The concluding episode of our series on the Dadra taal, a cycle of six matras or time-units, features instrumental recitals in which compositions set to this taal have been rendered. The melodies have been influenced largely by established thumris or dadras and the elaboration also incorporates ideas from these genres. However, generally speaking, instrumentalists have used Dadra in double tempo, rather than at a slow or medium pace. This brings it closer to what is known among some musicians as the Khemta taal.
We begin with a composition based on the raag Pahadi played by the inimitable shehnai maestro Bismillah Khan. The rhythmic cycle is maintained by a dukkad player and a tabla player.
Sitar wizard Vilayat Khan plays a composition also based on Pahadi. He begins with an aalaap in Pahadi but masterfully brings in colours of other raags without disturbing the main melodic framework, as is often done in the thumri-dadra genre. He presents a composition set to Dadra played at a quick pace. As was his wont, the maestro also sings the composition during his performance. For a brief moment, the tabla changes from Dadra to the eight-matra Kaherva only to return to Dadra.
The next track features sitar exponent Rais Khan. He plays a dhun or melody inspired by the thumri-dadra genres. Once again, the pace is quick and the melodic elaboration does not spread over several avartans or cycles. The tabla accompaniment is provided by Bashir Ahmed.
The last track of this episode has a dhun based on the raag Khamaj played by santoor maestro Shivkumar Sharma. Listeners will note that he harnesses the percussive quality of his instrument to reiterate the pace and gait of the theka or the string of strokes played on the tabla to represent the rhythmic cycle. The performance ends with a laggi section in which the tabla plays swift and short rhythmic phrases at double tempo. Sharma joins in to enhance the rhythmic beauty by simulating the tabla patterns on the santoor. He is accompanied by tabla virtuoso Shafaat Ahmed.
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