singers also sing Thumari in slow tempo
Kehrawa or Dadra.
Thumari and Dadra:
'Dadra' can be explained as a speedier version of
Thumari, approximately. Though the name suggests
about the Taal Dadra, the compositions are set in
other taals than dadra such as Kehrwa and Chachar.
An example of a dadra is Savare Aijaiyo by Dr
Though Thumari and Dadra
are mentioned always as a twin-term, there is some
Thumari is usually
sung in slow tempo and Dadra is bit faster.
Thumari has more
elaborate, lengthy structure of improvisation
than crisp, compact Dadra.
The lyric of Thumari
generally possesses only two parts - Sthayi and
Antara. On the contrary, Dadra is decorated by
and large with more than one Ataras.
Thumari mostly says
purely about the human love relationship. But
the songs in the category of Dadra such as
Kajri, Jhoola, Hori, Chaiti, etc. mostly depict
the nature, seasonal variation and the human
sentiments in that reference.
Forms under the
umbrella of Dadra:
'Kajri' word means 'Black - rainy clouds'. Kajri
mainly explains the pathos of a separated lover
during rainy season. But the typical of
Mirzapuri Kajri also narrates the joy in rains.
Eg. Shobha Gurtu - Tarsat Jiyara Hamar Naihar Me
Sawan: Sawan also is
a rainy season song, but rather than explaining
the human sentiments, it gives emphasis on the
seasonal beauty. Eg. Shobha Gurtu - Sakhi Sawan
is the song while playing the swings, sung by
women in north India during the rainy season,
with the depiction of romantic mood of Lord
Krishna and Radha. Eg. Shobha Gurtu - Jhoola
to be sung in the summer month, Chaitra, which
has depiction of girl asking for new bridal
dress to her husband, mostly. In Chaiti, there
is usage of words 'Ho Raam'. Eg. Shobha Gurtu -
Chaitar Chunariya Rang De
Hori: Hori in
Thumari style is called as 'Kacchi Hori' in
which the festival of colors is described. Eg.
Shobha Gurtu- Hori Khelan Kaise Jaoon
That has description of all the three seasons in
the twelve months in Indian scenario.
Thumari and Bhajan:
'Bhajan' means devotional song, specifically written
by the saint-poets such as Meerabai, Kabir, Surdas,
etc. Many Thumari singers sing the Bhajans in the
format of Thumari-Dadra. So, it adds the repertoire
of the Thumari's subject matter, not restricting it
only to the sensual realm. The compositions such as
'Saiyya Nikas Gaye' or 'Barse Badariya Sawan Ki' are
fine examples of Thumari-Ang Bhajans.
Thumari and Ghazal:
It is a form of Urdu-Farsi poetry with its unique
stylistic construction and subject matter is mainly
related to love relationship. Till the first half of
20th century, Ghazal was also often sung in Thumari-Dadra
format. But later, as there was development of
distinct style of Ghazal rendering, this form was
separated from Thumari's influence. On the other
hand, there are some Dadras in which Sher's
(couplet) in Urdu poetry are rendered between two
Antaras. For example - 'Chha Rahi kali Ghata' (Dadra
Gharanas in Thumari:
Thumari is said to be originated in the Purab, i.e.
eastern region of Ganga-Yamuna rivers in north
India, so it is called as 'Purabi' or 'Banarasi'
Thumari, which is sung mostly in slow tempo. Later
new style emerge called 'Lucknowi Thumari' which
gives more importance to fast tempo compositions,
also called as 'Pachhahi Thumari'. Another school in
Thumari came out, that was 'Punjabi Thumari' which
has lighter rendering, but fanciful and startlingly
Benaras Gharana - Girija Dev - Pilu - Preeti Kiye
Punjab Gharana - Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan - Pilu -
Kate Na Birha Ki Raat
Articles - Tappa an
Overview - by Chaitanya Kunte - by Chaitanya
is a talented composer, Harmonium player and
scholar in the field of Hindustani music. He
has received fellowship from Ministry of
Culture, Govt. of India for research work on
Tappa. This article is derived from this
research document and exclusively written
Tappa is one of the major genres of musical
tradition in India. 'Tappa' is believed to
be originated from musical talent of Ghulam
Nabi Shori, i.e. Shori Miyan after getting
influenced by folk music of Punjab and
Sindh. It is supposed that Tappa is
originally, the folk song of camel-drivers
of Punjab-Sindh region, so it contains the
lyrics in Punjabi language. Basically the
lyrical content depicts the love and sorrow
of separation of Hir and Ranjha or any
lovers. Raags expressing romance, light mood
or pathos such as Khamaj, Kafi, Bhairavi,
Jhinjhoti, Tilang, Sindhura, Des, and Taals
such as Punjabi, Pashto, Sitarkhani are
popularly practiced for Tappa. The special
feature of Tappa is the energetic Taan and
uneven rhythmic accent.
Ghulam Nabi Shori alias Shori Miyan, son of
Ghulam Rasool Khan was court-singer of Nabab
Asaf Uddoullah of Lucknow (1776-1797 A.D.)
The common myth tells that he was initially
trained in Khayal singing and had a
great command on 'Taan'. He was not
satisfied with Khayal for expressing his
skill of singing Taan. So, he restlessly
traveled in Punjab, where he listened to the
folk songs of camel-drivers, which he
thought to be suitable for his own style of
singing. He composed 'Tappa' using various
ornamentations with Taan, Jamjama, Khatka,
etc. In the Tappas of Shori Miyan, in Antara
we find his name as 'Shori'.
The style of singing Tappa involves
intricate patterns of typical 'Taan of Tappa'.
In Taal Punjabi, which is also called as 'Tappe
ka theka', each cycle of Taal should have
the 'tension and release' principle followed
during singing Taan. The rule about
improvising Tappa is, firstly show the
Thumri-ang in Alap and then proceed towards
the Tanayyat, using the words woven in
speedy and uneven rhythmic accent. Tappa
does not include only acrobatics of 'Tanayyat',
but it has an important aspect of emotional
content produced through the appropriate
pronunciation of the lyric. The 'Chhoot Taan'
in Tappa has a typically Arabic character -
starting with a jerk, it slows down and then
again gets accelerated. The words are
uttered by uneven pace and accent, which is
another feature of Tappa. Tappa gayaki also
inculcates other ornamentations such as
jamjama, gitakari, khatka, murki, harakat.
Tappa is a specialty of Gwalior Gharana.
There are two main styles of Tappa singing -
Tappa in Gwalior Gharana and of Benaras
Gharana. There are a few structural
differences such as use of Taal and style of
improvisation, but the fundamental
principles are the same.
One can notice the influence of Tappa gayaki
on the Khayal rendering of vocalists from
Gwalior and Benaras gharana. Even the
singers from Patiyala gharana have some
glimpse of Tappa in their Taan. The
influence of Tappa on the other genres
culminated into the development of dual
natured compositions such as Tap-Khayal,
Tap-Tarana, Tap-Thumari, etc.
The Laawani, Keertan and Natya-sangeet in
Maharashtra are also influenced with Tappa
Gayaki. There few Marathi Tappas also.
Nidhubabu's Bengali Tappa and the impact of
Tappa on the Rabindra Sangeet also reflects
the popularity of Tappa as genre in the last
Tappa in the last century:
In school of Gwalior, Krishnarao Pandit and
Rajabhaiyya Punchhawale flourished as
important Tappa singers in the early decades
of 20th century. In the post independence
period, Balasaheb Puchhawale, Sharachchandra
Arolkar, Jal Balaporia, etc. were the
torchbearers in this tradition. Arolkar's
disciples such as Sharad Sathe and Neela
Bhagwat had kept the tradition intact. In
the scenario of performing stream, the most
illustrious Tappa performer from Gwalior
Gharana is, no doubt, Malini Rajurkar!
In 60's and 70's, when Tappa did not remain
frequent in concerts, she popularized Tappa
in common audience; and by so, she became a
reason for rousing general curiosity for
Tappa in later generations. Her excellence
in Tappa is marked with her clear, bright
Taan and some new techniques she used in
exploring Tappa such as Murcchana.
Pt. Kumar Gandharva, the famous maestro of
Gwalior Gharana, had his own ideas about
Tappa and he presented a special concert - 'Thumarai-Tappa-Tarana
Mehfil' in which he deliberately displayed
this thought on the co-relation of these
three forms. He also composed few Tappas, in
Punjabi as well as Malawi dialect. His
disciples, Mukul Shivaputra and Vijay
Sardeshmukh attest proficiency in Tappa
rendering. Jitendra Abisheki studied Tappa
from both, Gwalior and Banaras school, and
his disciple Vijay Koparkar is an
accomplished Tappa singer in contemporary
scene. Popular artistes like Arati Ankalikar,
Asha Khadilkar and Manjiri Asnare
exhibit their inclination for Tappa while
performing in concerts, which shows rising
popularity for Tappa. In Benaras Gharana,
after many masters of Tappa in early decades
of 20th cent, such as Bade Ramdasji and
Sidhheshwari Devi, noteworthy vocalists
giving full justice to Tappa are Girija Devi
Rajabhau Kogje, Ganesh Prasad Misra, Rajan
and Sajan Misra.
Very few instrumentalists, such as Pt.
Budhaditya Mukherji (Sitar) and Dr. Arawind
have performed Tappa on their instruments
with much precision and command.