Delhi gharana

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The Delhi Gharana is the oldest of the tabla gharanas and the first to establish improvisation rules. It was founded in North India and is one of the most common gharanas (or Baj) used today. The Purbi Gharana also originates from the eastern areas of Delhi.


Delhi Gharana was founded in the early 18th century most probably by Mia Siddhar Khan Dhadi, who is sometimes also referred to as the inventor of the tabla. Siddhar Khan is the earliest available name associated with tabla that is found in historical records. Siddhar Khan, having been a pakhawaj player (hand drums player), was responsible for incorporating pakhawaj bols (syllables) to the style. However, the tabla, not the pakhawaj, is now the main instrument of the Delhi Gharana. Siddhar Khan and his descendants contributed greatly to the development of the Tabla language and compositional structures of the 'Peshkars' and the 'Kayadas'.[1]

Playing style[edit]

The Delhi tabla style is famous for its vast and rich repertoire of Kayadas. Overall, the sound quality tends to focus on avoiding the overuse of loud, resonant baya (left-hand bass drum) strokes in favor of lighter, more precise strokes. Bols such as dha, tete (tite), terekete and tinnakena are prominent. The temperament and style of playing is generally soft and esoteric.[2]

Prominent exponents[edit]

A few notable masters of this school are Ustad Nathu Khan (1875–1940), Gamay Khan (1883–1958), his son Inam Ali Khan (1924–1986), Chatur Lal (1924–1966), Latif Ahmed Khan and Ustad Fiyaz Khan (1934–12 November 2014), and Ustad Shamim Ahmed Khan nephew of Ustad Fiyaz Khan.[3]


  1. ^, 'Tabla playing lessons described and made easy' of Delhi gharana on YouTube, uploaded 24 Feb 2014, retrieved 21 Feb 2016
  2. ^ Wegner, Gert-Matthias; Vintage Tabla Repertory, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi, 2004.
  3. ^, Biography of Ustad Fiyaz Khan (tabla player) of Delhi gharana, Retrieved 21 Feb 2016