The first two episodes of our series on Kahervaa, a taal containing eight matras or time-units, had focused on the use of this taal by qawwals, and musicians from the Langa and Manganiar communities of Rajasthan. In the same vein, this taal or similar sounding grooves are played in virtually every part of the country and in other parts of the Indian subcontinent. Film songs have also used the taal liberally.
Importantly, Kaharvaa can be played in different speeds, but the theka or the string of syllables that maintain the framework of the taal changes in different speeds. This will be evident in the present episode which highlights the use of Kahervaa in the thumri-dadra genres of Hindustani music. Typically, thumris make use of taals like the 14-matra Deepchandi or the 16-matra Jat. But some thumris are also sung in Kaharvaa.
Here is a thumri that was immortalised by Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, the Patiala gharana maestro. It has a medium-paced Kaharvaa theka that is interspersed with the laggi sections that are integral to tabla accompaniment for thumris. Listeners will observe that the laggis are rhythmic patterns quite like the original Kaharvaa groove but played in double tempo with several permutations and combinations. Tabla accompaniment is provided by the inimitable Nizamuddin Khan, known for his expressive laggis in particular.
The second track features Jagdish Prasad, a disciple of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and a prominent representative of the Patiala gharana. He sings a thumri set to Kaharvaa. The original speed of the taal is similar to the earlier track, but the number of syllables are fewer. While the previous theka had a double-tempo feel, this one has a single syllable to each matra. The cycle in both cases lasts over four matras, unlike the usually heard eight-matra cycle.
The last track is a dadra sung by thumri exponent Shobha Gurtu. It has a slow-paced Kaharvaa ending with the laggi section. Harmonium accompaniment is provided by Purushottam Walawalkar and tabla accompaniment is by Aneesh Pradhan.
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