Last week, we heard detailed aalaap expositions by Agra gharana maestro Faiyaz Khan that prefaced his khayal renditions.  They displayed his ease with the intricacies of the dhrupad form, which he learnt in addition to his training in khayal.  The aalaaps demonstrated his ability to manoeuvre a voice that would otherwise be considered inflexible and guttural.  He gracefully nudged individual swaras or notes that shape the essence of the raag, used heavy gamaks or oscillations around particular swaras, and even added a pukaar or a fervent call in certain melodic phrases.

Today, we will listen to his khayal renditions in the medium and fast tempos.

Raag Jaunpuri

The first track is a composition in the morning raag Jaunpuri and is set to the 16-count Teentaal.  For two minutes of this short piece, Faiyaz Khan employs the pukaar device mentioned earlier to heighten the emotion conveyed in the narrative of the song-text.  This is followed by thunderous taans, some in aakaar or using the vowel "aa" and others using the words of the song-text.

Raag Purvi

The next track features a composition in the evening raag Purvi set to Teentaal. An important characteristic of Faiyaz Khan’s madhya laya or medium tempo and drut laya or fast tempo khayal compositions, was his penchant for repeating the second or last line of the song-text with multiple variations that pulled and pushed at the basic rhythmic cycle. This was quite unlike the convention of elaborating primarily on the first line or the sthyai of the song-text. In the present track, Faiyaz Khan elaborate upon the last line of the composition.

Raag Chhayanat

Well before the copyright law came into existence, composers were already asserting their authorship over compositions by including pseudonyms in the song-text. Faiyaz Khan was a prolific composer and his compositions often carry the pseudonym "Prem piya" in the antara or the second part of the song-text. His creations are an integral part of the Agra gharana concert repertoire, but they are also sung by vocalists from other gharanas.

The Hindustani music tradition allows and encourages musicians to respond to established repertoire in the form of "joda" compositions. The joda needs to have some elements of the original piece that has been the source of inspiration. The song-text differs and melodic or rhythmic deviations may take place, although the extent to which such deviation takes place is not defined. The third track included here seems to be a composition by Faiyaz Khan as a joda to a famous khayal in raag Chhayanat that has been alluded to one of the earlier columns. Notice the alliterative play on the words of the sthayi of the composition.