A gat is a fixed composition composed by various maestros and composers which provides an experience of various elements in nature through the language of tabla. These elements of nature may include things like the flow of a river, the flight of a bird, or the bouncing of a ball. A gat is completed before the sum, and therefore can be played multiple times sequentially. A gat is usually performed at least twice in a solo performance.
A gat is a language of information, meaning it communicates the information of several different elements found in nature. The natural elements (such as waterfall, rain, speed of a ball, flow of a river, movement of a peacock) as well as the perspective of the artist create a composition which gives a unique experience to those avid listeners who can connect with such compositions. One significant point of the gat is that it ends before the sum, and it can end with a weak bol (this means no tehai and no strong “dha” needed to land on sum). All gharanas of the khula baaj have composed several gats, and Delhi has composed fewers gats than other gharanas. A gat is played twice to give an effect and to communicate the meaning, and that is practical given that there is no tehai associated with a gat to give any dramatic conclusion at the end.
There are multiple characteristics found in gats
A gat is completed before the sum and therefore may end with a weak bol, not necessarily "dha"
Various elements of poems can appear in gats as gats display the artistic maturity and musical understanding of the composer
Specific characteristics of various gats have created distinctive forms and different types of gats
While khula baaj Gharanas have created several gats, Delhi has composed fewer gats
Many gats are played in the single laya (baraabar) and double laya
Pandit Arvind Mulgaonkarji reveals 16 types of gats in his book "Tabla". Here are some of them.
Few Types of Gats
Tipalli gat- 3 different layas are included
Choudhari gat- every bol or phrase is played 4 times each
Farad gat- “Farad” is a Persian word, which means “Ekkad” or “once.” Usually a gat is played twice, however a Farad gat played once is effective. Another characteristic is that its arrival on the sum can be unpredictable, but it still retains its aesthetic. Some argue that it is called “Ekkad” because we could not give a response or reply to the initial Gat.
Sab-Akaal- There is a pause at different maatras. For example, if teentaal was to be divided in 4 vibhaags, then there would be a “S” at the beginning of the maatra, and the rest of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th maatra would be filled with bols, and then again the first section of the 5th maatra would have an “S”. Example: Sab-Akaal gat would start off with “SdhagetitaakdadhaSnadhet….”