Types of Music Compositions: Tappa

The major vocal forms or styles associated with Hindustani classical music are dhrupad, khyal, and tarana. Other forms include dhamar, trivat, chaiti, kajari, tappa, tap-khyal, ashtapadis, thumri, dadra, ghazal and bhajan; these are folk or semi-classical or light classical styles, as they often do not adhere to the rigorous rules of classical music.
Aug 8, 2012 14:01 IST


Tappa is a form of Indian semi-classical vocal music whose specialty is its rolling pace based on fast, subtle, knotty construction. It originated from the folk songs of the camel riders of Punjab and was developed as a form of classical music by Mian Ghulam Nabi Shori or Shori Mian, a court singer for Asaf-Ud-Dowlah, the Nawab of Awadh. "Nidhubabur Tappa", or tappas sung by Nidhu Babu were very popular in 18th and 19th-century Bengal. Among the living performers of this style are Laxmanrao Pandit, Shamma Khurana, Manvalkar, Girija Devi, Ishwarchandra Karkare, and Jayant Khot.

Tappa, Indian Classical Music Form

Tappa is catchy to the ear, due to its unusual aspect of bounce and re-bounce of musical notes. Tappa, understood to have been the staple diction of the erstwhile camel drivers, has since come to a ripened age, by being nurtured in the hands of some of the legendary masters in this genre. The word tappa stands for jumping, bouncing and skipping, implying the extraordinary rule of unremitting attempts made by a singer on the musical notes, not stopping or taking a pause for once. This outstanding formation is unique to tappa only, absent in the other Hindustani classical forms. It is thus composed of rhythmic and rapid notes, and such a style calls for immense and extreme hold over the singing diction. A contrary to which can damage the whole recital. Tappa is very unlike khayal rendition, crisp and highly volatile in its nature. And the few exponents like Ghulam Nabi, Pt. Bholanath Bhatt or Girija Devi have thus become legends in their own right.





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