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Tappa - Indian Style of Music

India's rich musical heritage is a tapestry woven with diverse genres and styles, each possessing its own distinct identity. Among these, Tappa stands out as a mesmerizing genre that has captivated listeners for centuries with its lively pace and intricate composition. From its humble origins in the folk songs of Punjab's camel riders to its status as a refined form of classical music today, Tappa has traversed a remarkable journey throughout history.

Some basic informations on Tappa are as follows:

  • Tappa is typically sung in a fast tempo, with a rolling rhythm.

  • The lyrics of tappa songs are often about love, loss, and longing.

  • Tappa is often accompanied by tabla, harmonium, and sitar.

  • Some of the most famous tappa singers include Begum Akhtar, Girija Devi, and Ishwarchandra Karkare.

  • Tappa is a living tradition, and continues to be performed and enjoyed by people all over the world.

tappa music

The Birth of Tappa: Tracing its Roots

Tappa traces its roots back to the folk songs sung by the camel riders of Punjab. These songs were characterized by their energetic and rhythmic nature, reflecting the lively spirit of the riders as they traversed the arid landscapes. Over time, these folk songs evolved, incorporating elements of classical music and gaining recognition as a distinct genre known as Tappa.

Timeline of Gaining Popularity: From Folklore to Fame

Tappa gradually gained popularity beyond its folk origins, spreading its melodic charm across northern India. It was during the 18th and 19th centuries that Tappa began to gain recognition as a classical style of music. Influential composers and performers of the time, such as Sultan Khan, Sadarang, and Shyam Kishore, contributed to the growth of Tappa by composing and popularizing its melodic compositions.

Tappa in Mughal Times: Royal Patronage and Refinement

During the Mughal era, Tappa found patronage among the royal courts. The Mughal emperors, renowned for their love for art and culture, embraced Tappa as a form of entertainment and artistic expression. The influence of the Mughal court led to the refinement of Tappa, with composers and musicians incorporating intricate rhythmic patterns, complex melodic structures, and sophisticated ornamentation.

The Tappa style of music underwent refinement and gained recognition when it was introduced to the imperial court of the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah. It was further propagated by notable musicians like Mian Ghulam Nabi Shori, also known as Shori Mian, who served as a court singer for Asaf-Ud-Dowlah, the Nawab of Awadh. Their contributions played a significant role in the development and popularity of Tappa as a distinct genre.

The Present Scenario: Tappa's Resurgence

In the present day, Tappa continues to enchant audiences with its unique charm and evocative melodies. While it may not enjoy the same level of popularity as some other classical styles, Tappa has witnessed a resurgence in recent years. Musicians and performers have been rediscovering and reviving this art form, introducing it to new audiences and showcasing its beauty through concerts and recordings.

Tappa's present scenario is marked by a blend of tradition and innovation. While classical purists strive to preserve the authenticity of Tappa by adhering to its traditional compositions and techniques, contemporary artists are experimenting with fusion and incorporating Tappa elements into modern compositions. This fusion of tradition and innovation has helped Tappa find a place in the hearts of younger generations, ensuring its survival and relevance in the ever-evolving musical landscape.

Which Taal is used for Tappa singing?

Tappa singing traditionally uses the taal known as "Sitarkhani" or "Dadra." Sitarkhani is a six-beat taal that is commonly associated with light classical and semi-classical music forms in North India. It provides a rhythmic structure that complements the lively and energetic nature of Tappa compositions. The rhythmic pattern of Sitarkhani taal helps in maintaining the intricate melodic patterns and fast-paced movements characteristic of Tappa singing.

Here are some famous Tappa songs that have gained recognition and are widely appreciated:

  1. "Mora Saiyan Bulave" - This popular Tappa, composed in Raag Bhairavi, is a soulful composition that beautifully captures the emotions of separation and longing.

  2. "Kaahe Ko Byahi Bides" - A classic Tappa in Raag Des, this song portrays the melancholic feelings of a bride leaving her home after marriage.

  3. "Balamwa Tore Me Nainanwa" - This enchanting Tappa, composed in Raag Khamaj, showcases the yearning and devotion of a lover for their beloved.

  4. "Lagat Kachu Soor" - Sung in Raag Tilak Kamod, this Tappa explores the playfulness and flirtatious exchanges between two lovers.

  5. "Ghata Ghan Ghor Ghor" - A popular Tappa in Raag Mishra Pilu, this composition portrays the beauty of rainfall and the emotions it evokes.

  6. "Mora Saiyan Ho Gaye Aparichit" - This Tappa, composed in Raag Kafi, expresses the longing and anticipation of a lover waiting for their beloved.

  7. "Mora Nahak Gaye" - Sung in Raag Maru Bihag, this Tappa highlights the pain and anguish of separation from a loved one.

  8. "Mor Bole Re" - This lively Tappa in Raag Bhimpalasi showcases the energetic and rhythmic aspects of the genre, capturing the essence of Tappa's lively pace.

Conclusion: Tappa's Timeless Melodies

Tappa, the Indian style of music, has traversed a remarkable journey throughout history. From its humble beginnings as folk songs to its recognition as a refined classical genre, Tappa has captivated audiences with its lively pace, intricate melodies, and rhythmic patterns. Its popularity has spanned centuries, gaining royal patronage during the Mughal era and experiencing a resurgence in the present day. Tappa's timeless melodies continue to inspire musicians and enchant listeners, ensuring its place as an integral part of India's rich musical heritage.

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