Delhi gharana

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

Playing style[edit]

The Delhi tabla style is famous for its vast and rich repertoire of Qaidas. 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. [1]

Prominent exponents[edit]

A few notable masters of this school are Ustad Natthu Khan (1875-1940), Gamay Khan (1883-1958), his son Inam Ali Khan (1924-1986), Chatur Lal (1924-1966) and Latif Ahmed Khan.


  1. ^ Wegner, Gert-Matthias; Vintage tabla Repertory, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi, 2004.