Sonic Saturday

Listen: Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Veena Sahasrabuddhe and Jasraj mesmerise in Aadaa Chautaal

The structure of Aadaa Chautaal is quite different from other 14-matra taals.

Our series on taals with 14 matras or time units concludes with Aadaa Chautaal, which is used to accompany some vocal and instrumental compositions. In recent times, this taal has been heard more in instrumental recitals. It is also heard at times in tabla solo recitals.

The structure of Aadaa Chautaal is quite different from the other 14-matra taals discussed in previous episodes. In this case, the commonly accepted bar, or vibhaag divisions, follow an equal distribution of two matras to each vibhaag. Some musicians also follow a 2+2+2+2+3+3 framework.

The first track features Jaipur-Atrauli exponent Kesarbai Kerkar singing a vilambit or slow khayal set to Aadaa Chautaal in Bhimpalasi, a raag prescribed for performance in the late afternoon.


Kesarbai Kerkar’s disciple Dhondutai Kulkarni sings a vilambit composition set to Aadaa Chautaal in a rarely heard raag called Kabiri Bhairav, prescribed for performance in the morning.


The Patiala gharana maestro Bade Ghulam Ali Khan sings a vilambit composition set to the same taal in the raag Kamod. However, the pace chosen by him is slightly faster than that of the first two tracks included here.

This composition is followed by two more in the same raag. The first is set to a medium-tempo Teentaal. The recital ends with a tarana sung in a faster-paced Teentaal.


The Mewati gharana virtuoso Jasraj presents a fast-paced composition in Triveni, a rarely-heard raag. He is accompanied on the harmonium by Arawind Thatte and on the tabla by Kedar Pandit. The structure of the sthayi or the first part of the composition follows the 2+2+2+2+3+3 taal framework.


We move on to a tarana set to a fast-paced Aadaa Chautaal in the raag Hameer sung by the well-known vocalist Veena Sahasrabuddhe for a Doordarshan programme. She is accompanied on the sarangi by Iqbal Ahmed and on the tabla by Shashikant Muley, more popularly known as Nana Muley.

Listeners will note the incorporation of different metrical designs in the composition.


The last track features the sitar maestro Ravi Shankar. He plays a drut or fast composition in the raag Gaud Sarang, prescribed for performance in the afternoon. Increasing the speed towards the end of the recital, he ends with a jhala, a climactic section that is replete with repetitive strokes of the right hand.

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