Sunday, 18 January 2015

Gat-Toda and traditional Todas


A few days ago, I had shared this video of mine on Facebook.




After listening to it, a few of my Facebook friends had wanted to know more about this type of composition and it's provenance.

Well, this is a type of composition which we call Gat-Toda.
Gat-Toda is a purely instrumental baaj where matching Todas come with the Gat like a bouquet. They are often composed with phrases from the Gat itself.

To explain, let me quote a passage from an article at the ITC SRA website (since it is nicely written)-
"During the formative period of sitar music, techniques were borrowed from the 'been' and 'dhrupad',
and 'gat-toda' emerged as the first instrumental music style as opposed to vocal music. From this evolved the Masitkhani baaz.."

Now, I came across a photo of Ustad Enayat Khan on my friend Adrian Mcneil's FB Timeline. Adrian is a noted scholar of instrumental music history and a sarod player himself. It is a rare photo of Ustad Enayat Khan from the proceedings of the All India Music Conference - Lucknow 1925 published in a book. The caption says 'Inayat Khan (son of Imdad Khan; Sitar-player; Gat-Jora, Jor Alap Style; Indore State)'. Here, I suspect there has been a typographical error. I feel it's Gat-Toda and not Gat-Jora. One thing we have to keep in mind is that the people at the printing press are not musicians in general.

I have learnt from Prof. Amlan Dasgupta that there was a time when connoisseurs waited eagerly to listen to those Todas which were synonymous with an Ustad's music and if the Ustad chose not to play those, often requests were made to play those specific Todas in Mehfils.
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