In spite of being dominated by the pre-composed element, Bandisa Thumans do not constantly display a high level of originality in their melodic-rhythmic structure. However their poetry has a superior literary value than on bola-banao thumans. One famous Lucknowcomposer, Lallan Piya, is known to have set at least fourteen different lyrics to the same melody in raaga Kafi.
Composition of Bandisa Thumari
The Bandisa Thumari is generally composed in madhya-laya tinatala. However, compositions in rupaka, jhapatala and ekatala have also been in practice. The composition is generally in two parts, sthayi and antara. The sthayi, usually of two poetic-melodic lines, is occasionally of three lines. In the shorter talas, such as rupaka and jhapatala, the sthayi can be longer. The antara is generally at least as long as the sthayi, in most cases two or three poetic-melodic lines. There are also Bandisa Thumaris with several antaras, all performed to identical melodic contours.
In the austere format of rendition, the vocalist merely renders each part of the composition several times in sequence and repeatedly, without any improvisations whatsoever, but occasionally at a progressively higher tempo in each successive iteration. In such a rendition, each line may undergo some melodic variations without damaging the integrity of the poetic form, and without straying too far from the melodic contours of the pre-composed form.
The vocalist follows up the performance of the complete pre-composed form with melodic-rhythmic improvisations upon it in a manner that would challenge the dancer's skills. This form of bola-banta or layakan has derived from the dhrupad genre. Contemporary kathak maestros, like Birju Maharaj, have performed Bandisa Thumaris using bola-banta as well as bola-banao improvisations.
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