How to distinguish between the playing of different gharanas

Discussions about the Indian hand-drums known as tabla.

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Rageshri
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How to distinguish between the playing of different gharanas

Postby Rageshri » Sun Sep 04, 2016 7:25 am

Will be grateful if anyone can share a link which could help me differentiate between the playing styles of different gharanas like Benaras, Farrukhabad, Ajrara, etc.

david
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Re: How to distinguish between the playing of different gharanas

Postby david » Sun Sep 04, 2016 3:27 pm

I would respectfully like to remind you that there is a difference between Baj and Gharana. Baj is a style of playing while gharana is determined by ones linage. In the old days the baj that one played was an indication of ones gharana but today this is greatly reduced. Today musicians are supposed to be able to have facility in every Baj. Therefore, the question as to telling a person's garanna by the way that they play is like trying to guess a person's ancestry by the way that they speak. That is to say that (at least in the US) a person may speak English but that does not necessarily mean that by blood they are English.

Rageshri
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Re: How to distinguish between the playing of different gharanas

Postby Rageshri » Sun Sep 04, 2016 8:14 pm

Thanks David. You are such a great and generous and considerate. May I humbly request you to enlighten me about tabla bajj so that I could know the characteristics of different bajj. Many thanks. Mohammad Shehzad

david
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Re: How to distinguish between the playing of different gharanas

Postby david » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:36 pm

Well there is no real consensus as to how many bajs there actually are. In the 19th century it appears that every gharana had its own baj. However, today we may look at it as being two tabla bajs and a pakhawaj baaj. The tabla bajs are nominally the Dilli baaj and the Purbi baj. The pakhawaj baaj, as the name implies, is the use of pakhawaj techniques upon the tabla.

The technical differences may be summed up simply by saying that the Purbi Baj tends to use more open handed strokes and the non-resonant strokes of the TiTa/TiRaKiTa class tend to have the right hand split between the index finger and the last three fingers. The dilli baj on the other hand tends to use a lot more rim strokes and the right hand non resonant strokes tend to view the hand as three functional units instead of two. These three being the index finger, middle finger, and last two fingers.

The subject is a mish-mosh and it is open to debate as to how many bajs there actually are. (Similar to the debate as to how many languages there are in India.) But it is clear that the technical differences are becoming fewer and fewer with each generation. It is clear that we are beginning to see a large common corpus of techniques that has been infused by artists from every gharana and every part of India.

Rageshri
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Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 12:52 pm

Re: How to distinguish between the playing of different gharanas

Postby Rageshri » Mon Sep 05, 2016 4:28 am

Thanks David. It is a lucid and compact definition which says a lot!

profpandit
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Re: How to distinguish between the playing of different gharanas

Postby profpandit » Mon Sep 05, 2016 12:04 pm

this is an excellent question
and one extremely of interest to to listener
specially one who is new to the craft
since many of us as beginning tabla players fall in that class
it is very relevant to us

i think, the best way is to look for visual cues in the performance
for example, the height of the hands relative to the surface of the tabla
and whether or not the emphasis is in the detail
with a lot of intricate finger work (like Zakir Hussain)
or in the gross sounds
where the entire hand is used to create the sounds most of the time
since most performances don't really let you see where the player is striking the tabla
this is probably as far as you can get

beyond that, there are auditory cues
these days, since most performances are mic'ed and amplified
it's hard to gauge the intensity level of the sound
for example, benaras style tabla is significantly louder

a third aspect to consider is the amount of flow in the performance
some style focus on breaking the flow a lot
or emphasizing certain aspects of the flow
other focus more on maintaining flow over very long spans of time

my 2 cents

Rageshri
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 12:52 pm

Re: How to distinguish between the playing of different gharanas

Postby Rageshri » Mon Sep 05, 2016 2:14 pm

Dear ProfPandit,

Many thanks for the valued comments.

profpandit
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Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2016 10:08 am

Re: How to distinguish between the playing of different gharanas

Postby profpandit » Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:33 pm

please take my comments with a pinch of salt
the idea of discussing tabla on a message board is very grey


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