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An expansionary composition with a balance of consonant and vowel phrases which begin and ends with a vowel phrase is called a kayda. Kaydas have khaali and bhari components and divisions. The divisions of a kayda may either be symmetrical to the taal in which the kayda is established or may fall in odd places.

The kayda is an extremely important expansionary composition as it comprises the heart of a solo performance. It is the root of all expansionary compositions, however there are different opinions as to whether it preceded peshkaar or not. Although peshkaar gives a firm understanding of the respective tabla player’s thought process and readiness, kaydas are taught first during the learning process for a reason. The riyaaz and grasping of certain key phrases are impossible without the repetition of different kaydas. This, combined with the subconsciousness of understanding laya through the practice of kaydas with a lehra, provide the ground root of a tabla player’s initial preparation. 


Doing practice of kaydas fortifies the dexterity of the hand and makes it easier to understand different aspects of the taal. Usually, when a human being is given a strict set of rules, he/she is given a specific direction to turn to, which first limits the scope and freedom. However, eventually, after devoting to those rules and practicing them over and over again, a certain understanding develops and the individual matures. The word kayda derives from the word “Kayd,” which also means “rule, arrest, capture.” And so the same logic of preparation through direction can be seen within a kayda.

The kayda is the root of expansionary compositions. That being said, there are multiple rules, guidelines, or aspects to a kayda and its expansion process.

  • Kaydas start with vowel phrases (such as dhatidhage, dhadhatite, etc). There are certain exceptions (gat-kayda tekdhinenage starts with a consonant bol). 

  • Kaydas always end with vowel phrases

  • Kaydas are played in madhya laya. Certain kaydas may be played faster than others depending on the bols and flow of the kayda. Kaydas are the heart of a tabla solo performance. 

  • Kaydas follow the khaali and bhari components of a taal, but they may not necessarily follow all the vibhaags. Kayda divisions, considering the kayda's taal, may fall in odd places and odd maatras.

  • The bols of the paltas of kaydas must originate from the mukh of the kayda. 

Important Points to Consider

  • The paltas, or variations, of a kayda must unconditionally include only the bols found in the mukh or theme of the kayda. For example, a note which is banned from a raga will distort the rasa or mood of the raga. Similarly, playing a bol during the expansion process different from those found in the mukh will create a distortion and goes against the rules of Indian Classical Music. 

  • The expansion of a kayda is usually done in the order of the bols appearing in the mukh. For example, in the kayda "dhatidhagenadhaTRKT dhatidhagetinakena," "dhati" will be improvised first, then "dhagena," etc. 

  • The expansion of a kayda may be pre-planned as there are multiple factors involved in the expansion process (khand, khaali-bhari, bol order, etc). 

  • The bols found in the bhari should also be played in the khaali to complete an awartan properly.

  • Several kaydas have been created using the delhi baaj. In this baaj, the expansion of the kayda is very systematic: mukh, dohra, adha-dohra, vishraam, adha-vishraam, palta, tihai. Other baaj may do this expansion is a different way or order.

  • A kayda may be played in double laya, in which case it will be completed in half an awartan. However, in order to completely outline the awartan, tabla players will play the mukh in the following order: bhari, bhari, khaali, bhari, with 4 even divisions. Also, tabla players may attach the mukh to their paltas, in which case the order is palta (bhari), mukh, palta (khaali), mukh, also with 4 even divisions. This is the most common way of presenting a kayda. 

  • A kayda is presented with a single laya mukh, and then a double laya mukh. However, those with command over the laya will also explore the 1 and 1/2 laya (adi) in between single and double to provide a more musical transition. If the kayda is chatushra jati, then this means that the tabla player will temporarily explore tisra jati as part of this 1 and 1/2 laya. 

  • While coming up with paltas of a particular kayda, the suceeding palta will usually consider the previous palta and "expand" or "amend" it by considering the previous palta's pattern and changing a certain element. Randomized paltas that are individual with no connection to the previous and succeeding palta do not sound musical. 

  • All gharanas have contributed their own style to the kayda, not just Delhi. 

  • Kaydas come in various jaati: Chatushra, Tisra, Khand, Mishra, etc.

  • Kaydas have emphasis on certain key phrases in order to demonstrate a "punch" during presentation. For example, in the kayda dhadhatite dhadhatina, the punch is on "tite" because it is the only consonant phrase. Such punches occur in different ways and different places in each kayda. 

Essential Introductory Teentaal Kaydas

dhadhatite dhadhatina

tatatite dhadhadhina

dhadhaTRKT dhadhatina

tataTRKT dhadhadhina

dhatitedha titedhadha titedhage tinakena

tatiteta titedhadha titedhage dhinagena

dhagetite kdadhikite dhagenage tinakena

taketite kdadhikite dhagenage dhinagena

dhatidhage nadhaTRKT dhatidhage tinakena

tatitake nataTRKT dhatidhage dhinagena

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