Krsna Kirtana Songs est. 2001                                                                                                                                                      www.kksongs.org


Home à Music Center à Instrumental Guides à Tabla Guide

Chapter 25: Introduction to the Qaida

 

The last major topic in the unit of cadence and cycles is the qaida. The qaida is a cyclic form based on a theme. The word “qaida” means “jurisprudence” or “guideline” in Urdu. The underlying concept is the theme, development of it, improvisation of it, yet obeying it. These concepts may seem like a jumble or words, even to some extent contradictory to each other. However, once you explore qaidas, you will see the amazing nature of them and will begin to appreciate it more and more.

 

This chapter will introduce very simple qaidas. Please keep in mind that this chapter is a “reader’s digest version” of the actual topic of the qaida. There are indeed qaidas which are far complex than what is presented here. This is where the years go for the tabla student studying under the guidance of a full-time teacher. They practice and practice and practice! They create combinations and permutations of bols in a certain manner and improvise on that, keeping the underlying theme in mind. Humbly bowing to all who study tabla traditionally, we will begin with a theme.

 

What is the theme? In English or literature class, you’ll understand the theme being the main idea, point, or message. The idea holds the same in the qaida. Qaidas have a theme involved. Here is the most elementary qaida.

X

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

dhā

dhā

ti

ra

dhā

dhā

tin

0

 

 

 

3

 

 

 

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

ti

ra

dhā

dhā

tin

 

Figure 25.1

This qaida is of sixteen matras. Its structure is almost reminiscent of tintal, although it is not tintal nor any specific sixteen matra tala. The format is that from sam to matra 8, baya usage was there, matras 9 to 12 had no baya usage, and 13 to 16 had baya usage again.

X

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

dhā

dhā

ti

ra

dhā

dhā

tin

0

 

 

 

3

 

 

 

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

ti

ra

dhā

dhā

tin

 

Figure 25.2

If you let all baya usage vibhags be known as A (shown in green), and all no-baya usage vibhags known as B (shown in orange), then qaidas must have a AB structure of some sort. You can see in this example that this is format is A-A-B-A. Of course, with creativity, you can create incredibly huge combinations. One can attempt to try A-B-A-B-B-B-A-B. Because it can become impractically long to create huge combinations and play those, the real applications is done by what is done inside the qaidas.

 

Instead of dha-dha-ti-ra, you can replace ti-ra with trkta. Thus, play the entire qaida shown in the figure below with trkta instead of ti-ra.

X

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

dhā

dhā

ti

ra

ki

ṭa

dhā

dhā

tin

0

 

 

 

3

 

 

 

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

ti

ra

ki

ṭa

dhā

dhā

tin

 

Figure 25.3

Another approach to complicate qaidas is introduce new figures using the similar format. Recall that form A is dha-dha-ti-ra, followed by dha dha tin na. Once can use an approach to divide it in such a way that “dha-dha-dha-dha-ti-ra-ti-ra dha-dha-ti-ra-dha-dha-tin-na” forms. Because of the rules of qaida, we must replicate this phrase again except with the first part lacking baya usage. Thus “ta-ta-ta-ta-ti-ra-ti-ra dha-dha-ti-ra-dha-dha-tin-na.” This is again in the simplest aspect. To make things complicated. Here is a possiblility. Note how the A and B format is retained. A-A-B-A.

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

3

 

 

 

4

 

 

 

dhā

dhā

dhā

dhā

ti

ra

ti

ra

dhā

dhā

ti

ra

dhā

dhā

tin

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

 

 

 

6

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

8

 

 

 

dhā

dhā

dhā

dhā

ti

ra

ti

ra

dhā

dhā

ti

ra

dhā

dhā

tin

0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

11

 

 

 

12

 

 

 

ti

ra

ti

ra

ti

ra

tin

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13

 

 

 

14

 

 

 

15

 

 

 

16

 

 

 

dhā

dhā

dhā

dhā

ti

ra

ti

ra

dhā

dhā

ti

ra

dhā

dhā

tin

 

Figure 25.4

Of course, as we did in the previous example, we can even replace ti-ra with trkta

 

Let’s recap what we just did.

 

A qaida is a composition with a theme held to it.

 

This example had the theme of dha-dha-dha-dha-ti-ra-ti-ra. We had an A-A-A-A-B-B-A-A format. Remember, A is the baya usage vibhags and B is the non-baya usage vibhags! In order for a qaida to function correctly, A AND B points must be there.

 

Qaidas, as one can see, is all about creativity while following the rules of the theme. One cannot get out of the theme while playing qaidas. As mentioned countless number of times in the guide, this is what brings beauty to Indian classical music: Improvisation while following strict rules.

 

Of course, qaidas are not as simple as this sixteen matra one. The point of this chapter was only to get the point across on what a qaida is and the function of it. To learn qaidas in depth, the best way is by learning through a teacher.

UPDATED: June 20, 2009