Sonic Saturdays

Listen: Thumri recitals by Siddheshwari Devi and Barkat Ali Khan in Deepchandi taal

The latest episode in the series on taals with the same number of matra.

Besides Dhamaar and Jhumra, cycles of 14 matras or time units that have been discussed in previous episodes (here and here), we also have deepchandi, a taal commonly used to accompany bol banaav thumri renditions. With a 3+4+3+4 framework, the skeletal structure of this taal is similar to that of Jhumra. But this is where the similarity between the two ends. In the case of deepchandi, the last matra of each vibhaag or bar is silent. When played at a slower speed, this silent space is filled with an embellishment. Deepchandi has also been employed in instrumental recitals, and more recently, the taal is used by some tabla players for solo performances. Deepchandi is also called Chaachar in some contexts, particularly when it is played at a faster pace.

Today, we listen to deepchandi in the context of thumri recitals.

Here is a link to a bol banaav thumri in the raag Manjh Khamaj sung by Siddheshwari Devi, one of the most prominent exponents of the Purab style. Unfortunately, this track does not include the climactic laggi section that is usually played by the tabla player in all thumri recitals. However, listeners will note that the theka of deepchandi, or the universally accepted string of strokes that represents the taal, is by and large unadorned by extraneous phrases. Generally, this is the pattern followed by tabla players while accompanying thumri prior to launching into the laggi section.

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The second track features a bol banaav thumri in the raag Bhairavi by Barkat Ali Khan, a significant representative of the Patiala style. Here, the theka of Deepchandi is slightly different from the one that is more commonly heard. The laggi section appears a few times on this track. The tabla player changes from the Deepchandi theka to a structure that accommodates varieties of the eight-matra Kaherva.

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