(Last Updated on : 06/01/2009)
Sargams may either be preceded or followed by taans, which are fast tempo melodic figures sung in three octaves in a speedy series, using the ascending notes of the raaga. They are sung at twice the speed of the basic tempo of the khayal, using the vowel in quick succession. Though rendered at high speed, the singer has to take care to keep within the perimeters of the raaga's grammatical structure. They help in creating varied patterns within the raaga-scale. Taans normally come at the climactic phase of the concert and add significantly to the dynamism and variety of khayal. The variety and complexity of taans depend upon the vocal deftness and technical prowess of the singer to knit sequences of notes ingeniously, attractively and meaningfully. In fact, the singer's taiyyari (expertise) is often measured by his or her ability to execute a variety of taans effortlessly. Ideally, a singer recourses to an range of taans comprising simple, intricate and patterned ones, to display the grammatical configurations possible within the raaga structure. Most gharanas, as also singers, have their own favourite 'brand' taans. They even make a hallmark of certain kinds of taans.
At this point, the pace of the concert picks up to a great extent. Following the taans, the singer could, without break, launch on the chhota khayal in fast tempo (drut laya). Some singers may choose to sing a composition in madhya laya and move onto the chhota khayal after that. A separate bandish set to a different tala, normally in teentaal or ektaal, is rendered speedily. Singers generally spent approximately 10 minutes singing a chhota khayal, wherein they compress a number of fundamental features of khayal gayaki. The effect is one of breathless animation and energy. It is not preceded by alaaps or other descriptive modes. A chhota khayal too has a sthayi and antara, neither of which is explored in great specificity or detail. The emphasis is on faster elaboration, rapid and bouncy play on the words of the bandish rhythmically, and the rapid use of attractive and agile bol-taans and taans. The mukhda of the composition is frequently reiterated after each improvisation in the rhythmic cycle. Some render a bracing tarana in order to add greater diversity. After having explored and improvised the melodic possibilities at all feasible speeds (this ability, of course, differs from singer to singer), the singer concludes with flourish.