In the second episode of our series on less popular taals, we move to Char taal ki sawari, a rhythmic cycle of 11 matras. Like Matta taal that we discussed in the previous article, Char taal ki sawari also does not seem feature often in vocal concerts. Consequently, we will feature recordings that demonstrate the use of this taal in accompaniment to instrumental concerts or for tabla solo renditions.

The 11 matras of Char taal ki sawari are typically distributed over six vibhaags/khands. The structure is either 2-2-2-2-1-2 or 2-2-2-2-1½-1½.

We begin with this taal being explored in a duet featuring Punjab gharana maestro Alla Rakha and his son and iconic tabla player Zakir Hussain.


Santoor wizard Shivkumar Sharma presents Yaman through an extended aalaap and gats or instrumental compositions set to Char taal ki sawari and the popular 16-matra Teentaal.


We end with Char taal ki sawari found in a vocal presentation of shabad kirtan from the religious texts of the Sikhs. As per the description provided with the video clip, the text is written by Guru Arjan Dev and has been composed in the raag Hameer by Satguru Jagjit Singh. The performers include Raagi Harbans Singh Gulla, Raagi Sukhdev Singh, Raagi Balwant Singh, Raagi Veer Singh. More details can be accessed at the link here.

One of India’s leading tabla players, Aneesh Pradhan is a widely recognised performer, teacher, composer and scholar of Hindustani music. Visit his website here.