Among the gharanas of pakhawaj solo that we have discussed in our current series, we have touched upon the Nana Saheb Panse gharana, which has followers primarily belonging to Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. There have been two other traditions of pakhawaj playing in Maharashtra, namely the Gurav parampara and the Mangalvedhekar parampara. Of these, recordings of the first style are not easily accessible. However, we will listen to recordings of one of the chief representatives of the second.
The first track recorded for All India Radio features Dattopant Mangalvedhekar accompanied on the sarangi by MR Khadilkar and on the violin by TR Tare. Unfortunately, the first taal has been incorrectly mentioned as Dhamaar. It is in fact Pancham Sawari, a rhythmic cycle of 15 matras or time-units.
Rarely heard in accompaniment and solo performances, there are differences of opinion regarding the structure of this taal and the theka or the basic mnemonic syllables representing the structure. In most cases, the cycle is divided into four parts – 4+3+5+3. The divisions with three matras have a special gait, which almost invites the successive vibhaag or division.
Another version of this taal is structured as 4+4+4+3. The last division has the same special gait inviting the succeeding vibhaag. In this case, it acts as a significant marker for the sam/sum or the first matra of the rhythmic cycle. Tabla and pakhawaj players who wish to be true to the overall framework rather than treat the cycle as a uniformly divisible entity choose to tailor their extendable compositions to suit these structures.
Mangalvedhekar’s interpretation of Pancham Sawari seems to follow the second structure.
The second part of this track is devoted to the 12-matra Chautaal, the most commonly heard taal in pakhawaj solo recitals.
We conclude with another track featuring Dattopant Mangalvedhekar (listeners are advised to use headphones). He plays the 14-matra Dhamaar.